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“Derek Carr Struggles With Loss; Why He’s Still The Answer In Oakland; All The Video Highlights of Raiders v.s. Cowboys”

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Derek Carr struggles to come to grips that he fumbled out of the end zone

“No Excuses; I should have went out of bounds”.

Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr

On a cool winter bay area night after a 20-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, Derek Carr grasps hands with players from both teams on the field. He leads them in prayer thanking God for all that they have been given in life and for their continued safety. His disappointment though is obvious. Carr had fumbled out of bounds in the end zone on the Raiders last play of the game for a touchback. With that, a bad season officially got worse. Less things have to happen to make Justin Bieber win an Oscar than for the Raiders to make the playoffs. And in reality they don’t deserve it.

As he walks off the field Carr hears the manic responses that are so prevalent after an NFL game, win or lose. Some fans are cussing, and there is the occasional you suck, mixed in with a supportive word. As he leaves the field, two young fans ask for his autograph and he obliges instantly with a grin. Just like the times when he visits children in hospitals or does some of his charity work, he always does it with a smile. The life of Derek Carr has it’s up’s and downs.

History of Domination:

It was a history lesson for some and a reminder for others. Two of the most storied franchises in history were meeting in Oakland. It wasn’t Stabler v.s. Staubach but it still meant something extra.

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Derek Carr Fumbles out of the end zone in the final seconds of the loss to Dallas

The network showed that for 2 ½ decades, the Raiders and the Cowboys were NFL royalty. They always topped the NFL in tv ratings and they were must see TV. The goody America’s team with the cheerleaders and the too much makeup Texas look, against the bad boy Raiders and the cheerleaders who looked like the girls your mom warned you about. The NFL world stopped when the Raiders or the Cowboys played. When it looked like the Raiders and Cowboys were destined to play in the Super Bowl in 1978, the Raiders were derailed by several key injuries and a little event called the Rob Lytle fumble in Denver in the AFC Championship game. When the Broncos won, the network and the nation groaned. They wanted to see Oakland v.s. Dallas. The Cowboys dominated Denver 27-10 in a boring Super Bowl. What might have been.

(below are the condensed highlights.  Click on the YouTube Icon on the bottom or double click on the video.  The NFL will only allow viewers to watch it on YouTube)

What Do the Raiders Have in Derek Carr:

Four years ago some of us said the truth about Derek Carr. He’s got a good arm, is accurate when not rushed, and is a good leader. He also has limitations that may not improve with time.   Even the melodramatic Chris Collinsworth said the same thing. He showed a shocking statistic that Carr’s QB rating was a whopping 60% less when he was rushed. He’s been that way since his Fresno St. days. I remember him literally imploding against USC. His psyche is a little fragile at times and he has to become more Brett Favre and Ken Stabler and less Bert Jones and Alex Smith. He needs to be a little more confident and borderline cocky but that isn’t in his makeup.

Even with the rules making breathing around a WR a penalty, the QB situation in the NFL is at an all time low. With this in mind, the Raiders are lucky to have Carr but they also have to realize he has limitations. Just look at the over-hyped Dak Prescott. He was the media darling last year but rarely did the game fall upon his shoulders. When they won though, he got the credit often. Cowboy fans fought with me online when I said how overrated he was. Well, with Ezekiel Elliott out for 6 weeks, the games were put on his shoulders and he failed. Even when they won, he struggled. People don’t think he’s elite anymore. It shows the Carr’s of the NFL world are very valuable.  When you ask people who want to get rid of Carr what their choice is to replace him, many shrug and say I don’t know.  One guy said just keep looking.  This is why “geniuses” in the social media world will never run an NFL team.

(below are the game stats)

http://www.espn.com/nfl/boxscore?gameId=400951814

The Raiders Identity:

If I were the head coach or GM, I would go back to the Daryl Lamonica tapes and show Carr and the Raiders who they should be. The more things change the more they stay the same. This zone blocking scheme was created for a quick, fast OL and needs to be trashed yesterday. The Raiders ran for 122 yards last night with 47 of them coming from Carr’s scrambles. The Raiders are not a zone blocking team.

