Tag Archives: Oakland

“Who is Bill Musgrave? The Raiders Hire a new Offensive Coordinator”

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“Who is Bill Musgrave? The Raiders Hire a new Offensive Coordinator”

The Oakland Raiders yesterday added ex Jack Del Rio hire and Jacksonville Jaguar Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave as their new Offensive Coordinator.  It was a surprise hire to many people.

Local fans may remember Bill Musgrave as a backup quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers and a few other teams.  After his playing days, the Raiders hired him in 1997 as a quarterbacks coach.  He had 4 really good years as a quarterback at the University of Oregon.

Musgrave is a journeyman coach who has never stayed at one place very long.  He has been the OC of 5 teams in 17 years and in between that he’s been quarterbacks coach or an assistant.

As offensive coordinator with those 5 teams, he has had very mild success.  His best year was in 2013 when the Vikings offense was 13th in total yards and 14th in scoring.  As an OC, his offenses have never been in the top 12, and most have struggled.  Before his job at Minnesota, he had never had a top 21 offense.  He has had some good moments though and he’s a well respected and hard working guy.  He’s also very well liked which definitely doesn’t hurt.

To his credit; even though it’s hard to give QB coaches all the credit; he did also have some nice years as quarterbacks coach.  He was QB coach when Matt Ryan first started out and did well.  Byron Leftwich was never great but his best year was when Musgrave was at Jacksonville.

Some like to give him a moderate amount of credit for Mark Sanchez having his best QB rating in his career in 2014 when Musgrave was QB coach of the Eagles.  If you do that though, then you also have to give him the blame for Nick Foles who played half of the year before he got hurt.  Foles threw for 27 touchdowns and had only 2 INTs in 2013 before Musgrave arrived.  Last year in half a season with Musgrave as QB coach, Foles threw 13 TD’s with 10 interceptions and looked lost at times.  Foles now is a question mark for the Eagles and they are debating whether to give him a big money long term contract.

As offensive coordinator it’s a much clearer picture with shaky results.  He was no longer allowed to call the plays after only 4 games when he was the OC at Carolina in 2000.  He was also let go by Jack Del Rio at Jacksonville after only 2 years of being an OC with near the worst offense in the NFL.  In his defense he has never had great quarterbacks as a coordinator, but his style is pretty clear.  He’s always had a conservative style of running the ball and running it often with a WR heavy passing game.

He did have some west coast influence with Mike Shanahan but he’s never truly instilled it into his offenses.

When he was first hired at Minnesota, the Minneapolis-St. Paul newspaper did two articles on him asking him about his philosophy.  Most of it was just vague answers saying that he liked to mix up things and do a little bit of everything. He liked to talk about making communication between QB and play callers more simplified.

At Minnesota the offense was very straight forward.  Run Adrian Peterson on first and second down, and then pass on third down if needed.  The offense was a little more conservative than the approach at Kansas City with Alex Smith.  With Adrian Peterson as your running back, there are worse options.  Chris Ponder was the quarterback for most of the time, and he never grew into a good player.

Is he the right fit for Oakland?:

I think if the Raiders hired him as a quarterbacks coach, that this would have been a good hire.  I think he’s solid and even with some fails he’s had some success too, and he’s a hard worker.  The hopes are that he can help David Carr grow into a pocket quarterback that can command an offense.  If he can do that alone, this will be a good hire.  For those that cringed every time they saw Greg Olsen call a play, this is an upgrade by subtraction.

As an offensive coordinator this seems to obviously be a Jacksonville reunion with Mike Tice and Bill Musgrave working with head coach Jack Del Rio in the past.  It’s hard to think Del Rio wasn’t the reason for the Musgrave hire.  Musgrave struggled a lot though so it’s a surprise.

As an offensive coordinator, he was a nightmare in his first 4 jobs and his teams have mildly improved as he has gotten more experience.  He’s never had a top 12 offense and to think that all of a sudden the Raiders are going to turn into juggernauts is hopeful at best.  Let’s face it; it’s a league of talent though and if you have the talent, success will follow.

