Sunday, October 4, 2009

It's just business

I think that's what Hyman Roth explained to Michael Corleone in The Godfather: Part II......It's just business.

If you're wondering where I'm going with that whackadoo analogy, hang on tight.

It is just business. All NFL franchises are just that......businesses. For those of you that are employed (and if you're not, I'm sorry, that's not a smack in your face given how the globalists/elitists are taking us all for a ride and how they've made the economy for us all), you are aware how businesses and companies run and how to best run them. Especially, when there's millions upon billions of dollars at stake.

Seeing how the NFL and the 32 franchises that comprise the NFL rake in millions upon billions of dollars a year, they are just that, big businesses. Procter & Gamble, Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Colgate-Palmolive, GE, the name the company. They operate the same way; to make as much money, as quickly as possible. No matter what.

Consequently, the leadership of said companies (either the above multi-national companies or your favorite NFL franchise) are at the mercy of the product(s) that they place out in public for consumption and the public's perception of those products.

That's right Raiders fans, we're consumers. And right now, the business is putting us in a position where we have to consume a junk (either perceived or not) product. How much are you buying into what we're being forced to consume?

The fact that I open this post with an allusion to the most notorious Mafia family in the history of Mafia pseudo-fiction may not be lost on you. If that's the case, I say good. Why? Because the Raiders are nothing more than a glorified crew (as Carmine Lupertazzi Sr. so eloquently put it in The Sopranos). They are run via intimidation, fear, egoism and a delusional personality (I know, that statement gets me banned from the Raiders facilities). All induced by a man sitting in his proverbial "ivory tower" (or glass windowed suite at The Oakland Coliseum). The unfortunate thing is that you see the results in the public-facing group, team, product, etc.

The leadership from the top down, whether in Fortune 500 companies or gangs of organized crime, truly is an indicator of the product that the public can expect. If Al Davis is going to run his organization like Tony Soprano or Michael Corleone, he better be prepared to reap what he has sown or what he continues to sow. If you run any organiztion or business based on favoritisim, ego, selfishness, greed, fear, cost cutting, carelessness and what has been done in the past, you will eventually see the demise of your organization.

We Raiders fans are in the process of watching the lowest of the low, when it comes to the Raiders. Sure, the economy is down. Sure big businesses all over the globe in all kinds of industries are taking a monetary hit, but the NFL is/was (or usually has been) recession proof. It's been a rallying point and source of solidaritary in America for decades. In some cities the NFL still is or may be that rallying point. But those are the cities that have real leadership at the top of their organizations, structure and cohesiveness throughout the organization and a propensity for success, year in and year out. Those organizations that think they're recession-proof or infallable are those that end up failing miserably and can struggle for a long time to make up for the failure or just become irrelevant, altogether (as Mafia, organized crime or Raider related business has become).

The Raiders are not only failing miserably, they're now becoming irrelevant. This starts with Al Davis and it seeps down to whatever positions Amy Trask and John Herrera hold and on down to the coaching staff and players. The organization and team, as a whole, are a reflection of leadership. A leadership that fails to operate in the way that is anywhere near similar to that of its successful competitors is doomed run amok, to fail, and possibly become irrelevant.

See the demise of Michael Corleone and the Corleone Family in The Godfather: Part III. See the last episode of the Sopranos. See the American auto industry. See the American banking/financial/mortgage industry. See the Oakland Raiders.

All of the above = glutonous, greedy, antiquated and supported by nothing but those around them that say, "Yes," and fail to question what whether or not what they're doing is innovative or good for the long-term welfare of the organization.

We, as fans, are having to sit back and choke down the disorganization and disharmony that is the Raiders for the sixth straight year. This is the long-term effect of "chasing it." This is not about the fans, the long-term welfare of the organization or championships. What's going on now in Oakland is the based on the whim, ego and greed of one man alone. And, the entire organization is suffering because of the short-term thinking of one man and his desire for total control.

