Monday, 17 November 2008


When Johnnie Lee Higgins ran that punt back for a 93 yard TD with 4:48 left I did two things.

1) I ran around the house celebrating, and

2) I said "But we will still lose"

Thats where we are as a fan base.It was obvious that we would not be able to keep the Miami Dolphins from scoring.I wanted to believe but that nagging doubt was there and rightfully so.We are the kings of blowing everything right now, that game was there for the taking and once again we let it go.The 4th and 5 that would have effectively given us the win was so obviously not going to go in our favour it was untrue.We knew that Pennington would find an open receiver and that he did.Unfortunately that is the present day Oakland Raiders, we get in a position to win a game and then find a way to lose it.Even though I had forecast the outcome of that particular play it was still hard to swallow, and we can talk defensive schemes till they come out of our ears but a team that wins will find a way to stop that completion.From there on it was an inevitable finish with the FG all but killing us.

Its getting really hard to find any excuses for this team and the way that they seem to lose games that are in the grasp.In the first half right at the death we had a chance to go in to the locker room level and thanks to two false start penalties on Kwame Harris and a completely busted play when Darren McFadden had no receiver ( unless it was the ghost ) to throw to, we blew it good style.A TD there would have put us level at the half having not played well at all.We had seven penalties in the game Sunday and all of them were pre-snap infractions, that is sloppy at best, dumb as shit at worst.We were once tagged the "Dumbest team in America" by our own head coach, and that passage of play from 1st and goal to 3rd and 19 summed this present RAIDERS offense up completely, Kwame Harris, who was the man who drew the two false starts could be the "Dumbest tackle in America", you heard it here first, or maybe second etc.

Unfortunately at the moment whatever the situation in a game, the RAIDERS still look likely to be crowned the LOSERS.We have forgotten how to win or avoid defeat, and I used to think that it was a cliche but we are the living proof that this can happen.I doubt that there was one RAIDER fan who believed that we could prevent the Dolphins from scoring at the end of the game, and as many that felt that JaMarcus Russell had the ability to get us to FG range with less than a minute left, and no timeouts remaining (although Seabass probably would have hit the upright ).
And I don't mean to be too tough on Russell, I thought that he showed us some really good throws into small windows during the game, with little time to throw thanks to the magnificent O-line, but he just lacked that composure at the end when most needed, hopefully that will come.I do though liken Russell's plight to that which many of us will have experienced, where we start a new job, possibly similar to the last one, where we have a lot of information to take on board quickly, and mistakes will happen when colleagues make us rush.I don't think that Russell will be a Brady or a Favre, but I don't think he will be a Marinovich or a Leaf either, in fact after seeing some of those throws on Sunday it gave me some hope that given a line and some quality receivers he could be a good NFL quarterback for some time, evading the pass rush and decision making will come.Lets face it as now this season is a bust.We have to get Darren McFadden more involved if he is, as he says, fully fit and ready to go.This last game he only touched the ball five times, which is unforgivable to me considering his speed and big play ability.Justin Fargas did his thing last year but there is a new stud in town and we need to give him the football, period.Otherwise what was the point in drafting him in the first place?
The coaching this last Sunday was too obvious to say the least, and if I think that I could call plays against it, we must be in bad shape.The Defense kept us in it once again till it mattered on that fourth and five, and the offense still couldn't produce a TD in the whole game.That lack of production on the offensive side of the ball is the big worry though.The Defense can keep us in in games as much as they want but until we pose a threat on the other side of the ball we are doomed to defeat, nil touchdowns equals nil wins.

It was good to see Ronald Curry catching passes again, and Zach Miller is a weapon who on any other team would probably be pushing for a pro-bowl berth, but it is hard to find many upsides to what's going on at the moment.The season has been lost for a long time now, let's at least see what we have with a few of the players that should still be around next year.Harris has to go, so let's put in Mario Henderson from the start and see if he has it or not, Fargas we know about, so lets see if McFadden can produce when he touches the ball 20-25 times.Let Micheal Bush take some hand offs too, if nothing else he may increase his trade value over the next few weeks, and god knows we will have to do some wheeling and dealing post season.Let's see what Chaz Schilens and Todd Watkins have got, and line them up with JLH from the start to determine if we have any true potential at all at wideout.All this might happen if Tom Cable was secure in the knowledge that he would be returning as Head Coach in 2009, but I think he will try to keep some games close as he did this week and hope that they turn into wins, but we have seen what happens when this group of players are asked to finish.So at Denver, on the RAIDERS first possession I fully expect to see the ball handed to Justin Fargas for two yards up the middle, another RAIDERS groundhog day.


kigleigh said...

Sadly Martin i just read Cable's statement that K.Harris quote 'Is the left tackle of the Oakland Raiders'.
Oh dear.....I'm no coach but i can't believe Mario Henderson is any WORSE than Harris.After the Miami game i said that if Kwame started again after that piss-poor penalty riddled affort i would fly over and shoot the guy AND Cable myself....SOOOOO.It looks lIke some more air-miles and a 30 year jail term for me then.!!!

kigleigh said...

And take that #77 shirt off Harris...Lyle Alzado would be spinning in his grave!

Calico Jack said...

What is killing me the most about this season are the following 2 apsects:

(1) Offense: The lack of creativity in playcalling on offense. Here's a team that has scored 1 TD in 10 first halves yet has no competitive spirit to try some trick plays.

(2) Defense: The lack of aggression by the defense in key points of the game. It is great to play well for 3 quarters but you need closers to finalize victories. My biggest beef is with Ryan who fails to use the most important tool in his arsenal ... the blitz. Cut these dogs of war loose and let them get after the QB. The QB needs to be put on notice early and often that the Raider defenders are coming after him from a wide array of launching points. Bltiz left, blitz up the middle, blitz right, all out blitz, corner blitz, safety blitz, etc. Exotic blitz schemes are what create turnovers, sacks, QB hurries, QB knockdowns, and 3 & outs. It's not rocket science.

The players are thirsting for bold, play to win leadership from the coaching staff. Where the hell is that all important competitive spirit of saying "All my chips are in because I'm playing to win".

Unfortunately, the players are emulating the meek, passive direction of the coaching staff. Cable, Ryan, and Knapp should roll the dice and simply go for it. What do they have to lose but another game.

kigleigh said...

Well put CJ,Here's to more aggression and hopefully more big plays/wins..GO RAIDERS !!