Raider Nation: Bellicose and Bawdy B!tching from the Deckplates

Captain Jack Rack Levy – Oct 2, 2013

So it’s Wednesday here in the Caribbean, and your Captain is adjusting to a new work schedule – call it the ‘Midwatch’ – and it took awhile to get back to you deckhands. 

But what I was hearing amongst the crew of the Galleon, along with other places ashore from various other naysayers and ‘cling-ons’ – NOT the space race from Star Trek but Raider fans who appear to jump on/off the ship in various mood states weekly – made the hair on the back of m’neck stand on end. 

It evoked the memory of the great Vince Lombardi during one of his famous sideline diatribes I’m sure you’ve seen on NFL films… “What the Hell’s going on out dere?!?!”

Well, just to reinforce what you witnessed this past Sunday at the O.Co was 12 minutes of pure adrenalin-induced euphoria which even had Mychal and his sister Naya Rivera from ‘Glee’ whooping it up after the Raiders had a 14pt lead which… which… hell, I can’t even remember the last time we had a FOURTEEN POINT LEAD at any time in the last decade… has it been that long? Oh yeah… that game we went into Denver and were up 21pts at the blink of an eye… Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah memories…

But this 14pt lead was at home, against a winless team from the East Coast who had traveled to meet our Renegades with a Quarterback who hadn’t quite gotten into synch for a full game this year.  Need I say said QB finally had a ‘complete game’ and willed his team to victory against an inspired and well-coached defensive team in our Raiders?

And yes, you did read that correctly, as our Defense and Special Teams (sans one missed field goal) did indeed play a great game looking at the total product.  Alas, winning in the NFL means having ALL of your components – Defense, Special Teams and Offense  – firing on all cylinders.  Yeah, two out of three ain’t bad (cue Meatloaf) but it certainly won’t get you wins most Sundays in the NFL. 

Therein lies the rub (wow, going from Meatloaf to the great bard himself, “Willy S.” in successive sentences) as the Raiders trotted out one Matt Damon at Quarterback to lead our rebels to victory agai… what’s that you say? It was Matt FLYNN at Quarterback? Well now I’m just totally pissed!!  At least there was a viable excuse having a Hollywood actor giving away seven points on a ‘Pick Six’ and a defacto further seven on a fumble in Oakland territory in the fourth quarter which two plays later turned out to be an insurmountable ten point lead in the 24-14 Washington victory. 

Yeah, I thought Damon… errrrr… Flynn looked a little chunky on the field from his last movie.  And while we’re at it, let me state had the ‘Skins had a mere one point lead it would’ve been insurmountable.  Yep, that’s right… I said it… because we can all see with our own eyes this team will go as far as Terrelle Pryor will take them, and at the end of the season Flynn can go back to work being Damon’s chunkier stunt-double right down the road via the I-5… because he certainly shouldn’t be taking snaps in the NFL. 

Harsh? Possibly.  Dead on? No doubt in my military mind, and this is from a pirate who thought at least IF we had to play a back-up Quarterback this year we’d be ok … we’d be ‘In Like Flynn.’  Ummmmmm... no we won’t, because even IF Flynn had a starting offensive line of Veldheer, Nix/Bergstrom, Wiz, Barnes and Watson in front of him (my projected O-Line in a perfect world this year) he would still be a train-wrecked, deer in the headlights no confidence at all quarterback evoking no memories of a historic performance by Green Bay against Detroit a few years ago, and THAT is truly a shame. 

/articleimages/gleefulriveras.jpgOK, glad I got that off my chest, as it needed to be said.  While we’re going there, let’s get some more ‘off the chest’ listening to some comments and thoughts pondered by Raider Nation immediately after the game.  I’ve changed some of the verbatim to protect the writers, but here goes:

“I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t have started Flynn.  That was a dumb call.”

C'mon crew... really?  What other choices were there? Pryor was inactive for a reason and honestly I’m glad he wasn’t subjected to any further injury as he is the medium-to-long term answer at QB presently on our roster.  McGloin?  Are you honestly going to start Matt F'n McGloin?  Read that word again.  START.  And if you say to start DMac, well he lasted all of ... what.... almost half of the first quarter?  No hate, but seriously... think about what you just said.  We probably would’ve been better off had they brought up Greg Jenkins from the practice squad, as at least he was a mobile quarterback (in college). 

To those thinking our offensive line suuuuuuuuuuuuucked out loud, I’d say most of the seven sacks given up were all on Flynn himself.  Most of the time Flynn had adequate protection in what should be a ‘quick release passing’ game.  For those who said Flynn held onto the ball too long… DING DING DING!! You get the prize, as we definitely watched the same game then. 

“This loss is squarely on the shoulders of Dennis Allen / Reggie McKenzie.”

