Tuesday, 28 October 2008





God bless the Diamond.

Last week at home to the NY Jets the present OAKLAND RAIDERS players were treated to both the company and the wisdom of some of the great RAIDERS of the past.Players that wore the Silver & Black with pride and understood what it took to be a RAIDER.The rallying cries from Stabler, Villapiano, Madden et al hit a nerve somewhere, with the players of today hanging in there to win a game in OT to down the Brets. A smile must have crossed the face of the great George Blanda as Seabass boomed that 57 yard FG.

The response to their performance, along with the appearance of the legends, which by all accounts produced a special atmosphere at the Coliseum, should have revealed a glimpse of the love and appreciation that could be there for the 2008 RAIDERS if they too played hard every week for the RAIDER NATION.Unfortunately it seems, much of that RAIDER mentality left town with those legends if the first half of the game in Baltimore is anything to go by.The team did step up in the second half in terms of giving up points, but the damage was done in those 1st and 2nd quarters when you would have hoped that the words of the RAIDER alumni would still be ringing in the players ears.

Particularly disappointing was the way that the Defence that had harassed Brett Favre the week before couldn't do the same to Joe Flacco.The RAIDER Offence weree always going to have their hands full with the Ravens D, but it wasn't beyond the realms of reality to expect our own D to make some plays.As equally annoying as the inability to stop the Flacco-led offence are the reports of RAIDERS players behaviour during the game, with over zealous celebrations following individual defensive plays.Maybe some of that RAIDER attitude that had rubbed off on them the week before had been applied in the wrong way.Don't do it when you're 19-10 or 22-10 down in a game where the opposing rookie QB is catching passes down the sideline.Walk before you can run, let's smack some people around properly before we start all that stuff.I like Thomas Howard, and the guy usually puts in a shift, but his comments about enjoying his football whether up 30 or down 30 were misguided on a 2-5 team that has has as many issues as the RAIDERS have lately.

I still think that there is more fight in this team than there was last year, that 19-0 H/T score would have got a lot uglier then I'm sure.These players need to make a decision to want to be the difference in this team getting better, they have to want more of the feelings that they experienced in the locker room after the Jets game.And that has to be earned by playing four quarters every week home and away and see where that takes the OAKLAND RAIDERS.This team stands at 2-5, and I believe that we should or could be at 3-4 heading into back to back home games.That has been with some important pieces missing at different times - McFadden, Burgess, Carter, Fargas, O Neal and now Griffiths, plus these two upcoming home games looked a lot easier before the season got under way, particularly regarding the Carolina Panthers.

All that being said, and with Across The Silver And Black Pond literally being across the pond for both games I have to believe for my own sanity that we have a chance to add to those two wins.Tom Cable has been preaching accountability, building of foundations, and above all else faith in each other.He has made himself directly responsible for change, whether that be sitting Curry and Huff, or promising to get on top of the stupid penalties that plagued the Jets game, going from 14-85 yards to 2-10 this week.Cable's promise this time around is to get to the bottom of the problems that the RAIDERS had on offence.I have to hope that he holds good on that too, because I like the guy, I see some action to go with the talk, which is more than I felt was happening with Lance around.Cable has had three games in charge, and already I have seen some message board crybabies calling for his head, give the guy a break, the same people will probably hail him as the second coming of John Madden if we beat the Falcons.

There has been much bemoaning of the talent on this RAIDER team, and there's no doubt that the receivers and both lines are not strong enough, but if C able can get a few results with these players then for me he would deserve his shot next year.I'm not saying that I have agreed with him 100% so far, but I believe that he believes in what he is doing and that he's sincere when he says that the players are starting to as well.

This week sees our fourth trip to Oakland which will put our quest to see a RAIDERS win in the 43,000 miles bracket.That's a lot of shit movies, and ropey airline meals.So to every RAIDER player please can we get some of the Jets game mojo back, go on I dare you.

To all of those in the NATION that we have had the pleasure of meeting in the past, we look forward to your company once again.I can almost smell those Coliseum portaloos.......

Oh and Mr John Elway is worried about JaMarcus Russell's future in the game as the present RAIDERS are just not the right environment for him.Isn't it weird how because the RAIDERS are going through testing times at the moment that people like Elway feel the need to fill their boots.Well enjoy yourselves while it lasts.You do realise that people like you will be at he top of the "where are they now" list when things have turned.So thamks for the concern Mr Ed, but you better hope that you're right for your precious Donkey's sake.


Wednesday, 1 October 2008


I purposely kept away from commenting on the San Diego game this week, for a couple of reasons.

1) I thought that Lane Kiffin would not see the week out as Head Coach of the RAIDERS, and so

2) It seemed pointless putting down my take on what I felt were the reasons for that.

