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“How to Finance a New Oakland Raiders Stadium”

COLISEUM CITY/METRO
A Past Rendition of a New Oakland Raiders Stadium

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Yesterday we looked at the Oakland Stadium situation for the A’s and the Raiders and explored the various venues that may work for a new facility.   Today we will look at how to pay for it.

https://jimjax4.wordpress.com/2016/01/25/raiders-stadium-sites-update-video-how-to-morph-levis-a-future-nfl-stadium/

The Truth About Using Tax Payers Money:

Economists have overwhelmingly found that spending public money on stadiums has little economic benefit for the city and rarely creates the jobs and prosperity that the backers promise. This recently was seen in St. Louis with the Rams. The City of St Louis still owes $129 million to pay for the abandoned football stadium now that the Ram’s are leaving. The city of Oakland still owes $100 million from the Al Davis upgrades when the Raiders moved back. The numbers don’t lie. Using tax payer money would be very irresponsible. Some cities selling their souls for teams have done 30 year tax loans. Insanity. New stadiums may help keep the team in the city but the teams are the financial winners in the end.

The First Thing Mark Davis Should Do:

If I were Mark Davis I would hold a press conference immediately. I’d say, “Whatever has happened in the past or with the NFL vote is water under the bridge. I will do anything and everything that I personally can to build a permanent stadium in Oakland for the Raiders. My goal is not to hurt the A’s or the tax payers of Oakland in any way but I want a football only stadium to compete. It’s up to Libby Schaaf, the City of Oakland and my search team to get the funding that is needed.  I have hired Carmen Policy and Disney CEO Bob Iger to help with this process.   If the unfortunate happens and things don’t work out and we have to move, I want it be known that I did everything physically and financially possible to make this work”.

Leadership. That is what is needed. If Davis would do these things, I see a stadium being built no problem. Carmen Policy has MEGA stroke in the bay area.   He is personal friends with many local and state politicians and corporations through out the bay area including Silicon Valley. His winery and his past dealings when he was with the 49ers have made him powerful in the bay area. Disney also obviously has a lot of pull anywhere. Hire anyone affiliated with the Giants/Jets situation or the 49ers new stadium. Anyone that knows what to do and how to get it done.  Now let’s look at the nuts and bolts of the situation.

Ways to Get Revenue For A New Stadium:

  1. Corporate Money:

What the Raiders need for a stadium is lunch money to Technology companies. If you can’t get a sponsor out of Silicon Valley while having the clout of the NFL behind you then you flat out didn’t try or ask. This is the adult world and they are not going to come to you. The 49ers did a great job of doing this and in the end they had their pick of sponsors without using tax money. Knock on doors, wheel and deal. Hello Carmen Policy. If I was Mark Davis there isn’t a door I wouldn’t knock on or hand that I would not shake.

  1. Sell Part Ownership:

Mark Davis is a nice guy but he’s in over his head. Why can’t Mark Davis go to the CEO of Disney Bob Iger or any big wig rich guy and sell off 5-10% of the team. With the money from a new stadium and appreciation Davis will have more money in the end than he could ever imagine. Davis is still the managing general partner and he has more shares than anyone.

  1. Live Streaming:

THINK GLOBALLY. Some of you older fans may say huh? at some of these ideas but its time to think outside the box into tomorrow.

A total of 61% of all revenue is shared by the teams. What ISN’T shared is what the NFL calls territorial revenue.   Any local tv, advertising, merchandise, or other revenue that is created within the teams local radius is totally kept by the team. Last year alone Green Bay made $151 million in Territorial Revenue, $34.9 million in their new local club houses alone; that included online and in person sales.

If I were the Raiders I would approach You Tube and/or Google or Direct TV and create a live stream with the local television affiliate. During the stream you can advertise, sell items or do whatever you want. I would even make a separate app that can be used on all tablets and phones.

When Yahoo did live streams on a few of the NFL games last year, the NFL was shocked at the numbers. In one of the games they had an average of 10-20 million viewers watching the stream every minute. You can taste the advertising money. Now that pales in comparison to television viewers, but you are now thinking globally because many of the people that would watch the games are not in the U.S.   I actually researched the geographical breakdown and the fact is for one game on Yahoo at times 33% of the viewers were NOT in America. Even though we forget it sometimes, the world doesn’t revolve around the U.S. and there are a whole lot of new fresh faces to market to.

You are now entering into a huge untapped revenue source and your popularity can only grow.   ESPN has done it for their college games without announcers. I’ve actually streamed it sometimes and it’s great.   It’s starting small but growing in popularity. Streaming is the future and the present. Concerts are live streamed all the time, so why not NFL locally?

I would do marketing campaigns with local Hispanic, Indian, Chinese and other cultural based channels and advertise the live streaming and the merchandise. I would make the Raiders a world wide brand and market the Oakland Raider nation as a global entity.   When it grows I would then do pre and post game shows in various languages (with advertising) on various foreign channels or stream them. People would drink it up like it’s got the antidote. No one has done this but the Raiders have a large following all over the world. If you can’t make money this way, then you just aren’t trying.

Why do you think dozens of countries are at WWE Wrestlemania and even TNA is now getting into India. GLOBAL MONEY.   Wrestling has been marketing globally long before WWE.  WCCW in Dallas had viewers all over the world they marketed to. I would also begin creating a social media like Twitter or Facebook JUST for Raider fans through out the world.

  1. Guaranteed Tax bonds:

Guaranteed corporate tax bonds are done all the time in the U.S.. The City of Oakland would be responsible for this.   Go to Kaiser Health or another company and ask for a $300 million tax bond so you pay in time. Kaiser has so much money now that they are going to build a college. Health insurances are making hand over fist with the cuts to providers so this is doable.   In the end you can possibly even make a little money after paying it back.

  1. Uber

In smaller ways you can make a deal with Uber. Have a Raider fan app that will be exclusive for games giving Raider fans discounts on fairs in exchange for advertising money and cash.

6.  Sell Office Space:

Another effective way to make money is to sell office space. If you walk in the back of the San Francisco Giants A T & T park, it is filled with medical offices. Oakland has tons of medical offices that would love to upgrade to new office space. This is year round revenue.

  1. Developer Rights and Part Ownership:

This is one that is a favorite of the City of Oakland and they’ve talked about it with Mark Davis and I don’t like it. First of all Mark Davis is obsessed with having a huge area for parking for tailgating. That is great but parking is not a year round revenue source. With BART, parking would be less of a need and would take up valuable land that could give the City and possibly the team year round revenue with stores and other businesses. With a new stadium you could make picnic areas outside the stadium for pre-game partying. Mark Davis also wants complete control of the land.

The City wants to offer a developer cheap land and part ownership in exchange for $300 million; that’s the short fall that is needed to build a new stadium right now. If this was San Francisco or the South Bay near Silicon Valley this is a no brainer that any developer would want. In Oakland, not so much. The City is also offering a 9 acre parcel of land as well. This seems to be a popular hope but in reality I like the previous ideas a thousand times better and I’m not thrilled that this is a good idea.

 

Final Thoughts:

Above are just ideas off the top of my head. Smart people can figure it out if they drop their ego’s at the door.   Too many people trying to be right instead of doing right. Of course they aren’t as cut and dry as I’m putting it but they also aren’t as complicated. Problem is you have ego’s, hurt feelings and insecurity with people in these deals and that’s where things go wrong. Where there is a will there is a way.

