Gannon? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Rich Gannon

Al's WingmanAnalyst IJanuary 7, 2010

Whenever we get John Herrera quotables through Oakland Raiders beat writers, it sounds like he really wants to get something off his chest.

For example, Herrera’s latest response to Rich Gannon’s offer to tutor JaMarcus Russell is, “It’s Rich who needs the help,” to which we all ask Herrera, “Really, Rich needs help with what?”

Herrera fails in keeping the prime directive of the Raiders franchise intact.  Never show your true hand.  The secretive nature of the franchise must be retained at all costs.  Nothing should be intended to feed reporters' sound bites. 

Most of the time, Herrera accomplishes this and is quoted in stealth rather than by name.  

“A source within the organization said the Raiders had no comment” is always Herrera.

This is very different than the way it used to be, prior to Herrera’s ascent to becoming point man as the Raiders' voice in the public domain.

Prior to Herrera, for 35 years Al LoCasale was the right hand man of Al Davis.  LoCasale was the voice of reason.  He was able to talk to Al Davis about anything involving the franchise and have the trust of Davis. 

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

LoCasale was even-tempered and always spoke in measured tones to the press, never giving away too much but at the same time, giving reporters something to write about.  Most importantly, LoCasale knew how to keep the internal organization running efficiently, something that is sorely lacking in today’s dysfunctional Raiders HQ.

Though LoCasale had been a friend and confidant of Al Davis since the AFL era and carried influence, the model for an effective and multifaceted role within Raiders HQ was set by Ron Wolf.  Wolf represented the last actual general manager the Raiders have had.

After Wolfe had enough of Al Davis, he joined the Packers front office in 1991 and helped restore the once proud Green Bay franchise from its dormancy.

In more recent times, Bruce Allen was an excellent senior executive within the Raiders organization, functioning both as a personnel evaluator, salary cap monitor, and voice to the press. 

Without Wolf, LoCasale, and Bruce Allen, Raiders HQ has slipped into complete disrepair.

It’s amazing how Herrera is tasked as representing the franchise yet deliberately takes an adversarial role towards a former player who accomplished great things.

Even if Al Davis—through John Herrera—takes offense to whatever Rich Gannon has said as a radio host and game broadcast analyst, they still need to disguise their true feelings.

Say something gracious and flattering while really saying nothing.  Play the political angle.  For example, “We thank Rich Gannon for his offer.  Right now, we have a quarterbacks coach and we’re going to continue the development of our quarterbacks under his watch.”

Very simple, very boring.  "No quotable sound bites," would be the criticism but it is acceptable criticism.  Let people draw their own inferences.

If you represent an NFL franchise and you take an adversarial position publicly, it makes you sound bitter and unprofessional.

John Herrera feeds the very machine he and his lord and master Al Davis hate, which is constant negative attention from an attentive online audience ready to type out a response to misplaced commentary from Raiders HQ. 

Both Al Davis and John Herrera just don’t get it that they are the source of their own problem.

Amazing that, after all these years, something so simple could be this problematic.

Let me help you out John.  Why not avoid saying anything to the press that is an unprepared statement?  You need a public relations person to sanitize your comments or we’ll just keep chewing you apart.