On the night that darts, a sport traditionally played by fat men, reached it's World Championship climax, maybe it was fitting that the RAIDERS season finale also featured a fat bloke.Rising like a mighty manitou from the bench came JaMarcus to ruin everyones gameday once again.Somehow Tom Cables new version of the run and shoot with Charlie Frye at the helm was actually keeping it close, but when Frye didn't return following the half it was done.Russell started ok, but you just knew that it wouldn't last, and it didn't.
The 2009 season is one that will always be darkened by Russell's considerable shadow.The only glimmering hope is that the fleeting success of Bruce Gradkowski will help the RAIDERS top brass, namely Al Davis, see that there may not be far to look for the remedy to one of the many problems faced in Alameda.
Unfortunately, as it always seems to be, they are more interested in more petty matters.As was pointed out over at RAIDERTAKE this week, the RAIDERS have been concerned with trying to get Ricky's in San Leandro to remove pictures from their website of Jon Gruden enjoying himself in the home of the RAIDER NATION with some RAIDER legends.Doesn't this just sum up how much the organisation has lost sight of it's priorities?The fact that they targeted Ricky's, of all places, pisses me off on an untold level.
Let me tell you Mr Davis, John Herrera, and whoever else may have been involved in this , Ricky and Tina Ricardo and their staff have represented everything that is good about being a RAIDERS fan.When the fans have turned up from all over the world, they have welcomed, entertained, fed and watered them.They have kept up the RAIDER tradition and have helped make trips to Oakland memorable, when the efforts of the team and ownership have have been anything but.
The RAIDERS need to concentrate on the things that are wrong in Oakland.
The RAIDER NATION are pretty much in unanimous agreement as to what needs to be done, Al Davis needs help, the organisation needs to be updated and shaken up from the foundations, yes we can still keep the basis of the RAIDER way, we can still be the bad guy and play with a swagger, and possibly regain that RAIDER mystique, but we need someone to help make the team relevant and competitive in today's NFL.Despite my reservations on Tom Cable, at this point I don't really care if this is done with him at the helm (with a coaching re-structure), or with a new coach that is capable of changing the culture.
At some point, considering the fact that we have had another eleven loss season with fan sponsored billboards appearing in Oakland and declining attendances, someone at HQ has to say enough is enough, someone needs to break cover and be the one to show some balls.Cleveland have realised that there is need for major change, and have brought in Mike Holmgren.That is the type of move needed by the RAIDERS, but the owner of the Browns doesn't seem to be an increasingly paranoid, insular, out of touch man, so the likelihood of similar change in Oakland seems slim sadly.
Whatever happens to the coaching staff in the next few weeks, all of it will be just a band aid unless someone is around to make sure that the coaches can coach, and the players are fully accountable to those coaches
[ At the time of writing it seems that Mr Russell, who was excused final team meetings for personal matters, has actually checked into multiple rooms at the Palms in Las Vegas.Case in point, right there is where any GM can start a clean up of the RAIDERS, by throwing out the trash]
There are some players that can be the nucleus of a very good team, and we can all probably agree who they are.The difference could be really be made by having a great draft and off season, Mr Davis needs to decide if he really wants that to happen, if he can put ego aside and admit that times have changed.Surely the man that has dedicated his life to the fortunes of the OAKLAND RAIDERS is sick of the deja vu we experience at each seasons end these days?
We are about to find out.