I think the love for some fans with Mark Trestman was strange.  Trestman never called the plays or made the game plans when Jon Gruden was here; Gruden admitted he did.  Trestman was supposed to fix the Bears and his lack of leadership and passive demeanor was ripped apart by both fans and the press alike in Chicago.  Epic fail.  Trestman wanted the Raider OC job; he said so in the press; but the Raiders obviously didn’t want him and it was a good move not to hire him.

This is another head scratcher in a long decade of head scratching hires by the Raiders.  I like Mike Tice but this one is puzzling. Del Rio obviously feels comfortable with him and hopes that he can help David Carr grow.

I think Jack Del Rio is an upgrade at head coach.  Even though they are a train wreck right now and 3-4 years away from being good, it’s hard to watch the Chicago Bears hire John Fox and DC Vic Fangio; two coaches with Super Bowl experience and who have had a ton of success; and then watch the Raiders hire Bill Musgrave; well, as they say, it is what it is.  The hope is that somehow with the Raiders rebuilding their talent pool on offense, this will work out in Oakland and Carr and the offense will grow with Musgrave at the helm.  I think he may do well for a while and be a stepping stone, but it’s hard to think of Bill Musgrave taking them to the highest level and raising Super Bowl trophies any time soon.

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“Raiders Win The Battle of the Bay Again; Jack Del Rio is a Solid, but Not Great Hire as Oakland Raiders Coach”

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I know that not one Super Bowl was ever won in an opening press conference of a newly hired coach. Even taking that into account it was uncomfortable to watch the 49ers brass hire Jim Tomsula. The 49ers presser was like seeing two elitist, arrogant rich guys hovering over a good solid lifer coach who was scared to death to say anything wrong. The Raiders showed them up big time.

Owner Mark Davis and Reggie McKenzie were professional and seemed on the same page. It was good to see the media also focused on the Raiders coaches over their obsession with Davis love of Hooters and PF Changs. Lot’s of men are breast and lettuce wrap guys but it’s time to get down to business. Davis and McKenzie were relaxed and didn’t go crazy with wild predictions of Super Bowls, the greatness of the Raiders, and future glory like the 49ers stumbled through. There was definitely a unified feel in the room. Jack Del Rio is good on the microphone and most knew he’d be very well received and he did a good job as was expected.

With the hiring of Jack Del Rio as Oakland Raiders coach, the Raiders picked a solid football man who has integrity but he has very limited success. As every fan and media person loves to bring up, Jack grew up in the bay area and he and his family have long been Raider fans. As head coach, that means nothing, but it’s kind of the full circle story that makes good headlines and you also feel good for him because he obviously loves the Raiders. Personally I thought there were better candidates but he’s a solid, safe choice but one that I question.

Positives:

I like Del Rio’s defensive philosophy. He mixes things up with different coverage’s and formations. He likes to move players around; especially pass rushers; and at times takes chances. He also loves physical play and brings toughness to a team that desperately needs it. He has the philosophy to win in the NFL; stop the run, and rush the passer with 4 players. Last year the Raiders could not stop opponents running game and they were a dismal 31st in sacks. If the Raiders can shore up the DL, I see better things ahead for the Raiders defense.

Jacksonville linebackers raved about Del Rio’s support of them, and his hands on philosophy. They were a key focus at Jacksonville. The Raiders for too long have lost site of what makes a good defense; stopping the run and rushing the passer. It needs to be a mantra. You do that by having a stud front 7 on defense and not drafting defensive backs with good 40 times. You can have the best defensive backs in the league, but if you can’t rush the passer they are toast.

Jack Del Rio is also a players coach. He’s a fair person and is direct. As a coach at Jacksonville for 9 years, his defenses were good, not being lower than 12th in total yards allowed. Of course he had a good defensive coordinator as well in Mike Smith which helped.

Del Rio is well respected around the league and defensive free agents will be willing to come to Oakland more freely now that he is a coach. Denver is loaded with talent so it wouldn’t be surprising to see a few players come over from the Broncos to play for the Raiders, but don’t expect a mass exodus. The Broncos still have a ton of talent and that is hard to leave.  The fans will enjoy Del Rio’s interactions with the media as well. He knows how to get people excited and is very likeable.

