Tuesday, 18 December 2007

A LOT OF PRIDE AND A TOUCH OF POISE.



PRIDE AND POISE.




The term is one that has rarely been used in the present tense recently.Both were in evidence on Sunday at the Coliseum.

Pride was certainly one of the emotions I felt at full time, yes disappointment too, because we had come so close to knocking off the reigning Superbowl Champions.After last week in Green Bay there was little if nothing to take from that game, but there is plenty to be positive about here.There will be those who say that a loss is a loss, and the RAIDERS sit at 4-10 and fighting it out with KC to not be bottom of the division again, and they would be right.Don't you feel that something is changing though?Something is stirring in Alameda?To me this 4-10 team and the 2-14 team of last year, despite some familiar faces, are as different as night and day


The RAIDERS of the last few years had collectively thrown in the towel at this point, but the present team are showing that a quitting mentality is not acceptable for Lane Kiffin and his staff.


Consider too the fact that this is not a team that is exactly overflowing with talent at all positions, yet they stood toe to toe with the Superbowl winners and but for a couple of debatable calls in the fourth quarter may have come out on top, that to me says that these coaches are on the right track.


We have some players at the moment who believe in the system, who give it all for the cause, but are just a little short on pure talent.Josh McCown typifies that description, and the much maligned QB after starting the game underthrowing receivers, took the helm of the RAIDERS offense on two of the best drives of the season, covering 99 and 60 yards respectively which saw the Silver and Black hold the ball for over 18 minutes on 33 plays against a quick talented Defense.


With those stats in mind, it could be argued that the decision to continue the slow introduction of JaMarcus Russell into the Offense on three series, was actually detrimental to the RAIDERS case considering the nature of the ultra-conservative play calling while he was in the game.We all wanted to see the big man again, especially in a home game, but those three possessions may have cost us dearly in respect of a win.


The real focus of the RAIDERS Offense though was again the ground game, with surely the fans choice for team MVP Justin Fargas adding another 89 yards to take him through the 1,000 mark for the season.Huggy was all action as he has been every week, and the fact that his knee injury occurred before he crashed in for his TD, continuing to play because he "could smell the endzone" sums up the man, a man that would be pro-bowl bound if there were any justice in the world.




On the other side of the ball the usually porous RAIDER run defense kept Joseph Addai in check all night, with Gerrard Warren especially seemingly everywhere, the D- line too generating consistent pressure on Manning- how often do you see him completing less than 50% of his passes ( definitely less often than you see his face during the ad breaks ), as was the case prior to the Colts go ahead TD drive, which lets face it could or should have stalled on a third and three play which saw Reggie Wayne's sideline catch called inbounds when it was questionable to say the least ( credit I suppose to Manning for running a quick play before the RAIDERS could get a good look at it ).The Colts QB was 15 of 31 as that drive began to give them their only offensive TD, due to a couple of monster goal line stands from the RAIDERS Defense - Pride and Poise indeed.

The real disappointment was giving up another TD on a punt return with terrible down field pursuit on the play.It seems no co-incidence that the RAIDERS have given up big Special Teams plays since losing Jarrod Cooper for the season.Again when two phases of the game are going well for us, the other lets us down, it's that old familiar problem of all three units not putting it together on the same day.


It is definitely not a co-incidence that an NFL official once again chooses to ignore ( that's the polite version ) blatant penalties committed against the RAIDERS.The pass interference on Jerry Porter was as obvious as was the officials turning of a blind eye, the penalty would have given us 1st and goal with just under two minutes to play with three timeouts remaining.Porter, although asked by Lane Kiffin to say nothing, has said that the official in question told him "he grabbed you, but didn't turn you around".Oh well that's ok then, obviously being grabbed prior to the ball arriving had no bearing on Porter not making the catch.Sorry I forgot, we are the OAKLAND RAIDERS, of course that is the rule unless a guy in a black shirt happens to do it, THEN its pass interference.I didn't want to get into the whole we got dicked again thing, BUT WE GOT DICKED AGAIN.

Regardless of another NFL official dicking, and regardless of the 21-14 deficit, the tide is turning in Oakland.The cry-babies in SD have wrapped up the AFC West title again this year, but they should make the most of how it feels, because the Silver and Black are definitely coming back.We have shown Denver and KC that already this year by winning our return matches against both convincingly, where Lane Kiffin learned from the first meetings to then out-coach his opposite number.We have a nice little warm up game in Jacksonville next week to get ready to do the same to the Chargers.To me that is still a significant game for the RAIDERS, to complete a sweep of wins against the rest of the west, and to send a message for next year that says you may be top for now but we will be coming for you, plus it would be nice to send the Powder Puffs into the post season with a loss, they may as well get used to it because losses do tend to happen to them in the playoffs, as we know.
"I'm sick of losing" - Nnamdi Asomugha entering the locker room post game.Good.
We all are, but at least players still care at this stage of the season, losing is still pissing this organisation off, and it doesn't seem to be an isolated view either.
Well we've got another two games boy's and 6-10, although not great, is progress all the same.Two more games to play with RAIDER Pride and a little bit more poise.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007



It was a strange sensation watching the game on Sunday, it felt like for the first time this year, the team had shrugged its collective shoulders and thought who the hell are we kidding?

We kept it close at the half, thanks to a tremendous Jerry Porter TD grab, and despite some truly bizarre officiating ( Ed Hochuli loves to get on that screen to throw some shapes, looking buff Ed).But the writing was definitely on the wall, the Packers came into the game ranked 30th in the league running the ball, yet the all too predictable RAIDERS run defence on the first drive alone gave up gains of 12,7,19, and 6 yards to Ryan Grant and there were missed tackles in the open field, and the RAIDERS coaching staff missed a foot out of bounds on Blackmon's punt return TD, which I am sure Shane Lechler is absoloutely thrilled about, considering he had never had one returned for a score before, but that sort of summed up the day.

Once Justin Fargas had been taken out of the game after a hit from A.J. Hawk, there was little else to look forward to.McCown was back to his former self, making rash decisions, Jordan was back in, and it was obvious that Russell was not going to be risked at all.It was while watching the return of Andrew Walter, and stupid un-necessary penalties, that my mind wandered.This had become a waste of a game, Huggy Jnr couldn't make his 1000 yards, and we were watching a QB who hadn't touched the ball all year, while listening to the CBS/Favre love-in.It just had a pointless-ness to it, and we were pointless in the second half, literally.

I was already thinking about next week at home, waiting for JaMarcus Russell to enter the game, and I think that some of the players were there too, thinking of a better place.It's hard to be too critical of Sunday's performance, because simply, we played a bad game, a good Packers team played well, and with the injury to Fargas went our only prayer.Hopefully a home game and the possibility of #2 stepping onto the field will get the players back up for next week, they will have to be up, or Manning will do all manner of terrible things to us, just ask Ray Lewis.

Let us hope that Huggy is back for next week, the signs are good, and let us get back to playing some, as sean over at Raidertake put it, grown-up football too.The Colts are better than the Packers, which is a frightening prospect, but I will settle for some pride and another glimpse at the future under centre.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

BLACK FLAG NETWORK ANNOUNCEMENT

The Black Flag Network enthusiastically raises an ice cold Guinness to welcome the addition of "Across the Silver and Black Pond" as a new commentator to the Oakland Raiders experience.

"Across the Silver and Black Pond" brings a unique perspective to the life of a Raider fan. Blogging passionately about his viewpoints on the Raiders by way of the United Kingdom, LeighRaider wittily shows that the Raider Nation has no geographical boundaries.

