Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tom Foolery: Ugly Raiders Try to Get Cute

By Rick Richardson

Any hope for Tom Cable to ditch the "interim" attached to his official title was dashed when he took the Raiders to new heights of ridiculousness with a fake field goal that led to an easy scoop and score for Kansas City's Maurice Leggett. There were only three outcomes that were possible when Sebastian Janikowski lined up for what will most definitely be “Football Follies” fodder for years to come, and two of them were bad. Just add the sound effects and “dink, doink”, look at the Raiders while you point and laugh. Add Justin Fargas and his football juggling act with a few sound effects and now you have a show. Somewhere Marty Schottenheimer is crooning his age-old cliché, “just hang in there and the Raiders will beat themselves”. Much to the chagrin of the Raider nation on this topic, ole' Marty seems to be always right.

NFL Football games are won by the narrowest of margins, in both points and inches. The chip shot field goal turned dark comedy was a 10-point swing, and enough to make most Raider fans proclaim, “NOW I have seen it all.” The Chiefs were clearly the inferior team, but the Raiders managed to impersonate the old Cincinnati Bungles of yesteryear just long enough to make them look like a team on a roll.

On the defensive side, the Raiders brought the heat on many occasions, but failed to consider history and adjust to the midfield grappler, Tony Gonzalez. He is the Kansas City version of the Charger's LaDainian Tomlinson; making a career of torching the Raiders. In fact, he broke a record for most yards received versus the Raiders, and the Raiders seemed all too willing to accommodate him.

After this latest three hour marathon of slapstick comedy, no one can blame Raider fans if they are calling for the next purge of Raider brass. Even if you are pulling for the nice guy Tom Cable. This is all too familiar territory for Raider fans.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Just Win Two Baby

By Rick Richardson

The emotions ran high last week during and after the Raider's victory over the Broncos. How sweet it is to grab a win in a tough house against a hated rival. Tom Cable was doing his best air karate on the sideline that just begs for the lyrics “everyone was kung fu fighting”. I expect it to show up very soon on YouTube. It was a great day, for the Raider nation’s citizens and for a team with some great guys who have paid their dues, wasting away as their efforts year in and year out go unnoticed and seemingly in vain. For every Jerry Porter or Randy Moss tiptoeing through the season, there have been a Justin Fargas or Nnamdi Asomugha throwing everything they have into the fray. There were reports of many players becoming emotional in the locker room afterwards including the aforementioned Tom “fist of fury” Cable. Every body loves a win, and this was a win everyone could love. Watching Cable be so excited for his players, made me wish for his success even more. The jury is definitely still out whether the shotgun wedding between the Raiders and Tom will work out, but I am hoping for bliss. He showed me enough to hold out hope for some sense of stability by seasons end. Everyone knows that hope can be dashed this Sunday while hosting Kansas City.

A loss to the lowly Chiefs would be disastrous. A win against the arch rivals is always tough, so it is especially important to win when victory is expected. As always when these two meet, nothing is guaranteed. Improving on Tom Cable’s slogan of "each week be 1-0", the Raiders need to shoot for "this week be 2-0". The Raiders desperately need to have a winning streak. In these calamitous days of Raider ineptitude, the Raiders could use two consecutive weeks of what it feels like to win. Maybe they could even begin bringing back that ever elusive winning culture just for old times sake, and pack it with them to camp next season.

Tom Cable "Fist of Fury"

Friday, November 7, 2008

Rebuilding the Raiders

By Rick Richardson

In a previous post I mentioned bringing in the ultimate general manager Ron Wolf and the wingman of Al’s choice to jumpstart the return of the Raiders. With a protégé in tow, the transition to a day without the Wolf would be seamless, and create an atmosphere of continuity for many years. After this tour de force, Oakland could then concentrate on the head coach.

Jim Harbaugh has been recently mentioned as a replacement, to the replacement, that is Tom Cable. Nothing against Cable, but he is better suited to be the offensive line coach, although if he isn’t retained as head coach, his days as the Raiders zone blocking guru are more than likely behind him. With Harbaugh, the Raiders might find the much-needed discipline they have been lacking. The kind of discipline that Rich Gannon often lamented was missing during his time with the Raiders, and the kind of discipline that Art Shell would have brought with him, if he hadn’t made the mistake of letting his loyalty to the bed and breakfast profession drag him down. Harbaugh has talent, and most of all the grit and expertise of what it takes to be an NFL quarterback. JaMarcus Russell could use his tutelage and maybe, just maybe create a bust in Canton, instead of the very different kind of bust that he is sliding toward with each tumultuous day in Oakland. Russell is beginning to have that deer in the headlights look on game day, and seems to be on his own in terms of development. Poor coaching leads to bad habits and bad habits lead to wasted cap room for the Raiders.

Harbaugh’s career college record is 38-18 while at San Diego and Stanford. He possesses that Rich Gannon perfectionism. He believes in going the extra mile for the win, painstakingly pouring over every little detail. With the can’t do attitude the Raiders players have displayed recently, it would be great to have Harbaugh’s fresh input on Sundays in Oakland, and a quarterback friendly coach for Russell in the process.