Negatives:

Del Rio has a bad history with coaches.  During his time as the Jaguars coach, he went through 19 of them during his tenure.  That’s a lot of them.  Some of the hires in the first place were questionable.  Some complained he was too controlling and others hinted Jack wasn’t exactly first in line when it was time to take responsibility for failures.

The lack of success bothers me too.  I personally want a coach that has a track record of success, even as an assistant. Del Rio has never been a consistent winner as a head coach. In 9 years at Jacksonville, he never won a division title. He also had only 3 winning seasons and only 2 playoff years. Del Rio is 1-2 as a playoff coach. He built up the team after Tom Coughlin left and then it crashed again while he was coach.

Two fans yesterday were posting wherever they could that Del Rio’s first 9 years were as good as Jon Gruden’s first 9 years. They were extremely popular posts among the Raider nation. Those stupid facts get in the way though. In his first 9 years Gruden was 10 games over .500 at 77-67; had 4 division titles; played in one AFC championship game and had a Super Bowl title. Del Rio has no division titles and one playoff win in 9 years and was 68-71. It’s not even close who had more success. Even with talent at Jacksonville, the defense held it’s own but offensively the Jag’s seemed to struggle for consistency under Del Rio.

What Del Rio Will Need to Succeed:

Reggie McKenzie and Mark Davis will have to hire good assistants as does any NFL team. Mike Smith’s name has been thrown about and he would work well with Del Rio due to their long history together. If the Raiders hire Mark Trestman I guarantee issues. Trestman never had any pull or control when Jon Gruden coached the team but he got a lot of credit. Gruden was in control of the game plans and called the plays. Trestman used Gruden’s success to land the Bears job and his goal was to fix Jay Cutler and the Bears offense. The Chicago press grinded him to dust for his apathetic demeanor and poor leadership skills. Twice there was physical fighting in the post game locker room and they were out of control. Trestman isn’t the answer and they need a coordinator that will bring a toughness on offense and create an identity.

Speaking of Identity; the Raiders need one and they need one badly. The coaches at times seemed to have no clue on what direction the team should go. Don’t expect Sporano to get any head coaching job offers any time soon. If you are a power running team then you need to run the ball.

The play calling though still needs to have imagination. Derek Carr has to learn to call audibles’ as well. If there are 9 defenders in the box and a running play is called and the quarterback doesn’t audible to a passing play, don’t blame the offensive line for the lack of a running game or the coaches play calling. The Raiders were predictable and helpless to run the ball at times especially on the road. In the last 4 road games the Raiders averaged 8 points a game. It remains to be seen what role Del Rio will play to fix that.

My Take on the Hiring of Del Rio:

I don’t mind the hiring of Del Rio but I think there were better coaches out there and I would not have picked him.  Maybe they’ll win a Super Bowl in 3 years and I could be wrong, but I just didn’t like his tenure at Jacksonville.

The Raiders need to stop all this talk of winning Super Bowls and build a foundation. I think Del Rio can do that. He will bring toughness and a sense of discipline which is really lacking in Oakland.  As for long term I have my doubts and though unpopular, I don’t think he’s the long term answer.  To think that a coach of a good team who never won a division title in 9 years and only made the playoffs twice, is all of a sudden going to start hoisting up Super Bowl trophies, is wishful thinking.  I do think though he will get them to a level that hasn’t been seen here in 12 years and that is definitely a great start that would please Oakland fans craving success.

“Why Jim Harbaugh Said no to the NFL & the Raiders, & the Good & Bad Choices for Oaklands Next Head Coach”

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Now with reports pretty much stating that Jim Harbaugh is moving to Ann Arbor Michigan to coach the Wolverines, who are some of the good and bad choices for the Oakland Raiders head coaching position.  Before we get into that, what the heck happened to Jim Harbaugh?

Why did Harbaugh Not pick the Raiders?