The BFN looks forward to continually building a positive rapport with the Raider Nation. The following Q & A is a means of introducing Raider fans to "Across the Silver and Black Pond" and shedding some new light on how a Brit became a card carrying member of the Raider Nation.
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Calico Jack: Tell us how an Englishman became a die hard Raiders fan? When did you begin to follow American football and how did you become a fan of the Raiders in particular?
LeighRaider: We first got the NFL broadcast in the UK in 1982, which was good timing because there was no soccer being shown at the time here due to a TV rights dispute, and we only had four TV channels at that time which gave us some terrible Sunday evening programming. So the introduction of this new sport had little competition for viewers, and it was obviously very new to us. It was fast and colourful, there was hard physical contact and there were Cheerleaders!
People picked their teams for various reasons, alot would choose the first team they saw on the TV and that’s probably why the Dolphins have had a good fan base here because they were on the first show. I think some people picked from the name of the team or location. For me it was much easier, it was the sight of some bloke flying by on a highlight segment wearing Silver and Black, how can that not seal it for you?
Raider Take: When did you begin to follow American football and how did you become a fan of the Raiders in particular?
LeighRaider: The NFL took off in quite a big way over the next few years here and as well as the following of the game on TV every week with live games and highlight shows, teams sprang up here at an amateur level. On a personal level it all coincided with meeting a group of people who are our circle of friends today, and a couple of them were Raiders fans too. In those early days of the Channel 4 coverage here, it was rare to get the Raiders games, as they would try to spread games between all of the teams, so a lot of the time we would have to resort to listening to Armed Forces Network radio. The signal was weak and sometimes intermittent but we crowded around it every week in a bedroom because that was the only part of my house where it worked.
So with a combination of Sunday live coverage, weekly highlight TV shows, the radio, and the UK's weekly NFL magazine - First Down, we became big fans pretty quickly. We got to see the Raiders play in London in 1990, only pre-season I know, but we pestered someone at Wembley Stadium to let us into the Raider practice the day before the game, so got to see some of our heroes up close like Howie Long and an un-suited Lyle Alzado. We were also watching our Britball team Manchester Spartans home and away, and when the World League kicked off with the Monarchs we were there too. Following the Raiders got easier as the TV coverage got better, but its a lot easier post internet and satellite TV where we now have multiple NFL sources to choose from.
CJ: Please share with us one of the highlights of your recent trip to Oakland.
LR: We've been to Oakland three times now and each trip has had its highlights. To be honest every time we come over the a constant highlight to us is Ricky's in San Leandro, that’s our first port of call after the 11 hour flight, and generally our last too. That's where we first got a taste for what the Raider Nation is all about, we were supposed to be calling in there on our first trip as we'd heard about it, and ended up leaving a few hours later, very drunk, so much so that Tina had to take us back to the BART. In fact people we met on that first day in Ricky's are now old friends who treat us like family when we are in the Bay Area.
The game day is the ultimate highlight, after all those years watching on TV and listening to dodgy radio feeds. Everything from the tailgate to the game and just seeing the game live. We will ignore the fact that we have still to see a win though. The tailgate is always great for us, because there is nothing like it here, if you turned up at a soccer stadium with a grill they would look at you like you had gone mad. We have always had great company on our game days. We hang out with our good friend's from Hayward and this year were welcomed into the South Shield fold. The Raider Nation is as advertised and the hospitality and camaraderie is always great.
Another big deal to us, having been fans from so far away for so long, is meeting players who we had only seen on TV or read about. On our first visit we met Jim Plunkett in a San Francisco restaurant and Kenny King and Rod Martin in Ricky's. This time around it was John Vella, Mike Davis, Derek Ramsey and Mr. Rod Martin again. The ex players always have time for you and are usually surprised that they are known by a bunch of Brits.
RT: How easy or difficult is it to catch Raiders games on television in England? When and how are they aired, and do you have any viewing rituals?
LR: We have really good satellite TV coverage these days. We get the choice of two of the early games, two late games and the Sunday and Monday night games. We get all the playoffs live through to the Superbowl, and get NFL Total Access every day which has worked pretty well so far. We even had the Chiefs road game via a link from El Salvador TV. Yahoo run a subscription service on the net too where you can watch any of the games, so I've taken that up for the remainder of the season now. You get to watch the games as much as you like until Tuesday or Wednesday, so I think I'm on my 3rd showing of the win over the Donkey's now, it gets better each time.
Our usual viewing ritual would be all sat in front of our respective computer screens armed with beer and an instant message chatroom open to talk about the game as it unfolds, although now that I have a definite good quality NFL licensed feed through Yahoo last week involved us all stting around my screen with beer, which most likely will be repeated until the end of the season.
CJ: Who is your all time favorite Raider? Who is your favorite player on this year’s squad?
LR: Tough to name just one favourite all time Raider. There would be Vann McElroy, Howie, Lyle, The Wiz, Steve Smith. We love some of the older players too but these were the ones that we sort of grew up with football-wise.
Current squad favourites would be Kirk Morrison, Ron Curry, and I really like how Chris Clemons is progressing.
RT: Are you a novelty in your town/region as a Raiders and NFL fan, or would we be surprised at how many NFL fans there are in your neighborhood?
LR: We could definitely be classed as a novelty where we live. It's not a big town so there's only the six of us that we know of. Across the country there is still a real hardcore following for the NFL in general, which was reflected in the ticket requests for the recent Dolphins/Giants game, something like 500,000 applications which is incredible really. I wouldn't like to say what proportion of us are Raider fans but we have always been well represented.
CJ: What prompted you to start your own Raiders blog?
LR: The Blog started as a bit of a laugh really, with mates here reading it, well it's mostly still them now really! You guys should take a bow at this point .I read Sean's Blog first, sorry Chris you weren't far behind! I fancied a crack at it myself from a standpoint of being a fan over here.I used to read Deadspin quite a lot too, and a Blog falling somewhere between you guys and them would be the feel that I was going for.I got some good early feedback from a friend of mine, which was important, because if it had been really terrible he would have let me know, I think he was surprised that some of it made sense somewhere along the line.
RT: What's your take on JaMarcus Russell--should we continue to simply dip his toe in the water this season, or just dive in and give him some starts before the season is over?
LR: I think that Kiffin might be just about getting right with Russell. If this week was the blueprint for the remainder of the season, I see him getting valuable game time experience while not having any real pressure on his shoulders regarding the outcome of the game. He may get a start but I see the Coach taking it slowly for now, it worked out well against Denver, and we would all like to see a couple more wins at least. It's tempting to want to see more but he will hopefully be the Raiders QB for a long time to come.
CJ: Going forward, what are your expectations for the Raiders in 2008?
LR: My expectations for 2008 have been changing as the season has. After the last couple of weeks, and the debut of JaMarcus Russell, I think that things are looking pretty good. Lane Kiffin has kept the team "In" during that rough six week losing streak and I think that we have a good nucleus to build around next year. Free agency and the draft will have to fill some important spots on the team, as with any club, but I think that we are in capable hands for the first time since Gruden was in charge. I wouldn't like to say how much of an improvement we can make as far as making the post season is concerned but I think we are going to be competitive in the Division again, which is an important progression after the last few years.

Friday, 7 December 2007

APPALLING ABUSE OF DONKEYS, SHOULD IT STOP NOW?

This was a headline from the Daily Express newspaper in the United Kingdom this Friday.I know we beat them up badly but come on, it really isn't necessary for the British press to get all upset about it, Shanahan must have friends in Fleet Street.
We saw three or four of the donkeys whipped with a brush. It was an absolute disgrace,” said one woman.I never saw that, the ref's must have missed that one.
Sorry I couldn't resist this.

Monday, 3 December 2007

FIRST IT WAS A MONKEY OFF OUR BACK, NOW DONKEY.



Last weeks victory at Arrowhead was a start.The re-taking of AFC West pride continued last night in Oakland, and it was done with a little bit of the old swagger.


