The Raiders Season May Be Over, But The Drama Has Just Begun.
Terrell White – Jan 5, 2013
Holla At Me Raider Nation!
Well, the season is finally over. I'll tell you this much, I refuse to get myself worked up for next season the way I got myself worked up for this one! I don't know about anyone else, but quite frankly I feel like I need to throw up (and I'm doing that right now - verbally).
I apologize for my momentary literary silence. In all honesty I had nothing truly positive to write about, as far as that Carolina game goes; In all honesty I still don't have anything truly positive to write about (but I digress). I knew we were going to lose that game. Moreover, I knew that we (Raider coaches) wouldn't be smart enough to start Terrelle Pryor for that game.
Side Bar: Members of Raider Nation often like to compare the two; How great would it have been to watch Cam Newton and Terrelle Pryor playing one right after the other?!? However, this goes beyond just that; Why didn't the Oakland staff play T.P. (Terrelle Pryor) the entire last month of the season?
One Word: STUPIDITY.
There was nothing - really that I wanted to write about, as far as that San Diego game goes. I knew that we were going to lose that game. I also knew that, with this being the last game of the season, Carson Palmer being hurt, and with Matt Leinart being - well, Matt Leinart that the Raiders would have no choice but to FINALLY play Terrelle Pryor.
I do have to say that it was good to AT LAST (love you Etta James) get a chance to see the kid play!! Hell, not speaking for Terrelle but, I'm quite sure it felt good for him to get the jersey dirty (as we like to say), get out there, and actually PLAY in a game!! However, as I stated in my side bar, why not play the kid for the entire last month of the season?!?
We weren't fighting for a division title. We weren't fighting for a playoff position. We weren't even fighting for a winning record! So why not let the kid play?!? Now instead of waiting until next week, we all have to wait until next season before we can get to see T.P. play again.
However, it comes as no surprise. After all this has been: The Season Of Raider Dummy Moves. The only man exempt is Mark Davis.
One key to a successful franchise is to have solid ownership. With that said I have no problem with any of the moves Mark Davis has made. As far as I'm concerned Reggie McKenzie still needs to PROVE that he can manage the Raiders. However, that doesn't mean that I question his hiring. Mark Davis didn't just pull McKenzie's name out of a pirate hat.
Mark did after all speak with Ron Wolfe, John Madden, and with others who knew, loved, and respected his father. It was these men whom advised Mark to hire Reggie; Being honest, if I was in Marks place (knowing as little about football as he does), and got the same advice, I'd be hard pressed to go against it.
I haven't had a problem with Mark Davis this season. I don't care that he spoke up about the team losing. Hell, he just said what EVERYONE in Raider Nation was already thinking! All that let me know was, he's paying attention.
Mark Davis hasn't made any dummy moves. However, few members of the Raider staff can say the same; That includes General Manager Reggie McKenzie.
Reggie McKenzie dummy moves; Where to start? Where to start?!? Let's (for the sake of argument) start with suggesting that Ron Bartell and Shawntae Spencer would be able to START for us at the corners. I was under the impression that the man was a good judge of talent (not unless I'm misunderstanding the meaning of the word - talent).
What I'm going to be interested in watching during this off-season: What is Reggie McKenzie's scout team up to? Before the season began I recall hearing McKenzie refer to this unit as the "back bone" of his staff. My hope is that when it comes to judging "talent" they do a better job then McKenzie. However, we'll get to them when, and if the time comes. For now, I'm content to just focus on McKenzie.
If the Spencer / Bartell debacle isn't enough for you, don't worry I've got more; I could for example mention what a dummy move it was to leave total control over the hiring of the staff to a rookie head coach. Moreover, I could mention that he compounded that dummy move by sitting back, and doing nothing as said staff week, after week, after week made dummy moves that helped kill our season.
Speaking of the staff.
Unlike Reggie McKenzie I know exactly where to start with Dennis Allen. Dummy move number one had to be changing the Raiders offensive philosophy. With everyone well aware of the fact that the Raider defense needed to be enhanced the last thing the so called defensive minded Dennis Allen had any business doing was changing the damn offense.
This dummy move was right up there with bringing back Greg Knapp in the first place!! The Raiders season was doomed before it even began. Let's be honest! Greg Knapp was a failure the first time around, and this time it was even worse!! It makes you wonder what the hell was Dennis Allen thinking?!? Did he not see the lack of production under Knapp the first time around??
Bringing back Greg Knapp can only be described as a DUMMY MOVE!
Many in Raider Nation (myself not among them) didn't want to be too critical of the hire; However, I believe that only stems from our love for the team, and from the fact that we were all hoping that Dennis Allen knew something that we didn't. When in reality it was the other way around.
Moreover, he compounded his mistake by doing nothing as week, after week, after week Greg Knapp and his B.S. game plans killed our offense! There had to be at least TEN GAMES this season in which the team failed to score at least 21 points!
Now as I previously stated, we all knew that the Raiders defense needed to be enhanced. Therefore, there was no way this team was going to win very many games with the offense scoring less than three touchdowns! Changing this team offensive structure was a dummy move! (and that's being kind)
I don't do stats but I'm going to leave you with this little nugget:
Last season, with McFadden out for at least NINE GAMES the Raiders rushing attack was in the top ten! This season with Greg Knapp in control, and McFadden NOT out for at least nine games the Raiders rushing attack was ranked 28th. Moreover, if I'm not mistaken we only managed three rushing touch downs this entire season! From top ten, to damn near last in the league!! How do you do that?!? (minus major injury) By making Dummy Moves!!!
