Tag Archives: Al Davis

Mark Davis Puts His Plan In Motion

So far, Mark Davis’s tenure as the Raiders owner has been a quite one. Many, including myself wondered how he’d run the Raiders once his father passed away. Today was really the first time he’d spoken publicly about the teams plans for the interim and the future. All in all I was impressed how he handled himself while answering questions about their future as well as the reasons he hired Reggie Mackenzie as the Raiders first ever GM even if he’s the only guy he interviewed for the job. Here’s the whole interview of the two new top dogs in the Raiders organization if you care.

One thing they left on the table which was never actually answering during the interview was why the decision was made to fire Hue Jackson. Yes they said it was Reggie Mackenzie’s choice and he wanted to start from stratch, but that wasn’t nearly as firm as when Al Davis would do his semi-annual firing (just ask Lane Kiffin or any ex-Raiders coach for that matter). Raiders fans may never know why he was fired for sure, but you have to bet that some of it had to do with the empty promises he consistently made throughout the season in a Rex Ryan like fashion including the whole building a bully angle, we’ll make the playoffs, less penalties, stopping the run, and the best trade of all-time quotes come to mind as well. The most troubling part about the firing was that he did seem to be liked by the players, and that’s something that’s hard to replace, but at the same time if you have the ears of the players why did they completely forget to show up in a few games!?! I always wondered why he didn’t request more help while handling personnel choices as the head coach/GM this year. I’m sure they would’ve gotten him someone to help out if he asked for it. Hue’s demise was for more than a few reasons. He never put Jason Campbell on the IR opening a spot for perhaps another linebacker or corner back not named Lito Sheppard that we desperately needed. Then there was the whole finishing the season losing four out of five, which could’ve easily been five of five since they played like crap in KC, but one team had to win that game.

Another thing I think that Mark Davis must’ve seen that I even noticed is that they changed a lot of their defensive and offensive philosophies once Al passed away. Would that piss his son off in a season supposedly dedicated to his father? Possibly, and the glaring change in philosophy was letting the defense play zone a lot for the last 12 games, and ultimately killed them in the Lions game when they have always been a man to man type team in the secondary. Should Jackson have been fired? There’s reasons for keeping him and letting him go. Keeping him would basically blame this past season of failures on injuries (justifiable), the defense, and spreading himself too thin playing GM and coach. The firing however shows that they are re-setting the franchise in Mark Davis’ vision of the franchise opposed to his fathers, which is something all Raiders fans might like to see after nearly a decade of losing somewhat like the Warriors tenure change. Although I don’t know a Raiders fan who honestly hated Al even in his bad years.

I think the most impressive part about all this movement in the front office is that Mark Davis consulted people he was close with, and came out with a clear vision that he would get his team into a better place to succeed not so much next year but in the future. No, he’s not a talent evaluator like Al Davis was, but he does clearly have a plan for the future. It all started with getting Reggie Mackenzie on board, and putting a staff together with that talent evaluating ability. Whether or not Reggie knows what he’s doing remains to be seen, but watching the Packers work their way to winning two Super Bowls while he was working for them, isn’t going to hurt. I thought Mackenzie was well spoken, and seemed to have a clear vision of how the organization should be run, so in the end I’m not that sad Hue is gone. If we could keep him on as the OC, I would love to see that happen, but I wouldn’t blame him for turning that job down. Should be interesting to see what’s next for them, but at the same time it’s kinda sad that the A’s, Raiders, and Warriors are all in constant re-build mode, because sadly the Raiders were pretty much the only successful team I’ve had the chance to root for lately…

Replacing Campbell: What Would Al Do?

Now that I’ve accepted Kyle Boller as the Raiders’ starting QB in Week 7, it’s a bit easier for me to take a less hasty look at the search for a replacement for Jason Campbell. I, for one, am not sold on Kyle Boller as a long-term solution. Fortunately, the Raiders face a 2-3 Kansas City team that’s scoring just 15 points a game this season. After that, the Bye week. So, it looks like if we can just survive one “should-win” game at home with Boller, we can focus more of our attention on getting the best possible guy for the job, instead of just whoever we can get now. If I’m Al Davis, I go straight to the best guy available. Though Carson Palmer and available aren’t words that have been mentioned together all year, my gut says Al would MAKE him available. The main arguments against it are that Bengals ownership is stubbornly set on not rewarding a player’s demands, and the Raiders don’t have any attractive draft picks next year anyway. But they do still have their number one pick. Trading a first round pick is probably foolish, but the Raiders are winning now, and they’re built for the future as well. I don’t see anyone on the roster who’ll need to be replaced in the next three years. I’ve got to believe it’s worth it to get a bonafide starting NFL quarterback. Most owners wouldn’t pull the trigger merely on the prospect of the criticism they’d receive, but Al Davis never cared about that. He’d just say something like, “We wanted Carson Palmer so we GOT Carson Palmer,” and that’d be the end of it. And ultimately, if he was unable to succesfully pry Palmer from the Bengals, he’d at least leak the offer to the media so Cincinnati owner, Paul Brown, would have to face criticism from his fans for turning down a first round pick on stubborn principle.