The sight of old wonky eyes gritting his teeth as his team were powerless to stop the smash mouth Silver and Black was enough to bring a tear to the eye, we all know how much Shanahan hates to lose to the RAIDERS, which makes beating him so much sweeter, especially as he could also see a wild card disappearing into a BLACK HOLE.


The opening drive set the tone for the game with Coach Kiffin running right at the suspect Denver defense, Justin Fargas hitting the hole at speed, as CBS' Bill McAtee put it "he runs with a sense of violence", running with violence!Now that SOUNDS like a RAIDER running back.Special mention should go to Shane Lechler at this point for his fine piece of comedy falling over keeping that first drive alive, it's no wonder he was laughing as he left the field.The Huggy Jnr. show had only just started with 8 for 43 yards, and Josh McCown finished off the first opening drive TD of the season with a great touch pass to Tim Dwight in the corner of the endzone.




The quick reply of the Bronco's suggested that they too would be able to run the ball successfully all day, but the Defense stiffened considerably against a team built on its ground game.Rob Ryan's men were flying around from the first whistle, and they were dishing out some hits too.One beauty on that first Denver drive in particular from Chris Clemons removed Cutler's helmet as he released the ball, a couple of inches higher and he may have looked a little different in the mirror this morning, which wouldn't be an all together bad thing when you consider that at the moment he has the face of a butch dyke.


Josh McCown had his best day as a RAIDER so far, finishing with 14 of 21 and three Touchdown's, adding another 22 yards on the ground.It was a gutsy performance all round, he was nursing an injured left hand, took a few big hits and was sent back onto the field just when the RAIDER NATION thought that the JaMarcus Russell era had started for real.McCown's TD throw to Zach Miller came quickly on a short field due to a fine strip by Robert Thomas which Tyler Brayton recovered at the Denver 35, the immediate success for McCown making sure that his re-appearance would not be a contentious issue.




Russell was blooded carefully, and we only got a taster of what to expect down the line, but his first pass as an NFL QB to Jerry Porter and a later throw to Ron Curry for 16 and 20 yards respectively, delivered with the flick of a wrist, were a tantalising look into the future of the RAIDERS.What really caught my eye was his mobility, be it avoiding a couple of oncoming pass rushers, or turning a botched hand off into a bootleg, he looks good on his feet for such a big man.The remaining weeks of the season will hopefully reveal more of Russell's skills if Kiffin stays with the plan to give him one or two drive cameo's, and despite the temptation as a fan to just say put him in and lets have some fun, the Coach has decided a way to go with JaMarcus and if it ultimately reaps rewards next year then we will thank Lane Kiffin.




A lot of good things came out of last nights game, other than the sight of JaMarcus Russell.Justin Fargas was outstanding, every carry was delivered at full speed with some great cut backs and total guts, and his TD was the crowning glory of a great day's work, Huggy is now on target for a 1000 plus yard season and deserves all the plaudits he is getting at the moment.Zach Miller is starting to show that he can be a pass catching threat at the TE position, having already shown his ability as a blocker, making some nice grabs and getting some real separation against what is supposed to be a good pass defense.Barry Simms and Robert Gallery seem to have returned to their early season form, with the running game going predominantly to the left.Chris Clemons is emerging as a nice compliment to Derek Burgess, as well as being an inspirational story.The special teams deserve a mention, with the kick coverage stepping up after the loss of Jarrod Cooper, and Chris Carr benefiting from some big holes on returns.We should also thank Travis Henry for setting us up nicely for 14 points following his fumbles, he should just go home, roll a fat one and forget about it.




The RAIDER team that we saw last night was almost un-recognisable in attitude terms, to the one that went six games without a win.The win in KC seems to have given the players a new belief in themselves and the system.Lane Kiffin has said that he found out a great deal about himself and his players during that period, and props to the HC, he seems to have kept the team with him throughout which bodes well for the future.


Beating the Donkey's is always a pleasurable experience, to do it with real attitude is even better.The final piece of humble pie came for Shanahan when he watched as Cutler knelt to concede the game to the Silver and Black, that's right Cutler kneel for mercy.


On to Lambeau Field and a Favre-less Packers.Three in a row?At least we don't look silly for suggesting it all of a sudden.Speaking of silly, having just watched the post game interview's, it should be said, JaMarcus, Joseph would like his dreamcoat back.

Monday, 26 November 2007

SOMEBODY MOVED CHRISTMAS


So let me get this straight.Christmas is December 25th isn't it?


Because I swear someone just moved it to November 25th.Any RAIDER-hater out there would possibly suggest that being this excited about improving to 3-8 is a sad reflection of the way that this season has turned out, and you know what, I don't care, all of you powderblue, orange, or ketchup and mustard wearers can kiss my Silver and Black behind.Christmas has come early, not only did we break a six game losing streak, but we also broke a 17 game AFC West losing streak too, on the road in a stadium that had seen only three RAIDER wins since 1990 prior to this Sunday.Merry Xmas RAIDER NATION.


Due to the fact that here in England the game wasn't broadcast by our NFL satellite channel and our usual webcast option was also down, we could only see pictures of the second half, and that was from El Salvadorian TV in Spanish, thankyou El Salvador, TOUCHDOWN RAIDERS is a universal satement.


Having only seen a half, others will be able to break down the game more accurately, so my reflections of Christmas Sunday will be just that.




The game seemed to be heading the way of so many that had come before.We were making another no-name running back look like a superstar, we were struggling to convert in the red zone again depending on the new Mr. Reliable Seabass.Whenever we seemed to get ourselves back in the game, we would give up a big play and the pattern of being in a game long enough to find a way to lose it looked like it may continue.


Then strange things started to happen.Not only did Lamont Jordan score a TD, but Jerry Porter also pulled his finger out and hauled in a nice catch to set up Fargas' go ahead touchdown.The big play, and I mean the BIG play, came with 4:26remaining in the fourth quarter with the RAIDERS holding a slender three point advantage.The Chiefs, faced with a 4th and one at the RAIDERS 23 yard line, decided that, considering their rookie RB had already amassed 150 yards on the ground, one more yard would be easy enough and more of a sure bet than a forty yard FG attempt by Dave Rayner who had missed an earlier 33 yard try.


As the two teams walked to the line of scrimmage for that fourth and one play, time stood almost still, things were moving in super slow-mo, and a voice inside was saying WWWWeee DDDoooonnnttt SSSStttaaannddd AAAAA CCChhaannncee OOfff SSSttooppiinnnggg TThhhiisss.


Enter Kirk Morrison and Thomas Howard, BOOM.I have rarely been so happy about a one yard loss.


The sight of The Pimpmaster, Huggy Jnr. taking that 3rd and eleven for a 21 yard gain to kill the game was a thing of utter beauty.Not only had the players finally closed out a game, our young Head Coach had done it as well, in a traditionally tough place to get a win.


Special mention should go to Justin Fargas for a 139 yard day at over 6 yards per carry, to Kirk Morrison for a ten tackle day, to Mike Huff for finally snagging his first INT, and to Derek Burgess for a two sack display.


This was a huge monkey off our backs, a big ugly one that had continually sat on the RAIDERS car bonnet in the safari park ripping off our wipers.Now we have a scent of AFC West victory in the nostrils, we have a chance to be unkind to donkeys next week, and that too is far overdue.


Everything is not suddenely rosy in the Silver and Black garden, but this win was a long time coming and should be enjoyed for a while, we are still only a game better than we were last week, but hopefully this was a benchmark for Lane Kiffin and his staff along with the players that will still be around in 2008.




Wednesday, 21 November 2007

PLEASE RELEASE ME LET ME GO.


Lamont Jordan uttered the words of the great voice of our times Englebert Humperdinck this week, and the news caused ripples of joy here at the Pond.