The City of Oakland needs to get off their butt and act. It’s also time for Mark Davis to prove people wrong and show the NFL that he is a real NFL owner. Will he hire people to work hard like he did for Carson or will he just have his hand out looking for corporate money from tax payers in cash strapped Oakland while pleading victim.

Do you think for a second that Stan Kroenke created his sports empire by just sitting by waiting for others to give things to him? Do you Think Al Davis would kick a can and say aw shucks, you fix it?

What is needed is confident and competent leadership. We will see if either side has these abilities.  I hope that Mark Davis and Libby Schaaf put in the work and make it happen. Schaaf has to show business and political savvy and Davis needs to stop telling Oakland that he wants to stay and start showing it. The Raider fans have been through enough; Make it happen. There’s lots to do.

 

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“Raiders Stadium Sites Update; Video: How to Morph Levi’s & A Future NFL Stadium”

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Laney College Site For Oakland Raiders Stadium

Where Are They Now In the Process:

Has their ever been a fan base that has gone through more stress than Oakland Fans?  All those years of loyalty and now the Warriors are going.  Are the Raiders staying; are the A’s staying; no fan base is more beat up.  I hope for their sake that things get worked out for the A’s and Raiders.  Oakland is a special place and they deserve much more than they are getting.

Fans and writers now get it.  It would be nice if Mark Davis would now hire Carmen Policy and Disney CEO Bob Iger to help with a stadium in Oakland but don’t count on it.  He’s going to do nothing and make the City of Oakland figure it out.  If he put the same amount of effort, time and money into Oakland that he did into Carson then this could be worked out much faster, but it is what it is.  In his defense the City of Oakland has had 2 bad mayors before Libby Schaaf and that didn’t help either but his words and his actions have never been the same.

The reality is it’s up to the City of Oakland and Mayor Schaaf to get this done.  Remember in the back of your mind, even though the Raiders are important, the A’s make more money for the city.

What is The City Of Oakland’s Present Strategy:

I think many writers and fans are not getting what needs to happen.  Every one is trying to find a new place for a Raiders stadium but in reality if EITHER the A’s or the Raiders move, then both teams stay in Oakland because the O.co is now free.  The strategy for Oakland is to move the A’s soon because they will be easier to move.  The A’s want a 34-39,000 seat stadium.  Here is a rendition of the Cisco Stadium plan that eventually was knocked down.  It would have been a 35,000 seat stadium in Fremont, CA.

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Cisco Field
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Cisco Field Business Plaza with Picnic and Dual Scoreboard

If you move the Raiders over the A’s, you need more land for the stadium and parking.  It will still cost the City if the A’s move but for a stadium with less fans, it’s cheaper.   If the A’s move, then you now have an empty arena with no team in Oracle, and you have an old stadium that can be torn down.  When the Warriors leave you now can use the Oracle area for a shopping or business complex, extra parking or whatever you want.

This keeps both teams in Oakland and you have two great stadiums.  Cal Berkeley has said in the past they are open to sharing their newly upgraded stadium for the rental revenue it would provide.  God help those in traffic but that is for another day.

Who May Be The Raiders Savior & How the A’s Can Help Them:

Below we will discuss why the the majority owner of the A’s is so important.  Don’t think for a second that major league owners aren’t sick of the A’s making money every year and doing nothing to bring in more revenue.  Lew Wolf is cheaper than a celebrity at dinner time and the other owners are sick of it and they want a new stadium in Oakland.  Of course the owners don’t have the plums to tell the Giants to get bent on the territorial rights that the A’s gave them in the first place to save them, but that’s again for another time.

Remember that since 2000, the A’s are ONLY 1 of three teams in MLB that has made money every year.  The A’s make between $35-45 million per year due to the profit sharing in MLB.  If it were up to Wolf, he’d keep cashing checks and do nothing but that isn’t popular anymore among MLB owners.

When you ask fans who owns the A’s, everyone says Lew Wolf.  Well not exactly.  Wolf owns approximately 20% of the A’s.  He IS the managing general partner though and he’s been allowed to make the business decisions and speak as the owner.  The MAJORITY owner is John Fisher the son of the Gap Founder.  (man does every owner have family money?).  He owns 80% of the A’s but he’s never really wanted to be involved in the day to day business until now.  Get this; the A’s ownership is the 5th richest ownership in MLB.  Johnson is younger, more personable and more reasonable than the volatile Wolf & he can help the Raiders.

Wolf and Johnson brought the San Jose Earthquakes back into the professional soccer world in 2008.  They built Avaya stadium in San Jose using no tax money which is a fans dream.  No one thought they could do it.  I think Johnson would have great idea’s for a new park for the A’s, shoring up the Coliseum for the Raiders.  It’s like watching a game in a theater and it officially has the largest outdoor bar in the U.S.  It has standing room only and a huge drink rail near the bar.  It also has field level club suites that are behind the benches.  It’s a beautiful place.  At the opening of Avaya, Johnson; who rarely speaks anywhere; told the media it’s now time to bring an A’s stadium in Oakland.  Here is beautiful Avaya Stadium.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiU5JQu2uGQ

Future NFL Stadium:

I don’t know why it hasn’t been thought of more but this is what construction experts see as the future NFL stadium which can be used for the City as well as the team.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERvARKwPtiU

Proposed Sites For a New Oakland Stadium: 

Howard Terminal:

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Howard Terminal Oakland A’s, Raiders Stadium

This is the sexy pick for many to bring the Raiders here but again, the city would rather try and move the A’s first because it’s easier.  I think if the A’s balked at the idea, then the Raiders could fit well here too.

Let’s be real.  Lew Wolf does NOT want to move; Johnson does though.  He wants to move and MLB wants that too.  Even though Wolf is a charitable person to the community he is very hard headed, abrasive and a close minded man in business.  It’s part of the reason the Fremont deal fell through.  The 49ers president Jed York kissed many a butt and greased many palms to get Levi’s stadium.  That’s how you deal with politicians and business people.  It’s what you have to do.

Howard Terminal was first brought up in the mid 2000’s.  The City of Oakland loved the idea; Lew Wolf hated it and he nixed it saying in anger, “I may as well move to Treasure Island.  This is a terrible spot”.  When recently asked about the area again, Wolf said he had no comment and he was in the middle of research and it was ridiculous to ask him that question right now.  What a softy.  The land is owned by the Port of Oakland so the City is in control there.

In contrast, A’s owner Johnson has told the media HE LOVES the area and they would love to build a stadium there.  It is literally right across the water from AT&T Park in San Francisco.  Just like the 49ers @ Levi’s, the Raiders would also have to get State approval but that shouldn’t be a problem.

The cons of the stadium is that it will create a traffic nightmare but let’s be real; new studies show that we have the worst traffic in the country now if you add SF and San Jose, so there isn’t a good place.  The biggest negative though is no BART trains.  BART is hugely popular at the O.co and having it is a must.  The City would have to rezone some areas and put in train tracks and a close by station.  Oakland has said it’s doable.  This is a very promising site.  Libby Schaaf stated last week she is already working on rezoning with the stadium area put in.  If Lew Wolf would say yes; or better yet John Fisher or Mark Davis; then this could start immediately and the Raider stadium at the Coliseum could begin as well.