First Bay Area Post; Comcast, AD, and Tinyballs

The last four days I haven’t been in tune with the sports world or anything for that matter. My world is getting a pleasant change. I moved from LA up to the Bay Area, which is probably where I belong, and while driving up you know I bumped this E-40 song a couple times. Anyways I didn’t catch any football, baseball, or anything on TV for that matter Saturday through Tuesday. It feels like a rarity in this day in age.

I never remember having too many problems with Comcast when I lived in Monterey, but MCeezy warned us all of how deceitful and retarded they can be at any given moment. First, they schedule an appointment on Sunday (the day I was moving in) which was perfect, because you want internet and TV the day you start living somewhere. Oh yeah, and that landline too, who can live without one of those! I never understood how a service could be $10 cheaper a month with adding a landline opposed to not having one. Anyways, a rep came out, but couldn’t seem to get the job done for one reason or another. Two days later they finally sent out a competent rep leaving me with a missed weekend of football and MLB playoff games. How did they apologize? A free movie rental on demand. Yipee… Anyways, this is not a good start to my Comcast experience, so hopefully I don’t have to write some rants like Mceezy did (Even though I wasn’t expecting a good experience).

To hear Al Davis died was somewhat shocking, and I think I got about 10 texts about it that Saturday morning. It was an odd way to start packing the moving truck to say the least. I mean he was old, but who would’ve thought the Grim Reaper could really die!?! Al meant so much to football as a whole, and I can’t add too much that hasn’t already been said in tributes everywhere, but he meant even more to Raiders fans than I can even put into words. He will be missed. It’s strange how sports can rally people, and naturally I hope the players dedicate the rest of their games to him this year. I got to catch the abbreviated version of the game against Houston on NFL Network this morning, so hopefully they play with that kind of emotion for the remainder of the year.

I don’t have much else to say except, I’m glad I have the internet to find clips like the two below. Sorry if you’re tired of the whole Moneyball story as we keep bringing it up on here, but here’s a SNL spoof for “Tinyballs” that was funny. The second clip needs no introduction except for lucky popsicle!

Doin Tributes: Al Davis

AL DAVIS MADE ME A RAIDERS FAN. Unlike Chappy, who’s been a lifelong Raiders fan, I grew up a San Francisco 49ers fan. Although our family roots are in Oakland, the Raiders moved to Los Angeles the year I was born, so the 49ers were my home team. Even when the Raiders moved back to the Bay Area in the mid-90s, I was still loyal to the Niners. It was somewhere around 1999 or 2000 that I got fed up. The York family seemed poised to run the franchise into the ground, and meanwhile, across the Bay, the Raiders were trying everything they could to build a winner. Now, anyone who knows me knows I’m far from a fairweather fan. But when a front office isn’t even concerned with the team on the field, and is more focused on the financial side of things, it gets a little frustrating. Being a Northern California sports fan means rarely landing that coveted free agent. They usually go somewhere else with more money. But Al Davis made the Raiders the exception. Perhaps they were often castoffs from other teams, but Al Davis went out and got big time football players for one reason, to just win baby. He was bringing in guys like Warren Sapp and Randy Moss. (Yes, I know they didn’t really work out). He’s faced more criticism than few other sports owners have, and has come under a lot of fire lately due to a string of coaching changes. To me, though, I saw an owner who cared enough to make a move when it needed to be made. As the primary face of the Raiders over the years, he probably had more haters out there than any owner, most of whom people didn’t even know existed. It was impossible to not know who Al Davis was. Especially now that he’s passed, we all know he hired the first black head coach, the first latino head coach, and the first woman CEO in sports. It was his commitment to winning though (I wouldn’t call it ‘excellence’), that made me a fan. Owners who care about winning more than the bottom line are becoming few and far between. His brash style alienated many, and I wouldn’t even say I was a fan of Al Davis. But, Al Davis made things happen. Al Davis MADE me a Raiders fan.