The RAIDERS should let him go.He obviously will not play a role in the remainder of the season based on his dramatic fall from grace over the last few weeks, and although he has kept his mouth shut this year, that could change as the frustration rises and we need the distraction of a disgruntled former starter like a hole in the head.

Jordan is set to make a base salary of $4.7 million next year, and I would rather see that money be invested elsewhere, in Nnamdi Asomugah's back pocket for instance.There is also the shadow of Micheal Bush looming, today is the day that the RAIDERS must either activate him or sit him until next year.I would rather have Bush suited for the rest of the season, even if he only touches the ball a few times, than have Jordan skulking the sidelines, the experience of just a handful of NFL carries would surely be a boost for Bush looking forward to next year, and who knows he may show flashes of the player he was before the injury which would be a boost for the team, coaches, and NATION.

Jordan has had one good season as a RAIDER but I could never warm to him as a player.I don't doubt that away from the football field he is a nice guy, but as a player he has never given enough for me on a consistent basis, which of course can be said of quite a few RAIDERS recently, but here we have one of them that wants to go and who is clearly expendable.

I say lets cut our losses with Jordan now, and give the Bush you can like a chance.Jordan may be tempted to dip back into the Humperdinck repertoire asking, Am I That Easy To Forget...............................

Monday, 19 November 2007

RAIDER NATION, A NEW MANTRA

Its Monday, its a pretty typical 2007 Monday.The feeling from Sunday night has matched the feeling from the previous five.
I was going to talk of how we once again were down early, to come back, to ultimately blow it.I was going to talk of yet more terrible two minute drill play calling.I was going to say how again we were in a game in the fourth quarter and how at least we have made progress in certain areas, and once Lane Kiffin gets better personnel in we'll be better.I was possibly going to mention that considering the yardage amassed by Chester Taylor last night we should be happy that Adrian Peterson was watching with us.



So instead I went with the new Monday Mantra for the RAIDER NATION.Enjoy................

Saturday, 17 November 2007

TO YOU ALL A THANKYOU.



2007 TRIP THANKS GO TO :





The Thurston family of Hayward California.Once again you opened your home to us , provided food and drink and friendship, and allowed us to talk rubbish.We apologise for the rubbish.We thank you for the tickets, the tailgating, refridgerator decals, and the welcome that you all extend to us.In the words of the Governator, "We will be back"(It's near enough).






To the South Shield.Thankyou for all your hospitality, food, tequila, and the chance to hang out with some great people.We hope you don't mind us calling by next year and we'll bring the boiled eggs and soldiers.




To Ricky and Tina Ricardo, once again for making us so welcome as you do to so many of the RAIDER NATION, we told you we'd take good care of that barrell of Guiness Ricky.To Steve and Aaron behind the bar for reminding us whose drinks were whose, and where they had come from, Steve you may be Welsh but we like you anyway!

And to anyone who we shared a beer, story, laugh with , if we gave you the Blog address get in touch and say hello.Cheers.

To the mighty RAIDERHED.Probably the finest RAIDER band in the world called RAIDERHED.
Thanks for all the "Manchester in the house" shouts each time we saw you , getting a mention is always great coming from you guys.See you next year and we'll be listening in to RaiderFanRadio as usual.Cheers.
A special mention goes out to John Vella, Mike Davis, Rod Martin, and Derek Ramsey. a) For being Oakland Raiders and b)For taking time to have a chat to us all, and #53 I never saw you in that tree, your secret is safe.
Cheers to everyone...

COLOURS NAILED TO THE MAST - FIRMLY.

This week I was frequenting a RAIDERS message board that I visit regularly, mainly for news, but to also see the opinion of a section of the NATION.
It must be said that I was already slightly pre-disposed to a negative view of said board, due to the fact that two prominent members were by far the most self-righteous arseholes I have ever met in my journeys to the bay, and that is a very rare thing amongst RAIDERS fans as we know.
The discussion had turned once again to Al Davis,and the most posted(because most posted means most intelligent , obviously), revealed that Al was the problem, now and for a long time, not the coaches or assistants or players, but Al, and he should step down and any former glories should also be brushed aside as that was yesterday and they want results now, plus he meddles and any good draft picks aren't his and any bad ones probably are etc etc.
In times of need, when any organisation is hurting, the preliminary target is the man at the top.In business, especially, the man at the top is probably put there by his cronies and has little else on his mind other than his own rewards.In the case of the RAIDERS the top man has nothing in his life other than THE RAIDERS and his family.
For me, Al Davis has , and does, nothing to actively hurt the RAIDERS purposely and I believe never will.I do not believe that he has ever done anything that in his mind has been negative for his organisation.
This to me is a position that I cannot waiver from.This said, I fully acknowledge that the big cheese has made mistakes and been stubborn along the way, of course he has.The Marcus Allen situation springs to mind, but for Christ's sake this is Al , he's a one off and so is his team.

Al gave Lane Kiffin a shot this year, just as he gave Gruden and Madden one too because Al is a football guy and must believe in his hunches from a lifetime in Pro Football.But that is nothing when compared to 16,000 posts in a RAIDER forum, now that's experience, thats how you know where to find a player or a coach, that's when you are savvy enough to know all there is to know about the game of football.THAT'S when you can regard yourself as an expert.
To you Mr. I Know Better Than Al Davis, why don't you just wind your neck in for a while, and consider whether without the man in Black you would be a RAIDERS fan, and whether the RAIDERS would be the entity that makes you get onto a forum at god knows what time of night to pass judgement on them.
One day, god forbid, the RAIDERS will be just another NFL franchise, which will suit the NFL just fine.There will never ever ever be another Al Davis or another Oakland Raiders as we have known it or remember it.Then the experts of the forum world will have the RAIDERS they want.We should be careful what we wish for.I don't like losing, I don't like our great history being tarnished by losses to gobshites like the Chargers, but I will not turn on the man that to me is the main reason that I find myself doing this stuff at something A.M.
As far as I am concerned me, you and Al are all RAIDERS fans, except he has more money and better leisure suits, jesus, we might have been convinced by Todd Marinovich, or Robert Gallery et al.
I have just watched the present team in Oakland for myself and blamed a QB here, or a LT there during a game, but never Mr. Davis, that never entered my head, maybe it should have you might say....
But my colours are nailed to the mast - firmly.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