Contrary to what Michigan fans will say, Harbaugh is pretty much taking a step backwards for more money. Why would he do that when a Superbowl is so important to him?

Take it for what you will, but rumors are leaking in the local media that the main issue with Harbaugh is that he was sick of the behavior of the NFL players. He wanted full control over discipline and the 49ers told him no.   Last year in an interview Harbaugh ripped into Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks because they had so many issues with PED suspensions and off the field matters. Unfortunately during this year, the 49ers had several arrests and problems that occurred and Harbaugh was confronted with his statements.   He was embarrassed by the arrests and off the field issues the 49er players were having and when the 49ers didnt’ comment at times or just let things go, Harbaugh was the one that had to answer for the behavior and lack of discipline and it made him look like a hypocrite. It made him look very bad and he didn’t like it.   In a local interview he once said that he would never allow anyone that committed domestic violence to be on his team.

In the psycho world of college football; at Michigan; he will be worshipped and paid and given anything that he wants and he will get to work less hours. To think though that he wont be back into the NFL in 3-4 years would be naive.  For the control freak Harbaugh, he will have all the control he wants.  And to be honest, it’s hard to blame him.

Retreads v.s. Young hungry Coordinators:

Years ago before he took the New Orleans Saints job, I wanted Dallas assistant head coach Sean Payton to be the Oakland coach. The Raiders interviewed him and Bill Parcells raved about him but they didn’t hire him. Many Raider fans and media didn’t want him because they said he had no experience.   Unfortunately hiring coaches with experience losing usually leads to one thing; losing. Sean Payton now has a Superbowl ring and the Raiders in 12 years are 57-135 which is the worst losing stretch in 124 years.

I also love when people say, “the Raiders need someone with post season success and experience”.  Well then bring up some names.  Gruden, Cowher, and other analysts are not leaving million dollar jobs where they barely have to work so they can work 20 hour days and never see their loved ones.  Mike Holmgren is talking about the great times with his grand children so thinking a soon to be 67 year old who hasn’t coached since 2008 and had a disastrous front office stint in 2010-12 with the Browns is going to hop up out of bed and be the head coach or full time GM for an NFL team is naive.  Holmgren does like attention and seems to always like to put his name in the NFL rumor mill like Gruden, but it’s nothing more than that.  I see him possibly being a consultant for some time but even then I don’t see him doing anything full time.  It’s easy to want something but you need to be realistic.

 With Harbaugh gone; these are my 4 best candidates to be the Raiders next head coach.

  1. Todd Bowles Defensive Coordinator, Arizona Cardinals; Bowles is an organized no nonsense guy, who is a great teacher and developer of the defensive front 7. He has the formula to win in the NFL; stop the run and rush the passer. Even with so many injuries this year, Arizona lead the very tough NFC west for most of the year, and their defense again lead the way. The 49ers are already trying to interview him. Maybe he will convince the Raiders to stop drafting so many busts at DB in the first and second round over the last 12 years and concentrate on the front 7.
  1. Dan Quinn Defensive Coordinator, Seattle Seahawks.   Reports are that he”s leaning towards the Jets because he’s from there. He’s another tough minded no nonsense guy who isn’t the flashy Rex Ryan type and doesnt’ like the limelight, but man can he coach. Even with many players leaving Seattle, they now are healthy and dominating on defense like they were last year. He’s an ultra aggressive coach who likes when the quarterback is on the ground. Seattle always is hard to run on as well and he’s very well respected by everyone.   They play an intimidating style that makes the defensive fans from the 70’s drool with excitement.
  1. Ray Horton (My sleeper pick); Defensive Coordinator, Cleveland Browns.   How that defense survives with that terrible offense is beyond me. The Cleveland 3 and outs. Horton has an uncanny knack for evaluating talent and is a great builder of defenses.   Another tough minded guy who is ultra aggressive. He was a finalist last year for the Arizona job which shows how much people think of him.   He’s a diamond in the rough but with Cleveland’s pathetic offense and ownership, he’s not getting the credit he deserves.
  1. Darrell Bevell: Offensive Coordinator, Seattle. Bevell is more laid back than the other 3 but he was the one that talked Pete Carroll into drafting Russell Wilson. When ESPN ripped on Seattle for picking Wilson, Carroll joked and said, “don’t look at me, he’s the Bevell project”.   Bevell changed the offense twice for Wilson the last two years after Golden Tate and others left the team.   He loves the power running game with a mix in of passing variations. He’s a good play caller and Wilson gives Bevell a lot of credit in regards to his development. Derek Carr could do a lot worse than have him as his head coach.

