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Oakland Raiders: My Thoughts on the Battle of the Bay

OAKLANDRAIDERCorrespondent IAugust 24, 2009

I rode BART to San Francisco, took the city bus to Candlestick, and met up with some friends for a pre-game tailgate party.

This was my first game at Candlestick. The parking lot was full of Raiders fans mixed in with 49ers fans. It seemed like each tailgate party had a mix of silver and black, and red and gold.

Even though it was preseason game, it still was sold out and packed. It had the feel of a regular season game based on the number of people walking around. However, it still didn't feel right, the 49er fans don't tailgate as hard as the Raider Nation does.

Walking through the parking lot in Oakland talking smack is something that you can't do. You will get checked, believe that.

I was walking through the 49ers parking lot screaming "RAAAAAAAAAIDERS" and not a single 49er fan got in my face or even tried to check me. Now I understand its the Battle of the Bay, and for the most part people are only trying to have a good time, but if you were to walk pass the Raider Nation tailgate party in the north parking lot screaming "BROOOOONCOOOS" wearing a Denver jersey then it would be problems.

Anyway, like I said before, this was my first game ever going to Candlestick, and now I fully see why the San Francisco 49ers are trying to get a new staduim. Their current staduim is so old and out-of-date, I felt like I was watching a football game in 1965.

It really is a dump. It makes the Oakland Colisuem look state of the art by comparison. After seeing that place, all I can say is, damn.

Anyways, onto the game.

I thought the Raiders played very well for the first three quarter when we were winning 14-3. I'm not even going to lie, I was talking so much smack for the first three quarters, I was having so much fun. The 49ers fans were so damn quiet, I was acting a fool on every play the Raiders did something good.

It felt so good to be at a live football game again even though it was only preseason.

I can't wait until Monday Night Football vs. the San Diego Chargers. Us Raiders fans are going to party so hard.

The 49ers fans in my section were getting mad at me. I was poppin' my collar and going dumb. There was a couple in front of me, who I would say were about 40 years old, around that age.

I was screamin in their ear, "RAAAAAAAAAAIDERS", "RAAAAAAAAAAIDERS", "RAAAAAAAAAAIDERS", "RAAAAAAAAAAIDERS" non-stop. The lady looked back at me and said, "Will you please shut up, I'm trying to watch the game."

I said "It's a damn football game lady, go home and watch it on TV if you don't want to hear it, Raiders fans are in the building you punk rock beezy."

She was so mad, she went and got the usher to try to clam me down! Hahaha

The husband was so scared, he didn't even say a word.

And yes, the chants and screaming still carried on. It's a much different vibe in San Francisco than Oakland.

In San Francisco, at parts of the game it can get so quiet in that staduim, you could hear a pin drop. The fans sit quiet, and when a good play happens they cheer softly and golf clap.

They act in a good manner and look down on Raiders fans acting a fool after every postive Raider play.

The 49ers fans didn't know how to respond when they saw the Raiders fans having fun in there staduim, when Oakland was winning in the first three quarters.

I started laughing so hard, the 49ers fans were getting butt-hurt. In the second quarter, when JaMarcus Russell scored a touchdown, all the Raiders fans were going crazy, and the Raiders cheers were getting louder. I really felt once they scored to go up 14-3 they had a chance to break open that game.

Even though they ended up losing, it was so much fun while they were winning 14-3. I look at it this way: us Oakland fans had three quarters of cheering and the feeling of winning, while the 49ers fans didn't come alive until the fourth quarter when Oakland had there fourth string players in the game. The game meant nothing, but for the fans, it was everything.

It didn't matter who was in the game, it was San Francisco vs. Oakland and there could only be one winner. Yeah, 'Frisco won, but had that been a real game, I don't think Frisco could have seen them.

It was funny because after the game ended, old ladies and all the 49ers fans in our section were pointing and laughing at us while we walked up the stairs. They felt like they got there revenge on me, for how I was acting in the first three quarters of the game; however, it is what it is, and from what I saw, here are some good points that I liked, and bad points I hated.

THE GOOD

QB JaMarcus Russell7 for 11, 76 yards, 1 TD

Russell played very well vs. San Francisco. He threw only 11 passes, but did a good job in making the right reads. Had this been a real game, I feel Russell would have picked the 49ers apart. Russell's game has improved so much from last season, I can't wait to see four quarters of him.

TE Brandon Myers4 catches, 75 yards, 1 TD

Myers has had back-to-back solid games. After we selected him in the draft, he was thought to be used as only a blocking TE, but from his performances on the field, his hands are up to par. He's not bad for a sixth round draft pick.

With Myers, Zach Miller, and Tony Stewart, I believe our TE depth is solid for this season.


WR Louis Murphy
2 catches, 34 yards, 1 TD

I know, I know—two catches isn't a big deal; however, what impresses me about Murphy is his mental side of playing football.

