Monday 10 October 2011

Tuesday 5 January 2010


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.

Wednesday 30 December 2009


I had it decided last week, despite contrary opinion carrying some weight I wanted to keep Tom Cable as Head Coach of the OAKLAND RAIDERS next year.Maybe with an offensive co-coordinator in tow, but still I had decided that continuity was the key to things getting better.

Then I watched the Browns game.

Frustration and anger are an understatement, fortunately my daughters were not in the immediate vicinity at the time.The inability to follow up a win with another one is getting really old, it's maddening, sorry John.It would be slightly less so if the team we lost to this week to perpetuate this ridiculous trend was actually :

a. Good, and

b. Better than us

Watching the re-run (yes I actually watched it again) confirmed to me that the RAIDERS looked the better team and with a few exceptions, had the better players.But again they managed to pull out that loss, and the first place I can find culpability is at the door of the Head Coach.Cable had talked about the game being one of field position, and it took the RAIDERS a quarter to wrestle that field position from the Browns.During the second quarter they were vulnerable, they were vulnerable despite the some erratic play from Charlie Frye, we were at the Browns eleven yard line with a third and three.Here was the game of field position that Tom Cable had talked about, Michael Bush was averaging over five yards per carry for the second week in succession and we had two downs to gain three yards for goal to go heading towards the half.In a worst case scenario we still had field position if we failed to get the first down.So Cable asks Frye to drop back and pass, having already seen the interior line struggle to protect him - SACK, FIELD GOAL.

The ensuing chaotic Browns drive, where the RAIDERS shot themselves in both feet with indiscipline of numbnuts proportions, smacked of frustration, funny that.I was still seething from the fact that we should have been tied at ten, and it seemed that the players weren't too impressed either.

That's not an excuse for the players either, they were truly a set of knobs on that drive, but the fact that a possible 10-10 scoreline quickly became 17-6 is down to Cable, and the implosion before the half also.To top it off he stood on the sideline as it all unfolded with a blank look on his face.You get the impression that there weren't many players who were worried about the reaction to their behaviour from the Head Coach .

Later in the game the RAIDERS had a chance to punch the ball into the end zone again, down close to the Browns line, a couple of scores needed and decent clock time left.Cable chose to drop Frye back on every down, every single down.By this time he had un-necessarily given up on the run, but Bush had gained fifty yards on nine carries in the first half, but inexplicably was not called on in the second, not even when we needed two yards for a touchdown.


It felt like Cable was almost asking to be fired.

For every positive thing that he has done for this team, like benching Russell for Gradkowski, he seems to return the status quo with baffling stuff like using Darren McFadden up the middle, or lining up at the two with a five receiver set, who does he think he is Mouse Davis?

And while we are at it, is it me or is John Marshall the only NFL defensive co-coordinator who sees an opponent with a third an a lot to go, with a bad quarterback, who don't want to take any risks in a close game, and doesn't see a draw play coming?I saw it and I am not any sort of co-coordinator.

The coaching decisions all around were poor.Charlie Frye threw the ball forty five times for 333 yards against a team that are unable to stop the run, forty five times!!! not long ago he was our third string QB, he is not Dan f@#*?*g Marino.We ran the ball seventeen times!

Call me mad but what if Frye had thrown it a lot less, hence less interception opportunities, and we had at the very least ran the ball down in the red zone possibly picking up another fourteen points, maybe we win two games in a row.



The shit is piling up.Yes the RAIDERS had themselves to blame for the majority of the penalty tally against them on Sunday.But we still see the stuff like the taunting call on Zach Miller and we know your game.You need to wind your necks in a little, it's starting to get too obvious.And where were the replay's following the player ejections?Obviously they weren't major incidents worthy of such scrutiny.


The only points of interest for the season finale are :

a. Can the RAIDERS actually get six wins in a season?

b. Can Cable call a worse game than this week?

c. If he does, will we see Al Davis fire a coach at halftime?

d. Will we still be using a FB to return kicks?

e. Do they know it's christmas time at all?

Hope you all had a good one, and all the best foe 2010.