The Raiders, as an organization, regardless of past prestige and success, will continue to fail. The greed and ego of the leader will continue to drive this organization into the ground and we fans will continue to suffer.

For today's game:

- QB was 12/33 for 128 yards = 36.4% complete = 3.9 yards/attempt = Passer Rating of 48.5
- No one handed the ball (i.e. a RB) gained more than 24 yards on the ground
- No receiver had more than three receptions for more than 34 yards
- Offense gave up a safety (on a horrendous rushing play)
- Special teams gave up a return TD on the free kick following the safety
- Bush and Russell both fumbled and lost it
- The team collectively only rushed for 45 yards (net)
- The team collectively only passed for 120 yards (net)

If these statistics are the statistics of a solid, stable, professional organization and team......color me fooled.

Oh, by the way, all of the above took place against the NFL's worst defense (statistically).

Maybe, comfort that we can all take away from today's game is that it's just business. It's just business.

(Editors note: This entry was written in lieu of the author updating his resume in preparation for possible layoffs at the company which he works.)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Open Letter to Al Davis

Dear Mr. Davis, Ms. Trask, et. al:

I am writing to voice my extreme displeasure with the current direction of the Oakland Raiders football team and organization.

As long as I have been alive I have been an Oakland Raiders fan. I was even being dressed in Oakland Raiders apparel by my mom and dad, before I could even dress myself. The family loyalty to the Raiders organization and mystique runs incredibly deep in my family.

To see the manner in which the team performs and the organization itself acts has become a farce. People have always asked me, "You grew up in Toledo, why are you a Raiders fan?" First and foremost, it was because of my dad. Second, when I was old enough to know what the Raiders stood for, it was easy to be a fan. It was easy to support the team and the organization. It was something that ran deeper than just football. Being a Raiders fan was part of an identity. It was about being part of one of the best things in American professional sports.

I will say, without equivocation, that you have been one of the best owners in NFL history, and all of American professional sports. However, your legacy can no longer guarantee future success. New ages in American sport have required changes that the Raider organization has refused to make. This maverick attitude that has served the team and organization well in the past, has hurt the organization and team for the past decade or more. I implore that you begin to make organizational changes to give the team, players and fans the Raiders team that they deserve. I also implore that you bring the professionalism back to the Raiders organization.


- Hire a General Manager to manage day to day football operations and players/personnel; including, but not limited to, drafting, trades, coaching staff and coaching positions
- Remove John Herrera from his current position, as he has demonstrated the past couple seasons that he can no longer handle himself in a professional manner that is representative of a professional sports organization
- Allow the coaching staff to make decisions that are in the best interest of themselves, the players and the team; including, but not limited to, play calling, game planning, playing time, which players start and sit
- Return value to the organization by building a new stadium in the Bay Area to give the organization, team and fans a home that they can be proud of and that is comparable to the vast majority of other NFL stadiums and facilities
- Return accountability to the organization at all levels, including the players, and admit mistakes via immediate corrective action that shows a true commitment to excellence, winning and professionalism
- Supplement the coaching staff with proper positions (i.e. offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator, etc. ) that have authority and autonomy to make the decisions necessary to win as many football games as possible
- If necessary, look into other investment, ownership or sale of ownership opportunities to allow the Raiders to continue on the legacy which you worked so hard to build
- Immediately discontinue all unprofessional behavior in regards to the media, media spokespeople, beat writers, network analysts and sports reporters

If the Raiders organization continues on the path which it has been on the past seven years, I will not be able to continue my support of the team through any monetary means whatsoever. I believe that others in the Raider Nation share my sentiments and I saw that fairly clearly this past Sunday as the Coliseum emptied out before the first half was over. I'm certain that next time, the majority of fans will not leave before half time because they will have avoided purchasing tickets altogether.

