Written By: E.T. Mattingly
Article also found at here.
First of all, let me explain ahead of time that I am going to write an article that discusses the imminent misfortune of the Oakland Raiders. It may seem like a waste of time, but you know they always say the only news is bad news, and these Raiders are full of it.
The one good thing that the Raiders have going for them is the fact that their fans still love them, and that is why this article is going to be tough. Raider fans have some sick obsession with calamity.
I’d say it’s as sad as Chicago Cubs fans, but at least Raider Nation can boast a championship in the last 100 years. In order to cover my bases here I’m going to tackle this train wreck of a team from the top down.
Now you just can’t have a good Raider-bash without throwin’ the old wacko into the fire. Al Davis, the east coast idiot, hasn’t contributed anything to the game of football since the late 1970’s, and even though he was a decent coach, circa 1960, his lack of front office stability has left a team in shambles.
Let’s let bygones be...whatever...and just take a look at some of his recent maneuvers.
First, due to professional differences, Jon Gruden was ultimately let go from the organization for a few draft picks and some chump change. Professional differences they say? Oh, Davis hadn’t won football games in over a decade, and Gruden decided to go behind his back and win 22 out of 32 games, the nerve of that guy.
Let’s forego the coaching carousel discussion and look directly at Lane Kiffin. Kiffin, the youngest coach in franchise history, and was touted as the savior of Raider Nation. Well, we quickly found out that, despite draft picks, Kiffin is a better fit for the college level.
That’s weird, a college coach can’t cut it in the NFL, I really thought Al Davis and his “fire a coach when things don’t go smooth” mentality could break that mold with Kiffin. Now, after a public spectacle trying to erase his mistakes, Al Davis turned to Tom Cable, I’m going to save this discussion for a few paragraphs down.
To sum up a discussion that could take pages, Al Davis is the worst owner in the NFL. His .569 percent may not be the worst winning percentage of NFL owners, that honor goes to William Clay Ford at .411 percent, but I don’t recall Ford boasting about the return of Lion Nation once a month.
I don’t remember hearing Ford dig up past records, Lion pride, or really any of the idiotic lines we hear from Al Davis at each mind-numbing press conference, and that verbal diarrhea of stupidity is what solidifies him as the worst owner in the NFL.
“To the fans of Raider Nation, listen to me. It is time we came back to you with a team that you can be proud of every Sunday.” So Raider Nation, do the words of Tom Cable bring chills to your spine? I hope so, for me and the rest of NFL Nation that bring a little smirk and a giggle.
So, can Tom Cable bring the “pride” back to Raider Nation in the next 18 months? Well, let’s do something Al Davis does not, and learn from history. Cable has been coaching for over 20 years.
He has spent 11 of those seasons as an offensive line coach, three of those seasons as an offensive coordinator, and four seasons as a head coach. A decent resume numerically, but let’s give those numbers a little meat.
First, Tom Cable has only coached in the NFL for three seasons, two for the Raiders which don’t really count as an NFL team, and another for the 7-9 Falcons. At least when Coach Cable resurrects the Raiders he’ll be as excited about making it to the playoffs as anyone else.
Second, Cable’s four years as a head coach were spent at the University of Idaho. In all four years the Vandals suffered losing records and compiled a less than stellar 11-35 record. I wish I could stop, but five of Cable’s losses came to lower division schools.
The University of Idaho did not renew his contract. In case you didn’t catch that, the University of Idaho did not renew his contract.
Finally, Coach Cable will be calling the plays for the Raiders having never gone an entire season calling plays in the NFL. He seemed to do well in Idaho calling the plays as a head coach, why wouldn’t he be successful in the toughest football league in the world?
I would like to say there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but unless Tom Cable miraculously learns to coach at the NFL level, learns to manage through Al Davis, and learns to win with limited talent then the light seems bleak, very bleak.
At least this guy isn’t hell bent on drudging up the past like Al Davis...oh wait, “I want to get back to what I used to see and I see it on NFL Films all the time. Raiders knocking off helmets and knocking them down and beating them down on defense,” let’s all hope those films where from the Madden-era.
THE DIRECTIONLESS LEADER
If we can all agree on one thing, I hope that it is the fact that a quarterback decides the fate of a franchise. Unless, of course, you are the 2000 Ravens, but the Raider defense is a few linebackers and a handful of talent away from the ’00 Ravens.
JaMarcus Russell , unless Jeff Garcia was brought in to be the savior of Oakland, will be the franchise guy for years to come. Russell has the tools to be a dominate NFL QB. He’s tall, can move in and out of the pocket, has a cannon arm, and at least the brains of an average NFL signal caller. I am not here to argue Russell’s talent.
Plus, look at the stats. In his first full year as a starter Russell completed 53 percent of his passes, threw for nearly 2,500 yards, had more TD’s than INT’s (13 to 8), and compiled a 77.1 passer rating. Let’s not look at the wins for a second and compare Mr. Russell to Mr. Manning, arguably the gold standard for NFL QB success.
In Manning’s first full year as a QB he completed 56 percent of his passes, threw more INT’s than TD’s (28 to 26) and compiled a 71.2 passer rating. I tossed out the yardage in comparison because Manning attempted 575 passes where Russell only attempted 368. So, looking at the tape, Russell is heading in the right direction.
The point I am here to argue is that Russell will never be a Peyton Manning until Al Davis finds himself am offensive coordinator that seems to know some football.
Manning had the crutch of Tom Moore when things would get haywire in the early years. Look, at the success Russell had in college, now look over at the sidelines.
Jimbo Fisher, touted as one of the great offensive football minds in many coaching circles, was calling the shots. Fisher knew how to use Russell’s talents, and also knows how to manipulate formations, confuse defensive schemes, and...win football games.
The new play caller in Oakland, Tom Cable, hasn’t shown the ability/know-how to beat some of the greatest minds in the Pacific Coast Conference; I find it hard to believe he’ll stack up against some of the greatest minds in all of football.
In short, JaMarcus Russell is an amazing talent. Physically, I would match him up against any quarterback in the league. However, until he has an offensive coordinator that can use his talents, they will continue to waste on the bay.
At least there is one thing Al Davis can’t mess up in Oakland, and it’s you the fans. My hat is off, and I tip it to your loyalty. I can’t say I understand it? Maybe it’s the same lovable-loser syndrome that has spread throughout the north side of Chicago?
Regardless, Al Davis can’t touch you guys, and he can’t ruin the best part of Raider Nation with a stupid trade or by hiring some idiot that claims to be a football coach. And the name, The Black Hole, it’s fitting! The Black Hole...the place careers and wins go to die.