Monday 21 December 2009


I do love a successful DONKEY week.And how the fans who must wear orange can whine.Many of them are actually putting the loss down to the laser pen incident.Come on girls you had the ball inside the five yard line with a full set of downs to punch it in.The RAIDERS defenders are really tough in the red zone as they proved a few times on Sunday night, in fact but for a couple of plays, particularly the Brandon Stokeley big play, the defense played their heart out all night.The team will always put in a shift at Denver, but if you want them to play any harder why not introduce a play that throws the ball back across the field to your left tackle, which I took to be pisstaking/lack of respect from Josh McDaniels.
In fact Mr McDaniels you and the DONKEY faithful deserve each other, those who are now claiming to have been hard done by in the laser delay, were looking pretty pleased with themselves while it was actually going on.There seemed to be a lot of premature celebrations of a win against the RAIDERS.It was sweet to see the same mule lovers faces staring in dis-belief as the worst quarterback in the league got the team ahead with less than a minute remaining.
The RAIDERS showed more Jekyll than Hyde, the bend but no break defense coupled with some smash mouth running were the foundations for this win.The play of the quarterbacks was enough to keep us in the game, and if whoever is under centre does that the team has shown that it can play for sixty minutes.
Debate will probably surface as to whether Russell could come back into the starting line-up after the come from behind drive.I didn't see anything that suggested he was any better to be honest, there was still lack of mobility, batted balls and under/overthrown passes, and if a DONKEY db hadn't yanked Louis Murphy's helmet to pick up that pass interference then who knows what would have happened.I will give him credit for getting it done on fourth and ten during the drive, but I can't get over excited about what he brings to the team overall.Frye is still the better option if Gradkowski is unable to go in again.
If the RAIDERS can shut down Joshua Cribbs and Jerome Harrison next week, and play hard against the Ravens, a record of 7 - 9 seems do-able.The question is whether the trend can be bucked and Mr Hyde stays away.If indeed 7 - 9 comes to pass, there is the also the question if that is deemed enough of an improvement to see Tom Cable return next season.As much as the Gruden rumours grab the imagination, even the Fassel rumours, with what Cable has had to deal with during the season with Hansen, domestic violence accusations, and the play of Russell, he has done ok.Ok may not be enough for Al Davis or the RAIDER NATION, but the players seem to keep playing for him, and maybe the addition of a good quality OC would be enough to make a real difference.If Davis added the GM that we would all like to see there could be some cause for optimism with Cable still holding the reigns.I can see the reasons that will also cause those to argue that Cable has not done enough, but the coaching turnover in Oakland has to stop some time.
At least since Cable took the decision to bench Russell, the games have been watchable, entertaining even.The DONKEY game had it all.Smash mouth running, hitting, fights ( I do enjoy a good RAIDER vs DONKEY fight ), Tommy Kelly's pants or lack of them, and a come from behind win with Russell at the helm, plus the fact that we have ruined the week for our four legged friends in Colorado.There is a real possibility that the RAIDERS could have put a serious dent in the DONKEYS play-off ambitions.Nice.
McDaniels and his team took the RAIDERS lightly, and got what they deserved.Pride is a word that has long been used by the Silver and Black, but has been in short supply in recent years.Maybe, just maybe, a little of it has been restored in some unexpected wins over teams that we weren't supposed to beat.Everything is not completely rosy in the garden, but it is nice to have some of the RAIDER attitude back.
Oh and hit of the week.Mike Huff on Brandon Marshall at the end of the game.
Well it was either that one, or the hit on JaMarcus Russell by Louis Murphy.

Monday 14 December 2009


The keys to the loss to the Redskins on Sunday for me were :




When Bruce Gradkowski left the field, so did any hope of winning that football game in my opinion.It deflated me as a fan, it must have deflated everyone in the Coliseum, and I would be very surprised if the players did not feel the same way.Along with the hope went discipline and the shambles returned.I put that down to Gradkowski not being there to keep it all in check, after he had gone to the sideline it was interesting to see players from both offense and defence clearly taking the time to ask after his well being.Juxtapose that with the demeanour of players in the huddle alongside Russell where communication was down to a minimum, and the energy levels looked affected.I am convinced that the offensive lines effort in protecting Russell was less than their best.They probably watched as he threw the interception to LaRon Landry, into quadruple coverage on first down, and thought here we go again, what is the point.Russell was sacked six times in something like 20 drop backs, I know that the Redskins defensive front played well but it looked to me that players like Mario Henderson were not interested in putting their bodies on the line to keep Russel's shirt clean.If I'm right it does not bode well if the prognosis on Gradkowski's injury is a bad one.The team was behind when Gradkowski went down but we were in the game, and but for an un-characteristic dropped pass by Zach Miller and some truly ridiculous flags we could have even been ahead at the half.

