2012 Oakland Raiders: Great Expectations Vs Realistic Expectations
Captain Jack Rack 'em Levy – Jul 27, 2012
Before I launch into my weekly diatribe, I wanted to get two personal items off my chest.
1) First and foremost, and before I go any further, with regard to the Sandusky Case and resultant fall-out, it is abhorrent what took place in the sheltered confines of State College, Pennsylvania, and my heartfelt sorrow goes out to all who were affected by that deviant. My maternal family is from the ‘nice side’ of Pennsylvania, i.e. the coal-cracker region that brought you Yuengling beer and Phillies baseball, so ‘Joe Pa’ was someone that I admired as a kid (well before he made a tragic mistake to cover-up for a fellow coach so as not to destroy his program… pitiful to say the least.)
Having said that, I am ECSTATIC the Nittany Lion program and their ‘We Can Do No Wrong’ fans took a severe kick in the stomach from the NCAA. Yes, I’m not a big fan of the NCAA either, but listening to ‘Lion Fan’ pompously portray themselves as having the most pious program in all of College Football, with Joe Paterno being a near deity from on high made me SICK for years.
I remember a civilian contractor I shared time with onboard the USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT during the cruise immediately after 9/11 go ‘on and on and on’ about how ‘Joe Pa’ was THE GREATEST, how his kids would always graduate, how the Penn State program wasn’t like the DEVIANT and CORRUPT programs of the SEC (and my Florida Gators in particular) who employed ‘thugs and criminals’ within their program. Boyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy how I WISH I could get in touch with said obnoxious ‘Ass Clown’ now… just to serve him a nice dish of ‘fecal crow pie.’ The Gators employed corrupt and deviant ‘thugs and criminals?’ How about having them as YOUR COACHING STAFF you self-righteous MORON?!?!
2) Also this week (23 July 2012) Louis Murphy was traded from our Raiders to the Carolina Panthers for an undisclosed draft pick in what undoubtedly will be a ‘Win/Win’ for both clubs. Knowing LJ and his family personally, it is a loss to myself and my FBARB Boosters as we enjoyed being a part of his yearly ‘Football Camp’ in St Petersburg, and although he has moved on to another team, I will remain a Murphy supporter, having enjoyed his athleticism and game-changing ability since he was at my college – those aforementioned Florida Gators – and with the Raiders.
No matter the circumstances of his departure, I think personally that he wasn’t successfully employed since both his injury two seasons ago nor since the injury and subsequent demotion of Jason Campbell, and he will be missed. However, I’m sure he’ll be much happier going to a team that will successfully utilize his skills, so again, the Panthers win, Murphy wins, and the Raiders win by gaining picks for a player that may not have made this roster due to a log-jam of capable receivers this year.
Happier Times: Gradkowski's locker room celebration after throwing winning TD to Murphy...
I’m a Louis Murphy fan and supporter, much like I’m a Bruce Gradkowski fan and supporter, due to the fact that I know both gentlemen personally. Who can forget that magical game in Pittsburgh a few years ago when both Bruce and LJ took the game into their hands and beat the Steelers in such a dramatic and inspiring fashion!! Wow, I’ll always remember that game with a smile, and as long as they aren’t playing MY RAIDERS, I have nothing but positive thoughts and well wishes to them both, and I hope you can appreciate that as fans of the game.
... as the Raiders beat the Steelers 27-24 on 6 December 2009. Bruce and LJ had two touchdowns that day, the winner coming with :09 seconds left on the clock. Disgruntled Steeler fans look on...
So now we can talk about our Raiders!!
I’ve often been accused of being somewhat of a ‘Homer’ by a few of my friends, but to be honest, I try to be as analytical as I can be. Yes, I do try to see many of the ‘positives’ that are glossed over by fans who get a bit peeved during a game – “Stanford Routt SUCKS!!” “What the hell is Barnes thinking false starting…oh that’s right, he ISN’T thinking.” “OMG… what type of defense is Bresnahan running anyway?!?! McClain defending Megatron?!?!” – Although these might not be the best examples, as I probably was irate and yelling at the TV screen right along with my Shipmates! But you know what I mean…
There are plenty of Raider fans that have delusions of grandeur and are getting their family room ready for the Lombardi trophy replica they’ll be buying at the end of this year, with the flip side being the ‘Debby Downers’ that have the Raiders picking first in next April’s draft.
