Raider Nation, it brings me no great pleasure to tell you this: but I told you so.
Ever since I heard two dreadful words in the offseason, I told you things were going to be bad. I knew this season was going to require many sighs and alcoholic beverages in order to stomach it. What were those two little words, you ask?
Or as I like to affectionately refer to him, Greg “The Offense Takes a” Knapp. Raider fans told me to give him a chance. “Look what he did in Houston!” they argued (even though he was a quarterbacks coach there, not a coordinator).
Let’s be clear about one thing: Knapp hasn’t been a good offensive coordinator in almost a decade. In fact, he’s barely been a passable offensive coordinator since getting canned from the 49ers in 2003. He’s terrible. His schemes are unimaginative, he wastes offensive talent… He’s just no good.
Look what he’s done to Darren McFadden. The guy who was in consideration for MVP midway through 2011 looks like Chris Johnson in 2012; not a comparison any running back wants made about them.
As I pointed out in an article earlier this year, Knapp’s been an offensive coordinator for six seasons since San Francisco. Here’s where his offenses ranked: 20th, 12th, 12th, 25th, 29th and 21st in the NFL.
Those two years where his offense was 12th? Michael Vick was his quarterback, when Vick was still actually good. He gets no credit for that.
Sure, the Raiders lost a lot of players from last year’s underachieving 8-8 team. But a lot of those players were on the defensive side of the ball. Carson Palmer is still here. McFadden is still here. Darrius Heyward-Bey, coming off a breakout season, is still here.
But who’s not here? Hue Jackson.
I found myself agreeing completely with Yahoo! sports columnist (and occasional Raider hater) Mike Silver this week, when he wrote that Jackson should never have been fired at all. If you've ever read Silver's stuff, it's obvious he's a little in love with Jackson; but aren’t you missing Jackson right now, too?
Raider fans liked to call Jackson derogatory nicknames like “Huebris,” and insinuate the young coach was a bit power hungry. But he was also an innovative, effective offensive strategist.
The Raiders finished ninth in the NFL in total offense last year. They set a franchise record for points scored against the hated Broncos in 2010. Call Hue what you want, but the man could coach an offense.
New coach Dennis Allen seems like a smart guy. His defensive coordinator, Jason Tarver, has been hailed as a rising star in the league with great ideas. I’m willing to give Tarver a pass for now, since his defense did a tremendous job limiting the Chargers in Week 1 (despite atrocious field position), and the Raider offense wasn’t doing him any favors in Miami.
But Knapp has got to go. The Raiders switched to a zone-blocking scheme under his tutelage, and it’s not working. An offensive line that isn’t hugely different from last season has looked absolutely awful. Palmer has no time to throw; McFadden has no holes to run through.
Unfortunately, Nation, the truth is Knapp is not going anywhere. New general manager Reggie McKenzie comes from Green Bay, where the mantra is to build through the draft. He will preach patience, and Knapp will be here until at least the end of the year.
So what does that mean for you? Fill up the cooler with more beers, because it’s going to be a very long season.
For more foolish analysis, along with the occasional witty comment, Follow @FernandoRGallo
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