“How to Realistically Make The Oakland Raiders a Winner Again”
What is sad is that Raider fans under the age of 35 really have never felt what the aura of the Raiders is. The Raiders; other than for a few years; have been losers for almost 2 decades. Here is a no-nonsense realistic way for the Raiders to get back to being a successful franchise.
Management And a New Stadium:
The Aura of the Oakland Raiders was one thing and one thing only; winning. Al Davis was passionate about pro football and created his career, his team, and the aura of the Oakland Raiders through success. With his passing, his son Mark was given the mantle. Mark isn’t Al Davis. There are more than a few that think Mark is in over his head. He also isn’t savvy or knowledgeable about the NFL landscape or business like his dad was. Al Davis was a renegade that did what he wanted and he blazed trails that no other owner had the guts to do.
I think the Raiders ownership should meet with cheapskate, I mean Oakland A’s Owner Lew Wolff. I would tell him lets work together to finance a dual sport stadium with a small shopping area mall, or condo/housing in Oakland right next to the Coliseum. The Warriors are all but gone. There is NO chance that the City of Oakland is going to be able to help out with one stadium, let alone 2. Sell the rights to just about everything to companies in silicon valley and then get corporate sponsorship to pick up the rest of the bill. Moving to L.A. will be about 2 billion dollars and the Raiders don’t’ have the money. In the mean time they should play at the University of California’s field in Berkeley.
Moving to L.A. also would be a death sentence. There is a reason why the 2nd biggest television region in the U.S. has lost 3 NFL teams and hasn’t had a team there in years. Of course there are some very diehard, Chargers, Rams and Raider fans in Los Angeles. This statement isn’t for them; but L.A. is a front running town that only loves a winner. The Lakers had the worst television ratings of any NBA team after they started to lose big last year. The Dodgers weren’t drawing well until the new management took over. L.A. is a “I want to be seen” type of place; a lot like Miami; and pro sports does well ONLY as long as you win.
The City of Oakland has no money. They had to lay off part of their police force just to afford the Raiders payment. It’s a depressed place with little business influence and the crime rate remains high. The City of Oakland is so poorly run with a clueless mayor and we need to be real. The Raiders and A’s also need to pay for the stadium themselves. The days of lazy and greedy owners wanting cities to pay for their stadiums while they own it, are over.
You can make a ton of money with concerts, sporting events, and special conventions. Get rid of the grass and put in the new type of artificial grass that looks real. Many stadiums use it and it saves a ton of money and won’t look so bad when the Raiders and A’s games overlap. A great shopping mall with good restaurants in a safe environment right next to BART would be epic. People would spend their money before and after games, and it would help a very depressed area. Armed security would be partially paid by the stores that would be included in the fee to be there. The city of Oakland would more than want it because it would bring money to the city and would not cost tax payer money. During the Bash Brothers era in Oakland, it was fun to go to Jack London Square after the games. A fun place with restaurants like Dave and Busters and a festive atmosphere would do wonders.
Dealing With the Past & Present:
The owners and the fans need to realize that things will never be the same. In the glory days for a time the Raiders were 47-9. For 24 years, the Raiders had the highest winning percentage of ANY team in all of sports with 3 Superbowl wins. There was no salary cap and the Raiders were one of the great drafting teams in history with player personnel director Ron Wolf and Al Davis listening to no one and drafting and signing cast offs who would become future hall of famers. At that time the Raiders were the only team that wouldn’t exchange game films with other teams. When asked why, both Ron Wolf and Al Davis said the same thing. “Because we know more than anyone else so why should we”? Aw the olden days.
If Reggie McKenzie doesn’t stay, I would give a nice chunk of change to Arizona’s Player Personnel Director Jason Licht as GM. Behind the scenes, he remains a huge up and comer who learned under the likes of Jimmy Johnson, Bill Belichick and Andy Reid. He has paid his dues and was originally a scout. He was the finalist for the Bears GM job. I love this guy and think he would do a great job in the draft and in signings. He’s a good evaluator of talent and has a proven history.
I’ve written an article about the coaches the Raiders should look at and you will have to look at for my thoughts there. Jim Harbaugh heads the list.
