Sunday, December 7, 2008

Struggling to find the words

For anyone that knows me, the fact that I'm sitting here typing this up and totally struggling to find anything to say about the team is shocking, in and of itself.

One thing I'm really struggling with is the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde nature of the offense. 17 for 30 passing between two quarterbacks. Are you kidding? Passer ratings of 42 for Russell and 31.7 for Walter. Seriously? Only 8 total yards for McFadden (and that was a pass reception) and 54 total rushing yards. Really? 163 totaly yards on offense. Is this the same offense that hung 31 on Denver?

I can't honestly sit here and hang it all on the offense, though. Let's be honest. The defense was awful against the Chargers, also. Granted, they were on the field to damn much because the offense was only 2-12 on third down and 0-1 on fourth down. But, the last two weeks has been a microcosm of the past half decade for the Raiders. No consistency. Underachieving. Lack of focus. Lack of execution. Lack of offense. Lack of defense. Lack of anything positive, really.

I sit here and filp through the games on the Sunday Ticket and I shake my head. I see Matt Ryan, as a rookie, doing things that Jamarcus Russell wishes he could do. Steve Slaton has become a monster for Houston and he was taken two rounds after Darren McFadden. That shows me one of two things (possibly both):

- Oakland's scouting (aka Al Davis) is awful
- The team is currently so bad that anyone they bring in, no matter how talented, will never succeed

Atlanta's dysfunctionality over the past year or year and a half has rivaled that of Oakland (if not worse because it involved players violating federal law). The Michael Vick situation, Bobby Petrino, (my personal favorite) DeAngelo Hall, et. al. Yet, here they are this year. A few smart personnel decisions and they're fighting for the NFC South. Oakland's had rarely a trouble with any players, in terms of the law, in the past couple years (outside of Tommy Kelly's drinking and driving ordeal earlier this season), yet we can't find any consistency or win more than 5 games. I guess in the NFL, it flusters professionals more to play for a new coach than to have a teammate or teammates committing federal crimes. When, as a player, do you decide to just be a professional and come to work and put the junk aside in order to achieve the one goal you all have in common? WINNING. Guess we'll be going on 6 years, now, in order to get that answer.

Let's talk about the current players, and one in particular. I don't know how much faith Al has in Jamarcu Russell and what it would take for that to waiver, but I will tell you this.....Al better start working on a Plan B. Al says he can play and has total faith in him, but is he really watching the games or referring to the same Jamarcus Russell that we all are. I'm not saying Russell is a bust already and I'm not saying that there isn't time for him to turn things around. What I am saying is that Russell does appear to be on the fast track to Bustville. I'm guessing that Ryan Leaf and Akili Smith are preparing a rooom at the Underachievers Hotel and Russell may get a room based the "Overrated Special" promotional pricing. Someone needs to make him keenly aware that being lazy and relying solely on your physical skills doesn't work in the NFL. You have to study, prepare, learn the playbook every week, become acutely aware of what's done on offense and when that stuff is done and become the de facto leader of a team and entire franchise. Just showing up and hitting the field on Sunday to wildly chuck the ball around with your strong arm isn't going to cut it. This isn't NCAA football anymore.

I think it's about time that we start looking at draft prospects. It's obvious we need wide receivers, offensive tackles and, I'd venture to say, safety and a defensive end on the opposite side of Derrick Burgess. The receiver choice will probably be easy....Michael Crabtree. Javon Walker will be out. He has to be. The other positions, not so much. The next draft we go into is going to be very important for the team and franchise, as a whole. We do have a chance to get out of the rut we've been in, so Al and the staff better be ready to put the proper amount of time and work into getting it as right as they possibly can. If they screw it up again, this nonsense could go on for another 6 years.

The other thing that needs to get ironed out is the head coaching spot. It'd be nice to see the front office change a bit too....Maybe get with the 21st century and hire a general manager. Just a thought, but we all know how that discussion will end up. The best we, as fans, really have to look forward to is the future, so the organization better start preparing to get it right. Now that we've ruined our chances at the sub-par AFC West, let's start looking to win and preparing to do it by using common sense.

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