Russell’s Iced Out Necklace is in Jeopardy

Our favorite Raiders quarterback of all-time is being sued/had a grievance filed against him by the Raiders for $9 million of the $39 million they wasted on him today. It’s a rough break for Russell, now he might have to return some of that ice he layered himself with. I think he might lose a little resale value on anything he put himself on, like this awesome diamond encrusted Jamarcus jersey. Before you know it he will be back to wearing his hippy cloak, and be on the huge list of athletes who have gone broke. It’s okay though, I hear McDonald’s doesn’t mind if you have a lazy work ethic, and occasionally fumble things in to the deep fryers. Too bad Al can’t devise some kind of lawsuit that would take back a million for every game he lost for them (7-18). I’d say he lost at least 15 of them. If you want to know about his highlights as a Raider yous can check out this post. For some reason I find this comical, because Al stood by the marshmellow man for so long, firing Kiffin, and making Cable play him, but now, Al decides to sue his ass! I’m sure there’s some warrant to the lawsuit or Al wouldn’t waste his time. This is one of the main reasons the NFL needs to change up the rookie pay scale for the first round draft picks. Maybe the new CBA will bring that for us. Anyways, one thing Al has been bad at lately is winning, except when it comes to court cases. He will drag them out, and whether the lawsuit is against a city or the NFL, or a player, he usually wins. My advice to Jamarcus, just give  it back or you’re going to spend more fighting to get it back, and have to pay Al at the end of the day anyways! Actually, maybe he doesn’t even have $9 million to give back…

Raiders Cut a 300 Pound Paper Only Costing Them $40M

Well it’s finally been announced that the Raiders will give in and cut JaMarcus Russell. As Cali4Dre said, “they paid him $5 1/2M per win.” He was paid in excess of $39M, and will likely go down as one of the biggest draft busts of all time. It’s awesome that Al decided to do this, it took him a long time, but he is old, so I forgive him for moving slow. I was actually kind of scared that when Jamarcus was told he was being cut, he might have eaten Mr. Davis, and that was why it took so long. Anyways, the writing was on the wall for awhile, and it was surprising that it took Al this long to realize it. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t listen to anyone. Maybe he is starting to listen, because he had a sane draft, and seems to be making some quality moves. I just hope this isn’t a Jack Cust with the A’s, and they end up signing  JaMarcus back on for a discount. He’s wasted too much of our time to ever have him wear the silver and black again. Maybe he’d be a good fit as a lineman in the CFL or maybe, just maybe, there is some team stupid enough to sign him. Whatever his future, I wanted to revisit his top moments in the silver and black.

The 2007 Holdout – Russell held out until week 2 of the 2007 regular season to sign his monstrous $68M ($31.5M guaranteed) six year contract. It was well worth the wait, for him that is. I remember wondering why it was taking so long to get a deal done, and Len Pasqurelli at the time said “the long holdout seems to have garnered Russell a very advantageous payout structure. Of course, it also cost him any opportunity to win the starting job in training camp.” What?!? He wanted to start!?! I had no idea! Continue reading

Raiders Swoop Up Another Leftover Quarterback

These days, it’s almost more exciting to be a Raider fan during the offseason than during the season.  The Raiders are the one team I can count on to make big moves each year to try and get better the following year. It doesn’t pan out in a favorable way, but it’s nice to know that management, for lack of a better word, is not just sitting around apathetically in it’s cryogenic chamber. The most recent addition to the Oakland roster is supposedly Jason Campbell. The guys over at ESPN reported during this morning’s draft coverage that the now expendable Redskins quarterback is headed to Oakland in a trade for the Raiders’ 4th round pick in 2012. This gives Al Davis yet another backup QB to add to his two decade long collection – maybe even longer, because as I think back as long as I’ve been alive, I can’t recall a single franchise caliber QB donning the silver and black. Many will point no further than Rich Gannon earlier this decade, but to me, Gannon will always be the Kansas City Chiefs’ backup. I’d have to go back to Plunkett personally. But that predates my Raiders fandom. I think of names like Jeff Hostetler, Jay Schroeder, Jeff George, Kerry Collings and regretfully, Jamarcus Russell. Now we’ll see how Campbell adjusts to life in the Black Hole. I usually have optimistic expectations for guys who basically got pushed out the door in their old clubhouse, but I’m not sure Campbell ever had the makeup of a starting QB. He had the keys to the truck in Washington for a while, but never really delivered. I really like the idea of two former standout SEC quarterbacks battling it out for the job in a season that will likely make or break both of their seasons.