THE POND OVER THE POND


Across the silver and black pond were across the silver and black pond, literally, over the past ten days.This was the third trip of its kind, and once again beer was drunk, friends were made, sights were seen.The only downside to the whole time in California was the football.
The games against Houston and Chicago were a painful continuation of the 2007 season.This time for us the pain and frustration were right in front of our eyes, in our seats at McAfee Coliseum.
The sight of the home field and those first chimes of 'Hells Bells' never fail to raise the hairs on the back of the neck especially after a year away, and surely our pre-game optimism for a win was not without substance.After all, this was a Texans team we were facing without Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson, who had lost five of their last six games.
That optimism was evaporated into a 17-0 halftime deficit, with the only excitement being a Stuart Schweigert interception and an NFL record attempt FG by Seabass, which was good for distance but foiled by the width of an upright.The decision to go for the FG also allowed Houston to get into range to tag on three points of their own before the half.
Things did improve in the second half with a Jay Richardson FG block and two sustained scoring drives from the RAIDERS bringing it to 17-10.
When the stop was needed from the Defense, Andre Davis' 42yd TD all but killed us off.
The memories of the game late into the night at Ricky's would be critical offensive line penalties and Josh McCown interceptions, and of a pretty terrible game all round, the RAIDERS managed to be worse than their bad opponents.
McCown did nothing to improve matters in the Bears game either.He was slow to make decisions and the lack of zip on the ball on each pass attempt was all too visible from section 318.The fact that the RAIDERS had only been able to muster a FG through three quarters only made the lack of an appearance by Daunte Culpepper on fourth quarter drives more bewildering.
There were better showings by the Defense, producing a pass rush all day and a Kirk Morrison sack putting an end to Brian Griese's day (the guy behind us giving the called upon Grossman a hard time must have wished he had kept his mouth shut), and by the Special Teams who kept Devin Hester in check while kicking right at him all but once.
In a game of hard yards on both sides, the big chance for the RAIDERS came locked at 3-3.After consecutive sacks of Grossman by Clemons and Burgess the ensuing Bears punt was fielded at the 50yd line.Fifty yards to probably put the game away = Punt.When the next drive put us up 6-3, I actually felt like we could do it, we had jokingly prayed for a safety for a 5-3 win before then.
The reaction the to the Berrian 59yd TD was one of almost resigned expectation from the RAIDER NATION,Chris Carr ruining a good days work as a starter and that elusive win disappearing once again..The ability of the 2007 RAIDERS to grasp defeat from the clutches of victory is the teams most consistent trait.
In our six seats inside the Coliseum we didn't boo, and we didn't join in with the calls for Russell because we felt that neither was particularly productive, but we did share the pain of fans who want to see a team win one for a change.
After the Houston game, the Monday edition of the Oakland Tribune carried a number of quotes by players relating to the booing of McCown and the teams performance in general.No-one should be surprised by Jerry Porter once again having his say - "Tell them to shut the heck up, and I mean it, write it", heck being the polite version, but the comment that was as shocking as it was mis-guided was from a popular player, a player who has been a rare bright spark over the last couple of years.Thomas Howard should be careful when he states "This is our team, but they feel like it is their team".Thomas, Thomas, Thomas, the reason that the RAIDER NATION feels like it is their team is BECAUSE IT IS THEIR TEAM.
So three visits to Oakland since 2004, and the song remains the same."Knowing our luck they will win in Minnesota" was the prophecy as again we drowned our sorrows in a pint of Guinness (thanks Ricky), and putting aside our wish to see a win on our trip, I will take that right now. With the Vikings injury list it may well happen, and a win is a win.But one day we will share in that experience of leaving the Coliseum with the elation of victory.In the meantime we will have to console ourselves with the fact that the RAIDER NATION is as welcoming as ever, and a full mention will go to those who made our visit to California a time to remember in the coming days.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

LIKE A BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED RAIDERS...


2007. OAKLAND CALIFORNIA.


This may have been our third trip to Oakland, notching up a travelling distance of around 39,000 miles, to see our fifth straight loss, but at least we had the pleasure of meeting Art Garfunkel in his Lyle Alzado throwback.............


Tales of the Pond over the Pond to follow.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

ED DE BARTOLO JNR? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

The Pro Football Hall Of Fame has released its preliminary nominees for the class of 2008.
This of course is only the first stage of the selection process, and there is a long way to go, but there are once again Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders on that list who should be in the Hall and will again probably be ignored.
The full list of ex Raiders on the list are :
Eric Allen
Cliff Branch
Todd Christensen
Roger Craig
Tom Flores
Ray Guy
Lester 'The Molester' Hayes
Jim Lachey
Jim Plunkett
Kenny Stabler
Pat Swilling
Steve Wisniewski
Albert Lewis.

Looking at that list the players in question began to fall into categories for me.
Firstly the A's :- The men that should be in already, and due to the reluctance of the HOF to turn that place Silver and Black, are not.
Namely : Flores, Stabler, Guy, Plunkett, and Hayes.
The fact that these guys aren't in there is a disgrace, and it's obvious that they won't induct all of them again this time either, so some of them will continue to be absent.Of these Raiders, the one I would like to see get in there first would be Tom Flores, almost a Raider for life (we can forget about the Seahawks thing ), player to coach to front office and 2 Rings, enough said.
They should all be in but if there were a pecking order in my mind it would be headed by Tom Flores with possibly Stabler a close second.Whoever is snubbed this year by Canton, will surely take some solace in the fact that all of them but Lester were in the first round of Pond HOF 'ers ( won't they? ).

Then there are the B's.The players who shouldn't necessarily already be in there, but present a convincing case to be included in any class
These being : Cliff Branch ( almost an A ), Steve Wisniewski, and Todd Christensen.All great players and great Raiders,The Wiz being a personal favourite.These guys would not be out of place in the Hall even now, and surely it is a matter of time for them.Cliff Branch is a debate though, an A or a B?Close call for me and still wavering at the time of writing, Oh sod it, 'Speed Kills' Branch is an A, in fact they should put his bust in-between Stabler and Plunkett, with Bill King playing in the background.

The C's are good players, possibly great players that wore the Silver and Black during their career:-
Eric Allen, Jim Lachey, and Pat Swilling.

And the D's, the players who wore Silver and Black, but quite frankly, does anyone give a shit:
Roger Craig and Albert Lewis.
Craig is and will always be a Whiner, one season in L.A. is not enough to be a Raider.Lewis was a decent player for the Raiders and was a good pick up at the time, but he was a Chief for ten years, so he's a D too.

Looking down the complete list of the preliminaries it becomes clear that some names are laughable at this stage.The are names such as :-

Eric Metcalf, Rickey Jackson, Jay Novacek, Tony Boselli, and Ed De Bartolo Jnr.

These names are on the same page as Tom Flores and Kenny Stabler for christ's sake.
The Pond HOF will be conducting it's second induction during the playoff rounds this year, as there won't be much Raider news at that point, so hopefully the other HOF will follow suit with a bunch of Raiders, but obviously we aren't holding our breath, are we?

Monday, 29 October 2007

THE RAIDERS FALL TO........THE RAIDERS.

Bill Callahan, a few seasons ago, referred to the RAIDERS as the dumbest team in America.
Last night in Tennessee the present players proved that not that much has changed.We are still as DUMB, in fact we may be DUMBER.
Players not being set at the snap, false start after false start, dropped passes.These players who continually repeat-offend should be gone at seasons end, and some of them should have been gone before now.Unfortunately Lane Kiffin has to work with theses players until then, so DUMBEST may yet be achievable.

Once again the Defense which had come in for some early season criticism stepped up.OK, they had one truly terrible series for the Tennessee TD, where the art of tackling was once again forgotten, but they recovered and played well overall keeping Vince Young in check.So again we were in a game in the fourth quarter, a game that was there for the winning, problem is, we will always find a way to beat ourselves.Because we are stupid, or rather we have stupid players.
Lane Kiffin himself was partly to blame last night.The Culpepper fumble deep in our own territory was simply avoidable, as Rich Gannon alluded to in commentary.We were a point ahead in a tight game, our Defense had stiffened, and Shane Lechler was booming punts into space.The Tennessee line was killing our excuse for an O-line, so on third and very long, they once again drop Culpepper back.Screen or draw coach? as Mr Gannon suggested, get more room for Lechler to put Tenn way deep ( his next punt went for 70 yards ),and not sticking with Justin Fargas, when he looked like he may have one of those spells like he did in Miami.
I don't want to be too harsh on Kiffin, because he doesn't make the bonehead mistakes on the field, but when he has a team that he knows is so capable of doing that, he should be more protective of leads, however slim.
I talked last week of Daunte Culpepper's knack of self-destructing, and he was at it again this week.He seems incapable of throwing a ball away to avoid the sack, and throws interceptions that are completely un-necessary, but in his defense, he made 3rd and long passes to Ron Curry and Mike Williams which could have led to points on the board, but due to the DUMBNESS these were negated.I also talked of the need to get Jamarcus Russell into the game sooner than anticipated.Watching the game last night, I was of differing opinions as it went on, if the line has regressed to its bad old ways then Russell may get killed out there, or if it was a case of the Tennessee D-line being extremely good, then Russell may have his chance yet.
I cannot allow myself to get too down on the team, the season, life, Barry f!*$#&g Simms, and what has gone.We travel thousands of miles this week to be in town for the next two home games, home games that could, and I say could, resurrect some sense of respectability to the won-loss column.
Hopefully those with season tickets who are suspecting the worst for the next two games, won't stay at home to watch the Patriots-Colts game on Sunday, leaving a half full Coliseum, you can still get drunk at the tailgate and look at the Raiderettes, come on the Brits are coming and we ( well one of us ) guarantees two wins against the Texans and Bears.
This shall therefore be the Honorary British Week Of No DUMBNESS.Make that two weeks.The DUMBLESS fortnight.