While it's on my mind one could say that waiting until the end of the season to fire Greg Knapp was a dummy move. Despite the fact that it was Hue Jackson, and not Al Saunders who called plays last season it would have been very easy (as far as I'm concerned) to fire Knapp after the 30 point loss week four in the game against Denver (Raiders 6 Denver 37).
Right then and there, with the Raiders being 1-3; The lone win, being a skin of your teeth victory against the Steelers. I (being Dennis Allen) would have fired Greg Knapp; Moved Al Saunders out of the booth, and back down to the sidelines. Then last but not least, I would have personally taken over running the defense (just call Jason Tarver my hand puppet).
It was a dummy move for Reggie McKenzie to give Dennis Allen complete control over the hiring of his staff; Moreover, it was a dummy move for Dennis Allen not to take full advantage of the power that Reggie McKenzie handed him!! Right after week four he should have shown some heart, fired Knapp, and justified the faith McKenzie was stupid enough to place in him. (but I digress)
NO MORE PATIENCE
Staying with my theme of honesty, I'm done with being patient. Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen cannot afford another season like the one we just lived through; Not unless they want a mutiny on their hands! The problem is that it's hard to say with any certainty what is going to happen next.
It's clear that both McKenzie and Allen are stubborn men. Why? It was clear (after week four) that what they were doing in Oakland was not going to be successful; Want proof? Guess how many games the team won after week four? The answer is three, and two of those wins were against division rival, and floundering franchise: Kanas City (who'd ever think we'd be thankful for the Chiefs).
Yet despite the fact that the team was clearly unsuccessful McKenzie and Allen kept stressing patience instead of admitting defeat and changing tactics. What is the definition of crazy, a.k.a. A Dummy Move? Doing the same thing over, and over, but expecting a different result.
Right now and I do mean RIGHT NOW! The Raiders have a number of player and personnel moves that quite frankly they can't afford to screw up.
Darren McFadden's contract is just about done; Does that mean so is his time in Oakland? What happens to the best special teams duo in the league, Shane Lechler and Sebastian Janikowski? Shane is a free agent and Janikowski has a year left on his contract. Then there are players like OT Khalif Barnes, OG Cooper Carlisle, DT Desmond Bryant, DE Matt Shaughnessy (to name a few) who's contracts are either up, or their unrestricted free agents.
Since I've typed the words free agent, there are a number of players that I would LOVE to see in Silver & Black. Now I'm not going to talk to you about draft picks, and cap space; Moreover, I don't want to hear any talk about draft picks and cap space!! I don't want to talk about affording this player, or that player. I want to talk about winning games!! Moreover, I'm going to talk to you about men who would make good RAIDERS.
The offensive line has been a work in progress for the past few seasons. Well I say why not add Raider Legacy and OL man Jake Long (son of Howie Long) to the squad (joining fellow Raider Legacy: G-Stefen Wisniewski) and see what happens! I'm sure G Brandon Moore (currently with the Jest -- I mean the Jets) or G Andy Levitre (currently with the Bills) would look better in Silver & Black then G Mike Brisiel.
On the defensive side of the ball we all know that we've got to find someone to pressure and sack the quarterback. I think that DE Cliff Avril (currently with the Lions) would make an excellent pass rusher for Oakland. We also must do something about the defensive back situation. I like the names Brent Grimes (currently with the Falcons) and Dominique Rogers-Cromartie (currently with the Eagles - and mentioned for those of you concerned about cash) a lot more then I liked the names Shawntae Spencer and Ron Bartell (and I know you do too).
Who will be playing on the field isn't the only concern Raider Nation has; We also have to be concerned with who's coaching on the sidelines.
Now that Offensive Coordinator Greg Knapp, Offensive Line Coach Johnny Holland, and others have let the door knob hit them, where the good lord split them - the question is who will be their replacements? Really the most important question Raider Nation wants answered is: Who is going to be the new Offensive Coordinator?
I'm sure you've heard the names that have been tossed around. Names like former Buffalo Bills Head Coach Chan Galey. Names like (and I can't believe I'm typing this) Norv. Turner. Names like Marty Mornhinweg (of the Eagles) and Ken Whisenhunt (Head Coach at AZ and O.C. at Pitt).
I wouldn't complain if McKenzie, or Allen, or whomever is in charge of hiring looked for someone with former head coaching and offensive coordinating experience. This, I feel would allow Allen more time to focus on the defensive side of the ball. However, I don't know if McKenzie, or Allen's ego will allow them to bring in someone who has more experience than they do.
With that, somewhat in mind I offer you the name Aaron Kromer.
Who is Aaron Kromer? Currently he is the Offensive Line Coach for the Saints. Now, I know that he doesn't carry the title of Offensive Coordinator; However, hear me out for a moment. Personally if I'm Dennis Allen I've got to start Terrelle Pryor next season (nothing against Carson Palmer, but It's time for change). That means I need a strong running game (ask RG III how important that is). That means I need Darren McFadden (until you give me a better name) and the Raiders POWER run blocking scheme working like a well oiled machine.
Not only does Kromer understand offensive line play, he also know what it takes to have a successful rushing attack. Furthermore, he comes from a solid organization, he's worked with the likes of Sean Peyton, and Drew Brees. Moreover, he and Allen should be familiar with one another (from Allen's time spent with the Saints).
The combination of Kromer and Saunders (I believe) would totally free Allen up to concentrate on running the defense and managing the team. Once we find someone to coach Special Teams, of course; Seeing that Special Teams Coordinator Steve Hoffman was also shown the door, but I digress.
Whatever happens Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen don't need to be making decisions independently. Let's hope that they've learned their lessons, and are willing to include The Al Davis Brain Trust in their decision making.
It couldn't HURT to at least consult with Ron Wolfe, John Madden and company. Or next year we could be looking at The Season Of Raider Dummy Moves Part II.
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