What they are is a huge, physical, bruising OL and they need to go back to being that. Collinsworth pointed out something I’ve been writing about all year. They have no offensive identity.

They need to go back to being a physical power rushing team that throws deep.   During their glory days, often the Raiders would throw deep on their first offensive play of the game just to let teams know that Warren Wells, or a Cliff Branch or a Tim Brown was going to beat them some time that day and they better not forget it. You send a message that you will throw deep at any time and from anywhere. In one year the Raiders were in the top 5 for rushing and passing. That’s balance.

Oakland needs that identity.  With a solid running game they now can use the play action pass and look downfield.  Carr can excel in that type of offense.  Carr is a solid B to B+ quarterback and in today’s game, those are getting harder to find.

I’d also tell Carr I could care less if you throw 4 interceptions. Stop worrying about reactions on social media, in the media itself, as well as perceptions and stupid stats. I want that ball going deep.  Use those speedy WR talents to the limits. No one respects the Raiders deep throws anymore and it’s obvious Carr is playing not to make a mistake. Carr has been lucky the last 3 weeks. He’s thrown 6 passes literally right in the hands of defenders who just dropped the balls.   He did it again last night with 2 more passes that defenders dropped which were thrown right at them.

It’s comical to have 3 super fast WR and not throw deep. And stop blaming everything on OC Todd Downing. I agree he’s not the answer but Carr wanted this guy as OC and the Raiders did it for Carr.

In regards to play calling, Carr can change the play any time he wants.   Even an average fan can see when the two safeties are crowding the line that you don’t go with a run play; you throw the ball. Unfortunately on a few occasions last night, again no audible was called. The QB is the coach on the field and Carr needs to be that. Right now sometimes he’s not.   Carr is the highest paid player in the NFL and the excuses have to stop and he needs to get to the next level.

Do you think John Elway, Brett Favre, or Ken Stabler ever worried about an interception or would ever let a play happen if they didn’t like it? Gunslingers in the NFL have one thing; a short memory; and a whole lot of wins. They are control freaks who play the game like they are playing chess.   Carr needs to have that mentality.   When he gets flustered he looks like Alex Smith at times, hoping something bad doesn’t happen.  Carr works hard and he’s a good NFL QB but if he wants to be very good he has to improve his control of games.

Were the Raiders a One Hit Wonder?:

No, but they also weren’t as good as their record last year. At 12-4 the Raiders played the second easiest schedule in the NFL; and 7 of those wins were last minute or even last second games.   They beat a lot of bad teams, with a lot of effort. This year they have the 2nd or third hardest schedule and it shows.   You can’t just get by against good teams. You have to beat them. The Raiders had improved last year but no where near as much as their record said they did.

Jims Jamz:

Teams have adjusted to the Raiders and now they have to adjust. OC Todd Downing will almost certainly be gone but Carr still has to evolve and improve. As Marshall Faulk said, you want the big boy money then you have to play like a big boy. Next year Carr will be 27 and in the prime of his career.  Many teams would love Carr but due to his huge salary and guaranteed money, he’s their quarterback for the present no matter what.  John Elway often had little talent around him and even without a consistent run game, he was one of the all time greats.  Derek Carr is not going to be at that level.  What he is though is a solid QB who struggles against a rush.  Not an uncommon problem but it means that a good running game is imperative to his success.

In reality the Raiders have a long way to go.   They still need a lot of help on defense and their drafts outside of the 2014 draft have been borderline train wrecks.   Until they have a consistent pass rush and can stop the run on a daily basis, it doesn’t matter who plays in the defensive backfield. And on offense the Raiders have to be tougher. Carr has to have more of a killer instinct and just let the ball go.   It’s hard to see that happen though with his personality. He needs to know you can be a good guy off the field but a different one on it.

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As Carr answers the last of the mundane and never ending questions of the media last night, he leaves with an obvious disappointment on his face. He looks forward to seeing his wife and kids I’m sure.   And when they are fast asleep he will still be awake and fumble over and over all night long in his head with the outcome always being the same. And with the next game being against a tough Philadelphia team in cold weather and a slight chance of snow on Christmas day, he’s gone to bed with better thoughts. The life of Derek Carr has it’s up’s and downs.