We look forward to seeing everyone , all at Ricky's ( any chance of some Guinness Ricky? ) all the Mikes, Addie, the Raidercast, Raiderhed and RaiderfanRadio, Sweaty Rick, Ken, eggs that are over and easy and over, Al the triad shuttle bus driver, the pubs of Berkeley.God bless you all.

Monday, 22 October 2007

SO NEAR, BUT YET......

RAIDERS 10 CHIEFS 12

During that third quarter, just for a while, I sensed the momentum of the game and possibly the season changing.The Defense was playing well, the Chiefs had just missed a chip shot FG, and we immediately turned what would have been 0 - 9 into 7 - 6.Stuart Schweigert puts a great hit on Gonzalez, we get the ball back and we are driving again, that is until Jeremy Newberry decides to stick the ball up his own arse.Momentum gone.

So near.

So near is the reason that this loss is so hard.There were so many so nears in this game.If only Kirk Morrison had held that Int. just before their TD, If only Culpepper hadn't thrown that ball on that final drive, If only Nnamdi hadn't taken Chris Carr out, If only Huard hadn't escaped two certain sacks somehow.The individual mental mistakes that separated us from the win last night were also the things that separate us from a winning record and mentality.Lane Kiffin has to learn fast too, taking a certain (almost) three points in the second quarter as opposed to going for it on 4th down and coming away with nothing, and not having the team un-prepared for a two minute drill at the end, which led up to the interception.Those two things I put at the coaches door, as well as an insistence on the run when the Chiefs were playing run.But the coach can't be held accountable for those individual mistakes, and it's not as easy as saying bench the culprits when those at fault are players like Curry, Asomuagh, Morrison, Newberry et al.
Lost somewhere in the pain of watching another divisional game slip away, adding to that ever lengthening AFC West statistic, were some good performances.Mike Huff has had his detractors within the Nation, but last night had a good game against Gonzalez and helped keep Larry Johnson in check, in fact had it not been for one missed tackle on the same man, his Safety partner Scweigert may have got a good grade too, but that one missed tackle added fifty something yards the RB's total.Zach Miller got the chance to catch a few balls again, and should be seeing the ball more often as a receiver, if it weren't for his other duties helping out the O-line.Daunte Culpepper was probably two late completed passes away from a good game, just two more to get Seabass in range.Some balls that he threw were great, the TD drive passes in particular, but as is often the case with Daunte a dumb play is just around the corner, which got me thinking about the heir to the QB throne.
Kiffin now has six games under his belt, with a general report card that probably says "could do better".So far we have tried Josh McCown, who was seen, certainly by Kiffin, as a steady guy and a good fit for his offence.We fans though, saw a guy who had heart but without real athletic gifts.Enter Culpepper, who has the arm and the profile, but unfortunately makes questionable decisions at critical times.
Sitting a little further along the sideline we have JaMarcus Russell, who is going to be the man next year, who is an overall No.1 pick, who possesses freakish athletic abilities and was a leader and good decision maker at LSU if his ex-teammates and coaches are to be believed.If we actually do have a QB on the roster who is the real deal, he not only may make the right decisions at the right time, and make the play with his arm strength or quick thinking, but something may rub off on his teammates and turn those so near's into games won.If there is something to be said for bringing in Russell, and Kiffin has hinted at it recently, when and where is the best time?
Looking at the remaining fixtures, there are three divisional games,which would be unlikely choices for a debut, and tough trips to Minnesota and Green Bay.If week seven and on the road in Tennessee is too much too early, then at home to Houston November 4th seems as good a time as any and gives Russell a nine game stretch to make the Raiders his team.If and when No.2 gets the call, he will make mistakes, rookie mistakes, but Culpepper is making them after nine years in the league which is unacceptable, if last nights interception had been thrown by Russell the loss would have been just as gut wrenching, but hopefully the rookie would take the lesson into next year and it may help us win down the road.
Before the season started I saw 8 - 8 or 7 - 9 this year as a move in the right direction, although the latter looks the more achievable record now.To get that we may need a spark, and Russell under centre just might provide it, and a season at .500 or under may prove to be useful in getting our QB of the future ready, surely THAT would be a move in the right direction.The fact that, due to the holdout, we have yet to see Russell play as a Raider would bring a sagging season back to life and who knows a win in the West.


During the CBS commentary last night Jim Nantz announced that Jared Allen "grew up a Raiders fan" down San Jose way.Oh really Jared?I presume they got this from the tool himself as they had been talking to him in the week leading up to the game.Kirk Morrison grew up a Raiders fan Jared, and if (pardon the terrible mental image upcoming ) he had been drafted by the Chiefs, do you really think he would have been talking shit about the Raiders and Raider fans this week?No he wouldn't, because he is a real Raiders fan, his family are Raiders fans,oh and he has some class.

Saturday, 20 October 2007

BACK ME UP BOYS....

OK.I stuck up for you last week amidst (that's a word right?) growing unease amongst (that too?) the Nation, this is the week that was, that is.Another hated divisional rival, but this time in our stadium, a sold-out seething angry Coliseum, waiting for that divisional win that is long overdue.
Last week chap's, I had your back, this week you have to have ours.The Raider faithful were down last week, and despite the level of the reaction to the Chargers game, and how I was preaching the need for the Nation to show some restraint, the ball is in your court now.This is the ideal scenario for a young team to come of age, to draw a line in the sand and say, ok we hear what many of the Raider Nation were saying last week and we will show some heart and passion.
A performance, and lets face it, more importantly, a win against the twister dodgers this weekend could put momentum back into a season, where Raider fans are tired of losing , and losing in the division to inferior ball clubs especially.The hurt of yet another loss to the fairies in powder blue would somewhat be forgotten with a firm slapping of the Queefs.
Please Kiff go back to the faith in the running game, and set up the pass from there, please Defense rise up and commit to stopping the run, and please Raider brethren everywhere lets get back to being behind the new regime at 1220.And please all of you that will be in the home of the Silver and Black this weekend, throw some shit at that cock-end Jared Allen.
I am still fully convinced by the new broom at Raider HQ, but will need some help from the team this weekend to sway those who aren't.

And remember if all else fails, there is a bald English man that will descend on the East Bay in two weeks who guarantees that A) No-one will understand a word he says and B) That the Raiders will win the first two games he ever sees in Oakland.(Texans/Bears)
Hallelujah to that, and Micheal if that happens you are coming to California every year, we can get a grant or something.Here's to 3 - 3 and a sunnier outlook to next week.GO RAIDERS....AND MICHEAL.

Monday, 15 October 2007

TOYS EXIT PRAMS AROUND THE NATION.

The Oakland Raiders were AFC West Champions last in 2002.So far in this decade the Raiders have claimed three AFC West Championships, played in two AFC Championship games and a Superbowl .From 2000-2002 the Raiders had a combined record of 32 - 16, with a combined divisional record of 15 - 7.
2003-2006 of course have been a little different.After losing the Head Coach who was the architect of that earlier success and the QB that had led the team, subsequent coaching appointments have done little to stop the decline of the team.

My point?