Golden Gate Fields:

This was first proposed in 1980 when the race track was struggling and the Raiders wanted to move.  Some are bringing this site up again but it’s a very congested area for traffic and there are just too many hills to climb.  Not happening.

Laney College in Oakland: 

Another area that is being talked about for the A’s or the Raiders is the Laney College plan close to Lake Merritt.  In the early 2000’s, the A’s and the City Planning Commission held meetings on a new stadium.  The meetings had so many A’s fans going that they had to put the fans in adjacent rooms to hold them all.  The meetings were very charged.

A’s fan Larry Jackson kept bugging the city with a plan to build on Laney College.  Eventually the City Manager Robert Bobb ran with the idea.  The city endorsed it as long as the A’s would foot some of the bill.  The A’s LITERALLY never responded.  A secondary plan was also submitted at the north side of downtown Oakland by the 19th Street Bart Station.  The A’s then made Lew Wolf the lone voice talking to the City and he finally began to listen.

laneyCollegePlan
Laney College Oakland Raiders Stadium Plan

Who nixed those plans was then mayor and future California Governor Jerry Brown who was a political enemy of Bobb.  Brown was angry at the A’s for talking to the City of Sacramento about moving without telling the City of Oakland which many said Brown never forgave the A’s for.  Brown said it was an act of betrayal and that the A’s were not negotiating in good faith. Brown sabotaged both plans saying they would not work and he would not support them.  Laney College by Lake Merritt is still a feasible possibility.  The City of Oakland also has said they would want a small parcel of the land still to be given to them but that is very doable.  There would also have to be money set aside extra for ample parking but that is also very doable.  Lew Wolf and Jerry Brown were very negative about this almost 20 years ago.  Both have moved on.  This is a maybe with a capital M.

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Laney College Plan for Raiders Stadium

Levi’s Stadium: 

The NFL has ALWAYS LOVED this idea; and still does.  When the 49ers and the NFL talked about it at the beginning, Al Davis bristled and said no way.  Mark Davis has said the same thing but he’s been a little more silent of late about it.  Before they started building Jed York said on local radio that they would entertain thoughts of the Raiders playing in Santa Clara.  The 49ers were open to it from the beginning but now that they are making boatloads of cash, the 49ers are more lukewarm about it.  With concert money, sporting events, wrestling, conventions and other forms of year round revenue (oh and that thing called the Super Bowl), Levi’s is a cash cow and they are printing money.  The NFL said again at the latest meetings that this is what they prefer for the Raiders.  They also have seed money that was given to them by the NFL to “morph” Levi’s so the Raiders could use it.  This is very doable.  The video below shows how the Raiders and 49ers could share the stadium and how it would morph between teams.  This is the how they do it video for the Jet’s and the Giant’s.  (I apologize for the annoying lady).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRBbvSxXvmI

O.co Stadium:

I still call it the Coliseum.  This is the ideal place for the Raiders and if one of the Oakland teams move, the other will call O.co home.  If the Raiders move to let’s say Howard Terminal, than Lew Wolf is happy and the A’s can call it home.  Both teams love the easy freeway access, close proximity to airports, and BART is at the doorstep.  It’s an amazing spot for a stadium.

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Frank Youell Field in Downtown Oakland 1962 (Laney College is There Now)

In the end the saga will be the same as the vote.  You will hear many rumors; some smart; some so out there you wish you could drug test.  But in reality; just like with the NFL vote; use common sense and use your head when following this stuff.  Most people are very emotional and biased in their thinking.  They either support teams or cities or owners but in reality these decisions have NOTHING to do with the heart.  Think like a business person and you will get more of a feel on what’s going on.  And as ALWAYS; follow the money.

“Oakland Raiders Draft Preview: Players That Can Help Immediately in Round 1”

 

 

NFL logo and set are seen at New York's Radio City Music Hall before the start of the 2013 NFL Draft
The Pre NFL Draft Scene

Are you sick of the words moving, stadium, Schaaf, Davis and Los Angeles?   Are you sick of crazy rumors that always end up to be false? Me too.   Let’s actually look intelligently into the future of the Raiders ON THE FIELD. Come on kids, who’s with me?

The Raiders ended up the season 7-9 and they will be drafting in the 14th spot in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Mock Draft Mania:

I think what bothers me about mock drafts is how mind numbingly wrong so many of them are. I was shocked at some of Pro Football Focus, Bleacher Report and FanSided’s writers mocks, and even NFL.com’s writers mock drafts.   I mean did they ever watch a game in college? They don’t use common sense.   People forget that a few years ago Mel Kiper Jr. got 1; thats right; one pick right in the first round. And this is from a guru that people pay ESPN to check out his insider mock drafts! Insiders are so wrong so often that as a fan, you should take mock drafts with a grain of salt.  Do you actually think NFL teams are going to be honest and tell sports writers what they are going to do?  Al Davis in his younger days would leak fake rumors just to mess with writers and other teams.

What changes this years draft is Hue Jackson being hired in Cleveland.   Many have commented he is not a fan of Johnny Manziel so instead of Joey Bosa you could see California QB Jarod Goff going to Cleveland at #2. Let’s look at some of the talent that could come Oakland’s way next year.

Possible Picks:

Shawn+Robinson+Oklahoma+v+Alabama+SzV8kZrawVrl
A’Shawn Robinson vs Oklahoma

A’Shawn Robinson: DT Alabama

My favorite player in the draft after Jaylon Smith got hurt. Remember; a strong DL covers up DB’s issues. Look at the 4 teams left in the playoffs. Seattle has the best defensive backfield in the NFL but when the pass rush struggles, even they are toast.   Some have Robinson going in the early or middle part of the first round but wow would he be a steal. He’s the best DL on the best defense. One announcer said he looks like a fast vending machine. He is 6′ 3″ 320 and he’s quick; he’s hurdled more than a few offensive blockers in his time too. Many feel he’s just beginning to get his stride as a pass rusher. He could be effective immediately and could play all 3 downs. He’s my #1 DL in the draft even over Joey Bosa; a special talent that can’t be passed up by the Raiders if he is available which may or may not happen.   How about him, Aldon Smith, Kahlil Mack & Ellis rushing the passer next year. For the first time in years I’d be happy with the Raiders DL and so would fans.

 

NCAA Football: Texas A&M at Alabama
Reggie Raglund vs Texas A & M

Reggie Ragland: LB Alabama  

Ragland is a rugged and physical MLB who is a good tackler and a popular name for mock drafters. He is fast but doesn’t have blazing speed. He’s also a popular teammate and leader as well. The problem with Alabama LB’s is that you really don’t know if they can cover anyone in the passing game. They play zone and rely on their pass rush so their LB’s rarely play man to man coverage. If he can cover in the NFL he is going to be a good one.

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Mackensie Alexander vs Oklahoma

Mackensie Alexander: CB Clemson

Teams either love him or hate him. Some have him going as high as 6th and some have him going in the second round.   The ACC isn’t the greatest conference as is seen by their lack of bowl success every year but Alexander is the real deal in my book. I love an NFL draft writer on Bleacher Report who complained that he didn’t have an interception this year; well when you give up only 11 catches all year and no one throws your way, you are not going to have interceptions. Too many stat ho’s. He is aggressive, athletic and has great instincts in coverage which will be a breath of fresh air after watching DJ Hayden for 3 years. I’ll miss the DJ Hayden apologists though.   Ok maybe not so much.