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“NFL Damage Control After Missed PI Call in Dallas Game; Head of NFL Referees On Dallas Party Bus Didn’t Help”

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“NFL Damage Control After Missed PI Call in Dallas Game; Head of NFL Referees On Dallas Party Bus Didn’t Help”

Commissioner Gordon of Gotham City would understand.

The NFL has lit the bat light several times this year crying out for help from their Public Relations department to explain the latest black eye of the most popular sport in America.  It’s lit again today and the PR spin is in full force.

In a critical moment on 3rd and 1 with 8:18 to go in the game, it was obvious that there was a pass interference call when Dallas Cowboys linebacker Anthony Hitchens interfered with veteran Detroit Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew.  Hitchens wasn’t looking at the ball and obviously grabbed Pettigrew and pushed him from the ball.  It was a pretty easy pass interference or holding call and a flag was thrown.  The Lions were up by 3 points at the time and this could send them to another key score to possibly ice the game.  Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant ran on the field and softly complained.  All of a sudden the crowd slowly started to cheer and suddenly the refs picked up the flag.  The announcers were confused and so was the audience and the fans.  Most importantly the Lions head coach Jim Caldwell was confused.  When asked for an explanation, the referee rambled a bit but didn’t tell him anything.  Mike Perreira; Former Vice President of NFL officials who is now an expert for Fox; said he had no explanation and there was not one, but two penalties; holding and interference.  It was a pivotal call that made it look like the fix was in against the Lions and that love was being shown for one of the NFL’s golden childs’, the Dallas Cowboys.

Now, I admit I get sick of whining fans complaining about referees.  I don’t think there are conspiracies in the NFL, but if you think there aren’t dirty dealings in the back rooms, you must be naive.  Some fans think their players are held on every play, and that their teams are targeted by the NFL and refs and they cry more than a baby teething.  In this case though, it was an obvious bad call that gave another black eye to the NFL who presently do not have any more eyes left.

“Blame the NFL”:

Lets be real; Fox, and the NFL LOVE that the Cowboys won.  In the olden days it was the Raiders and the Cowboys who moved the needle up and down in regards to ratings.  Both teams were loved or hated by all and the ratings were always high.  Now that the Cowboys are back, they again make millions for the networks and the NFL due to the high ratings.  The coincidence is obvious.

Whenever there is a question about the referees, it’s a huge issue for the sport.  Remember in 2012 when the NFL was bragging how great replacement referees were doing.  Unfortunately they did this on ESPN right before the Seattle v.s. Green Bay Packers “Fail Mary” game when the replacement referees gave a win to Seattle on a hail Mary play that was obviously wrong?  The NFL at the time said it was too expensive for the league to pay the refs full time.  Too expensive for a league that makes 9-14 BILLION dollars profit PER YEAR, tax free?

“Head of Referees Parties Cowboy Style”:

In the background, the party lifestyles of owners and NFL players are of legend.  The words morals and athletes should not be used in the same sentence.  Of course not all athletes are bad people but lets be real; if we only knew the lifestyles and crazy lives of some of the owners and the lifestyles they live, we wouldn’t like most of them.  Adrian Peterson was called classy and a stellar NFL player on and off the field until fans starting learning about his life.  Even he couldn’t answer how many kids he had when he was asked by ESPN.  From Robert Kraft’s partying and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones love of young strippers; to all of the sex stories and scandals; the NFL has lots of sleazy players and owners who like to party hard.

There are now websites for sports and celebrity groupies so that they can hook up with them in real time.  This isn’t your grandma or grandpa’s NFL anymore.  In reality, even though it may be immoral and disrespectful to wives, girlfriends and their kids, nothing is illegal about partying like a rock star as long as illegal drugs aren’t involved.

WHAT IS unacceptable and a total conflict of interest to the integrity of the game though, is to have the Head of Officiating for the NFL having a good time on the Dallas Cowboys Party bus!!

