In Preseason Form

I’m not going to make too much out of the first preseason game win over the Cowboys because, well, it was the first preseason game after all.  Although I’ll note that it was Dallas’ second.

The offense didn’t look much better than the 2009 version, but a new QB needs time with a new system and receivers.  I’m optimistic things will improve.  The two things that stuck out was that the WR corps needs a veteran (Terrell Owens might have been a good signing) and the center position is weak.  Satele is no Samson – he was run over and through at least a couple of times.  Maybe Veldheer will be moved up from 2nd team.  DHB had one pass thrown his way and it was broken up because he didn’t go get the ball – sound familiar?

Defense, especially against the run, looked much improved, but I need to see more to get too excited about it.

The game was not very well played, but the hardest part about sitting through a preseason game where the starters only play about a quarter, is sitting through a preseason game against Dallas with their homer announcing team.  NFL Network used to do half the game with each team’s announcers, but I guess the rules are different when Dallas is playing.  I didn’t think it was possible to be worse than the Redskin announcers in terms of shameless rooting for the local team, but these Dallas guys easily surpass them.  I mean, they didn’t even have the courtesy to give us the Raider starters’ names.  That’s plain rude.  The most attention they gave the Raiders was when they mocked them for their “Team of the Decades” motto, the many underachieving first round draft picks on the roster, the Jamarcus Russell debacle, or when they committed a penalty.  The typical “there go the Raiders again” spiel.

They win their first playoff game in about 15 years and their fairly recent mediocrity is forgotten, while no one seems to remember the Raiders’ 2003 Super Bowl appearance, the infamous tuck call that robbed them of a Super Bowl the year before, and Tony Siragusa’s pancake tackle on Rich Gannon in the 2000 AFC Championship game.

Evidently, this Dallas team has no weaknesses and it’s just a foregone conclusion that they’ll be in the Super Bowl in 2011….a handful of players that they’ll cut will end up starting for other teams.  Blah, blah blah.  Almost as bad as the Patriots and their fans in the media.

Back to the Silver and Black – I liked what  I saw with Michael Bennett, but I also like Rock Cartwright’s versatility.  Hope they are able to keep both.  Yamon Figures looked best among the WRs and he can return punts, so JLH might be sent packing.  It’s early, so we’ll see.  The offense and Jason Campbell must improve though.  I’m confident they will, but WRs and the OL could use help.

Al Hearts JaMarcus, Still Hates Rich

Al Davis has officially lost it.

If the draft picks of the last several years and the mad money thrown at mediocre players the last several years weren’t proof enough, the way the Raider management is reacting to Rich Gannon’s offer of help for their mega-bust of a QB is the clincher.

This post on the Silver and Black Report outlines the situation very well.

The Raiders are acting like children, led by that buffoonish John Herrerra.

The Raiders responded to Gannon’s offer through team executive and John Herrera.  From the Oakland Tribune:

“It’s Rich that needs the help,” Raiders senior executive John Herrera said. “When he goes on a radio show offering Mr. Davis help, Tom Cable help, the Raiders help, maybe it’s Rich that needs the help.”

What the hell does that even mean?  That doesn’t even fit as a response.  It’s like in Dodgeball when Ben Stiller’s character responds with “touche” at a completely inappropriate time.  Sounds like John Herrera basically just said, “I know you are, but what am I?” or “I’m not a towel, you’re a towel.”  Are they trying to say he’s desperate for work? (read more at Bleacher Report….)

I have totally lost faith in this organization.  Things will not change unless Davis relinquishes power, hires a General Manager and that GM hires a competent coach with power to hire his own staff and select his own players.  Sadly, that might not happen until the old man passes away.  John Madden has even stated that it must be done.  I wonder if he’s been banished from Raider headquarters as well?

Remember when the Raiders were successful?  They were led by GMs or senior executives named Al LoCasale, Ron Wolf, and Bruce Allen.  Coincidence?  I think not.  Al’s Wingman has a good review of those eras and how the Raiders should have handled the Gannon offer (Hint: with professionalism).  Wolf turned Green Bay around and you just watch how Allen turns the Redskin franchise around.

The news that Russell skipped the final team meeting for “personal reasons” which was later discovered to be a trip to Las Vegas is yet another sign that this guy is a loser and a bust.  Now, the team (Herrerra) says he went with the permission of the team and with a team official.  So, that makes it right?  That’s a further indictment on the Raider management.

I can’t wait to see what gem they choose at #8 in the 2010 draft.

Meanwhile, “Lance” Kiffin is having a hearty laugh at all this.

Those Whacky Raiders Are at it Again

That’s what everyone must be saying after details of the Rich Gannon ban became public.

