Daily Archives: August 26, 2009

The Raiders Outlook May be Bleak, but there’s Always a Silver Lining Before the Season Starts

Al Davis

With Raiders Camp concluding on the 27th, I thought I’d take a look at our chances this season. I usually try to talk myself into believing that we will do good, and keep a positive attitude. This year, in all honesty an 8-8 season would feel like we made the playoffs. I’m not saying we’ll win that many, but I hope that we play good enough to at least cover the Vegas lines!Tom Cable This off-season has been highlighted by Cable’s haymaker, but I’d say that last season’s Jevon Walker saga was much more dysfunctional. At least this season, it was football related. Plus, I really like that he did it. It makes me feel like he really cares. Whatever happens, I’m glad we have a coach that gets fired up enough to sock someone. If I was a player, he’d have my respect instantly. Anyways, if we’re going to win a significant amount of games this season it all falls on Jemarcus and his ability to lead this offense.

Entering his third season, he really needs to show the team something or their contingency plan (Garcia) will kick into effect. One thing about Russell, is he’s good at not turning it over, but on the same notion he doesn’t throw many TD passes and completes only %53 of his passes. I’m not a big fan of the pre-season telling you much since both teams are working out the kinks on both sides of the ball. I did catch some of the Raiders vs. Niners game, and was surprised to see Russell play pretty well with the exception of one wild over throw. He looked more comfortable than I’ve ever seen him. I’m not saying he won’t make bad decisions when the season starts, but at least he looks more comfortable/calm on the field.

As for their receivers, it’s definitely not completely figured out. I’ve read that #7 pick Darius Heywood-Bey (DHB), has seemed to be getting into a rhythm, and has made a memorable catch in mini camps.Darius Heywood-Bey DHB Jevon Walker made his first appearance at yesterday’s practice since last November after repairing his knee. He’s probably going to disappear more often than not whether he’s injured or on the field. Chaz Schillins, is not a # 1 receiver. Tight End Zach Miller, Russell’s favorite target last season, should be seeing just as much action. I just hope he’s not leading the team in receiving yards again, because we really need to get our receivers involved. If DHB is the highest rated receiver on the Raiders in Madden 2010 with an 81, then it’s definitely an area that needs a lot of improvement.

Our running game has been the one strong part of our offense for the past couple years, but we need some passing too. Having a clog in the backfield with Fargas, Mcfadden, and Bush, might be one to many backs. Not that they won’t be a great combo to put out there to force teams to stop,  but why wouldn’t you try to shop Fargas and Bush around?Michael Bush They could address a number of needs and still have a two headed monster that teams covet in the backfield.  They don’t even need to go for a receiver that I stated they need so desperately. They could upgrade the offensive or defensive line. In this scenario, I’d much rather see Fargas go as he runs into his own linemen more than tacklers, but if it takes Bush to make a drastic improvement in any of the above mentioned areas, I’m all for it. I’m not saying that Mr. Davis would make a sensible move such as this one, but we can hope. I’m ready for the Chargers on the Monday edition of season openers!

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Chris Carter Has Arrived!

After being named Texas League Player of the Week for three of the last four weeks, IF Chris Carter finally has been bumped up to AAA-Sacramento.  You may remember Carter from the Carlos Quentin deal, where he was swapped straight up by Chicago.  Then, Arizona flipped him to Oakland in the Dan Haren deal.  Carter has been most impressive this year, hitting 24 HR and 101 RBI.  Perhaps most impressive, though, is his .337 batting average. 

No word yet if Carter is in the lineup, but if he is, I’ll have a full report on his AAA debut later tonight.


What’s Wrong with Liverpool?

Two weeks into the new Premier League season: One win, two losses, five goals scored, six conceded, & three measly points. A start like that is enough to shake the confidence of the stoutest of Liverpool fans. After last seasons flirtation with an EPL title, Liverpool seemed poised to take the last step to the top of English football, thus far it’s been two very big steps back.

In the two losses against Tottenham and Aston Villa, Liverpool lacked cohesion and confidence that has been a trade mark of their football most notably seen in Europe under Rafa. Strong commitment, pressure on the ball, creativity moving up the pitch, and confidence in the back has been lacking. Its usual stars not withstanding, Pool have been bleak. The two most note worthy suspects who would seem to encompass all of Liverpool’s ills are Lucas and Martin Skertel. In three games since taking over for Alonso in the middle of the park, Lucas has tallied up more own goals then Goals scored and assists combined….he also leads the squad in fouls committed, the most notorious of which lead to an immediate own goal of his . Skertel meanwhile he been devoid of any presence in the back, slow of place, heavy touches and lack of positioning has been noticeable. Monday’s loss to Aston Villa however was a team effort, far to many passes were errant, set piece marking was horrendous by all, even Steven Gerrard chipped in with a clumsy challenge that was an easy penalty call.

It’s far too early for Rafa and company to sound the alarm, Liverpool has three very winnable games ahead of them, nine  points against Bolton, Burnley, and West Ham would quickly right the ship. But a quick return to the basics is needed, a solidifying of tactics, and some defensive touch ups maybe all that is needed.

The margin for error however is getting smaller by the week.


The Morning News

So two things I read this morning that really bothered me… 
You wanna piece of this?  I dare you...

You wanna piece of this? I dare you...

  JA Adande has an article about replacing Phil Jackson when he retires, calling him out for not molding any assistants into starters besides Cartwright and someone else.  Adande says he prefers veterans like Tex Winter… RIP. 

Shouldn't TEX be the one sitting in this photo?

Shouldn't TEX be the one sitting in this photo?

 He says Rambis doesn’t count because he’s now in MIN and actually had a chance to coach before Phil came and totally blew it. THEN, later on when he’s naming candidates, he mentions Brian Shaw. An up and coming coach who just happened to be an assistant to Phil, which Adande fails to recognize. He’s got a point about the lack of tutelage skills Phil has employed over the years, but let’s at least be real about the candidates you choose and where they come from. Totally hypocritical, but whatever, I like Adande. He’s epsn basketballs’ Michael Smith.

 

Then I’m reading about USC’s practice yesterday and how Corp “impressed” Pete coming back from his leg bone injury. Pete called it “remarkable” when asked about it, the one word quoted as a response according to the article. 

See that, over there? That's me taking your job.

See that, over there? That's me taking your job.

 Oh Pete… thanks for the lesson in how and why USC is so great at self promotion. Didn’t you just call Aaron out last week saying he MUST be back in practice by TUESDAY to have a chance at starting in 2 weeks? You did, Pete, and the only thing that would have made the situation truly remarkable about would be if Corp WASN’T at practice. He was going to be there with a leg brace on or in a wheel chair if necessary. Nice work Pete, Crown him a hero cause you need a reason to start the junior over the stud freshman. I like it.

And in other news, Pete’s old flame was named the Jets starter today.

I suggest staying away from the Jets, the media in NY will tear you to shreds!

I suggest staying away from the Jets, the media in NY will tear you to shreds!

You still think he should have stayed Pete? 

 Ok, I’m good now.