Monday, 28 September 2009


"They are making easy throws look hard"

"This is poor by JaMarcus Russell"

"This has been ugly so far"

"His fundamentals and mechanics need working on"

"It's about being a good decision maker"

"JaMarcus Russell could learn a lot watching Kyle Orton today"

"Thats why I'm having trouble figuring out why the QB is having his struggles, they have one of the best coaches in the game at that position in Paul Hackett here in Oakland"

"Oh no!"

"The big question was if the running game didn't work, did JaMarcus Russell have the ability to take over?And its clear that he doesn't"

"This is a step back for the RAIDERS".............

RICH GANNON, CBS, 27th September 2009.

Well John Herrera, I can't disagree with any of the above, and whether you stick your fingers in your ears or your head in the sand, he is still right.Lets face it shall we the happiest of happy clappers couldn't find a positive spin for the dross that went on in the Coliseum on Sunday.Here's some numbers for you Mr Herrera :

JaMarcus Russell so far in 2009 :


The only QB in the NFL below 50%.Russell wasn't the whole story by any means but he is a major talking point for RAIDER fans, and probably a good laugh for fans of everyone else.The Broncos only had to move the ball 27 yards to get a ten point lead following those two horrible interceptions.

Only one RAIDERS receiver registered a catch - Louis Murphy with two.

The defense reverted to the bad old ways and allowed 215 rushing yards.

The offense managed a paltry 137 net yards.

Darren McFadden fumbled three times.It's official McFadden IS a fumbler.

THREE points at home.

There wasn't much to react to on a positive note at all.The defense played well in the red zone with some tough stops, but the Bronco's O-line pushed them around all day and even Richard Seymour is now officially a RAIDER, committing a stupid and costly penalty, I can't remember the last time I saw a penalty for hair pulling!
Last weeks win came despite a horrific offensive showing, this week was as bad if not worse, and something has to change.The quarterback is playing badly enough to be benched by any other team, the embarrassment of having our franchise QB holding a clipboard is nothing to the humiliation of him actually playing every week.Plus I want to see just how much the inexperience of the RAIDERS receiving corps is contributing to all this.I said last week that a serviceable QB would be enough to make us better and Kyle Orton's stats are nothing to write home about but he sort of proves a point.I just want to watch a decent game of football and not be worried every time our offense steps onto a field.At least if Russell starts for the next two weeks he'll get booed less in Houston and New York than he does in Oakland.
It looks at the moment that DHB was a reach, Murphy has made a few rookie mistakes but at least looks a player, and we need Walker, Higgins and Schilens to get back and contribute.The upcoming schedule based on what we have seen from the RAIDERS so far makes for a frightening read.
We did a good job against the run in the first two games, and then the wheels fall off all of a sudden.Maybe that Denver O-line is just really good and things will improve again, you have to cling to some hope right?The defense had a bad day no doubt about it, but they weren't the reason we lost that game for me.Denver scored 23 points, 10 of which were basically gifted to them, without those gifts it would have been closer, but when you score one FG in a game at home you are going to lose.I still have a lot of time for Tom Cable too, he is coaching with half a playbook it seems.

Sunday was just not good enough.Maybe everyone in Alameda can start worrying about the present players rather than the ones that went before.

Sunday, 27 September 2009


Al Davis is old school.He puts great emphasis on loyalty.Loyalty to the RAIDERS from ex players is something that he expects.Obviously it isn't something he will always get, Warren Sapp is making a new career of having a pop at the whole organisation for instance.I didn't have Rich Gannon down as in the Sapp bracket, he has said some critical things about the RAIDERS since his retirement, but I have always believed that he wanted the team to get better and turn around.
John Herrera's latest outburst, directed at Gannon, just looks bad.He would hardly do something like this unless it came from Al, and regardless of whether Al feels that Gannon has been dis-loyal, trying to ban someone from the team facility,or from broadcasting the game looks silly and petty.Al and the RAIDERS maverick nature, and us against the world mentality is one of the reasons that I'm a RAIDER fan, but sometimes they just get it wrong.Just when the team starts to show a little promise, the owner and his inner sanctum are worrying themselves with things other than football.Rich Gannon is not the enemy.His work ethic and professionalism whilst a RAIDER was part of the success story that the team enjoyed under John Gruden, Al himself has said so.And Herrera's cheap shot remarks about the five interceptions and worst Superbowl performance in history etc do nothing for the RAIDERS image whatsoever.We all know what went on around that game and to put the blame at the feet of Gannon is just uncalled for.
Maybe Herrera is a loose cannon, his confrontation with Tim Kawakami last season was comical but showed that he has little self control, but this whole thing with Gannon is a case of him delivering the party line, and it leaves a bad taste in the mouth.Maybe everyone in the RAIDER organisation should just get back to making sure that there is little room for anyone to criticise them, especially former players.Lets keep the hatred for the donkeys this week shall we?

Tuesday, 22 September 2009


Thanks to the wonderful new service provided by NFL Gamepass and their ongoing Sunday night server problems, I had to watch the RAIDERS vs Chiefs game on Monday.
By the way NFL, you need to do something about the company whose service is so far not a service, who have now ruined two consecutive weekends for people who are investing hard earned money into your product, rather than watching un-authorised streams.The European fan base for your sport is particularly loyal and have been shabbily treated.