11.21.15_MSU FTBL VS OHIO STATE
Jack Conklin vs Ohio St.

Jack Conklin: OT Michigan St.

If the Raiders want to go OT here, some are saying Taylor Decker from OSU, but I like Conklin better. Decker looks better in his uniform and is very tall (6′ 7″) but he isn’t consistent enough for me in the run game and Conklin is a Raider. Conklin plays hard every play and he’s a big physical guy with a mean streak. A bruising OL that wears defensive players down. I see him starting in a year or two if not earlier. He’s smart and physical and I love his game.

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Ezekiel Elliott vs Western Michigan

Ezekiel Elliott: RB Ohio St.

I think a few Raider fans pretty much want all pro’s at every offensive position so this is a pick for them. I think teams that draft well are fans of the best player available and even though I don’t think this pick would happen, this still is the Raiders and you never know. I think Elliott is better than Heisman winner Derrick Henry. Alabama always has near the best OL in college and they never get the credit when their RB’s do so well. With Eddie Lacy struggling last year, Alabama RB’s haven’t exactly tore up the NFL the last 10 years. Elliott is big, fast and strong and he’s a work horse. He was never asked to catch the ball much so he’ll have to learn with experience. People forget that Barry Saunders averaged a little over 2 catches a game in his career and he wasn’t in the lineup often for the Lions on passing downs.

Elliott has a little prima donna in him but he’s a physical, talented player. The Raiders could move or let go of Reece and Murray and give the starting nod to Elliott and let Roy Helu Jr. take the 3rd down role for every week and not just week 17. Again, crazier things have happened but it’s a long shot. Eli Manning isn’t the type of QB to carry a team so to me, Elliott has NY Giants at #10 written all over him, but who knows. Again, if he’s there his talent is hard to pass up.

 

Mississippi v Mississippi State
Laquon Treadwell vs Mississippi St.

Laquon Treadwell: WR Mississippi

Think Dez Bryant or Larry Fitzgerald. Personally I think the Raiders need an upgrade at #3 WR but defense is a much bigger need. I had high hopes for Andre Holmes but he’s not getting much playing time. Seth Roberts is ok but when others are double teamed he should be.

 Treadwell has good size and good speed even though he’s not a speedster.   He is a quiet guy but a total leader type who makes big plays in the biggest games. He came back from a horrific ankle injury as good as new. A playmaker in the biggest sense with great hands. He will make one team very happy and has the potential to be a #1 WR. His value is again all over the board. Some have him going #4 to the Cowboys and some have him going into the early second round. Again, the mock draft world.

Shaq Lawson
Shaq Lawson vs Oklahoma

Shaq Lawson: DE Clemson

Another Clemson guy Jim? Yes.   He can speed or bull rush and he can stop the run. He’s a playmaker and a leader and he’s quick as a cat. If he’s still available you just can’t pass him up. His projection is also all over the place. Some have him going #7 and some have him going all the way to #26. Welcome to the guessing game which is the NFL mock draft. Talents like this can’t be passed up though. Ask Denver how fun it is having DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller as rushing bookends.

Please Don’t Pick Them Award:

Robert-Nkemdiche
Roebert Nkemdche vs Louisiana Lafayette

Robert Nkemdiche: DL Ole Miss

He famously fell out of a hotel window while partying with his boys and fell 15 feet and needed an ambulance. They then found 7 joints in his hotel room and he was arrested. To be honest for some of the crimes college players have done or have been accused of, that’s kind of tame in my book.   What worries me more than that is that I think he’s overrated. Many SEC players get way too much publicity and I think this guy is one of those.

When supposed future all world DE/LB Jadeveon Clowney was in the draft, I pointed out to everyone how poor he had played in his last 8 college games.   Oh the hate. One guy called me the dumbest writer he’d ever read. I pointed out that Teams were actually running at him and his stats were not very good. I saw the same thing with Nkemdiche. In his last 6 games he averaged only 2.5 tackles a game and he had 3 sacks all season. I’m not a fan of his but some love this guy. He’s another popular player going to the Raiders in some mock drafts. I doubt he will be chosen considering how the Raiders have concentrated on character guys. I’d pass on him.

 

kendall fuller
Kendall Fuller

Kendall Fuller: CB Virginia Tech

I think Kendall Fuller is this years DJ Hayden. I think his stock will rise at the NFL combines and mark it down; I have a bad feeling this is going to be the Raiders pick. He’s athletic and fast. At the start of the season Fuller was considered a top CB in college. He was torched often in the Ohio St. game and looked overwhelmed and lost. He then got hurt in week three with a knee injury and missed the rest of last season.   Rumors already have the Steelers liking him especially with their weak defensive backfield. I don’t like this pick. His weakness is that he has poor instincts as a DB. Virginia Tech has an aggressive defense but there is a lot of freelancing. Many times Fuller looks at the QB too much and loses track of his man. I just do not like this guy but the NFL combine 40 times have screwed the Raiders for years with many poor DB draft picks and I hope they don’t do it again.   I think Fuller is no where near as good as Alexander.

 

jaylon smith
Jaylon Smith

Jaylon Smith: LB Notre Dame

Before his injury this was my favorite pick in college. Fast, a great tackler, good leader can play all downs; then he had that horrific injury.

The “rome wasn’t built in a day” stuff is old to many fans.   Some fans say that every time a new coaching staff is hired and many Raider fans are done with it after 13 years of non winning seasons. The Raiders need to win now. Smith tore 2 ligaments and in no way will be full strength next year. Smith is all about speed so for me this is just too much of a risk. One ligament maybe; but not two. It takes a good year to fully recover from this injury and it may take 2, and who knows how healthy he will be. Patience isn’t bliss anymore in Oakland.

 

These are just a handful of the names that you will be hearing about.  There are others that I feel would be good picks and we’ll share them at another time.

“What Happens With The San Diego Chargers; a Lesson For All NFL Fans to Learn”

chargers
A man & His Daughter @ San Diego Chargers Lot

I’m writing this for the good San Diego Charger and NFL fans that are interested. It’s truly a sad time for them and my heart hurts for any city that loses their team. No, loyalty and doing right doesn’t mean much anymore.   Let’s look at what is happening and what will happen.

What Happened At the NFL Vote?

It’s hard to listen to the insiders or the experts anymore because they are so wrong so often. I use common sense and business savvy and try to figure things out.  It’s really not as hard as people make it out to be.  Social media makes it that way sometimes.

When Raider fans already had the Raiders moving the last month I didn’t react. Why? Because if I’m an NFL owner and I have to pick between a guy that has built up a multi BILLION dollar sports empire and a 61 year old man that has never formally held a job in his life and only got the team because he inherited it, then it’s a no brainer for me. I pick Stan Kroenke over Mark Davis. In the end the NFL felt the same. Raider great Tim Brown even said he was shocked at how little the owners listened to Mark Davis and how they were so excited when Stan Kroenke spoke.   Welcome to the business world everyone.