I'm going to give Allen another year at least in this contract – three years for sure.  It took Jon Gruden three years to get a 'winning team' and he had more of the 'horses' than we have now.  If, by chance, Allen doesn’t show he is the coach Reggie thinks he is or portrayed in his interview, AND that’s if he's still here pending Mark Davis not having an itchy trigger finger, with next year’s roster much better with the 50M we can spend on the cap…

IF Allen doesn’t show improvement in his coaching and if the team doesn’t show improvement in their W-L totals, THEN I'd fire his ass.  I do like what our Defense is doing and that is a direct testament to Allen along with D-Coordinator Jason Tarver as well as Reggie McKenzie for bringing in all these ‘new faces’ on the defensive side of the ball.  I forget… what side of the ball did Reggie play when he was on the Raiders years ago? Oh that’s right, he was a Linebacker ergo a defensive player.  Quite honestly this team is playing with passion and are maybe a few key players i.e. ‘studs’ away from competing for a top ten defense in this league. 

/articleimages/damonandflynn.jpg“What happens if Reggie doesn’t give Allen another year? Don’t we need an experienced coach now anyway? Shouldn’t we go after Gruden or Cowher or (pick a name)?”

For those who think Mark Davis is going to go into Reggie's office and jump up and down (which probably happened anyway), Reggie will back Allen.  It will be on Reggie/D.A. to prove their worth as they are a ‘tag team tandem' so their fates are pretty much sealed together and I’m pretty assured Reggie is sold on Allen.

Now, if Mark breaks the bank on Gruden (I’m using Gruden here since Mark is truly a fan of our former head coach and it’s the only name I can think of right off the top of my head that would be a quick/good fit for Davis due to history) then he may make the move.  

However, at what price? Remember the stadium issue hasn't been resolved – in case you weren’t aware a friendly reminder exists every time you see the dirt infield at our games early in the season.  Or how about that 11:35PM East Coast start time for this Sunday’s game against San Diego?  I’ll feel that early Monday morning for sure!!

Mark Davis will look at the bottom line for the Raiders corporate-wise, so until the stadium situation is resolved, I think we'll be looking at Reggie/Allen together for at least three year.  Just a hunch, but I've been wrong once or twice before... only once or twice though...

“Nope, it’s definitely Reggie McKenzie’s fault.  Fire him today!!”

Seriously, you’re going to fire Reggie McKenzie when he finally has the cap situation working for us following this year? Listen folks, this may get ugly this year but I see a team that at least plays 60 minutes (granted they didn’t play well on offense with a statue for a QB behind a line missing three starters in Veldheer, Watson and Nix while Bergstrom is on the IR) so there isn't a 'full deck' out there.

Pryor brings 'ZIP' to the Offense since he can run around and make plays. We'll have our tackles back by mid-season (Watson may in fact return this week if not next) so let's see how they're playing after mid-season.

I still think we're better than the Jets, Steelers, Chargers (despite their win this past Sunday) and Iggles. How about the Giants? Cowboys? We still could possibly win against those teams, so in my mind means we'll win at least 5-6 more games.  If so, I'm not going to fire Reggie... or Allen... this year.  But if the same results show in 2014, THEN I'd have a 'short hook ready' for several...

“I know what I saw on Sunday… this loss is all Dennis Allen’s fault.  This team is horrific.”

I didn't see Dennis Allen play a down this past Sunday.  I didn't see D.A. fumble or throw a pick- six or suck the life out of the team.  Speaking of ‘sucking life’ I PERSONALLY witnessed in Oakland against these same Redskins four years ago when the other LSU Quarterback which will not be named came in to start the 3rd Quarter after Bruce Gradkowski got injured – now THAT was an ‘air sucking worthy of a Dyson vacuum’ event if there ever was one, and it was repeated this past Sunday by the LSU understudy.

/articleimages/pryormcgloin2.jpg“But why didn’t they kick the field goal on the fourth down play in the fourth quarter?”

Hindsight being 20/20, I agree we needed two scores, but honestly would you not expect your Quarterback, even a bony-assed mouth breather from the Bayou  to not pick up 2.5 inches on a sneak? Guess Flynn didn't get the memo as he probably gagged on the influx of fresh air into his nose when someone punched him in the mouth he was breathing from and fumbled the ball which truly was pathetic.  Coach Allen himself said it in his post-game presser – FOURTH AND INCHES and you certainly need to pick up the yardage, and the gaffe was purely all on Flynn. 

No matter, it’s back to the drawing board and the practice field this week, and even Captain Jack will be staying up late into Monday morning here in my Caribbean homeport to watch the game against the hated SoCal AFL rivals who have placed both Freeney and Floyd on the injured reserve this week.  Will it be enough to garner a much needed “W”? We’ll see, but I know we can and should be able to win, especially with a healthy Pryor, possibly Watson coming back, rookie Matt McGloin in the 'ready five slot' - think Top Gun folks (aka backup Quarterback) and some AFC West bile churning hatred. 

Let’s see if the Raiders get the Captain’s memo…  Until next week, a bawdy and bellicose
“YAAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!” sent your way from the Caribbean. 

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