Monday, 29 October 2007


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



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


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


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



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.