In August of 2014, TMZ reported on a story showing head of Referees for the NFL David Blandino, on a Dallas team bus partying with owner Jerry Jones son, Cowboys Executive Vice President Stephen Jones.  Escorting these 2 randy gents about town while they were checking out strip clubs, were some young girls that they picked up on the sunset strip for a night of partying.  We all know when we talk about business we need party girls and strippers to help out and take notes.

The other owners were outraged but of course no team would come out and say anything.  Al Davis is definitely no longer here.

“So, should I have my owner take him to a strip club when he visits us?” asked one team official to CBS Sports hypothetically. “Is that how it works? We like Dean a lot, but let me tell you, if that was him out with the owner of a rival of the club this official works for, my owner would be going nuts. This just can’t happen.”

“What the NFL did?”:

The NFL would not comment on it other than to say Blandino had a “meeting” planned with Jones on basic football news.  They just let it go and did nothing about it.  Behind the scenes supposedly the NFL was extremely angry at the bad publicity but nothing was ever done.

To their defense, Mike Perreira and NFL officials said that it’s the job of the NFL Head of Officials to spend time with each owner to talk about NFL business.  I don’t mind that but hooking up with young groupies and strippers and getting drunk on the sunset strip are not meetings.

When other team officials and owners found out about the story, they actually DIDN’T contact the NFL to ask about it.  Under anonymity, some owners and front office staff asked CBS sports, ESPN and other news outlets what the NFL said about the situation.  They were like kids that didn’t want to tick their parents off and tighten the purse strings or the support.  It’s really comical.

Why & How the NFL Gets Away With It:

The NFL is king and is Americas sport.  As long as the money keeps pouring in, nothing will change much.  Early ratings coming out for the latest playoff games show a staggering number of viewers that are in the top 10 of all time playoff games.  Every year the commercials and advertising gets more revenue for the NFL and don’t forget that they are non profit so they pay NO taxes.

And you can even put part of it on the fans.  Look at what happened when the referees went on strike; many fans sided with the NFL.  When NFL cheerleaders wanted at least minimum wage from their jobs when the league makes millions off of their calendars and appearances, most fans sided with the NFL.  Some even called cheerleaders ho’s and sleazy and that if they didn’t want to do it then quit.  How would fans like it if there were few opportunities and their boss told you “get ripped off or move on”?  At times, most everyone associated with the NFL in any way blindly back what they do whether it’s right or wrong.

And worst of all, what about some fans ripping on players when they want to renegotiate their contracts.  They say, “you signed the contract, so fulfill it”.  Ironically when owners in the NFL let go of a player and don’t fulfill the contract, they don’t say a word.  Over 80% of contracts in the NFL are NOT fulfilled by the owners and the players are let go.  Without guaranteed money, the power is squarely in the owners hands.  At times the NFL is the teflon company.  The NFL knows that if fans will pay $150 to park at the superbowl, they will pretty much back the NFL through any storm.

What Should Happen:

They need to suspend or fire people who do such unprofessional actions and make them hold a press conference and apologize.  The NFL also needs to be transparent.  Come out in a press conference and state that the call was missed and that they would work on improving the game by making the referees year round employees with rigorous training and advancement due on the quality of their work.  The NFL says they do that now but it’s definitely not working.

They need to stop making excuses and and defending bad calls.  To hear the nonsense from some of the past and present NFL officials on the Cowboys v.s. Detroit Lions call is nauseating.  I still remember the ridiculous “tuck rule” call and the arrogance shown by the NFL in the days following the call, defending it.

Lastly, be professional.  If the Head of the Referees for the NFL wants to pick up on sleazy girls and strippers then that is his thing, but don’t do it with front office members of teams using their expense accounts.  If you want to do a lunch meeting or dinner meeting or play a round of golf than that is cool and is done in business all the time.  Drinking Cristal with a 21 year old party girls with an executive of an NFL team on his dime though is a conflict of interest and beyond unprofessional.

We wonder why the conduct of the NFL in general; including the NFL and the players in regards to women; has been so tolerated by the NFL for so long. It’s because it’s an institutional problem that shows the NFL stinks from the top down.  Be it refs or conduct; the NFL has some serious issues to fix.  Turn on the bat light now.