The Raiders march to the beat of their own drummer. They finally have a decent season and fire their coach. They did not ratify the recent collective bargaining agreement. They are a team looking to either get a new stadium in Oakland or share a new one with San Francisco while dreaming of a move to Los Angeles again.
They are hesitant but listening to the idea of sharing a new stadium with the Niners (I don't think the fans Saturday night were in favor of a shared setup). Most recently, the Raiders drafted Terrelle Pryor in the third round of the supplemental draft and plan to play him at quarterback. The Pryor pick for a pick next year shows they are forward thinking.
Terrelle Pryor is the perfect Raider. He's already suspended, he has fantastic athletic talent without the intangible of pro skills and he likes tattoos. I did find it fascinating that experts are wondering if Pryor can somehow beat out Trent Edwards and Kyle Boller. At this point, they're on the team because they both went to school around Oakland, and the Raiders don't have to pay relocation expenses.
Since the Raiders are forward thinking, I shall be also. Most football analysts are deeply involved with training camps and predicting how teams will do this year and other boring short-term details.
I am looking into what the Raiders future will be like, wherever they play their games, because this year isn't going to beautiful. Last year, the Raiders went 8-8 mostly because they were part of a division that played the most ridiculously easy schedule a set of teams can ever have.
What should the Raiders staff do with their free NFL Draft Friday?
Even then they could only beat teams in their own division, a team that used to be in their division, and a team that used to be in the same metro area and may be again soon.
The Raiders staff shows up to Radio City Music Hall, excited about the prospects of the eighth pick in the draft. They are even more excited when cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick is still available. Kirkpatrick is big and fast and will become the star corner for this team, until he opts out of his contract on a clause that the Raiders put into the contract for no good reason. I'm not even sure the drummer has a drum, I think he's just using his fingers to play "In the Air Tonight."
After the Kirkpatrick pick, the Raiders head out and celebrate for a job well done. Then they celebrate, and celebrate some more. Some time in the hotel, they then grab a cab and hit up 48 Lounge and close down the place. They then make sure to get back to hotel to rest up for a big day Friday.
A meeting in the morning to discuss opt out clauses leads to a trip to the Intrepid Museum. In April 2012, the Space Shuttle Enterprise will be there, and what a better way to spend a late morning early afternoon than seeing a modern marvel. The staff asks a lot of questions at the museum to see if it would be possible to send an owner into space.
The staff then heads uptown for some lunch and see a young man with a Raiders shirt selling sunglasses out of a bag. What better gift for the owner than some new sunglasses.
With the second and third rounds starting at 6 p.m., the Raiders staff head back to the hotel to get ready...for Book of Mormon. By April, there might be some tickets available, and it's not like the Raiders need to be at the draft on Friday. I'm not sure if the Raiders have Bengals-like expenses, so it is entirely possible the Raiders staff would have to move operations to a hotel near JFK Airport since Friday would not be considered a working day.
The Raiders staff accidentally heads to the Theater at Madison Square Garden, since they haven't been to the draft in almost two days at this point. They have to make sure they make it in time for their fifth-round pick, which as of now, they still have. That could easily change.
The first hour they are at Radio City, the staff reviews who was picked Friday and then calculate their pick using the 40-yard draft pickanator. The name is still a work in progress. The Raiders did get Trevor Scott in Round 6 a few years ago and a few useful bit players last year who may develop further, so they may actually grab someone of merit. It's eight months away, I have no clue whom.
What I find amazing about Oakland, and I said the same thing about Buffalo, is that it has an aging old school owner who has little sense of urgency in terms of winning a title now (the Raiders have more than the Bills, at least they made a few moves for talent, at the cost of future drafts).
Terrelle Pryor may pan out, but for a franchise that is more successful in creating young star punters than QB's, one has to wonder if Pryor can punt or become a starting QB. In the meantime, this season will once again be a painful reminder of the greatest truth in football. A great starting QB can mask most faults of a franchise, but nothing can hide bad ownership.