On the field he doesn't look scared nor timid. He looks like a legit NFL player. His transition into the pros looks smooth, and with the way he runs and catches, I think Murphy will be a solid NFL player for years to come. If anything, I would say just keep working on run blocking.

Also, he did nicely in burning loud-mouth Nate Clements on that touchdown. Clements would have been burnt two times if it wasn't for that pass interference on Johnnie Lee Higgins.


LB Ricky Brown
7 Tackles, 1 INT

Brown got a little extra playing time after Kirk Morrison went down with an elbow injury.

I have to give props where props is due—Ricky Brown plays with a high motor. I would have liked to see him score that touchdown by beating Alex Smith into the endzone. Regardless, it was a nice play.

Brown has improved a great deal. Still, compared to other LBs in the NFL, where do you rate him? I feel that his play has stood out more then Jon Alston. I see Brown beating out Alston and joining Kirk Morrison and Thomas Howard as the starting LB's for the Raiders Sept. 14 vs the San Diego Chargers.


THE BAD

WR Nick Miller1 catch, 14 yards, Fumble

A player who has had a lot of good vibes from the coaches and fans made a huge mistake, which could cost him a chance of making the Raiders' roster.

With the game on the line and the Raiders only down by one point with under four min. to go, all Nick Miller had to do was catch the ball and get down or out of bounds.

Whatever you do, you can't turn the ball over, no matter what, no excuses.

The job of the punt return man isn't to be the hero, but to simply do your job, give the offense the ball. Nick Miller was stripped by the 49ers fourth string punt team. Not a good look at all. It makes you wonder what role if any would Nick Miller play on the Oakland Raiders' offense. Miller is also too small and lacks the tackling ability to be used as a gunner on punt.

If he isn't a sure option as a backup punt returner to Johnnie Lee Higgins, then what role does he have on this team? With Javon Walker coming back, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Louis Murphy, Johnnie Lee Higgins, and Chaz Schiliens coming back, that is five WR's ahead of Nick Miller on the depth chart.

Then there is also Todd Watkins, who has done a decent job as a gunner, as well as Jonathan Holland and Will Franklin in the mix as well. It was a long shot for Nick Miller to make this team from the start. If he has mental errors like this, it's only going to hurt his chances of making the final 53. After the 49ers game, I just don't know, his size might be a major issue. This is the NFL, not college.

Backup QB's Garcia, Gradkowski, Frye3 INT

All three of these guys played bad once JaMarcus came out. I don't know if it was there first road game wearing an Oakland jersey or what. None of them really impressed me. They were rattled and threw bad passes which lead to turnovers and lost points.

Three drives in which we could have gotten a touchdown or FG, with the score 14-3, there is no way we should have lost that game.

Jeff Garcia looked the worst, I understand it's a two-mintue drill he was trying to run, but why would you give up the chance to score points? They were 5-10 yards away from FG range, he was forcing throws and never looked like he had control. He looks like a chicken with its head cut off. Learn the playbook and relax.

Also, Johnnie Lee Higgins isn't 6'4, put the ball on the numbers and that ball isn't tipped and picked off.

Those points before halftime were huge. We lost the chance to go into halftime 14-3 or 10-3.

Gradkowski and Frye are about equal, they both show signs of being decent but still show major flaws in there game ( the reason why they are backups and not starters). It's going to be tough, but one of these guys is going to have to get cut. As for Jeff Garcia, man, he has some major work to do. He needs to stop running his mouth at the radio stations and learn the damn playbook.

DL Trevor Scott, Greg Ellis, and Tommy Kelly(Rest of D Line as well)

As much as the Raider Nation has high hopes for Scott, he still lacks in stopping the run. He was getting blown off the line by the offensive linemen. Scott wasn't a factor in this game. We just can't have players on the field who aren't making tackles or sacks. It means you aren't doing a damn thing. DO SOMETHING.

What about the play where Alex Smith sucker blocked Greg Ellis? Yeah, I said it, sucker block. Alex Smith is a bitch, that is the only time he has ever done anything in five years of being on the 49ers. Regardless of that play, Ellis looked slow to me. I don't know if it was that hit or what, but he had no force in stopping the run and had trouble against the 49er O-Line.

Tommy Kelly, huff and puff, looked tired to me. He was seen a lot of times with his hands on his hips trying to gasp for air. Kelly wasn't much of a factor, none of the d-line played well; starters, backups, or third and fourth string.

There is no way in the world you should let Glen Coffee, Michael Robinson, and Kory Sheets rush for 275 yards. Our d-line played like crap. There was no attitude or Raiders' swagger which they have when they play at home. It was a road game and the Raiders lacked focus in stopping the run. I hope they can get that together quick. I won't take too much away from the 49ers, their o-line played well.

Overall I had a great time with family and friends. We cheered and laughed, but in the end the Raiders lost. Today, I;ve seen the true meaning of preseason: it's not about the outcome or the score, but how the players play while in the game.

I know one thing: I will never go back to bootsy-ass Candlestick, I watch my football in East Oakland at the Colisuem, straight town biz, where it really goes down.

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