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.

5 comments:

Calico Jack said...

"Pride & Poise" rang hollow that last 4 years. Under Kiffin's strong leadership capabilities, it means something now.

Going into this game, I viewed it as a true measuring stick to gauge our progress over last year. After giving the Colts all they could handle, I'm very pleased to know that this team has the type of fighting spirit that the entire Raider Nation should be proud of.

Our pass rush was better than Indy.
Our pass protection was better than Indy.
Our run offense was better than Indy.
Our run defense was better than Indy.
Our goal line D was AMAZING.
One ST breakdown and a bogus non call (PI) was the difference.
Onwards & Upwards! Cheers brother.
Calico Jack

dax said...

The Jags game is going to be a tough one. They are a solid, well coached team.
I'm certain we can be competitive and hope that we get momentum for the last game at HOME against the PUFFS! How sweet would it be to give them a good wiping, AT HOME ON WEEK 16! LET US PRAY!
Although I was glad to see JRuss get more playing time, I do agree with you that the O lost a bit of 'drive' in the 3 series he played. We suddenly became a bit predictable.
Let's see what he can do against the Jags.

Rambling Psychoses said...

Arkansan Raider:

Outstanding blog post again, bro. You make some very valid points. I'm with you--I think there are some very positive things happening this year, especially toward the end, here--and it helps to look forward to next year with this coaching crew.

---Jeff

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