That's the second time I can remember this season that officials have thrown flags on RAIDERS coaching staff when they have questioned an already horrendous call.It's weird, I can watch any other coaching staff from around the league get into officials faces whilst screaming obscenities, and it seems to be acceptable, even to the point where the official in question seems to feel the need to explain the call to calm them down, but no flag.The way in which RAIDERS games are officiated is a joke, these tools don't even try to make it look convincing anymore.After helping the Redskins out on a scoring drive in the first half, they came back in the second with one of the most laughable pass interference calls that I have ever seen on Stanford Routt.

Routt was the man that the Redskins were obviously going to go after when Nnamdi Asomugha left the field due to injury, and they made hay while they could before he returned late in the fourth quarter, but the fact that Routt had covered Moss well, with Moss slipping to the ground due to the conditions on that particular play didn't seem to interest the officials much.Routt didn't make physical contact with Moss at any point during the play, it is quite clear that the RAIDERS and Stanford Routt in particular are capable of pass interference by telepathy, the bad boy OAKLAND RAIDERS are clearly using mind control techniques of MK ULTRA proportions.Once the criminal element, always the criminal element, and the NFL are right to nip this in the bud.God bless them for their efforts.

The penalties that were legitimate tended to be of the sloppy pre-snap type which had plagued the team earlier in the season, dare I say it before Russell got benched.No I can't blame him for those but the players are definitely more jumpy when he's around.The difference in the team after Gradkowski had left the field shows that leadership at that position should never be underestimated.Watch the first play of the game as the RAIDERS offense comes out onto the field with a spring in their step, Justin Fargas winks at his quarterback and nods his head as if to say lets go, just do your thing.Just a little thing I know but it said a lot to me.

I pray to the great Flying Spaghetti Monster in the sky that Bruce gets healthy, although the early reports of ligament damage in both knees seems to make that highly unlikely.Such a shame when watching a RAIDER game was starting to be fun again.The prospect of the last three games mirroring what went on in the second half on Sunday leaves me with a heavy heart to say the least.It will feel more like having to endure something, as opposed to watching something for pleasure once again, it was nice while it lasted.I knew that I shouldn't have mentioned the possibility of Gradkowski getting injured in an earlier post, I had to open my big trap didn't I?

Ah well there is always Charlie Frye....

Saturday 12 December 2009


Q: What are people going to see when you hit the field again?
A: A totally different JaMarcus. People going to have their opinion, and I really don't pay too much attention to that. I worry about JaMarcus and JaMarcus only.
Q: How will you be different?
A: "Time will tell. Time will tell. Time will really tell."

I said that I wasn't going to write the name of JaMarcus Russell again this season.This weeks comments by the single most stupid player in the NFL got me mad enough to.
Not only has he tried to belittle everything that Bruce Gradkowski has done since getting the nod to start, he has also suggested that the supporting cast of players are suddenly making plays which they weren't when he was under centre.The players are mysteriously better.
HELLOOOOO, maybe , just maybe numb nuts, the players are reacting to the play of their quarterback, taking confidence from his play and appreciating his leadership.Maybe they give a shit when the leader of the offense gives a shit.
His reaction to being asked if he would re-structure his contract if the RAIDERS wanted to speaks volumes.He is on target to have the worst quarterback rating since Ryan Leaf, RYAN LEAF.Opinion could be that the RAIDERS agreed to the terms of the contract and should honour it.My opinion in this age of NFL rookies getting paid a fortune before taking a single snap at the pro level,is if they don't deliver on a scale of Russell proportions, they shouldn't be surprised if their team would want to base their future earnings on their play on the field and the dedication they have shown to the job.Russell would obviously be in trouble on both points.
If he was serious about being a starting quarterback in the NFL, as he says he is, surely he would do anything to get that job back, including re-structuring a hefty contract to reflect the fact that due to his play he is no longer a starting NFL quarterback.His guaranteed money has already made him a wealthy man, although all the bling, cars and furs will make a dent in that, and a re-structured contract would hardly have him struggling with the bills while proving that football matters enough to him.The guy who has taken his job is earning a fraction of the money that he is, and has shown him what it takes to have some success at the quarterback position, although he would rather put that down to other factors.
After seeing his attitude to even the possibility of earning less money for being the worst quarterback in the league, if it was my team and my money, he wouldn't wear a RAIDERS shirt ever again.Maybe he is stupid enough to think that if he was cut there would be a team out there willing to pay anywhere near what the RAIDERS have for him to turn up overweight.
JaMarcus Russell is not the only self centred, over payed, underachieving modern day athlete ( and I use that word loosely ), but he does play for my team and shows a general apathy which pisses me off.
There are RAIDERS fans out there that still believe that Russell has something to offer in the future, that he can come back after this season and be a good quarterback. I disagree.There have been examples to follow in the league this year, although when asked about Young and Smith his answer suggested that he shows as much interest in what is going on in the game as he does in getting in shape.