I hope that a dignified man, such as yourself, has the foresight and intelligence to see that without the undying support of the Raider fans, that the organization will never be the same and will continually operate at a less than optimum level financially. It is only in these realizations and changes that the Raiders will ever be able to return to the glory that you gave them and give the fans what is truly owed to them.

Best of luck the rest of the season.


Raider Nation

Sunday, September 27, 2009

$32 million/22.6

Let me ask you this......Whos' thrilled with the way things have gone this year? How many of we fans went into this season with a sense of optimism that was greater than years past?

I know I was one of the fans that had that sense of optimism. However, I was talking to my dad on the phone during he fourth quarter of today's game and the first thing he said, as I was explaining to him what was transpiring during the game was, "So, basically, it's the same situation as the past couple seasons?" (As far as my dad's concerned, he actually has things to do in his life and finding a way to sit around and watch the Raiders stumble over themselves is not high on his priority list.)

What the heck else is there to say? I am struggling to type anything for this entry because the effort by the entire team was so bad. Let's look at the passing games first......

Kyle Orton = 13/23; 157 yds; 56.5%; 1 TD; 0 INT; 92.1 rating

JaMarcus Russel = 12/21; 61 yds; 57.1%; 0 TD; 2 INT; 22.6 rating

61 yards? 22.6 rating?

You're getting paid $32 million in guaranteed money, man.


The Raiders averaged 1.8 yards per pass play.


But hold up a second, here.....I will not throw it all on Russell's shoulders (just the vast majority of it). The first INT was not his fault (DHB fell down). It's not his fault that McFadden can't hold onto the ball (2 fumbles, 1 lost), including one little fumble in the red zone that hurt.

I can hear the fans now....."It's not Russell's fault. The defense can't stop the run. They can't defend the pass. Stanford Routt is no good."

Well, I will agree that Routt is sturggling mightily. However, it's not the defense's fault. The past three years, Al has drafted for offense in the first round. Russell, McFadden, Heyward-Bey. He's thought about defense second and as something that can be filled in via free agency (Gibril Wilson, DeAngelo Hall). Al's longed to have an offense that drives fear into opponents since the 2003 Super Bowl year. His (and we all know they are HIS) picks in the first round scream offensive desperation. He is not satisfied with the low-key success of Robert Gallery or the late-breaking success of Michael Huff. Fairly, it should be the offense that is scrutinized.

Our offense wouldn't scare your local high school team. I've seen all the comparisons to Petyon Manning in his first year and I don't by a second of that nonsense. If you're throwing out those comparisons, ask yourselves this......

Does JaMarcus Russell really appear to be anywhere near the same type of player that Peyton Manning is?


That is one area where statistics are definitely misleading.

Cut the junk.

Opposing defenses are not scared of our offense. Period. They've figured it out.

No matter how many solid backs you have, when you're the defense and you expect a running play and get a running play it's pretty darn easy to stop it. When you're the opposing defense and you expect a running play and the Raiders pass you still don't have to worry, so you might as well still stack eight or nine in the box and blast the QB or the RB on the screen that's thrown.

Cable, Tollner and Russell all need to get better. Obviously. Russell may progress. Russell may regress. But, either way, due to the fact that he's only on the field for about 20 minutes (23:45 against the Broncos), he just ends up a player who only is able to get anything done in practice. If you want a practice player playing under center in games, you might as well give Gradkowski a chance.

If not, well, the whole of the organization might as well just jump on the first Air Asia plane out of the Bay Area.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

This just in....Raider Nation breathes a collective sigh of relief

Well, it's all over, ladies and gentlemen. Nothing more to see here.

The Richard Seymour circus has now folded up the tents and left town. Specifically, it has packed up in Boston and is headed out to the Bay Area.

Seymour has spoken publicly for the first time since the trade and has said that he is excited to be headed to the Raiders, has been in constant contact with the Raiders (specifically Al and Cable) and the delay in reporting was due to being blindsided by the news and having to take care of family issues that were more important than football.

You can check out the entire story here, quotes from Seymour included.

