Oakland Raiders: Run With the Pack or Get Left in the Dust

Jus GonsalvesContributor IIIJanuary 13, 2011

OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 03:  A fan of the Oakland Raiders looks on against the Baltimore Ravens during an NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on January 3, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

First and foremost, I know I have been extremely vocal and critical of Al Davis' decisions regarding Oakland, to the point where I have nearly lost all faith in him and his wacky ways but I have come to a conclusion on the matter..

He has experience.

He has 3 championship rings; it doesn't matter from what time-frame. That's impressive; it shows that he knows the game. Things have changed since the last Oakland run—but football will always be football and players will always be players.

The game doesn't change, aspects and rules may differ—but it's still offense versus defense, Al Davis knows this and despite the losing seasons, we never went 0-16.

People say Davis' "business ethic" is played out—is that the truth? Is that really a fact?

Al Davis was doing this for longer than most of us have been born. He loves his Raiders and while we may sometimes think he's out to sabotage the team like Moose'ifer and I thought—I don't think that's as true as I look at the situation from a new perspective.

I think it comes down to a stubborn old man who is going to run things his way, because it's his team. He feels he has the formula to win and that people aren't mixing the ingredients correctly, which is why we can't have a winning season—like the Chiefs did—something which probably decided Cable's fate.

Yes—Tom Cable is gone. Yes—Nnamdi's contract is up and roughly two dozen other players but is that really a bad thing? The most important free-agent in my honest opinion isn't Nnamdi, its Zach Miller. Is Nnamdi valuable? Of course he is, but Zach should be the primary focus.

"What about Richard Seymour?" I'll get to that.

Zach has been the constant in a struggling Oakland offense since he was drafted; he moves chains and scores touchdowns when our Receivers aren't able to get open. Losing Zach would be a big blow to Oakland, more so than losing Nnamdi.

As great of a talent and Cornerback as Nnamdi is, I think he hurts Oakland more than he helps it in terms of the way a team schemes against us as well as his over-inflated contract.

Is that Nnamdi's fault? No, you can't blame him for being a shut down corner, but because he's so good at his job, quarterbacks pick on the weaker links of our defense—and if that doesn't do them justice?

They'll just run the ball.

See, I'm all for Nnamdi coming back, but he's carrying around a major contract as well as the fact of knowing that while he may cut off half the field, to be productive against Oakland all you have to do is throw to the other side or run it, and slowly the armor will crack until a big play is given up (i.e. Miami).

I support Nnamdi, I give him credit as I truly believe he is the best at what he does, but if another decent to good cornerback doesn't come in to compliment our pass defense (which is good) to replace Routt, then let him walk. It hurts me to say that.

And no, I don't care what stats say I'm not sold on Routt. I think he gets eaten alive too many times and has way too many penalties on his head—I prefer Chris Johnson, but if we can afford it, bring in another lock down Corner (in the event Nnamdi stays) and our pass defense will be unstoppable.

I know we will be taking a huge blow, but it's the fact of the matter. We pay Nnamdi as much money as quarterbacks yet we don't get the results that a Peyton Manning or Tom Brady can deliver, do we?

Richard Seymour, he's great. He brought leadership into a young defensive line and ignited Tommy Kelly's fire, but he's another guy that if he has to go, then let him go. He instilled the people around him with the will to win—those Kelly, Houston, Scott, and Shaughnessy understands how it feels to be one game away from the playoffs—they're going to want to be there next year and the following years.

Yes, he is a asset, yes he's a pro-bowler and ex-world champion, but it's time to look at it like this—either you want to be here or you don't. Either you're going to want to put on the Silver and Black on Sundays (maybe if we're lucky, some Mondays too) and go out there—represent The Raiders, or you don't.

Either you want to be a Raider or you don't, in that case. Bye. Bye.

The most important thing for the next head coach to do is to make it clear from the start that Tom Cable is gone and he isn't coming back—unless Davis pulls an Art Shell 20 years from now. The next head coach needs to make it clear that they're professionals and they're getting paid millions of dollars to win football games and not get attached.

Jason Campbell said it best, "This is a business." In a business, are you in it to make friends or make money? The answer would have to be the latter and you make money by winning—Tom Cable; as much as I respect him for what he did and wished he was never let go—didn't do that. He won AFC West games—he beat the Rams and Seahawks, but he couldn't beat other people, crucial opponents like the 49ers, Cardinals, Steelers or the rest of the AFC South.

"It was Hue's offense!" Yep, it was. But it was Cable's job to make sure the practices were sharp, to make sure the game plan was set and that there was a foundation for the team to work off of. Cable gave us Satele and Carlise, arguably two of the biggest problems on Oakland's offensive line. People question Veldeer, but I think more of the blame goes onto those two as they constantly were either getting blown back or blown past.

Tom Cable will always get my respect for restoring Oakland to contenders, but his services are no longer needed—Al Davis needs an individual that won't just be a motivator, but he needs a guy that can and will pull the trigger to execute and get stuff done.

The basis behind this article isn't me coming out and saying I was wrong and Al Davis was right, but it's me attempting to see the glass as half empty instead of half-full. I never confused myself for being an optimist as I am a realist, I take into consideration the truth and I see that Oakland may be better off distancing itself from those who don't want to be here from those that do.

People like Chris Johnson, Stanford Routt, Jeremy Ware, and Walter McFadden. They make more money than open-heart surgeons yet they ride the bench and still cash checks. At least if Nnamdi leaves, we can see who's cut out for the NFL and who's going to be CFL bound. People like Michael Huff have had the opportunity to prove he belongs as a Raider—but there's young blood like "Murda" Mike Mitchell and Stevie Brown lurking in the shadows.

If Michael Bush and Robert Gallery is so distraught that Tom Cable is gone—then what can we do other than wave goodbye? I would like to see them back, I respect and like them greatly, but this is a business and nobody is holding a revolver to their head telling them they have to play for Oakland.

At the end of the day, I would like to see Nnamdi, Zach, Gallery, Bush, Wimbley, Huff amongst others all come back, I don't see it happening unless something with the CBA allows it. I think if Lechler was telling the truth then people are going to be looking else-where for employment and that's fine, they need to do whatever they can to get money and enjoy their job.

But I will be disappointed if Nnamdi decides to leave for more money—especially with how rich Al Davis has made him. Gallery and Bush are two others that I will be disappointed it; I don't think Huff is going anywhere and I doubt Routt or Wimbley will leave. Zach and Seymour have the biggest chance of being locked in as Raiders in my opinion, but I have been wrong before.

Some say Nnamdi needs to leave so he can chase a ring, but I feel if you start something you should finish it. The defense is built around Nnamdi—everyone who was brought is there to compliment him, he's a cornerstone of the defense and if he leaves then so be it. We'll lose a shut-down corner.

But at least we'll know who's loyal to the Raider Nation and who's not. It's not about coaching, as continuity is important but not the deciding factor, it comes down to the way the players play and if they want to put on their best effort or not.

One thing is for sure, with how things have gone so far, we'll know next season who's in it to build Oakland back to a dominate force and who was in it solely for a pay check.

Not to copy Mr. X's concluding statement too much—I'll quote one of my favorite wrestlers; Kevin Nash.

"Either you're with us, or you're against us."

Which side are you on?


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