It Ain’t Preseason Any More

….Well, at least McFadden looked good.

So much for all that hope and change for a new season.  Raiders looked positively awful today in the 2010 season opener.  What is that, eight openers lost in a row?

Lone bright spot was that Darren McFadden looked almost worthy of a number one pick, finally – he ran hard, caught a few out of the backfield, and actually slipped some tackles.  Hope this is a trend.

The key was the porous OL play.  They were absolutely horrible.  I think it begins and ends there, but here are my other observations.

  • We need a WR!
  • If the rookie center was so shaky, why didn’t he play more in the preseason? He looked like he needed that last preseason game to me.
  • JaMarcus….err Jason…Campbell looked suspect and very hesitant.  He was inaccurate, got several balls batted down, and showed no cojones when he slid a yard short of a first down on a third down…..but I will reserve judgment until the OL improves. Campbell is a classy guy, teammates respect him, and he says all the right things.  He deserves success, but needs to stop staring down his receiver.
  • Highly touted rookie LB Rolondo McClain did not impress.  He was held on a TD run, but in general was taken out of plays and was not around the ball much for a MLB.  Six tackles and I bet most were at least five yards downfield.  Rolondo still says that the NFL is no different from the SEC, so he should be dominating, right?
  • We need a WR badly!
  • Someone needs to light a fire under Mario Henderson.  He needs to get mean and stop playing like a girl. Granted, the Tennessee RDE was jumping the count early (looked offsides but wasn’t called), but it doesn’t excuse the fact that he didn’t move with him and block him.  And he stood around while there was a loose ball in the backfield.  He may get Campbell injured unless he buckles up.
  • Why didn’t Campbell use a hard count early to slow down the jump they were getting?  Rookie center perhaps?  If so, that’s a bad excuse.  This isn’t rocket science.
  • Let’s put it this way about the WR corps – Yamon Figurs looked like the best of the lot.  He barely made the team.  He has four catches in three years.
  • Lots of big holes were opened for titan runners and compounded by missed tackles.  I’m a big fan of Tyvon Branch, but he had a terrible game.
  • Note to Campbell:  You need to get those screen passes over those defensive linemen, kay?
  • Way to pull out the three man rush, defensive coordinator.  It guaranteed a third and long conversion as usual.
  • Where was the pass rush?  Aside from some pressure early, there was very little put on Young.  Where was Trevor Scott?  Generally, looks to me like weakness at that part of the line on offense (LT) and defense (RDE) will be the Raiders’ undoing – can’t pressure the opposing QB’s blind side and can’t protect your own QB’s blind side.
  • Who was supposed to be covering Nate Washington on the first TD?  Seems there are way too many blown coverages.  I thought the cover concept was KISS, but evidently not simple enough.

The shot of Al Davis watching the fiasco was truly sad.  He looked sick and frail.  He looked like an old man who has no business managing a professional football franchise, especially considering the team’s performance, personnel decisions, and dysfunctional relationship with the media this past seven years.  Please hire a GM, Mr. Davis!  Please stop vetoing coaches’ decisions, like the reported Mike Mitchell release.  Please fire Herrera or at least relegate him to pushing your wheel chair and not speaking to the media.

More bad news for Raiders: Rams looked pretty good in a close loss to Arizona and Raiders wish they had the #1 overall QB pick this year vice three years ago.  What used to look like a certain W is now a real toss up.

Hope has turned to depression.

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.