As much as it was a rollercoaster, wondering will he or won't he, what's he holding out for, who's telling the truth and who's not, etc., I give the man credit (given the fact he's not lying, of course). Given the way a lot of professional athletes handle themselves nowadays, I say, "Good for him." Family should be first. Bravo, Richard. And let's keep this in mind too, this is all in the face of the fact that Seymour's agent is the same one that is representing Michael Crabtree and contributing to that fiasco on the other side of the Bay.

Now that Seymour has come out and stated his position and will report, it's time to move on. We have the Chargers coming into our house on Monday night, national television and Seymour on board. Considering the way San Diego has handled us the past it's time that we begin standing up and coaching, playing and cheering like only Raider Nation can. The pieces are falling into place and a huge piece has now shown up and is on board. It's time that we show the NFL that the joke is over and the Silver and Black is back.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Who loves the Raiders? Obviously not Richard Seymour.

Well, this whole thing was going to be about the silly Richard Seymour situation, but I'm going to take this a different direction. But, I have to get this in here......The Raiders sent him the "five day" letter. Now, it sounds like one of two things is happening.

a.) As Adam Schefter is reporting, Seymour is on his way to Oakland and will arrive today. He'll be in uniform and play Monday night, if he passes his physical.

b.) The Boston Globe is reporting that the NFLPA is going to file a grievance on Seymour's behalf stating that "five day letters" don't apply to traded players and the trade should be nullified.

I hope it's option 'a,' but who knows. I think we'd all be hoping for option 'a,' if for no other reason than to get this thing put to bed and so we can stop hearing about it and have the situation continue to give the national media and NFL fans more ammo to call the Raiders a joke. Second, I don't want to have to hear Mike Greenberg beat the dead horse for the entire broadcast on Monday night. Third, let's all be honest, the run defense needed help. Bad. And, if this is how Al and the coaching staff (well, mostly Al) see fit to address the issue, then I'm in support. If Seymour plays up to past form, he should be a great asset to the defensive front four. I'm most interested to see how the fans react to him, when (if) he's introduced as the starting defensive end on Monday night.

Wonder what this may now mean for William Joseph? I'm sure he's enjoyed being cut to make room for Seymour when the trade was made, then added back on the roster when Seymour failed to show up and now wondering what's going to become of his status with the Raiders.

On a secondary note. I got a phone call the other day and during that telephonic discussion, I heard something that was utterly shocking. I couldn't help but ask in a loud, shrill manner (kind of like Goose in Top Gun), "What?!?!?!"

The suspense killing you, yet? Didn't think so.

And, actually, I'm glad it's not killing you. Why do I say that you ask? It's because I can't let the cate out of the bag, so I don't anyone being harmed due to the suspense. Such is the way of the world. You get to be in a spot of privilege and it unfortunately comes with responsibility. As much as it pains me to do it, I have to exercise that responsibility. I apologize for the tease. But, it does have to do with the Raiders and it is something that I'd never ever thought I'd hear. Ever.

A couple notes going into the game Monday night......

-Darren McFadden will get the start at RB

- Jonathan Holland got converted from WR to DB yesterday and will stay at the DB position for the indefinite future with the practice squad

- Nick Miller (my boy) did not practice yesterday (shin splints) and is questionable for Monday night. If he's down, Johnnie Lee Higgins will be the man on kick returns. We also have the option of just using JLH on punts and then using Louis Rankin on kick returns

- We'll be starting two rookies at the WR spots. Murphy and Heyward-Bey will get the start, with Walker coming in off the bench

- Keep an eye on JaMarcus Russell. Monday will be the first game of what is supposed to be his "breakout" year. Monday could very well set the tone for what's to come the rest of the season

Monday, March 23, 2009

What goes better with a trade and mock draft than turkey?

After the Raiders spent the fist part of free agency relatively quite, they've now made a trade. This time, they've made a trade to address the depth at the center position.