Where Will the Chargers Play Next Year:

The NFL’s fiscal year starts April 1st. Most in the know feel that the Chargers will negotiate a deal to play in Los Angeles sooner than later. The key point for the Chargers is not getting screwed by Stan Kroenke.   They want to have equal profit sharing and they still need to pay for the relocation fee of 500 million and find a place to play.

It’s hard to think that the Chargers will stay in San Diego.   In fact it’s near impossible.  Too many bridges have been burned.   While 92 y/o Alex Spanos is still beloved, his son Dean isn’t. When he and Mark Davis thought the Carson deal would go through, Dean continued with negative remarks about the City. The San Diego Supervisors released a statement yesterday saying that if the Chargers want to negotiate in good faith that they are committed to it.   BUT if they just want to turn it into a charade because they want to move to Los Angeles then they are not interested. Not exactly words to cuddle by.

I listened to the San Francisco bay area sports talk shows Tuesday and they had 2 San Diego Sports reporters on and both said that the relationship between San Diego and the Chargers is over. They ripped Dean Spanos to shreds calling him dishonest and his negative remarks about the City of San Diego were death blows to the relationship. The new stadium in Inglewood is not going to be finished until 2019 which is a long way away so this transition; especially with the flakiness and quirkiness of Southern California fans with sports teams (Lakers have another record loss in tv viewer ratings) will make it interesting.  The NFL only wants two teams in Southern California and San Diego doesn’t want to play second fiddle to Stan Kroenke’s Rams so there is much to do.

The Real Reason Spanos is Leaving San Diego:

In 2008 the Chargers were legally able to move if they wanted to. They also could negotiate a new stadium in San Diego too. The reason why the City of San Diego has called the negotiations a charade is that many feel Spanos always wanted to move to LA. Insiders said that he felt if another team came to Southern California; (and especially if 2 teams would come); the Chargers fan base would dwindle due to new competition. Spanos probably was right but he wasn’t honest about it. Many feel he put the City and the fans through a lot of nonsense thinking he wanted to stay, when he really didn’t. He was biding his time.

Spanos also knew financially that he could not move on his own. The Chargers and the Raiders are family owned teams; which means they have no other business but the NFL so they have much less cash than other owners. He then teams up with the Raiders Mark Davis who is another man that inherited his team from his father and is in the same financial situation. They both thought the Carson project was a done deal so Dean Spanos gloated a little bit and stayed out of the limelight. He was so hated in San Diego that he refused to go out in public or on the field for some ceremonies.

Davis; who has never really held a job in his first 57 years of life; was also devastated when the Carson project fell through. Now he’s going back to Oakland with his tail between his legs and his hand out saying gimmee.

 Final Thoughts:

It doesn’t matter if you are a Charger fan, Raider fan, Bronco Fan or a Chiefs fan. The NFL has proven they don’t care about the cheerleaders, the refs, the retired players or the fans.   They are billionaires who want to make even more money and the fans are their puppets to get it. Anyone thinking that their teams are in love with them are as naive as it gets. Ask those in Baltimore, Cleveland, Oakland, San Diego and St. Louis how much their teams loved them. Nada much.   They DO love our money though.

The NFL and the owners do not care if you have a million people at a rally; they don’t care about your loyalty and they don’t care how it hurts you or your family if your team leaves. This is business, especially in the new millennium.

Does that mean we can’t enjoy our teams? Of course not. Love them, cheer for them, wear their gear and have fun. But we are not gang members. Rib each other in fun but stop showing hate and venom to other teams fans.   Do you think your teams owner cares if you are broke or sick or having problems?  Do you think your undying loyalty is cared about unless they get money out of you?  I was born but not yesterday.

Remember that we are all in this game called life and that is much more important than loyalty to a sports team. There are joys and triumphs, successes and failures, sickness and pain, and happiness and love in our lives. The important things.

Love those that love you and be good to each other. And say a little prayer for Chargers fans all over. They lost a part of their childhood today and even adults lost some innocence. In the end, it’s a painful lesson for us all.

 

 

“The Raiders Improve to 7-9; Evaluating Derek Carr & the Offense & Moving Forward”

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Derek Carr Warming Up on the Sidelines

 

You could sum up the Raiders offense this year by saying it was a tale of two season. There were many highs and some lows.  Let’s look at straight forward answers as to the positives of the season and what actually went wrong.

Overall Personnel:

The Raiders spent a lot of money and personnel on the offensive side of the ball. No team in the NFL did more for their offense than the Raiders did.

Some fans seem to want track stars at every wide receiver position, Adrian Peterson at Running back, and every offensive linemen being all pro’s.   This is the salary cap era and you need to be real. Let’s look at the positions and see where the Raiders look good, and where there needs to be improvement.

Running Back:

I like the Raiders running backs. Latavius Murray is solid as a starter but he gets too many carries.   Jamize Olawale has talent but he’s not getting the ball enough, just like Marcel Reece.

It took the Raiders 17 weeks to realize they had Roy Helu Jr. on the team.   I’m shocked he wasn’t used more in the passing game this year.

This can be a solid group but the ball needs to be spread out more. They have the talent but you can’t see it if you don’t use it. The Raiders coaches did a poor job of using the players that they had.

Wide Recievers:

I think Tom Brady was using YMCA players at times this season. The thing is they still are the #2 seed in the playoffs.   If your QB needs a great OL, amazing RB’s and awesome WR’s, then he’s really not that good. NO ONE HAS THAT!

That being said I like the Raiders WR core. Cooper had the dropsies at times but he has a great future and Mike Crabtree is as reliable and as solid a WR as their is. He’s been the best addition in free agency that the Raiders had this year.

I’m not a Seth Roberts fan; he’s made some good catches but Andre Holmes is more talented and needs regular playing time. If they don’t think he can do it, then drop him and get a better #3 in free agency. You can get another player with speed that can stretch the field more.

Tight Ends:

Next year, I think the Raiders can have a top 5 core at tight end. Lee Smith is flat out the best blocking TE in the NFL and he even caught some passes this year. Mychal Rivera needs more touches and Clive Walford is going to be a good one. Unless the Raiders find a way to get the tight ends the ball though, it’s a waste.

 Why did the Offense Struggle In the Second Half?:

You can literally point to one game that changed the direction of the offense. That was the home game against the Minnesota Vikings.

The Vikings have a good team and even with injuries, they have a good defense.   Their coaches had 2 goals; take the long pass away, and rush Carr. They did both. They started playing their safeties back, taking away the long ball and the Raiders struggled. Teams started doing the same thing.

Another thing is teams started to blitz more. In the Kansas City game in Oakland, the Chiefs blitzed almost every play in the fourth quarter and it rattled Derek Carr. He ended up throwing 3 int’s in that quarter and that wasn’t a coincidence.

If you look at the changes teams made against the Raiders, in Derek Carr’s first 8 games of the season he had 19 TD’s and 4 interceptions. In the last 8 games he had 13 TD’s and 9 interceptions.

How do You Fix The Offense:

The Raiders stats in the mid range passing game is one of the worst in the NFL. They have to get the tight ends more involved. There needs to be near 10 passes a game to them. Not to get too technical but when the Raiders played a two tight end set, the seam pass was very successful and was there all day. With Amari Cooper going deep it occupies the safety. Have one tight end go straight up the field and there is a lot of space. The Raiders tight ends had several good pass catches using that play. The Raiders tight ends are solid and they have to be a weapon next year. If the Raiders continue to throw either deep or very short, nothing is going to change.   It will also make the run game predictable and hurt that.