In ending, the old Configuration of the Oakland Coliseum made the stadium really loud. The sound reverberated all over the place and it was very enclosed and one of the worst places to play for opponents. With the addition of mount Davis and the changing of the configuration it’s no where near as loud as it was. Don Shula once called the old Oakland Coliseum hell and Kansas City Chiefs coach Hank Stram said he was going to call the Governor because it was wrong that San Quentin would let out their inmates on Sundays just to watch Raider games. There wasn’t a ton of violence like today’s fan; it was just loud and crazy. To see old ladies screaming their heads off and women wearing shirts with Superbowl or bust was a Sunday staple. Raider games were an event and their winning % at home was amazing. The players didn’t make the money they did now and many became friends with the fans through their jobs in the off season. The bond was unequal to any fan base. The parties in Santa Rosa during training camp are still of legend.
Player Personnel & Schemes:
First of all they have to start drafting properly. Stop all the nonsense of drafting DB’s and WR’s due to 40 times and NFL combines stats, and start worrying about what they do on the football field. Stop listening so much to the NFL combines and start drafting players that do it on the field. They need to start bulking up their defensive front 7. Every good defense has a dominating front 7. Rushing the passer with 4 players and stopping the run is the key to playing defense in the NFL. Start drafting stud defensive linemen which will immediately make the defense better all around.
Derek Carr is your quarterback of the future. Stick with that and move on. Matt McGloin stares down every one he throws too but he’s an adequate and reliable backup with a lot of heart. Carr played well against the Chargers and fans remain upbeat about their quarterback.
Running back is also fine. Darren McFadden, Marcel Reece, and Maurice Jones Drew are very good. With McFadden and MJD splitting time I think they will have longer and healthier careers. The Raiders need 1-2 more offensive linemen but so far they are not bad. Gabe Jackson will be a good one and with many changing positions, time will tell if they gel into a good unit. Menelik Watson has stepped up his game and has played better this year.
James Jones was a great signing. He’s not a #1 WR but he’s solid in the red zone and has great hands when you need a big catch. Andre Holmes has huge potential and I think he should be playing more. Rod Streater is a nice #3 or #4 WR but on a good team he’s not the answer at #1 or #2. Denarius Moore is a back up in my book. They still need a stud #1 that can stretch the field and they need to get him next year. I think Andre Holmes, James Jones, and Brice Butler should be the starters.
Some Raiders fans have made it an art form defending the Raiders draft picks. It’s easy to predict the future and then stay quiet when you are wrong. The hardest thing for Al Davis to do was to say he was wrong; the Raiders have to start doing that. DJ Hayden is not an NFL CB and looks like a bust; most of their DL needs to be let go and their signings in the off season were just bad. Khalil Mack has huge issues shedding blockers and it’s not known whether he’s going to be that good a player. You stick with him but there are still big questions.
The signings for defensive linemen have been bad. This group needs an overhaul. The Raiders linebackers are alright but they have huge issues staying healthy and consistency with tackling. Both have to be dealt with. The defensive backfield is a mess at times but they are young and have shown glimpses of good play. Add a good pass rush and they will improve quickly. Right now I’d worry more about the front 7 and then a year from now deal with defensive backs. If you have a great front 7, it can greatly help your DB’s.
The offensive game has changed in the NFL. The new rules BEG you to throw the ball. Start using the tight end and full back position again and start throwing to all positions. Seven of the top 10 NFL passing seasons in history have happened in the last 3 years. Matt Stafford actually has 2 of the top 10 seasons so anyone can succeed with the new rules. Use a spread offense at times for a change of pace with a no huddle.
Keep the running game the way it is. I don’t like the zone blocking scheme. The Raiders are a power rushing team and that’s how they should keep it.
Things are going to take time but the time is now. Have a 3 year plan instead of thinking you are going to be good every year. The Raiders are not one coach away or a player away from being good and the denial from the team and the fans need’s to end for the Raiders to move forward. If you can’t admit a problem, it will never be fixed.
A third of this roster needs to move on. It’s going to take a ton of work and vision which Mark Davis and the present regime may not have. With so many things up in the air in regards to a stadium and a coaching staff, the Raiders need stability. It will be very interesting in the near future to see what happens in Oakland to make them once again a stable franchise.