“Final Grades for the Battle of the Bay, The Oakland Raiders Hosting the San Francisco 49ers”

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Final Oakland Raider Grades v.s. San Francisco 49ers; Week 14:

(7-6)  San Francisco 49ers  13

(2-11)  Oakland Raiders  24

That rustling sound you heard was not birds flying overhead, it was 49er fans quickly changing from 49ers gear to San Francisco Giants Gear.

The Raider fans were as loud and excited as they’ve been all year and they were rewarded with a big win over the hated 49ers.

Shockers:

*The Raiders FINALLY used tight end Mychal Rivera and fullback Marcel Reece and it opened up the middle of the field.  They had 14 receptions for 173 yards and 2 TD’s.

*The 49ers averaged 5.4 yards per carry but if you take away the 49ers scrambles, they ran only 15 times all game with Frank Gore only getting 12 carries.

Quarterback:

The Raiders had a very rare good game plan and Carr played very well.  The offensive line gave him all day to throw and he carved up the 49ers secondary.  He was much calmer this game and handled the pass rush better.  He didn’t rush his throws and seemed more relaxed in the pocket.  Carr finally didnt’ just settle for hope throws to wide receivers and he looked more to the tight end Mychal Rivera and Marcel Reece who was a valuable outlet.

Carr was solid and accurate and finally played the way that the Raiders have hoped that he would.

GRADE:  A-

The final Raiders scoring drive was a big one and it sealed the game.  Carr played well and solidified himself as the quarterback of the future.  The offensive line protected him well and it showed.  He threw for a much better average than he normally has at 9.1 yards per catch AND was 22-28 for 254 yards with 3 touchdowns.

Running Backs: 

Central Florida’s Latavius Murray should have been playing a long time ago but finally he is entrenched as the starting running back of the Oakland Raiders.  He is big, hits the hole hard and is fast.  He ran for 76 yards against one of the tougher run defenses in all of the NFL.  The offensive line opened up some big holes for him and at times when there were no holes, Murray still managed yards.  They had a solid game against a good defense.

Grade:  B

The Raiders fans and the team should be happy to know that they have found a tight end, running back and quarterback of the future if they play them.

Offensive Line: 

The offensive line has been wrongly getting blamed at times for the teams failures.  They played their toughest competition of the year against the 49ers, and they played very well.  Carr was sacked only 1 time, and Carr at times had all day to throw.  The Raiders game plan was finally a good one.  The offense passed often on first down and they weren’t so predictable.

Grade:  B+

Some Raider fans and people in the media have wrongly gotten on this OL.  Like ex Raider Lincoln Kennedy has commented, “if you run on first down all the time when the defense has the line stacked, and you are not going to be successful.  They dominated the 49ers front line at times and it was a big surprise.

Wide Receivers: 

The Raiders wide receivers were not a big part of the offense this week but it was a good thing.  The 49ers made a big point of taking away the wide receivers and I’m sure it was a surprise to see Carr throw to the tight end and Marcel Reese all game.  It was something the Raiders should have been doing all year.

GRADE:  B

They played well when called upon which wasn’t a whole lot.

Defensive Line:

It took 14 weeks but the Raiders finally got a pass rush.  The 49ers offensive line has been hurt by injuries but it was a nice game by all.  Justin Ellis and Antonio Smith played well.  The 49ers play calling was puzzling at best.  They gave up on the run way too early.  The Raiders still have issues stopping the run

Grade:  B

The pass rush was solid but the run stopping was not very good.  Kaepernick also hurt the Raiders on some runs and the 49ers should have ran the ball a lot more.

Linebackers:

Khalil Mack finally had a good game rushing the passer with 2 sacks.  Sio Moore played havoc with his rushes and is a star in the making if he keeps improving.  The linebackers only had a combined 6 tackles but they really rushed the quarterback well.

Grade A-

This unit is the strength of the defense and the defense will be greatly improved if the Raiders shore up the defensive line.  The Raiders linebackers have played better against the run but they really put pressure on Kaepernick and that changed the game.

Defensive Backs:

Safeties Brandon Ross and Charles Woodsen were all over the field and really played well.  The Raiders had their best pass rush of the year and it really helped the defensive backs.  The 49ers had their weekly dropped passes and it’s still confusing why they dont pass to tight end Vernon Davis more, but overall the defensive backs played pretty well.  The coverage was fairly solid against the wide receivers and it wasn’t a bad effort.  The defensive backs though are making too many tackles in the run game and that is on the linebackers and defensive line.