Evaluating Derek Carr:

I didn’t think Derek Carr would be as polarizing as he has been. When fans ask me about him I always tell them that if people say he sucks, don’t listen to them, and if people are checking to see who will introduce him at his hall of fame speech, then don’t listen to them either.

The Good:

First off for those that either want him benched or dumped, you’ve got to be kidding. Have you seen the quality; or lack of; in the quarterback position in the NFL? Who is going to replace him? (And if you say Matt McGloin, it’s good to hear from the McGloin Family). Half of the teams in the NFL are begging to find a QB and there are teams like Buffalo that is one QB away from being a playoff team. In the 1970’s and most of the 80’s, even bad teams had good to fair quarterbacks.   Now most teams don’t have a good QB.

Derek Carr has a lot of good qualities that will make him a solid quarterback for a long time. He has a strong arm, can be accurate on the run, and is a solid leader. When he has great time he’s very accurate and productive.  His teammates appreciate and believe in him and that is a big thing to look at as well. He’s even keeled and doesn’t lose his mind if things don’t go well.

The Bad:

I like Derek Carr but he has weaknesses for sure. His biggest one is his poor play when he’s under a pass rush.   In the first part of the year he was barely touched and he flourished; the second half the pass rush rattled him some.

Tom Brady, Ben Roethlesberger, Ken Stabler, Joe Montana, etc….. These are just some of the guys that can get sacked 6 times in a game but they will still do well and their teams usually win. That’s not Derek Carr.

He’s now 1-12 as a starter when he’s sacked 3 times or more in a game.   He tends to rush his throws and throws high when he’s he’s under a pass rush.  His timing is way off and he struggles.

Some tried to say, “look at his stats against the blitz”. Well they dropped in the second half of the season plus they are very misleading. WHAT IF THE BLITZ IS PICKED UP! Then the QB gets credit for it when in reality it was the OL and RB’s that protected him that should get the credit. (see why stats can be misleading).

His 4th quarter quarterback rating is 31st in the NFL (only the Rams Nick Foles is worse) and he has more 4th quarter int’s than any qb in the NFL this year.  He needs to make better decisions late in games.

His Numbers:

Fans of his LOVE to bring up his numbers but let’s face it, these new rules have made passing the ball much easier than in the past.

Kirk Cousins threw for more passing yards than any other Washington QB in history. Does anyone in their right mind think Kirk Cousins is a good QB. Is he better than Joe Theisman, Sammy Baugh, Doug Williams, and Sonny Jurgensen? Cousins also has more passing yards than Carr. Do you want Cousins over Carr? Of course not.  And remember than in their second year, Dan Marino lead the Dolphins to a Super Bowl, and Tom Brady won a Super Bowl leading the Patriots.

Below are the NFL records for passing yards in a season. This is the 14 greatest seasons in NFL history.   Notice anything? Twelve of these seasons have happened in the last 4 years when the rules changed protecting Wide Receivers. What is a penalty now was normal play 5 years ago. They’ve also been setting records the last 4 years for the # of defensive back penalties called. Anyone think Matthew Stafford is one of the greatest QB’s of all time?

NFL Passing Yards in a Season:

1. Peyton Manning (37) 5,477 2013 DEN
2. Drew Brees (32) 5,476 2011 NOR
3. Tom Brady (34) 5,235 2011 NWE
4. Drew Brees (33) 5,177 2012 NOR
5. Drew Brees (34) 5,162 2013 NOR
6. Dan Marino+ (22) 5,084 1984 MIA
7. Drew Brees (29) 5,069 2008 NOR
8. Matthew Stafford (23) 5,038 2011 DET
9. Matthew Stafford (24) 4,967 2012 DET
10. Drew Brees (35) 4,952 2014 NOR
Ben Roethlisberger (32) 4,952 2014 PIT
12. Eli Manning (30) 4,933 2011 NYG
13. Tony Romo (32) 4,903 2012 DAL
14. Drew Brees (36) 4,870 2015 NOR

In conclusion Derek Carr is going to be a solid NFL qb for a long time but he does have issues. The Raiders protecting him is vital. They are going to have to have a great OL to keep him protected.

Bill Musgrave:

The Raiders were never thinking of having any coaching changes; that was just social media hype; but next year is a key year for offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave. The Raiders lack of adjustments to teams taking away the long ball was glaring.   They have to use the tight ends in the offense and use the other RB’s much more often. What good is it to draft a talented tight end in Clive Walford and sign the best third down running back in Roy Helu Jr. if you aren’t going to use them?  Next year is the year the Raiders offense needs to get to the next level.

 

“FROM KEN STABLER TO CHARLIE SUMNER; A YEAR OF LOSS FOR THE OAKLAND RAIDERS & REMEMBERING THEM DURING THE HOLIDAYS”

 

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Gene Upshaw showing some love to Ken Stabler

Pastor: I promise James, in time the pain will lessen and it will get easier.

Me: With all due respect Pastor, that is crap. The pain never gets better. Time just makes it a little easier to deal with.

If you want to know how important history is, just look at the half time ceremony when the Packers put Brett Favre’s name in their ring of honor at Lambeau Field on Thanksgiving night. An 81 year old 5 time Champion Bart Starr worked hard for 3 months during extremely poor health just to make the trip to welcome Brett Favre on his special night. There wasn’t a dry eye in the stadium; including Brett Favre’s; when Bart Starr walked up and hugged him. The emotions linked generations of fans who stood up proudly as one.  Brett Favre said, “No offense to anyone, but I was so happy to see Bart Starr and in a way the night was also for him. I was more excited seeing him smiling and happy than what I was there for”.

The Christmas holidays are my favorite time of year. People are nicer and there is much more of a kind spirit of good will floating around. Unfortunately all of us have lost people that we love and it can also be a time of great internal pain and longing. I get that because our family has known a lot of tragedy. This year has been grinding and hard. It’s also been that way for the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders have lost many that were linked to their greatness.

I could see it in his eyes. Upon the passing of the great Ken Stabler, George Atkinson seemed inconsolable.   “It seems that every month we lose someone close to the Raiders. There are fewer of us and it’s very difficult to hear of the passing of Kenny.”

My dad once said that getting older isn’t the hard part. He said the hard part is watching family members that were once strong and vital getting old and passing away. It’s also hard to see athletes who you grew up watching, doing the same.

I think one of the nicest things ever said to me was after I wrote an article for a paid Philadelphia Eagles site. I wrote about a couple of the Eagles who had passed. One Philly fan thanked me for the article and said, “You are the keeper of their memory. You made me remember how great of players these were and how they touched the community. I’ll now never forget them and I was touched like they were my own. Thank you.”

History is a huge deal in our family. It’s always been instilled in us by my parents and relatives, to keep people’s memories alive. We should never forget people and appreciate their talents and their input in people’s lives. Our society has become much more shallow than in the past, with us being obsessed with youthful looks, being cool and in, and keeping in the know with the latest. We forget so easily. The word great is handed out like Halloween candy and our memory is short.   For me, I will never be that way and for those that read me, they will always see a sense of appreciation of those from the past along with their families.