My worries are that the Raiders will do what they do many times in this situation. They will take forever to make a decision. Paralysis by analysis. The 49ers are already setting up interviews as we speak (or as we read). .

Coaches NOT to consider.

I still dont understand why fans would want a coach that is losing in one place and then think all of a sudden they are going to do great things at another place.  I mean if you have Tom Brady I can understand it, but that is rare.  Losing coaches usually do one thing again.  They lose.  This is a list of those coaches that the Raiders need to avoid.

  1. Rex Ryan, former NY Jets coach: A legend in his own mind that would love to do a movie on himself. He loves the sound of his own voice and at times is more of a snake oil salesman than a head coach. Fans love him because he tells them what they want to hear but they just aren’t listening anymore.  The once darling of the New York media, he is now getting hung by the same people.  As a coordinator out of the limelight he’s very good. As a head coach in 6 years he has only 2 winning seasons and in the last 4 years he’s only 28-38. He’s not a head coach, plus he’s a pain.  His offenses rarely impress and even in his first 2 years they weren’t juggernauts. The Jets get worse the longer he coaches.  Bad sign.
  1. Tony Sporano; present Oakland Raiders coach; I’m not going to get mad. Let’s just say he’s not a good head coach. The Raiders were outscored in their last 3 road games 130-27 and in their last 4 road games they averaged 8 points a game. He was fired at Miami for a reason and his ultra conservative nature is downright annoying. Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler would tell him to open things up he’s so conservative.   And if I have to see him and Greg Olsen on the sidelines any more it may be too much to take. He’s a good football guy; seems like a good person, but he is not a good head coach.  No coach is getting fired from a job to be an offensive line coach so he isn’t staying.
  1. Mike Smith, former Atlanta Hawks coach:

He didn’t seem to be that into the offensive side of the ball. The Atlanta Falcons clock management was awful during his tenure and his record the last two years was 10-22. Not all of it is his fault. I think Matt Ryan is overrated; but Atlanta has become a train wreck with a lack of discipline and mental errors and that has to be put partly on Mike Smith. Some of his clock managements screw ups are of legend in Atlanta.  No

  1. Doug Marrone, present Buffalo Bills head coach:

This would be a waste of time.  He’s a good option but not great so I’d pass.  ESPN put up a story that Bills coach Doug Marrone has a 3 day window where he can go to another NFL team so now some Raider fans have wondered about him coming to Oakland. Marrone has done a solid job at Buffalo and if you take away the defensive injuries the last 2 weeks, they arguably are a good quarterback away from being a top NFL team. Reports back east though say Marrone is not interested in leaving. I find it hard to see him leave a team with a lot of talent; especially with wide receiver Sammy Watkins and that great defense; and go to a team that has the worst DL in the NFL and can’t score. I think he stays in Buffalo so it is kind of a waste of time..

  1. Adam Gase, Offensive Coordinator, Denver Broncos:

The name Adam Gase is beginning to be thrown around the ESPN rumor mill as a possible new head coach in the NFL. Remember whatever some of the experts say to do; just do the opposite.

In 2000 Adam Gase was a graduate assistant at LSU. That means he was pretty much a volunteer coach, which wasn’t that long ago. In his entire life he’s been an offensive coordinator for a year and a half.   He’s an OC on an offense that has a control freak quarterback in Peyton Manning who pretty much runs the offense.   He is throwing behind a really good offensive line and maybe throws to the best group of receivers in the NFL where Wes Welker finds it hard to get playing time. If anyone thinks Adam Gase is the architect for the Denver offense and would be a good head coach then I’ve got a big Orange bridge in San Francisco I want to sell you; real cheap.