Scary Words, The Raiders Are On The Clock…

Hey Darth, who had the fastest 40-time at the combine?

The draft is fast approaching, and there’s no telling who the Raiders will pick. It’s no secret they need help on both front lines, but will they address that? Probably not, and even though some experts have made their predictions on who we will take, is there really anyway to really know what Al is thinking!?! Unless I hear it straight from his mouth, I will be skeptical until it actually happens. The Raiders have always been a team that likes to take chances, and this decade’s first round draft picks for Oakland have been nothing short of surprising more often than not. I won’t sugar coat it, our first round picks have been a joke during our decade of downward spiral. Aside from Asomugha, the first round picks just don’t seem to work out whether we went off the radar or picked who everyone thought we should or picked the right guy based on internal experts projection (Al). I still have some hope that DHB and D-Mac will be a factor. I’m not holding my breathe though, since Louis Murphy looks like a better receiver than DHB, and when called upon, Michael Bush, seems to be more steady than McFadden. Both Murphy and Bush were 4th round selections, so maybe we should just trade our 1-2-3 picks each year, and go straight for that fourth round! If you discard those last two draft picks from the equation, since they are too young to call busts. We’ve only had two picks over the last decade that truly worked out, Charles Woodson (98) and Asomugha (03). I guess we could call Janikowski successful, but is taking a kicker in the first round really justifiable?!?! Not really, because I’m sure we could’ve still gotten him in round 3 or 4. The Raiders always get murdered in the media for the usually shocking players they take in the first round, similar to the way Belichick is applauded for every move he makes. Continue reading

Cable Guy Is Al’s Guy… For Now At least…

Normally I wouldn’t write about this, but since I’ve struggled to be inspired to put up a post about anything going on currently, I might as well weigh in on the retaining of our (has me kinda pumped for next year), Raiders Coach. Cable isn’t the most liked guy around the league, maybe for socking assistant Randy Hanson, maybe because of his woman beating past, or maybe because of his record as head coach (9-19). Whatever the case for the haters, he has won the locker room over, and apparently, for the time being and most importantly, Al Davis. Cable staying keeps the Raiders from NFL history books by not changing coaches for the sixth time in eight years, which would’ve been the most in history. I endorse the move, as we finally have something somewhat stable within the organization, which is much different than years past. I think the hiring has answered at least a couple questions for Raider Nation, but like all Raiders decisions, we never really know if what we are assuming is what’s actually happening.

So what went on in those many meetings between Al and Cable? Did Tom find a way to show Al that Jamarcus was truly a huge problem with this teams success? Was it how Cable kept his poker face when he was surrounded by turmoil on and off the field? Was it the fact that nearly all the players backed him, and wanted him return next season? Did Al finally realize nobody wants to coach the Raiders more than Cable? Continue reading

Going Up / Going Down: Alex Smith vs. Jamarcus Russell

This offseason, the other two California football teams will have many different decisions to make, but the most important one will be the same. Do we give our former #1 pick another year to become the franchise QB we need, or is it time to cut ties and move in a new direction? The 49ers and Raiders each had a number one draft pick within a three year span. They both took potential franchise quarterbacks, but neither has panned out to this point. Though there are plenty of pros and cons for both dilemmas, I think the answers are pretty simple. One is favorable and one is not. Let’s take a look at how both QBs got to the point they’re at, and the potential outcomes moving forward.

2005: The 49ers were coming off a 2-14 season and held the first overall pick. There was plenty of talent available, but SF’s biggest need was at Quarterback. The choice came down to Alex Smith or Aaron Rodgers. In the end, Smith was heralded as the better athlete, and more intelligent. Now, for every Ronnie Brown, Braylon Edwards, or Demarcus Ware they passed on, there was also a Cedric Benson, Pacman Jones, or Mike Williams that would’ve been worse. But, since Rodgers was the only other guy they were going to pick, he’s the only one it’s fair to compare with. To this point, Rodgers has thrown for more yards and touchdowns on less attempts than Smith, while throwing less interceptions as well. Smith got off to a rough start in his first year, throwing 1 TD pass to 11 interceptions. In 2006, he looked to be coming into form, completing 58% of his passes and connecting on 16 TD passes to 16 INTs. Last season was derailed by a shoulder injury, however, and when he came back this season, Shaun Hill had beat him out for the starting job. Smith, however, replaced Hill in Week 7, and had an up and down final 11 games to end the season. He finished with his best ever TD to INT ratio at 18:12. He also completed over 60% of his passes. The problem, though, is he still has yet to live up to his potential, and the 49ers are left to question whether he ever will. I can’t say with confidence that he will, but the chances are much better than his Oakland counterpart. Smith’s shoulder probably still caused him some discomfort early this season, but he should be back to full strength by now. The reason I see him getting better is his intelligence. While there certainly are exceptions based on physical gifts, the best QBs, like starting pitchers in baseball, are the smart ones who figure out the game and learn to play within it. I think Alex Smith can only get better the more he plays.