Grade B 

The Raiders safeties really played well.  Tight end Vernon Davis was only targeted 4 times but he seemed open a lot.  Davis caught only 2 catches for 23 yards.  The Raiders did not give up a big play all game.

Coaching:

After a win usually teams are hopeful and positive but this coaching staff just isn’t the answer in Oakland.  To take months to get a good game plan and to finally make Latavius Murray their starter is frustrating to watch.

On the other hand, they had a solid game plan that didn’t involve running on every first down.  The Raiders finally used the tight end and Mercel Reese in the passing game.  I’ve been crying for them to use the middle of the field and they finally did.  They even used a slant at the goal line for a great red zone touchdown.  When the Raiders passed on first down, they were successful almost all of the time and it kept the 49ers off their game.  They also blitzed when needed and even though they had  injuries, the 49ers offensive line struggled all game.  There were still some puzzling moments, like doing play action passes on passing downs but overall this was one of the best games for this coaching staff.

Grade  A-

For the first time since the San Diego game in Oakland, the play calling was very good.  The Raiders still need to stretch the field more but they used Marcel Reece and tight end Mychal Rivera over the middle and the 49ers could not stop it.

Special Teams:

Sebastian Janikowski had a long field goal which set the tone for the Raiders.  The return game and the return defense had an ok game and Marquette King was solid.

Grade B+

An overall good, if not spectacular game by the special teams unit helped out in this win.

Next Opponent:  @ Kansas City Chiefs (7-6; last game, loss @ the Arizona Cardinals 17-14)

Outlook:

This was a much needed morale building win by the Raiders which gives a lift to their team and fan base.  Next up is an always tough game in Kansas City.  The Chiefs are in a must win situation after losing in Arizona so this will be a big test for the Raiders.  If the Raiders can control the Chiefs running game and make Alex Smith beat them like they did in the last game, they could pull out another victory in Kansas City.

“Amazing & Easy Classic Drinks to Wow Your Family and Guests This Winter”

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Here are some of my favorite alcoholic and non-alcoholic Winter Recipes.  (ok I love them all the time).

Two Minute Decadent Nutella Hot Chocolate:

My love for Nutella is of legend and this is a great treat during a crisp fall evening or a rainy or snowy winters night.  Make naughty editions for the adults, or add tasty treats for kids of all ages.  Make big batches or treat yourself!

Ingredients:

1 cup milk (Any type of milk; from nonfat to whole)

1 ½ tablespoons Nutella

Optional:  shaved chocolate or caramel sauce and/or whip cream to top it.  Candy canes and peppermint sticks, cognac and brandy.

Instructions: 

Heat milk to steaming in a microwave or a stove top pan.  Mix the Nutella immediately into the milk until it melts.  Top with whip cream, shaved chocolate and drizzle with caramel or chocolate sauce.  Warms up ANY cold night.

Suggestions:

Put candy canes or peppermint sticks in the mugs for stirrers.  For adults add a splash of cognac or brandy for a warm kick that will heat up the coldest of nights.

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Toasted Almond:

1 oz. Amaretto

1 oz. Kahlua

2 oz. Cream

Mix ingredients and pour over ice.  For a naughty touch top with whip cream, drizzle chocolate sauce over it with sliced Almonds.  Wow!

Keoke-Coffee-Cocktail-Video

Keoke Coffee:

A total old school favorite that will warm up any winter night.

½ oz. Kahlua liqueur

½ oz. Brandy (I like E & J)

4 oz.  Hot Coffee

Whip cream

Shaved chocolate or chocolate sauce

Optional:

½ oz. crème de cacao

 

Put hot water into a cup.  Pour out water.  Add all ingredients but the coffee.  Add the coffee last.  Top with whip cream and shaved chocolate or drizzle chocolate sauce over the whip cream.  Awesome!!

snowball cocktail

Snowball cocktail:

I saw this recipe on PBS and I was shocked.  I liked it.  This is in honor of my sister and nieces cat, the great Snowball.

Ingredients:

½ oz. of your favorite rum

½ oz. peppermint schnapps

½ oz  of hazelnut or kahlua or amaretto liqueur

½ oz. half and half cream

Shake ingredients into a large cold shaker or glass and mix.  Put it into shooter/shot glasses or in a glass with ice and enjoy!