In the aftermath of the loss to the Chargers, looking around some Raider message boards there are alot of fans who feel that Lane Kiffin's first year as top man in Oakland will be one of laying a foundation to build on for the next couple of years, one in which he starts something that will hopefully lead to further successes.
But, there seems to be a large number of people who aren't prepared to wait, don't want to wait.They want to win now, and every week regardless of who we play and where, and they want everything rectified immediately, and they're sick of losing, WAH WAHH, stamp feet, throw toys from pram.

The NFL compared to many other sports is a closed shop.There is no relegation, no promotion, and due to the draft system the chances of the same teams being bad forever are slim.So to a non-American the bitching of Raiders fans who have had enough of losing after the last four seasons gets a little hard to stomach.The Superbowl has been in existence for forty years and the Raiders have appeared in five, that averages out to a Superbowl every eight years.If you told me that Blackburn Rovers would win the English Premier League every eight years I would be over the moon, it's already twelve since they did it, and they've won it twice since 1875!

So I would like to say to the cry babies, who have had a tantrum after the Raiders dropped to 2 -3 this week, STFU and get a spine, being a fan involves the good and the bad and the last four season's have been some of the bad, and this Sunday in San Diego was bad, but the team stuck at it and were still in the game in the fourth quarter.As for the Chargers, they may have beaten us again for now, but that team has been trying to win a Superbowl for forty years and has failed.If they continue to fail with the most talented squad they have ever had then forty could become alot more.

The Raiders are a half game off the division lead entering week six.If someone had offered me that after last year I would have taken it.Add to that an obvious improvement as a club in a short space of time and a roster that has Morrison, Howard, Asomugha, Russell, Miller, Bush all hopefully in Silver and Black for some time to come then as a fan I am optimistic and see some wins coming down the road, maybe not all at once right now, but I can live with that.

Three of the next four games are at home against teams that are unlikely to be winning anything soon either.Hopefully the Raiders will be moving past .500 in that sequence of games, and the cry babies will be quiet as lambs. bless.

Monday, 1 October 2007

I GUARANTEE THE RAIDERS WON...


MIAMI DOLPHINS 17 RAIDERS 35


Oh dear Mr Porter, and I'm not talking Jerry.It was a night to forget for Joey and the rest of the fish, especially on the ground, and as the second half sideline shots of Miami's linebacking Nostradamus became more frequent, I almost felt sorry for him, almost.


The Oakland RAIDERS amassed 299 rushing yards on a soggy field, admittedly against a team that were struggling to stop the run and missing Zach Thomas, but 299 YARDS in one game, that is brutal running in any ones book.This is the team that averaged 94.9 YPG last year.We are averaging 194.2 YPG through 4 games so far this term and have 777 Yds rushing which is half of the total for the full season in 2006.

The comparisons are staggering, especially if the rushing game continues on pace throughout the year.It is clear that when Lane Kiffin hired Tom Cable he was making THE hire of the offseason.Cable, with the switching of Gallery and Sims, and the addition of Carlisle, Newberry, and Green, along with the coaching of the blocking scheme that he has become synonymous with, has transformed the worst line in the league to a unit, a unit that just will smash you in the mouth and keep coming.

In the second half in particular last night, the RAIDER o-line were swaggering, not staggering, SWAGGERING up and down Dolphin stadium, Pride and Poise in motion. The Miami defense was pummelled and demoralised in the fourth quarter, and it was a thing of beauty to watch.

I watched the game a second time, watching the o-line specifically, to see who stood out.The fact is, it would be unfair to pick any one guy, the group were powerful, and with no holds and no false starts, disciplined.What was noticeable was the way that Zach Miller was moved around to counteract Jason Taylor, where he won the battle all night.Miller may not be lighting up scoreboards as yet as a receiving threat, but he is doing a job for the team and is another important factor in the RAIDERS' success on the ground.The real plus is that the success of Justin Fargas in the second half proves that this offense will give opportunities for any of our backs to make yards.Dominic Rhodes and Micheal Bush must be chomping at the bit.Fargas though was running hard both inside and out, and despite the doubts of the commentary team, that hit from short-lived RAIDER Donovin Darius, did nothing to keep Huggy Jnr. from his career day.

Despite the heroics of Fargas and Jordan, the day belonged to Daunte Culpepper.Passing stats of 5 of 12 for 75 yards and 2TD's is not normally headline stuff, but add three rushing touchdowns and that picture perfect TD dart to Jerry Porter in the 4th quarter, and Daunte deserves his glory.

To make it sweeter of course, all this came against the team that allegedly escorted him from the practise facility when it was decided he wouldn't be required in Florida any longer.That's classy, and no wonder DC took such pleasure in rubbing salt in the wounds of a disastrous Miami team, not to mention the boo boys in the stands.

The reaction to Culpeppers TD's on the sideline was great to watch, Kirk Morrison dusting him down after his last TD in particular, while the RAIDERRRRRSS chants came down onto the field.It was noticeable how Jamarcus Russell was sticking close to DC during the sideline meetings, listening intently to the feedback from #8.

The much maligned RAIDER Defense turned in a solid display, and the Achilles heel of late, the secondary, did a good job on a Miami passing game that had put up some numbers previously.The defense were tipping balls everywhere, Thomas Howard was among the Int's again, Kirk Morrison should have been too, and Stanford Routt got his pick after a great piece of coverage.Rob Ryan has been getting criticism for a lack of QB pressure, but the use of Howard and Morrison in coverage is surely taking advantage of their playmaking abilities, and the play of Gerard Warren is starting to show glimpses of a No.3 overall pick, he had a great sack, got pressure up the middle and was held continuously.If Warren continues to get better each week the pressure should hopefully come with the return of Burgess.

Finally Lane Kiffin.The team were playing with a smile on their face, and that was before we were well ahead on the scoreboard.The way he puts his faith in the players on fourth down plays with no hesitation is great to see.Sapp put it this way - "He's on our side, its fun to come to work again".It's fun to watch our team again too.

Now the bye, and rest a few bodies, get some back (please god The Burge) and then two divisional games to follow.If the RAIDERS run all over the Chargers on the road, then the Silver and Black will definitely be back.



Tuesday, 25 September 2007

HE WHO DOTH ICE THE KICKER LAST LAUGH'S LONGEST AT LAST, OR SOMETHING.

Browns 24 Raiders 26!!!!!!!

Last week I hated Mike Shanahan even more than I hated him the week before that.This week I hate Mike Shanahan more than two weeks ago but not as much as last.And that's the first time I've hated Mike Shanahan less.
If the crispy faced one hadn't pulled that late time-out in Donksville, I doubt that Lane Kiffin would have done the same thing to Cleveland on Sunday night.So as Coach said thanks Mike, and let that be the last time that those words are uttered, ever.The fact that the Raiders used the same tactic to ice a kicker so successfully probably means the rules will be changed for next year.
We shouldn't have had to rely on the beautifully massive hand of Tommy Kelly connecting with a football.For the first time we got a lead, which could have been bigger but for miscues in the redzone, and once again we couldn't stop a team when we needed to.
But one thing the 2007 Raiders can do is RUN BABY.Hello NFL, we are going to run at you and around you, and we'll laugh as we conquer and run, sorry.The line, even Cornell 'False Start' Green, should be praised for what has occurred so far at the line of scrimmage, strangely the Raider D line raises more concern than the former Silver and Black turnstiles, and whatever LaMont Jordan has been putting in his tea I want a bag of.The running game should, in theory, become better with the imminent addition of Dominic Rhodes after the bye week.With the Fishy people of Miami allowing in the region of 166 yds per game on the ground, while possessing a stingy secondary, it would be safe to assume that Duante will be asked to keep giving Jordan the rock.If the Raiders secondary can tighten up a 2 - 2 record going into that bye is a distinct possibility.
When the divisional games next week are played out, we could also have a tie for the AFC West lead, with a chance to stick one up Norv next time out.
If you're a glass half empty type then we squeaked past a mediocre team at home, needing a blocked FG to win it and couldn't stop a late game drive again.If your Guinness is half full we have half as many wins as we had all last year and its only week three, no-one is laughing at us anymore while Raider football is capable of smacking you in the mouth again, and the division rivals all look weaker than a year ago.Hoorah!
And sod it we won.
On to Miami, with a win lingering in the minds of a team that just maybe needed to win that close one to change its fortunes at last.