It seems poignant though now to say that I was less than enamoured by Kiffins coaching during the game, either on offense in general or by strange decisions such as the Janikowski 76 yard FG attempt before the half.I thought that the defense that had played some great stuff was put back onto the field too many times due to the bad play calling from Kiffin, and regardless of being professional athletes in what should be their prime, this contributed to them giving up plays late in the game.For me Kiffin's offense had enough occasions to put that game away, and bad decisions on his part led to the collapse of the team to a fourth quarter loss, and I won't even get into the white jersey's at home.

That said, I think it is right to say that when Al Davis hired Kiffin as HC of the RAIDERS, I as many of the Nation were taken by the young man, regardless of a rather ( and understandably ) nervous first press conference .I bought into all that Lane asked us to, I was "in" as his training camp mantra became, I thought that the old man had seen something in Kiffin that maybe he had seen in himself a long time ago.I stayed in, realising we had a young HC, until the Bronco's game this season.It was becoming harder to find any sense of charisma from the guy, and I know if you liked the guy you would disagree, but although I wanted him to succeed and he was the RAIDERS HC, I just didn't feel it deep down from him, but you know what, that really didn't matter if he turned stuff around and we started to win in his second season.

The Bronco's game for me was the end of my affinity with Lane Kiffin.There was so much wrong with that game it was hard to find a starting point.But for me if, and I mean IF, Lane Kiffin had any serious intentions of remaining HC of the RAIDERS, he would have taken the blame squarely on his shoulders, but instead he chose to pass it to Rob Ryan and Al Davis as joint defensive co-ordinators.For me, regardless of whether those accusations were true it showed that he was only concerned with how Lane Kiffin came out of that game.

And we find ourselves at September 30th 2008, with Kiffin gone and a new interim HC in place, and I would like to make some observations of what went on in Alameda today.
Firstly, I as many other RAIDERS fans I'm sure , expected to see the usual Al Davis motto laden speech that we usually get at coach PC's ( he lapsed into a couple of "we will be back, we will wins").But we got to me something else entirely.Now as of writing, I have just seen the PC, and have not seen any other fans' responses but I knew how I felt after it and wanted to put down my reaction to it.He seemed to be giving us what he had on the matter, and for all those who had wanted a response from Al during this whole affair had one.It was extraordinary viewing, in NFL owner terms, and especially in Al Davis terms, triggerred by an extraordinary situation.Al is going to get it from the Al bashers regardless of what he said but he did give us the following:
A) Kiffin had not wanted JaMarcus Russell (which explains a lot).
B) He had not sent a resignation letter to Lane Kiffin.
C) Kiffin was shopping around for a college job, but was pipped to it.
D) Kiffin had wanted his dad to be DC at the RAIDERS, and although he just thought that it was straight forward to make it happen, Al knew the rules on tampering.
E) Kiffin did suspend, then request an assistant coach to see some doctors because he questioned the Kiffin gameplan.

I have always been a RAIDER fan who has stuck by Al admittedly, and I also could see why other fans were getting upset and restless in the light of information that was coming from Kiffin, but my overwhelming feeling at the sight of Kiffy disappearing over the horizon is one of relief, and we will soon be able to tell if he was or wasn't what he said he was.With regards to Al, I was surprised at his general appearance and oratory compared to previous appearances. ie. Kiffin's HC appointment, and the network shots of him in his private box, and taken at how much that this whole thing seemed to have affected him as an owner, a boss, and on a personal level.I really felt that Al had come to the end of his tether with the guy, which is exactly what I had been feeling since the Monday Night Game.I did cringe at the start of the whole letter reading scenario, but you know what, I think it was pertinent that we fans saw that in the circumstances.Whether Davis was on the level or not in your view, I can't remember a time when he gave us so much information, probably because he felt he had to, considering the popularity Kiffin has among the Raider Nation.
Q. "Do you think that Lane Kiffin was trying to get fired"?
AD. " I don't know what he was doing.But he got me to fire him"

It remains to be seen what Kiffin will fire back with tomorrow, especially since Al referred to him as a flat out liar.And I am sure that the stories will not match.But for now we have a new, albeit, interim Head Coach.

Tom Cable, has been a good guy since he arrived .He turned our O-Line around just as his CV suggested he would, and was popular with his players.He has now got to apply that to the team as a whole.But I will say one thing for him, that initial first PC as a Head Coach was handled calmly and with an authority that was lacking from the Kiffin acceptance speech.It didn't hurt that he made reference to "growing up as a RAIDER" either, and as a guy who grew up in California maybe there is truth in that statement.Whatever the circumstances, I wish him the best as he is now the HC of the Oakland Raiders.The question of whether Rob Ryan would have a problem with his appointment for me is not an issue right now, because the elevation of Cable meant the least upheaval to the team at this point.Hopefully he will show that this is the right choice.At this point in time coming in as a HC, his experience outweighs that of Lane Kiffin and he knows the players and the staff, so I am "IN" for the Cable era as of right now, lets hope that we can show the signs of reacting to this as a club and go forwards, God knows we need it.