The Raiders have lost some key people from their past this year. Let us remember them.

art powellOakland Raider great WR Art Powell

Art Powell:

Wide Receiver Art Powell was one of the first and great stars of the AFL.   He was big and fast and was known for some amazing catches. He was a 4 time AFL all star and was voted onto the all time AFL team. He amazingly had 81 touchdown passes during a time when defensive backs could do whatever they wanted to WR.

People forget that it was his character that shined the most. Powell, along with teammates Bo Roberson, Clem Daniels and Fred Williamson, refused to play in an exhibition game against his old team the New York Jets because of segregated seating in Mobile Alabama’s Ladd Stadium.

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Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis and Executive Assistant Al LoCasale

Al LoCasale:

“I first started working for the Raiders in 1985. I complained about a bad call in the press box and one of the NFL officials heard me. He angrily went up to Al LoCasale to complain about me. Mr. LoCasale got angry and ripped the stadium credentials from his shirt. It was then that I knew I was a Raider and what loyalty meant. He backed me just because I was a Raider.”

Former Raider Executive Amy Trask.

He was called a pitbull, a hitman, a thug, and many other things that I can’t write. For 3 decades Al LoCasale was the Executive Assistant and loyal heavy for Mr. Al Davis.   If Mr. Davis felt someone wronged the Raiders, LoCasale was the one you had to answer to. He was gruff and had a Napoleonic mentality about him. He demanded respect, loyalty and excellence.   He loved the Raiders and Al Davis.   He was the main figure that helped NFL films capture the Raiders great moments and he insisted on as many Raider players being mentioned as possible. He respected everyone; from the star players to the practice players.   You can’t say Oakland Raiders without saying Al LoCaSale.

dick romanski raider equipment manager
Oakland Raider equipment manager Dick Romanski

Dick Romanski, Equipment Manager:

The Raiders have only had 2 equipment managers in their history.   Dick Romanski and his son Bob.

Dick was an army buddy of Al Davis and a good athlete. He actually coached on Davis military teams. He had been with the Raiders for over 50 years until his son took over. There are stories that Dick was the one that came up with the shield logo of the Raiders.

Dick also was important because he was the one that introduced stickum to the Raiders. He said he got the idea from hitters in major league baseball.

Beloved by players and executives alike, even after retiring he would show up to help on Raider home games. One of the staples of the Raiders lore.

 

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Oakland Raiders Defensive Coordinator Charlie Sumner having a fun moment with Ken Stabler

Charlie Sumner:

“Charlie took me out of the game and I was pissed. I came off the field screaming at him. He put in backup Jack Squirek and told him to “not drop” the pass. I was out of my mind. Then I saw Squirek intercept Joe Theisman’s pass and score. I picked Charlie up and was going crazy. I had immense joy and almost killed him in the process. What a great coach.”

Raiders MLB Matt Millen

Some Raider players thanked him at their Hall of Fame speeches. Charlie Sumner was the greatest defensive coach in the history of the Oakland Raiders and it’s not close. He was the defensive coordinator for 2 Super Bowl wins. He was also a coach that helped create the famous Steel Curtain in Pittsburgh and he was the one that created the great defenses of the Patriots in the mid to late 70’s that almost lead them to a Super Bowl. The Raider offenses got all the credit but if you look at the Super Bowl wins, it was the defenses that dominated.

https://jimjax4.wordpress.com/2015/04/08/the-passing-of-an-oakland-raiders-legend-defensive-icon-charlie-sumner-dies-tom-flores-comments/

 

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Oakland Raider great Fullback Marv Hubbard

Marv Hubbard:

“Some players like to be physical but no one was as tough as Marv.   I’ve never seen a player that would go out of their way to hit people. He also demanded to play special teams because he liked the collisions.”

John Madden

Take it to the cupboard Hubbard was one of the catch phrases of the 1970’s for the Oakland Raiders. In both end zones posters with that saying was the norm. He was all pro 3 times and helped lead the Raiders to 4 consecutive Western Division Championships. He ranks 4th all time in yards per carry as a fullback (4.8 yards) and is 13th overall in NFL history.

Hubbard was a fan favorite and lived in Northern California. He got into music and released 2 albums. He was a scratch golfer and was an entrepreneur and CEO of his own company and he was often seen around town driving his beloved muscle cars which he would restore. Like most Raiders, he lived life to the fullest.

Ken Stabler:

The death of Ken Stabler sent a shockwave around the country and to be honest the world. I remember writing about Ken’s passing and the article was read by people in over 26 countries. I received many messages from people who said they don’t really like the Raiders but that they loved Ken Stabler. I’ve written a lot about Ken and you can check it out here along with Ken’s family website where you can donate to his XOXO Foundation.

http://kenstabler.com/

https://jimjax4.wordpress.com/2015/07/10/the-passing-of-legendary-raider-ken-stabler-shocks-a-nation/#comments

How to Deal With Loss:

First off there is no formula. The key is to talk to people you respect and love and let the pain out.   Cry, scream or get mad. Pain like that is like poison and if you don’t get rid of it, it can eat you alive.

The holidays can be really hard so keep busy. Kid’s and young people always help when they are around due to their great personalities and wonder around the holidays. Remember that there will be times that the pain will come over you in waves and you just need to let yourself get rid of it. If you are a person of faith, rely on it often.   Personally, without my faith I would have not come through things very well.

The most important thing is to remember that the people that are gone would be heartbroken to see you in pain. This poem is a great one to remember that:

“Remember me with smiles and laughter because that’s how I will remember you. If you can only remember me with tears and sorrow, then don’t remember me at all.”

May all of the friends and families of these great people; as well as the fans of the Raiders; find a healing peace and joy this Christmas season.   I pray that they will never be lost in history and that their memories will be passed on to the children of NFL and Raider fans everywhere. And as long as I have breath, I will never let people forget them either.

“Evaluating the Season in Oakland & What do You Consider a Successful Year for the Raiders?”

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Derek Carr vs the Kansas City Chiefs

The Oakland Raiders are now 5-7 and entering the most difficult part of their schedule.  The big question is what is an acceptable win total for this season to be considered a good one.  The Raiders are 1-5 against teams with winning records, and 3 of the last 4 are against teams with winning records.

 

The Positives of 2015:

Derek Carr: 

I liked the Derek Carr pick when he was drafted when few even knew who he was.  It’s a huge issue in today’s quarterback light NFL to find a franchise quarterback and the Raiders have done that.  His strong arm has helped the long passing game and he’s played well this year.  He has limitations which will be discussed later.

He’s grown as a leader and is a quality person that also makes a team comfortable.  He’s going to be a good pro for 5-10 years at least and the Raiders have a franchise quarterback which many teams can’t say.  The future is bright for the Raiders and for Carr.

Offensive Line:

When healthy, the Raiders offensive line has been as good as any in the NFL.  With Carr not being a great QB when rushed, this is imperative for the Raiders success.  For part of the season Carr was the best protected QB in the NFL and some games he had all day to throw.

The Raiders running game has also been solid and other than Donald Penn, this is a young group that should be good for years to come.  Gabe Jackson to me is one of the most underrated OL in the NFL.  It’s not a coincidence that Carr has not been the same QB when center Rodney Hudson has been hurt.  Carr needs time and the Raiders will need to get depth at OL in the off season.  I really like this group though.