Anyway back to the game.

First up, the RAIDERS are 1 - 1, and I am pretty happy about that fact and will take it thanks very much.The main emotion I had after the game was one of relief.Lady luck seemed to be in our favour for a change, in a big way.There were so many moments that could have gone against us, but didn't.I am thinking about the the ball stripped from Michael Bush that dropped right back to him, the three of four times that JaMarcus Russell threw the ball straight to a defender who should have taken it back the other way for six points, the roughing the passer call late in the game which seemed marginal, but maybe that makes us even for the Louis Murphy TD that never was last week.

Add to all that the fact that the Chiefs were guilty of continually shooting themselves in the foot with dare I say it, RAIDER-esque penalties at critical times.K C had the better of us moving the ball, the offensive stats don't lie, but a combination of those badly timed penalties with brilliantly timed defensive plays ( take a bow Mr Huff and Mr Ellis ), meant that the superiority in yardage did not turn into points on the scoreboard.
Even after a positive outcome, the most glass half full amongst the RAIDER NATION know that we were just horrible on offense for the whole game, well up until the final three minutes or so.The sheer number of three and outs that the team is producing at the moment, apart from the obvious lack of points, means that a defense which is playing tough is also in danger of being exhausted in the fourth quarter of games when it could cost us dear.On Sunday Nnamdi Asomugah had to leave the field due to dehydration, Chris Johnson seemed to be cramping up and Mike Huff at the end of the game looked shattered.God bless them they kept it going and closed it out, but can they be expected to have to do that for the rest of the year?

On offense we were simply poor.JaMarcus Russell was probably more erratic than week one, and I don't want to continually get on the guys back ( couldn't reach anyway ), but lets not duck the issue, he has looked very very bad in both games so far.It didn't help that we seemed to go away from the run putting more pressure on Russell, it felt as though either Tom Cable tried to be too clever with the Chiefs and surprise them with a pass happy offense, or the Chiefs could key on the run due to our inability to complete passes consistently.
Of course, then to confound everyone with defeat seemingly upon us again, the guy who couldn't hit a cow's arse with a banjo suddenly starts to make good throws down the field, more than once in the same drive, and for a few seconds when he lets a pass go like they did, you get a glimpse of the potential that people saw when he entered the draft.Unfortunately those passes have been few and far between.People looking on the bright side will say he got it done when he needed to, and he did, all credit to him for that, but 19 of 54 over two games with a completion rate around 35% is woeful, and we may have been looking at a very different outcome on Sunday had the opponent been better than the Chiefs.

My props go out to this week to that whole defensive unit.Arrowhead is never easy to go to, and they bent but never broke, restricted Todd Haley's new offense and new QB to ten points in their own stadium, while being on the field for long periods.

[On a side note as Haley's name comes up.It was nice of him to reveal his hatred of the RAIDERS in the week before the game, due to his Steelers connections.Cheers Todd, it's all the sweeter to see you at 0 - 2, it must have hurt, a loss in your home opener to the old enemy, team meetings in KC will be a pleasant environment this week .]
Seymour and Ellis are a threat for any opposing QB, and the secondary combination of Asomugah, Huff, Johnson, Branch, Eugene, and Mitchell look confident and hungry.Thankfully the prevent didn't rear it's ugly head this week, and long may it continue.
As I said last week, I think with a serviceable QB the RAIDERS defense will give us a chance to be competitive and win games.Russell needs to become that and fast, Denver will offer more than the Chiefs this week, the injury to Robert Gallery is not helpful to Russell either, but a combination of Satele and Morris may be able to do a job in the short term.

And speaking of the coming week its Donkey week, hurrah.And what would Donkey week be without the obligatory picture of a knackered old ass................................................................

............................................................ and a list of things I don't like about the Donkey's :

Mike Shanahan and that wonky eye, John Elway, Shannon Sharpe and his planet sized face, Steve Atwater, Terrell Davis, Mike Shanahan again, Champ ( no longer the best shut down corner in the league ) Bailey, Jay Cutler and his fat head, John Lynch, Ricky Nattiel, Knowshon Moreno and his made up name, Oh and Mike Shanahan............................

and some Donkey facts, education is power..................................

1. The Donkey or Ass, Equus africanus asinus, is a domesticated member of the Equidae or horse family, and an odd toed ungulate.

2. Donkeys vary considerably in size, depending on breed and management.

3. Until recent times, the synonym, ass, was was commonly used to refer to Equus asinus

( e.g. as in jackass, meaning "male donkey".


The term "donkey" in British English is used in horse racing to refer to unsuccessful horses.

5. To refer to someone as a jackass in modern slang provides a connotation of being obnoxious, rude, and thoughtless, with or without the added connotation of stupidity.This usage is also considered vulgar.A less vulgar substitute is donkey itself.

6. The donkey has long been a symbol of ignorance.

7. Donkey's have teeth that continually erupt or grow from the gum line, in fact they erupt at about 2mm per year, see below.......................................