The Raiders have sent a draft pick to Miami for center Samson Satele.

Not sure how this will work out; Satele had been a starter in Miami, but became expendable when they got Jake Grove in free agency. The word floating around the internet is that Satele is too undersized to handle the defensive tackles of the AFC East. We'll have to wait and see. People thought Grove was undersized, but he did just fine at the center position for the Raiders.

My bigger wonder is what implications this move will have on the draft (outside of the obvious fact that the Raiders have one less pick). Clearly, Al Davis and Tom Cable aren't sold on the depth at the center position. Does this move, though, mean that drafting a wide receiver at the number seven spot in the first round is a given? The talk lately had been about Alex Mack and that Tom Cable was impressed by Mack at his pro day at Cal. This move has to make that decision a little less clear cut.

Speaking of the draft, Yahoo! has released the sixth version of their mock draft and it's interesting, to say the least. They have the Raiders taking B.J. Raji, defensive tackle out of Boston College. As they have it, Crabtree drops to tenth, into the lap of the 49ers and Maclin Jeremy Maclin dropping to 22nd to the Vikings. I just don't see that happening. We have too much money wrapped up in Tommy Kelly to pay first round money to someone at that position. The need at receiver is too big to use the pick on a defensive tackle. Now, this is just me....either take the receiver at that spot or trade down for more picks (the latter would be preferrable). The Raiders have been too fiscally unintelligent that past year and a half and the only way to get out from under that is build through youth, stock up on young talent and clear cap space, smartly, when necessary. Drafting a defensive tackle at the number seven spot is not the answer.

Finally, the Raiders will open the season on Monday night for the second straight year (against the Chargers) and play on Thanksgiving Day (against the Cowboys). Personally, I'm pretty excited. We, in the Nation, can now actually look forward to watching a game we care about and can look forward to making that a Silver and Black holiday. That should be a fun game to watch and an excellent treat for all us fans.

(Editorial note.....Get on over to The Raider Image and get your 50th season gear ordered for the upcoming season. Regardless of the W-L record, I know all the members of Raider Nation will make it one for the ages.)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Get it done

Orlando Pace is now a free agent.

Al needs to get the deal done. Period.

This is an opportunity for a second shot at Pace. After moving up to get him in the 1997 draft, the Rams traded up ahead of the Raiders and took Pace. The Raiders used their selection that year to take Darrell Russell.

Even as a 12 year veteran, Pace is what the Raiders need. There's not a better left tackle out there. You can say, "Well, they can draft a young kid to play left tackle." I don't see it. Al got burned by Robert Gallery when they took him at number two (overall) in the 2004 draft. I just don't see Al going that route again.

Picking up Pace leaves the Raiders with holes to fill at center, safety, wide receiver and a true strong side linebacker.

The receiver hole will probably be filled with their first round pick with Michael Crabtree or Jeremy Maclin. Maclin is more of the stereotypical "Al Davis type" player, with his speed. Crabtree brings the size, hands and flash. Center and safety can be addressed in the later draft rounds. If Al decides he wants a veteran wide receiver presence, it sounds like Torry Holt is more than likely going to be the next Ram to be released.

As for the strong side linebacker spot, there is an offer on the table to Kevin Burnett. Playing strong side linebacker in a 4-3 should make Burnett a good fit. That will give them a true strong side player and end the musical chairs at that spot, like we saw last season. He's deciding between offers from the Chargers and the Raiders.

These are all encouraging signs, as a fan. It's great to see the Raiders use common sense and patience when making these off season moves. Be smart, spend smart, build through the draft and fill the holes with free agents.

It's also encouraging to hear that Cable is also beginning to change the attitude around the team. Derrick Burgess, who has always worked out during the offseason by himself, away from the Alameda complex, has already been seen around the Raiders facility working out. His mantra of wanting players there who want to win and be a part of the Raiders' return to prominence seems to be taking hold. We'll see the full effect when off season OTAs begin March 16th.