Offense:

Michael Crabtree’s contract extension is a good move by the Raiders.  If you look at his numbers when healthy, they are excellent.  Even with Amari Cooper’s drops, he’s still a solid WR and the sky is the limit with him.  Teams have adjusted to the long ball and the Raiders have yet to learn how to best use Cooper, and he has also not adjusted.

I like the Raiders RB’s a lot.  Latavius Murray, Jamize Olawale, and Roy Helu Jr. are solid.  I’m disappointed that Helu Jr. isn’t used more though.  Talented fan favorite Marcel Reece is probably going to be the odd man out next year leaving for another team.  I think the Raiders have failed to use him right.  He will help any team.

I like the Raiders tight ends.  The problem is the Raiders just rarely throw to them.  The announcers two weeks ago brought up the stats that the Raiders are one of the worst medium passing teams in the NFL and that has to change.  Lee Smith is so underrated and is the best blocking TE in the NFL.  Mychal Rivera and Clive Walford are solid and next year I hope they get more opportunities than they are now.

Defense:

The next month will be important for Kahlil Mack who’s had a few very quiet weeks in between great games.  He has to do it on an every week basis to be elite.  He was completely shut out against the Pittsburgh Steelers.  A switch to LB may help him.

Charles Woodsen has been beaten up but he’s recovered from a tough start of the season to have a great year.  The first month of the season he could not guard tight ends but the Raiders have changed up their defense to give him more freedom and it’s worked.  The LB’s have had their ups and downs big time.

David Amerson has improved of late and the hopes are that he can take over at one of the CB positions.  TJ Carrie has been hurt most of the year but I liked his play at Safety and I think playing him and Woodsen at S would help this team.

Special Teams:

The Raiders still can’t find a healthy and consistent returner.  Marquette King has quietly become as solid a punter as there is and Janikowski has been hot and cold this year.

Coaching:

The Raiders seem much more professional and organized this year and it shows on the field.  You don’t see as many mental errors as in the past.

 

The Negatives of 2015:

People like to throw up stats of young quarterbacks of today to show how great they are.  Let’s be real though; the rules of today are a joke.  DB’s are getting penalties for touching people and QB’s and WR’s can pretty much do as they please.  Just in the Raiders games some of the calls are just beyond bizarre and phantom at best.

Throwing for 300 yards is almost the norm and in the last 3 ½ years passing and receiving yard records are falling like leaves.  Most passing records have occurred in the last 3 ½ years and it’s not a coincidence.

Derek Carr has been much improved but right now he’s the 31st rated QB in the 4th quarter with a quarterback rating of only 60%.  He also leads the NFL with 7 fourth quarter interceptions.  He has and probably always will struggle against a pass rush.  Some try to site how good he does against a blitz but of course he can do well if the blitz is picked up.  In the 4th quarter of the KC Chiefs game, the Chiefs blitzed almost every play.  The play calling never changed and against 5 and 7 step drop passes, Carr was toast and made some really bad throws.

Derek also is not a good manager of the game.  He seems to kind of go with the plays that are called with few real audibles and that has to change.  The injury to center Rodney Hudson really hurt the Raiders.

Offense:

Amari Cooper had a great first half of the season but teams soon adjusted.  He has lost some confidence with drops being an issue the last month.

The Raiders lack of OL depth has been seen after Rodney Hudson got hurt.  It’s something they need to fix this off season.  Latavius Murray has to be more consistent.  He’s had a couple of horrible games and in Chicago it got to the point that he was afraid to catch the ball, even looking to get hit.  He has to show up every week.

Defense:

It’s been an up and down year for sure.  The Raiders finally started playing DJ Hayden less and his days in Oakland are numbered.  Seeing Star Lotulelei be a starting fixture on the best DL in the NFL and on the best team the Carolina Panthers hurts.  He fell in the Raiders lap and the Raiders took Hayden instead.

Curtis Lofton is good against the run but really bad against the pass and Malcolm Smith is really good against the past but has struggles against the run.  Ben Heeney is not good against the pass and is more of a backup.  Moving Mack back to LB and bringing in or drafting a 3 down LB would greatly help this team.  The DL seems to have lots of talent but they either struggle against the run or they can’t get to the QB at times.  It’s very inconsistent.

Nate Allen has struggled with tackling and that’s when he plays.  David Amerson shows potential at CB.  Beating up on DJ Hayden anymore does no good for anyone.  He’ll be gone next year.  TJ Carrie’s health issues have hurt this year.

Special Teams:

The Raiders still need someone that can return kings on a week to week basis.

Coaching:

The Raiders are 21st in second half points with only 10 a game.  They are 29th in 4th quarter points with only 4.8.  That’s not a good second half team.  The Raiders defense is dead last in the NFL in the 4th quarter giving up 10.8 points per game.  The Raiders coaches need to do more at half time to combat opponents adjustments.

People that read me know I am not a Bill Musgrave fan.  He has never had much success in 15 years and was even demoted and eventually fired by Jack Del Rio when they were at Jacksonville.  For me his hire made no sense.

In the Chiefs game you saw this in an epic way.  The Chiefs were struggling at times on defense so in the 4th quarter they just literally said lets blitz every play.  They sent 5-7 players at Carr and there were no adjustments.  Carr still tried to look deep and instead of running screens and short passes, the Raiders just kept doing 5 and 7 step drops.

On defense the Raiders started blitzing DB’s, especially CB’s.  I didn’t understand that because the Chiefs started doing bubble screens and actually scored two touchdowns that way.  Alex Smith is the Ichabod Crane of the NFL and no way is he going to throw downfield so they should have played press coverage and blitzed their LB’s if you want to blitz.

Special Teams:

Janikowski has had his bad moments this year.  He’s had some rough games this year but I think he’s not going anywhere.  The Raiders return game has to improve and they need someone that can consistently return kicks.

Overview of 2015 & Looking Forward:

As I said at the start of the year this is NOT a playoff team.  I think next year is the Raiders year.  Some will consider this year an epic fail and some fans could find the good in an 0-16 year and there really isn’t a bottom.  The more realistic fan will realize the Raiders still have holes to fill but they are improved.

The first thing the Raiders need to do is stop talking about how confident they are and realize they have second half issues both on and off the field.  The coaches are not adjusting and neither are the players.  Eventually when you keep losing confidence starts becoming denial.

The Raiders have to start adjusting to what teams are doing.  Carr needs to be much more active at changing plays.

Denver stops the run; you are not going to run wild on them.  What do you do?  Short passing game like Kansas City did.  The minor weakness that the Broncos have is that their LB’s love to make big plays.  They have on occasions struggled covering RB’s in the passing game.  I throw to Roy Helu Jr. or Murray often.  I also use the tight ends much more.  The Chiefs nickeled and dimed the Broncos all game and wore them down.  When you do that, now you can run some.

With their new QB the Broncos are a conservative passing team that wants to establish the run.  Now you put a safety up to stop the run and blitz him to make him pass quickly.  These are adjustments that need to occur.

What is your bottom line in regards to a successful season?  I said 7-9 is average and 8-8 would be a nice season to be successful in the upcoming year.  If the Raiders lose 3 of 4 though, a 6-10 season is a fail.  The Raiders have a rough month ahead but there will be lots of opportunities for players to show they are a part of the equation for next year.