“The Truth About Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49er Fan Violence”

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“The Truth About Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49er Fan Violence”

In 2011 the Raiders played the 49ers in an exhibition game at Candlestick Park.  It was one of the most violent football games in a long time.  Not from player violence, but from fan violence.  There were shootings, stabbings and several arrests.  The violence was so shocking that the NFL talked about ending the Raiders/49ers pre season games.

Let me see if I can put this delicately.  First off, ANY fan that goes to any sporting event and fights is a TOTAL loser.  You should be jailed, and your kids, parents and grand parents should have to see video of what a drunken idiot you are.  You should have to work at a homeless shelter for 1000 hours and that is after your jail time.  You should have to wear a sign that says, “I’m a violent tool that can’t control themselves”.  Was that nice enough?

Second of all I’m sick of the San Francisco media including the SF Gate, the San Francisco Chronicle, and KNBR acting like the 49er fans are these artsy laid back pot smoking hippies that wouldn’t hurt a fly.  You get more real news from Youtube than you get from the San Francisco media who have made hiding Giants and 49ers violence an art form.  If I hear Gary Radnich of KNBR call the San Francisco fans sophisticated one more time I’ll throw up.  Some of the most violent and slimy people that have ever fought at a football game are 49er fans.  Youtube should have their own channel for them.

Local NBC bay area did a great story on the truth about fan violence in the bay area.  Even with a higher socioeconomic type of fan base at Levi’s Stadium, the Santa Clara police department reported that there were 25 arrests per game at Levi’s stadium in the first part of the season.  In contrast, the Oakland Raiders were reported to have only 12 arrests per game.

Now I’m not a mindless homer, and I’m not naive.  Some Raider fans are far from angels.  The Raider fans violence really took off in the days in Los Angeles.  The fights among L.A. Raider fans and opponents were of legend.  So many pathetic idiots committed violent assaults because someone didn’t like their team.  There were stabbings in the Los Angeles Coliseum and @ San Diego games as well as occasional shootings outside the stadium.  In Oakland before the move, the Raider fans could be nasty but they weren’t this violent.  You didn’t see fights every game or craziness.  The fans were loud, abrasive, and vulgar, but they weren’t Mike Tyson on roid rage.

What bothers me even more is what cowards these fighters are.  ALL of the videos that I saw online; and I watched about 30 of them; had one side outnumber or outsize the other one.  Most punches were thrown by losers hitting people from behind or the side or in situations where they outnumber the people they were fighting.  Wow, that kind of “courage” is pathetic.  And these people have or will have kids?  This type of parental guidance we don’t need.  No wonder America is so screwed up.

Our society is a mess right now.  Violence and vulgarity is the norm and many think it’s cool.  I just watched a 10 minute video of about 10 female 49er fans fighting 2 female Raider fans.  Stay classy.

Whenever I think of sporting fan violence I think of Bryan Stow who had his life ruined because of 2 thugs looking for trouble at Dodger stadium.  Or what about the 49er fan who was beaten by two pathetic losers in a bathroom because of a nudge?  His injuries are permanent.  His life is changed forever because of two nobody thugs.  There are dozens more experiences out there that are forgotten about quickly.

We are violent and out of control and right and wrong has little meaning anymore to many.  Social media has exposed our society as shallow, insecure, hyper sensitive and ready to rip on someone or attack someone in a second.  People don’t care about truth anymore, they care about their biased opinion and perspective.

The same people that are committing violence are also the same ones that I’m sure rip on Ray Rice and are outraged by Ferguson.  Their standards for the players and others are much higher than themselves.

This IS A GAME PEOPLE.  People are dying of deadly diseases.  Children are suffering from terrible cancers.  Big business corruption is running rampant.  Colleges are getting rich off of raising tuitions to ridiculous levels while lining their pockets.  There are school and mass shootings, sexual assaults and rapes, and so many other tragic things to be outraged about.  Yet some fans feel passionate enough about their team to get sloppy drunk and fight? Lol wow.  Use that passion and buy some toys for a children’s hospital or donate to a homeless shelter instead.

I’m so sick of fans bragging about how awesome of fans they are.  Insulting people or fighting isn’t what being a good fan is.  This isn’t high school.  There are lots of good fans but please stop being so naive.  If you were broke and needed your bills paid, none of the players or owners would help you.  They wouldn’t cross the street to shake your hand and if you were sick they wouldn’t be making you soup and getting you medicine while you are whining about how you don’t feel good.  This is a game.  Be passionate about your team and have fun with it but stop acting like your life depends on it.

To all fans that can’t hold your liquor and get into fights and bully people, I wish terrible evil karma on you.  To any fan that witnesses these types of situations; call security and make sure these scumbags go to jail.  It’s time to make a change.

