Tuesday, 9 September 2008


I set my alarm clock for that.I got out of my bed at 2:30 a.m., and ran the risk of waking the wife and kids.I could have recorded it and watched it at a less un-godly hour.But no, I wanted to watch the start of a new season live, that'll teach me won't it?

I couldn't remember being more angry after a football game, probably after the tuck game, but that was anger at an injustice served on a talented RAIDER team.Last nights ( or early this mornings ) anger was aimed directly at the RAIDERS in general, whether that be Al, Kiffin and his staff, or the players.To be perfectly honest I am still trying to see the wood from the trees on where the lions share of blame should be placed for what was a truly embarrassing night in front of the fans of all the other NFL teams.

Al Davis has his detractors from within the Nation, and last night will only increase their calls for him to relinquish his position.As a long time supporter of Mr Davis, I cannot honestly think of too much of a defense that he may have against those opinions this morning, and it pains me to say it.Regardless of how much truth there was to all the summer stories relating to Al and and his young Head Coach, it would seem from the demeanour of Kiffin and the way in which he has bemoaned the depth of talent on this team that all is far from rosy in Alameda.Kiffin, as far as I can see, has been making sure that he is seen to be in a position where final decisions on players are taken from him.If this is the case, then the buck stops with Al, he and his yes men within the organisation have to take responsibility for what was, outside of Darren McFadden, a pretty un-inspiring draft.He also has to take responsibility for the contracts given to players if his head coach did not believe they were what the team required,although it must be said that Javon Walkers' subsequent problems and Drew Carters injury are out of even Al's control.If indeed owner and coach had got to a point where the only reason for them to still be together was a reluctance to pay the guy off, then this season is well and truly doomed, and so is the position of Lane Kiffin.

Lane Kiffin is far from blameless in all this though.The gameplan that was set out last night for the whole football watching public to see was, in the words of Jay Schroeder who was working on the U.K. broadcast "pathetic".During that first half the DC of the Donkeys must have popped out for a beer and a hot dog, he must have thought that Christmas had come early, such was the limited array of plays called by Kiffin/Knapp.The passing game was severely hindered by the losses of Walker and Carter, but as a coaching staff the offensive plan had to be better than just run, until we are behind then just pass.

Regardless of injuries on the night and Kiffin's apparent displeasure with what he has at his disposal, that was possibly the worst coached, most ill-prepared team I can remember seeing in Silver and Black, the much and rightly maligned Shell/Walsh team of a couple of years ago met it's match in every way.Little creativity on Offense, stupid penalties, players seemingly unsure of formations, and the inability of Rob Ryan's defence to stop an opponent.The D was disappointing with absoloutely no push up front, and a promising backfield made to look very ordinary (DeAngelo Hall particularly), mainly by a rookie reciever, although Cutler looked like he was running through a no contact practice at times with that lack of pressure.Russell on the other hand was hurried and pressured repeatedly all night.In fact Russell did have quite a few good throws in the second half considering the general meltdown going on all around him.The lack of plays designed to get the ball to McFadden in the open field to use his speed, and his abscense from the field for prolonged periods were maddening, the lack of Bush when the Offense got inside the ten yard line was mystifying to me as a fan, all this together with the seeming reluctance to let our No1 overall QB take a couple of shots early have all but removed any confidence I had in Kiffin/Knapp.The Kiffin offence just seemed at odds with the skillset that his starting quarterback posesses.

This years schedule up until yesterday was rightly viewed as a soft one.After last nights performance the next three games leading up to the bye week, at the Chiefs and Bills and home to the Chargers suddeneley look ominous.The Bills looked good in their win, and the Chiefs/Chargers although losers in week one will not see anything to fear from this RAIDERS team.That bye week could be an important week, if the record shows the RAIDERS at worse than 2-2, the end might just come for Lane Kiffin, and Al will have to suck it up and pay the man off.The lack of stability at head coach is one of the factors that have us where we are as a club right now, but as much as I wanted this head coach to be around for a few years, the way I feel right now, I wouldn't be too sad to see him go.Last night was unacceptable, we are the OAKLAND RAIDERS, not the Cardinals, the Bengals, the Lions, or the Chargers.This is a team that has a truly illustrious past and the slide has to be stopped now.

If the problems are all rooted with the man at the top then unfortunately the RAIDERS problems may not have completely bottomed out, and that is a scary prospect.If the standard of coaching that was displayed at the Coliseum last night is indicative of what Lane Kiffin's summer preparation has produced, then he needs to be doing something else, somewhere else.I can't believe I saved all year to travel out and watch the same shit happen again.Thankfully there is good company to distract from the football.In the words of The Stranglers, "Something better change".


Chicken said...

Embarrassing is the right word.

(Not sure why u got up at 2:30am though? I got up at 3am in plenty of time for kick-off).

Anyhow, there can never have been so much anticipation and so little delivery.

However, am I surprised? In 24 years of following the Raiders, the last few years have been truly pitiful. I can remember straining to hear the Armed Forces Radio and Television Network and following the exploits of Plunkett, Allen, Christiansen et al, and getting VHS tapes from Pontel in Germany of all the pre-season and regular games. OT wins against the Elway-led Broncos with last minute field goals by Chris Bahr, etc, etc.

Maybe it's me that's the curse? I travelled to LA in 1987 and saw the Raiders lose twice during the strike season (v Chargers and v Seahawks) and then last year another loss v KC :-(

I too salute Al Davis contribution to pro football. But the time has come to sell his beloved team to a younger owner who can take the franchise into the 21st century.

However, last night must be blamed on the D, particularly D Hall and R Ryan. Hall was such a liability that he should have been pulled from the game, regardless of his over-inflated pay cheque. There was also no pressure at all on Cutler and that is not good enough.

I don't blame Kiffin at all. I think he is a talented coach, admittedly flung in at the deep end, but he is hamstrung by Ryan and the personnel choices being made 'upstairs'.

The offense shows some promise once JR gets more gametime under his belt. Maybe we have to wait til next season? And a #1 pick at WR?

Despite everything, I'm still Silver and Black forever!!

Joaquin said...

Yes, the O was questionable, but I can understand Kiffin holding Russell back a bit at first.
Where I have a mountain of trouble is with the D and Ryan.
This D has individual talent, and not just a little bit, A LOT! The zero pass rush along with the continued LBs dropping back into coverage made Cutler look like Elway. I watched the entire game and not once did I see a corner blitz or a LB blitz. WHY?
I have had my doubts about the reports of Kiffin wanting Ryan out, but after Monday night, I'm beginning to wonder.
It's only Week 1, therefore I'm going to sit back and watch the next 3 games and see how it goes.
This is one pissed-off fan in N.C.

kigleigh said...

Chicken-It's not you who is the curse mate,we(myself,my wife,our host blogger and his wife)have seen the RAIDERS play and lose six,count 'em,SIX times now....
Not one win to show for all those airmiles...BUT,we are back in the East Bay in late October for 2 more games where we hope to lose our jinx this time.
Being the eternal optimist i firmly believe we will have sorted our defensive failings by then and will have the offense running like a swiss watch under big JR and 2 lovely wins(and much liquid celebration)WILL happen.
Told you i was an eternal optimist didn't i?
Anyway i must get back to sticking pins in QB dolls,it seems to be working.