2007: The Raiders were coming off a 2-14 season of their own and held the first pick also. Also in need of a franchise QB, Al Davis couldn’t resist the size of LSU’s Jamarcus Russell, and despite new Head Coach, Lane Kiffin’s objections, selected him with the #1 overall pick. While I never really questioned the Niners’ selection of Alex Smith, I knew this one was doomed from the start. We all knew Russell could throw a ball across the Bay from his knees, but how does that translate to playing QB in the NFL? What he made up for in physical tools, he lacked in the mental department. Three seasons later, he has alienated himself from teammates and fans, something that’s hard to do in Oakland. The combination of bonehead plays, lack of accountability and complete lack of pocket presence has lead many to question his future as this team’s quarterback. He was given the keys to the franchise this year and repeatedly drove the wagon off a cliff, with an untimely interception, sack, or fumble. In his three year career, he’s completed just 52% of his passes for a lowly 65.2 QB rating. He’s also thrown just 18 TD passes to 23 INTs. Those numbers would all surely be lower if 90% of his passes weren’t dump off passes to backs. When he was replaced by Bruce Gradkowski this year, the rest of the team clearly elevated their level of play. It looked as if they felt they had a much better chance with anyone other than Russell out there. Now, whenever Russell gets into the game, it’s the result of an injury to another QB, and he is inevitably greeted with boos from the Raider Nation. Russell has shown no signs of getting better, and even worse, his drive and desire to get better have been called into question far too often. The Raiders need to make a decision, but if I know Al Davis, Tom Cable will be far more likely to be shown the door. My only hope is that the Raiders at least pick up a new QB who could challenge, and ultimately beat out Russell for the starting spot.

Raiders Sign Another Interception Machine… It Could Be Worse Though!

JP is turning in the yellow and blue for silver and black!

JP Losman is coming fresh off leading Las Vegas Locomotives to the UFL Championship, and is destined to battle with Gradkowski for the starting job, as he signed with the Oakland Raiders! I’m not sure he’ll play this week, but with Gradkowski injured that might be why he was brought in. Watch out Denver, we have someone slightly to mildly better than Jamarcus! I don’t think Losman will do much, but this all but reaffirms that Jamarcus will be cut at the end of the year. Raider Nation has been waiting all season for Al to give up on him, and this looks like it might be the last nail in Russell’s horrendous career, if you could call it that.  The organization finally had enough of Russell last week when he came into a 10-10 tie after Gradkowski was injured. He did his best to show he learned nothing from being benched. He got sacked his usual 50% of the time, and threw passes to the other team as much as he could with no receiver in sight. I think he threw it to Zack Miller, because he’s the only one he ever threw to accurately. I was glad he at least refrained from blaming the playmakers for not catching his balls 20 feet over their heads this week, which was his excuse when Bruce came in and won for them. Hopefully this will have to be the last rant I make on Jamarcus as he goes on his farewell tour… JP’s stats aren’t exciting, but one thing does stand out, his career QB rating is 10 points higher than Russell’s! I guess we’ll see how he does, but we all know it will be better than Russell.

Who would've thought this would be the last time he'd be #1 at anything! I guess, everyone but Al...

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!

Bang Football Cartoons

Where South Park meets the NFL. John Tayman, the creator of Bang Cartoons, has been making comical cartoons of our favorite players, coaches, announcers, and executives across the NFL since 2003. He writes, draws, and speaks for 99% of the characters in his cartoons. I have to say, I never envisioned Al Davis as a rapper! sp-screenplay29__0500202331Plenty of players have come across his cartoons, even Terrell Owens and Kellen Winslow thought the skits making fun of their mishaps were funny. He started making the videos, because he felt that people take sports way to seriously! He wanted to lighten the mood, and  show the mishaps of these sports figures when they aren’t placed up on the “pedistal”. Check some of them out they are pretty funny or atleast the ones from your favorite team!