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.

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