Russell is embarrassed at being benched.No more embarrassed as I have been to see him play in a Silver and Black jersey.
There that's it I'm done.

Tuesday 8 December 2009



I had to get upon Monday morning and check the score, I know Guinness is good but surely not that good.No, we really did beat the Superbowl Champion Steelers in their own stadium, with Ben Roethlisberger back in the team, and with a banged up offensive line.No point in debating the merits of JaMarcus Russell and whether he can get back in the starting line up or not, in fact that is the last time that I am going to write his name unless Bruce Gradkowski is unfortunate enough to get injured.

As was mentioned in commentary of the game, this is Gradkowski's team.Bruce is the starting Quarterback of the Oakland Raiders.

He may or may not be the long term answer, although he is a clear improvement on the other guy whose name I am not going to write.I have been looking at the Raider Nation's reaction to Gradkowski around the message boards since Sunday nights win, and there have been comments like, "he rode his luck" and "he basically threw a hail mary,and by a miracle i think murphy caught it".

Who cares, what I care about is that with Dr Evil, sorry Bruce Gradkowski, at Quarterback the team has shown that it can win games, come back and win games, and we are not a laughing stock on the field of play.He has also shown leadership, which is something that was seriously lacking from you know who.And for gods sake let's be happy with a good win, a really good win, in a tough road game.Let's be happy that the OAKLAND RAIDERS looked like the OAKLAND RAIDERS for a change, even the receivers are starting to hold onto the ball, it helps that DHB has been benched, sorry I mean injured, but maybe it also helps that they know where the ball will be to a degree of certainty.Louis Murphy is looking like he can play at the NFL level, and with Miller, Schilens and JLH we suddenly look to have some receiving threat.

If Bruce Gradkowski plays well for the rest of the year, there is the possibility that he won't be in Oakland next season.He will be out of contract, so Al will have to pay him to keep him around, he is making in the region of $530,000 for this year while the other guy is due to earn $9.4 million in 2010.I know who I would rather have on the roster.The question is, will Al Davis pay Gradkowski and let him have the opportunity to beat the other guy to the job in camp this time?

I hope the answer is yes, surely he has shown enough to get that chance if indeed he wants it, after all he may well have a couple of teams looking his way come the offseason and see his future elsewhere, especially if the RAIDERS are making noises about the other guy being the starter.

The resurgence of Vince Young will also help the cause of the other guy, as I'm sure that Al will be clinging to the possibility that all those guaranteed millions have bought more than fur coats and Rolls Royce's.There is always the chance that the penny will drop with the big lump, and Al has made a rod for his own back by stating in the Kiffin press conference that you know who would be a great QB, which suggests that he will be given more time by the owner.In the meantime I'll be thankful for Bruce almighty.At least I can watch a RAIDERS game at the moment and it be fun to watch, at least I can look forward to it and not wince every time our Quarterback let's go of the football, and if we do go behind in the game, I actually feel like we still have a chance.More importantly the team must feel the same way too, no-one has come out with direct criticism of the former starter, but they aren't blind or stupid.

We have four games left in this season, and the RAIDERS actually have a shot at .500.It's a slim shot, and next weeks opponent the Redskins just pushed New Orleans all the way, but bugger me I'm at least thinking it's a possibility, which wouldn't have been possible a few weeks ago.

Maybe there should be another billboard erected on the freeway in Oakland, "Mr Davis, please bring Gradkowski back in 2010, even if he wants a Katrillion dollars!"