......................................... Got to Love Donkey Week.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009


The hiatus is over here at the pond, sorry to the five readers and my dog but times they were a changing.So here goes.............

During last nights game commentary, as the discussion turned to JaMarcus Russell, it was stated that Tom Cable had said that last year the coaching staff gave their QB only 40% of the playbook to worry about, and this year they had doubled it to 80%.

That is a truly remarkable statement.Our head coach is saying that our No1 pick quarterback, with a full season of starting behind him, and another full training camp, is still not able to grasp all of the playbook.I doubt that there is another starting QB in the league that is less than 100% familiar with his teams playbook, or put another way, I doubt that there is another coaching staff in the NFL that has to restrict their options by 20% based on the ability of their own starting quarterback.

The difference that Richard Seymour made to the RAIDERS defensive line, after only a couple of days in town, showed the effect that one player can have on a unit, and there is no doubt that through three quarters last night the defense played some great football, good enough to give a team a chance in most games.I believe that had the RAIDERS started the game with a serviceable NFL QB, nothing special, you know someone who has the playbook down, who doesn't continually lock onto a primary receiver, or have ongoing accuracy problems, that we would have had that game won.The addition of Seymour on the defensive side of the ball will make people better around him, his play and attitude will instill confidence in team-mates, it seems to have happened already.At no point during yesterday's game did I feel that Russell could have a similar effect on offense and for a No.1 pick that is worrying.Add to the admission that 20% of the playbook is still being kept away from Russell that Steve Young thought that the coaches should make it simpler still.

It may seem harsh to level so much at Russell after one game of a new season, he had a couple of rookie receivers out there which won't have helped but a lot of the eighteen passes that were not completed were way off target.The problem too for me is that he is making the same types of mistakes that he was making as a rookie, there doesn't seem to be a progression.We all know what a capable NFL calibre quarterback looks like, not everyone can be a Brady or Manning but they can run an offense.There are rookies who come in and do well like Flacco and Ryan and look the part immediately, while we are babying a third year guy.If things had gone differently and Al could have resisted the Russell factor, we may have now had Calvin Johnson and Trent Edwards rather than #2, and after watching Edwards operate the Bills no-huddle offense this week oh how I would take that scenario right now, in fact the development of Edwards up to this point only highlights where Russell should be.Edwards was by no means perfect but he lead a more sophisticated offense than the RAIDERS do, and he did it well.

I'm not saying that all the other players in a RAIDER uniform were blameless .There were drops and missed opportunities, some iffy looking kick coverage, some far too soft defensive playcalling in the fourth quarter, and lets not get onto the Murphy TD that then wasn't, maybe you need to hold onto a ball till you get home after the game these days, who knows.DHB wasn't a factor at all, and there are still issues with the linebacking corps, but none of this is as important as Russell.There could be a case to level criticism at the coaches for our franchise QB's lack of improvement, but the RAIDERS did get an experienced quarterback guy in Paul Hackett to help, and that is why I was looking for the difference in Russell this pre-season and especially last night, but didn't see it.I want Russell to do well, I want him to win, he's the quarterback of the OAKLAND RAIDERS, I just don't see him becoming what a No.1 overall pick with those physical attributes should.

There were reasons for great optimism.Seymour and Ellis, Mario Henderson looking the real thing at LT and doing a job on Merriman ( lose the Mohawk, how old are you?), the Bush and McFadden combination, and to see a real intensity on Defense in general, those fellas went and knocked SD around, it was a beautiful thing to see so many Chargers staying on the ground after contact, jesus even McFadden was laying people out.We have Schilens to come back who looks a real player, and Barnes to maybe upgrade the RT position, and we didn't get blown out this year in week one.But all this optimism seems misguided if our supposed franchise QB is a liability, an average QB would give us a chance in the AFC West this year so lets see if he can become average but consistently average, I don't have a good feeling about him though.

Something else that bothered me about MNF :

I get the whole AFL Legacy thing, it's an anniversary and all that, and the throwback jerseys are a nice idea, well if your a Denver or Jets fan that may not be the case, I'm sure those yellow and brown shirts are going down a storm in Colorado!But the RAIDERS in white at home, come on thats just not right, I haven't seen a good explanation for this yet, all I can come up with is that the away shirt looks more obviously retro with the silver numbers and more likely to stimulate sales.Thats all well and good but we play in black, NFL.BLACK.

Onwards and upwards RAIDER NATION, two divisional games on the horizon and an opportunity to feel better after smacking around some Chiefs and Donkeys, and speaking of Donkeys how is it fair that they play that poorly and still win in that manner, they were playing the bloody Bengals for gods sake, you shouldn't need that sort of luck to do that, they lost more games than we did last year!The division is there to be taken if JaMarcus can turn the babying into Just Win Babying.



Saturday Sept 19th 2009 is International Talk Like A Pirate day.SHIVER ME TIMBERS.
All self respecting RAIDER fans need to pop a parrot on a shoulder of choice, break out the full pirate regalia and do someting to a mainbrace.AHARRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.
Carrying a cutlass is generally frowned upon by most police forces though, so do be careful.