Me? Well, obviously I’m ‘somewhere in between’ those two extremes, as can ANYONE really predict to an exact science how your team is going to do this next year… in July? Serrrrrriously, how different of a team would we be looking at this year had DMac and Campbell stayed healthy last year? I’m sure we would’ve been the AFC West Champions (hell, it came down to the last game of the season which was gagged away by losing to the Sparklers at home, which made it hurt worse).
Had the Raiders been in the Playoffs last year, would Hue Jackson still be our Head Coach? I’d say the chances are greater than 60-40 yes. Would Jason Campbell be our starting QB this year, with Carson Palmer gaining a bunch more weight having spent the entire rest of last season and this off season eating Ho Hos and drinking Coke? (My old football coach of Southern extraction used to threaten us NOT to be eating Moon Pies and drinking RC Colas in the summer and to stay fit…) Would Chuck Bresnahan still be our Defensive Coordinator? (Gawwwwwwwwwwwwwd that is too depressing to even think about…)
Boggling the mind: How different would the Raider roster and staff look in 2012 had Campbell not been lost for the season vs the Browns...
The point is, the Raiders are in fact still in the midst of a make-over that could be televised on ABC Sunday Nights. New GM… New Head Coach and Staff… Teammates still looking to mesh from last year, with an influx of free-agents and rookies that have many so-called ‘Experts’ stating that with all this turmoil, there is no way in Hades the Raiders could be a successful team in 2012.
... or McFadden hadn't gone down against the Chiefs. We certainly can wonder about all the different permutations...
To those who say that… I counter with this: BULL PUCKEY!! (yes, I’m trying to watch my Sailor potty mouth a bit…lol.)
Although we hate to bring this comparison up, a certain team in the Bay last year basically went through the same upheaval of personnel, coaching staff and other major changes, and came within two inopportune fumbles of going to the Super Bowl, after winning their division quite easily in the process, so don’t tell me that our Raiders will be bringing up the rear in the AFC West, ok ‘Experts’?!?!?
Also, while we’re at it, the last two times the current Super Bowl Champion – the NY Giants – snuck into the playoffs, they ultimately won the prize that all teams seek at the start of each training camp, the glorious Silver trophy named after the former NY Giant Assistant Coach who left for ‘Greener (Bay) Pastures’ and football immortality.
ANYTHING can happen once you make the Playoffs (cue Jim Mora clip… Playoffs? PLAY offs?) so obviously the Raiders want to be one of the twelve teams still dancing in January. Considering the Raiders were still in the hunt last year in spite of the heartbreaking losses to the Bills and Lions (which ultimately left them one game short) going into week 17…
… And the fact that they’ve had two ‘non-losing seasons’ at 8-8 (something that Jon Gruden accomplished before ultimately kicking the Silver and Black into overdrive with three straight Playoff appearances and two AFC Championship appearances) – yeah, I don’t wanna talk about that snowy game in New England, and yes I know that Bill Callahan was the Head Coach for that second AFC Championship game, but that was Gruden’s team with an upscale offense which Callahan let loose of the conservative reins which had plagued the Raiders the previous few years..
Bottom Line – ANYTHING can happen THIS YEAR, so you 'Debby Downers' need to chill out, and let the season play out. Keeping McFadden healthy and having Palmer with a full training camp, not to mention having an inspired and actual non-Mickey Mouse Defense will work wonders in 2012.
Will the Raiders be in the Playoffs? Win the AFC West? Have a ‘Winning Season?’ Hoist the Lombardi next February?
I certainly can’t wait to find out… and I have positive yet realistic expectations. Hope you do, too!
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