Random thoughts from this weeks game :

Coach Kiffin, you still need to get some Black in you, sorry on you.

Mike Williams needs to be allowed to play with a ball specifically manufactured for giants, he is catching something with the relative size of a ping pong ball or Philip Buchanon's head.

We have the best Middle linebacker in the NFL.

Sometime soon, Lane Kiffin/Greg Knapp, and Rob Ryan are going to coach a good game at the same time for 60 minutes, and when they do someone is going to be on the end of a hammering, San Diego would be nice wouldn't it?

Can he kick it, yes he can.Seabass is hopefully back.

Ron Curry deserves to be a number one receiver, and is a true RAIDER.

The King is dead, long live the King.Daunte Culpepper looked good after he came into the game, and whatever is said about Josh McCown he has some heart, but it all felt that bit better with #8 around.

Whatever is said about the state of the Raiders D this year, and we all have seen something of a dropoff, the team we held to 24 points on Sunday put up 51 the week before.

Nothing to do with our game, but someone has to stop the Eagles ever again wearing that throwback uniform, I thought Disney had fielded a team for a minute.

If Derek Burgess continues to struggle with his injury, can we put JaMarcus Russell in at DE?We do need to rediscover a passrush to help out that belaegured defensive backfield.

The coaching staff are making players accountable for their performances from the week before, hence the playing time for Stanford Routt over Washington and B.J. Ward spelling Schweigert.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

HEY BILL THAT WRIST LOOKS SORE..

ITALY 2006...

The grand old lady of Italian football, Juventus, are found guilty of match fixing.The punishment for which was the stripping of their last two League Championships, and relegation to a lower league where they had to start the following season on minus thirty points, the equivalent of an NFL 0 - 10 start.

ENGLAND 2007...

Leeds United who have already fallen on tough times following relegation from the Premier League to the second tier of English football, slip into financial adminstration, which effectively means they have done a bad job running the club purse strings, and the English Football Association effectively seals their relegation to the third tier of the English leagues when they impose a point deduction of 10 points as administration is against the rules.The following season when the club is seen to be still in contravention of administration guidelines they are given a 15 point deduction to start the year with, the equivalent of an 0 - 5 NFL start.

THE WORLD 2007...

After found to have been spying on their rivals Ferrari, ooh does anyone see the similarity there, the Formula 1 governing body impose a fine on McLaren of $100 million ( that's a one and two noughts and then a load of other noughts), and strips them of all the points that the team has earned through the current season.

The common thread here is that the ruling bodies of each sport has not messed around with sending out a message to the sport it governs, the fans, and the wider public.They are saying that rule breaking or downright cheating is going to be dealt with severely, and those who do it in the future know what to expect.Even when the infraction was away from the field, you are going to get f*@#$d - hard.

U.S.A. 2007...

New England Patriots found to be cheating to gain an advantage on the field, caught red handed, no attempt to deny it, well that would have only made it worse since it was so obvious once the confiscated video tape showed exactly what they were up to.NFL commish Roger Goodell shows that he is prepared to come down hard on any rule breakers or cheats, well unless you are the apple franchise of the NFL's eye that is, and lets face it the sport really needs to concentrate on the scourge that is spiking footballs and celebrating touchdowns using the ball as a prop, now that's important.Well done Rog, you show 'em, the games image is safe in your hands.

Monday, 17 September 2007

I HATE MIKE SHANAHAN.

RAIDERS 20 DONKEYS 23 (OT)

There are shitty ways to lose a game and then there was last night at the stable, sorry Invesco field.Sebastian Janikowski had made up for last weeks crap by nailing a 52 yd winner, the RAIDER players were running around the field, I was running around my living room, Kiffin's headset was off and the beaten men in orange CFL uniforms were finally put in their place and everything was right with the world, well for 20 seconds or so.
I have seen many time-outs called to ice kickers before, but I can honestly say I have never seen the officials hold up their arms to signal a good FG, after a play has been fully run by both teams, to then be told sorry it doesn't count.I saw the footage of some Bronco calling the T.O. but it didn't show exactly when it had been made.Old wonky eye reckons he got it called 2 seconds before the snap, and if that's the case then that's savvy coaching from an experienced NFL head coach I suppose, its definitely another reason to add to the list of reasons to hate Mike Shanahan, but I'm still convinced that A) If Seabass' first attempt had missed the time-out wouldn't have been charged to give us another shot and B) If the T.O. call was 2 seconds before the snap surely the play wouldn't have got that far ?All that said if Seabass had hit the second one we would have the victory we deserved.

There are stats that stand out after the game :

Lamont Jordan : 25 carries 159 yds 6.4 ypc.
Josh McCown : 8/16 73 yds 1 TD 3 Int.

This says to me that we should be happy with what Tom Cable is doing with that OL this year.We should be happy with Lamont Jordans effort so far this season, and I have never been a fan but fair play to the guy.And it is getting hard not to wonder what Daunte Culpepper would offer with that extra arm strength and experience, not to dismiss McCowns obvious determination.It's just that with the erratic first halves from weeks one and two from McCown coupled with horrible looking stats starting to mount, its easy to speculate how things might have been when we have been in both games late on regardless of this.

At least we are now looking like an NFL team as opposed to last years debacle, but it would be nice just to win one again, especially having tasted the feeling momentarily last night. And lets hope that the Cleveland Browns' greatest show on turf is a one week wonder, please let it be a one week wonder.

Final thoughts on last nights T.O. Job then.
Kirk Morrison is God.
Thomas Howard is as well, hey we are all Polytheistic around these here parts.
I hate Mike Shanahan.
Lane Kiffin still needs to wear Black.
Shannon Sharpes face is as big as a wok, nothing to do with last night but true.
On-side kicks make people look really bad when you throw one in there with 5:28 left in the third quarter.
There is a win coming, don't know when or where, but its coming.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

BEING A ROOKIE IS COOL



Can you imagine the world of the NFL rookie relating to the world that the average fan inhabits.

You do well at University, you are at a good level with your studies and it looks like you will be able to make a good living at your chosen profession.Then, out of the blue you pull off some brilliant finals results, beating people that were viewed as better students all along.All of a sudden your worth in the marketplace is sky high.

One of the top 32 companies in the world in your chosen profession then gives you a salary that surpasses anything that the top people within that company is earning, or for that matter, has ever earned.This, despite the fact that you rang in on your first day to explain that you were going on holiday for a few weeks, and not to worry because the induction course had given you some idea of what to expect.

You sit with your feet up while the rest of the employees go off on a series of team building weekends and then call to say you will be in on Monday, or maybe Wednesday.When you arrive at work, you get asked to do a tele-conference with the industry media, all the employees tell you how pleased they are to see you, regardless of how much work they've put in to the company for years for a fraction of your wage, and you get employee of the week award.Then you get a few weeks to ease yourself in to your new job, you might have to get some people a coffee in the morning and be the butt of a few workmates jokes for a while, but you can laugh about it on your way to your new home in your new car, while you plan your next shopping trip to the designer mall.Oh and if it turns out that you are shit at your job, its ok because the company has to pay you what your owed.Brilliant!

Just kidding JaMarcus, welcome to the Raiders at long last.If you are as advertised then this last few weeks will be a long and distant memory when you are leading future Raider teams to glory.As I said a few weeks ago the Nation will not forget this quickly, you will have to prove yourself, but even the most sceptical fan will be hoping that you do just that.