“What the Raiders Should Do About the Good & Bad of Derek Carr”

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“What the Raiders Should Do About the Good & Bad of Derek Carr”

The Oakland Raiders have a lot of problems.  Their defense is not good and they are last in sacks and they have trouble stopping the run.  The offense is so vanilla some fans can call the plays before they happen.  The Raiders lack long ball threats and the ones they have they platoon.  You can’t blame all of their problems on one player or one key thing.  The way to turn a team around quick though is to have a quarterback that is really on his game.  The question is how can they get Carr to step up and be that player.

I just watched the end of the San Diego Chargers and Baltimore Ravens game.  San Diego quarterback Phillip Rivers had an amazing series which ended up being the game winning touchdown.

Rivers was blitzed by the Ravens on almost every play.  He barely had time to breathe let alone throw.  He handled it very well.  He threw the ball away 3 times, and then passed for quick hitters to wide receiver Keenan Allen and it was very impressive.

Right now that is the difference between a Phillip Rivers and a Derek Carr.  Carr can’t handle a pass rush.  Experience does matter of course, but ask the 49er fans how they feel about the lack of improvement with Colin Kaepernick.

Part of the blame goes to the NFL.  They have a cookie cutter for an NFL quarterback.  They want the QB to be tall and have a rocket for an arm.  If you have those qualities, you will get lots of chances to play in the NFL.

The problem is the NFL is full of tall quarterbacks who have rocket arms, but have average to bad quarterback skills.  Does anyone see RGIII, Cam Newton, Andy Dalton or Jay Cutler holding up a Lombardi Trophy any time soon?  Yet some of these players are making staggering amounts of money.

I’m different in my evaluation of quarterbacks.  I think the most important qualities in a quarterback are:

  1. Accuracy
  2. Can handle a rush/pocket awareness & footwork
  3. Can read a defense
  4. Good arm

Some say give him time, but time alone doesn’t make a player better.  There comes a time when the player has to take responsibility.

In college, Carr looked great when there was no one rushing him, but he struggled mightily when he was rushed.  So often did he hurry his throws, not step to the side to avoid a rush, and/or miss a wide open player while throwing to a covered wide receiver.  So far in his first year, Carr hasn’t improved in this area.  When he’s blitzed instead of getting the ball off quickly, he often back peddles which limits his lateral agility and can cause sacks or bad throws off his back foot.  He also seems to panic and sometimes throws to the wrong outlet man because he made the wrong read.  It’s what separates the Tom Brady’s from the Jay Cutlers.

Teams now know that if they stop the Raiders running game, for the most part the Raiders are toast.  The play calling would make Woody Hayes roll over in his grave because even he would think it’s too conservative.  The Raiders have thrown less passes downfield than any other team in the NFL; and it’s not close.  This includes Mr. Safe himself, Alex Smith of Kansas City who may lead the league in 1-2 yard check down passes.

What good is it to have a strong armed quarterback if you won’t throw downfield?  The Raiders almost always run off tackle on first down and their play calling is so predictable it sometimes looks like the opponent’s defense is calling the plays.  Going into a jumbo short yardage package and then emptying the backfield and pretty much telling your opponent that you are going to pass the ball would make Rod Serling wonder what the heck was going on.

What should the Raiders direction for Derek Carr be:

  1. How long do you give him? I think the Raiders should give him 2 more years.
  2. The key to Derek Carr’s future is improvement. He must show improvement in handling a rush, choosing the right outlets to throw to, and he needs to audible more and audible correctly.
  3. Derek Carr reminds me of a Brett Favre type. If I were the Raiders or Carr, I would have some talks and meetings with Favre to go over tape and to see where he can improve.  Favre was fast enough that he could make yards with his feet, but Carr’s footwork in the pocket is so bad at times he can’t run. If Carr can start making yards by running some, he will open things up and keep the defense honest.  I would also buddy up to Aaron Rodgers and get all the information that he will give them.  They are alike in style.
  4. Get an offensive minded coach in here that will be a good play caller and who will use the middle of the field. Slants are impossible to stop with today’s ridiculous NFL rules and the Raiders rarely do so.  Greg Olsen is just awful and they need an offensive coordinator that will work with Carr on how to react properly to pass rushes.  He has to learn how to throw the ball away instead of taking bad sacks and terrible chances with throws off his back foot.  You can’t scramble if you are back peddling.  It would be nice to not run off tackle on first down 95% of the time too.
  5. It’s obvious they have told him to not audible much, but they need to let him do it more. He needs to read the defense and then audible.  If there are 8 guys in the box you don’t run up the middle on first down.  You play action pass and go deep.