I’ve got to agree with Jerry Mac, David White, the AP’s Dubow, and even Tim Kawakami on this one.

Gannon was a truth machine.  His comments were based on facts and his experiences with the team.  Sure, the truth hurts, especially when you’ve been so bad for half a decade.  It’s the man’s job as a broadcaster to comment on these things and what he said had mostly already been said on Raider blogs and by loyal Raider fans everywhere.  Yes, I said loyal.  You can be critical and yet still be loyal.

This Herrera guy should shut up.  Is Davis actually sanctioning what this guy’s saying?  The word “clown” comes to mind whenever this guy talks. First there was the bizarre Kawakami press conference incident last year, now this.  The Raiders really need some competent PR people.  Here’s a sample of what he said:

“Rich Gannon is not welcome here.”

“He was one of the least popular players with his teammates that we ever had here and he still can’t seem to get over the fact that he played the worst game in Super Bowl history.  He threw five interceptions and three of them were returned for touchdowns. He has blamed everyone else for that.”

“I guess it’s our fault he threw five interceptions.”

“He’s attacked us on a regular basis since becoming a member of the media,” Herrera said. “After affording him the opportunity to establish a career here, he has since gone on to attack us in a way that’s totally unacceptable.”

No, Herrera.  What is totally unacceptable is the way Oakland handled this situation. Banning one of their all-time greats because he hurt their pride is unacceptable.

What does Gannon’s Super Bowl meltdown have to do with him being brutally honest? His brutal honesty was probably the reason he was unpopular with his teammates.  The team was full of slackers and underachievers and Al Davis scholarship players.  He came to the Raiders at a time when they desperately needed his leadership.  And I’ve never heard him deflect the blame for that Super Bowl performance.

Herrera also used Gannon’s “they should just blow up the building and start all over again” quote as a reason to ban him, citing that it’s improper to use such words in a post 9/11 society.  I think the fact that Herrera related that quote to 9/11 is more inappropriate than Gannon’s words.

In the end, the Raiders relented and lifted the ban.  Well, they had to anyway because of NFL rules.

I think I speak for many Raiders fans when I say that I was proud of the Rich Gannon years and what he did to lift the team to greatness.  He was simply doing his job when he was critical of the team.  He always qualified his comments by saying it hurt him to watch the team in its current tailspin.  I wish Rich was still at QB or at the very least in a coaching capacity with the team.  His knowledge and dedication to the game is sorely needed.  I guess that will never happen.

Now….banning Warren Sapp?  I’m all for that.

White Tornado, Part Deux

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Or….just get weirder.

This article seems so long ago (11 years), but it sadly could’ve been written today.

Uhhh, wait a minute, things are probably even more bizarro in Raiderland today.

What with the press conference where Senior Executive John Herrera almost came to blows with a sarcastic sports writer, a defensive coordinator who doesn’t know how to coordinate, and a Head Coach who has no say in his coaches are, who his players are, and is rumored to be fired daily.

Besides the comments in the 1996 SI article from former Raiders Steve Smith, Greg Skrepenak, Harvey Williams, Marcus Allen, Winston Moss, Ronnie Lott, Steve Beuerlein, Chester McGlockton, Tim Brown, and Patrick Bates, we have the recent comments from Rich Gannon:

“It’s like I’ve said many times, every day was a fight inside that building to do what we did,” said Gannon, now a TV commentator. “We had to overcome adversity in the building and then get on a plane to go try to beat Denver.

“When I played in Kansas City, all I had to do was walk in the door. I didn’t have to worry about guys showing up late for practice or meetings, guys being out drinking until 3 a.m. or missing curfew the night before games. In Kansas City, that stuff didn’t happen. In Oakland, it was an everyday occurrence.”

“What you have left is all these guys (owner) Al (Davis) loves; these disaffected, talented guys who are only marginally productive and weren’t really even all that productive in college,” one unnamed former Raiders employee said. “They don’t care about winning, but (those are) the guys who are supposedly the leaders.”

How archaic are the Raiders’ business practices? How disorganized are they?

“You want to know how far behind the times he is? He still signs everybody’s expense forms,” another unnamed former employee said. “Not a dollar gets spent in that place that he doesn’t have a say about.”

“They say there are 32 organizations in the NFL, but really it’s only 31,” one former Raiders player said. “The Raiders aren’t an organized team.”

“The first step to rebuilding the team is to tell the owner not to walk in the door ever again. The next is to get rid of the front office and then all the personnel people … There’s no structure in place. That’s why nothing is going to change,” said another former Raiders player.

With what’s happening these days (heck, these last several years) around Raiders HQ, even a loyal fan like me can’t argue with these comments.

When can we get back to “just winning, baby”?