There is no guarantee Derek Carr is the answer in Oakland, but he has shown a good work ethic and a humbleness that usually is a great atmosphere for learning something.

He has a good arm, a good attitude, and has shown an accuracy when he throws on the run.

You will always have the lunatic fringe members who dub him a good quarterback or say he’s terrible and he needs to go now; but in reality he has potential and lots of room to grow.  Whether you want to admit it or not, the Raiders support Derek Carr and he’s going to be here for a while.  To what extent he will succeed remains to be seen.

What I’ve been doing the last couple of days

Originally posted on Infinitefreetime.com:

IMG_2079Lots of schools do food drives this time of year, generally trading a canned food item for some sort of prize, like a dress down day or a homework pass or something like that.  My school is no exception.  The difference is that my school turns around and gives that donated food right back to our own families rather than donating it to a food bank.  We pulled together 54 boxes of donated items in all; I h ave no idea how many items in total but you can get a sense of how many from the picture.  A couple of our employees spent a couple of days sorting everything out and trying to make sure that what was in each of the boxes was roughly equivalent, and on Tuesday a few of us drove to a meat market in Buchanan, Michigan and bought 54 turkeys, one for each of…

View original 384 more words

“You’ll be a Huge Hit during the Holidays with my Famous & Easy Summer Ginger Splash!”

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An amazing drink for the summer and spring months, or for a great wow factor beverage during the holidays, my Summer Ginger Splash will make you the talk of the party.  Step out to a whole new level of flavors!

“Summer Ginger Splash” 

For a refreshing and unique twist try this great drink.  I like adding maraschino cherries and a slice of lime or lemon.  Add a zest of fresh ginger on top of each glass and you are in heaven!

Ingredients:

fresh mint leaves (add 1 tbsp. of mint per glass; more or less per your taste)
1 cup cherry juice, OR cranberry juice, OR pomegranate juice OR Guava, OR Peach, etc….
 

4 tablespoons lime juice
3 cups ginger ale

*add a tbsp of sugar if you are using pomegranate juice

Directions
Add the desired amount of mint to each glass. Mash the mint with the back of a wooden spoon or crusher. In a large pitcher, add the cherry and lime juices. Stir. Add the ginger ale. You can either fill the glasses with ice or the pitcher with ice.  Pour into glasses, and garnish with any fruit you like.  Place fruit on a tray and let your guests choose!

TIPS:

****For garnish, after pouring into glasses put a thin slice or a small mince of fresh ginger on top of each glass.  I like it with a slice of lime and maraschino cherries as well!

-Slice up various amounts of fruit.  Peel oranges or grapefruit and cut into slices or chunks,  Use cherries, mango, lychee, blackberry, blueberry.  Use your imagination!

Yield: 4 servings  Enjoy!!

“The Potion of Motion; An Exotic & Easy Drink to Wow Adults & Kids!”

POTION OF MOTION

“Potion of Motion” 

My love for champagne is of legend and this is a great and tasty drink that is amazing for parties.  A great drink for the holidays!  Make it with or without alcohol for a special and fun drink to please the adults and the kids during this festive season.  Add cut up fruit so people can add it to their drink!

Ingredients:

-Drinkable bottle or bottles of brut champagne depending on how many people are drinking.

(FOR KIDS OR NON-ALCOHOLIC VERSION, Use sparkling water; flavor or unflavored; or try sparkling apple cider)

-for one part of the juices you can use cherry, pomegranate, cranberry, guava, mango, orange, grapefruit, or any other juice that you’d like.

-large can of pineapple juice

-tall glasses filled with ice

-sliced fruit of your choice

Directions:

Put as much ice as you’d like in a tall glass of any kind.  (per your taste) Add 1 to 1/2 ounces of pineapple juice. Then add 1 to 1 1/2 ounces of your favorite (or exotic) fruit juice (look above).  Fill the rest of the glass with champagne.  For the kids, substitute flavored or non-flavored sparkling water or sparkling apple cider.  Enjoy!!

Tips:

-Add exotic fruit juices like Mango, Guava, Cherry, or other types for a unique and great flavor.  Use your imagination!

-put all of the juices and sliced fruit on a side table.  Put the chilled juices and champagne on ice next to it and let your guests serve themselves.

Awesome!!

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