  1. Jack Del Rio, Defensive Coordinator, Denver Broncos:

He’s a local boy from the bay area. He is beginning to be a popular choice for the Raiders job recently.   I’m not a huge Jack Del Rio Fan.   I think he did an alright job at Jacksonville but he had issues too. I like him as a defensive coordinator but as a head coach, there are much better options. His career record as a head coach is 68-71 and in 9 years the Jags only had 3 winning seasons. On the positive, for the most part most of the years he coached the Jacksonville defenses were fairly good but his teams always seemed to struggle offensively over the course of a season. He went to the playoffs twice in 9 years and was 1-2.  I think he’s another one of the well liked ex-players who always seems to be talked about as a head coach because of his popularity..

History of Bad Coaching Decisions by Oakland: Looking back, part of the Raiders issues when hiring a coach was control. Al Davis wanted nothing to do with a coach that wasn’t a yes man. That’s why he and Gruden eventually parted ways. Another problem is the Raiders wait too long to find a coach.   Again; Paralysis by analysis.

What has happened in the past with the Raiders is that they take their time; sometimes a very long time; to pick a coach and in today’s NFL that is a huge mistake.   Usually all of the good coaching prospects are hired fairly quickly, and they are left with retreads or young assistants with no clue to what is going on. Many also have not paid their dues through the assistant ranks and they really are in over their heads when they get hired as head coaches.

If Oakland takes too long, they will end up with another Norv Turner or Dennis Allen type and this time next year they will again be looking for a coaching option. Time is of the essence if the Oakland Raiders are going to rebuild this franchise and they need to take a chance on an up and coming assistant who have paid their dues in the NFL.  The NFL is a better place when the Raiders are doing well.  And to be honest I am tired of writing about all of the losing the Raiders have been doing over the last 12  years.  Happy Raider fans are more fun than angry and depressed ones.

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

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

(7-6)  San Francisco 49ers  13

(2-11)  Oakland Raiders  24

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

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

Shockers:

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

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

Quarterback:

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

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

GRADE:  A-

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

Running Backs: 

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

Grade:  B

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

Offensive Line: 

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

Grade:  B+

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

Wide Receivers: 

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

GRADE:  B

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

Defensive Line:

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

Grade:  B

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

Linebackers:

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

Grade A-

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

Defensive Backs:

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

Grade B 

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

Coaching:

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

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

Grade  A-

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

Special Teams:

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

Grade B+

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

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

Outlook:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“The Greatest Defensive Backfield of all time! The Oakland Raiders Soul Patrol”

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There will never be a defensive backfield like the Oakland Raiders Soul Patrol of the 1970’s ever again.  They were the most intimidating and greatest group of all time.

The 70’s will always be remembered as the greatest era for the NFL.  It’s the era when there were many great teams and great quarterbacks.  Without a salary cap some backups on the great teams could start elsewhere.  Defenses could do as they please with little to no protection for QB’s and WR’s.  Television helped make the Superbowl become a must see event.  Teams like the Raiders, Steelers, Dolphins, Chiefs, Cowboys and Vikings made this a decade of excellence.  The Steel Curtain, the No Name Defense, Doomsday, and the Purple People Eaters are all revered names in NFL lore.  When the Steelers met the Raiders in the mid 70’s, there were no less than 22 hall of fame coaches, owners, and players on the field at one time.  That will never happen again.

“There was nothing like them”, said HOF QB Fran Tarkenton about the Soul Patrol in a KNBR radio interview.  “In 1979 the NFL created the 5 yard chuck rule because of Atkinson, Tatum, Brown, Thomas and the Raiders.  Wide Receivers could not get off the line of scrimmage against them.  Atkinson and Tatum and the rest of the gang were so physical and strong that I’d have to wait and hope my guys could get open before I got killed”.

The wide receivers of the 70’s never get their due because their numbers weren’t the pinball numbers of today.  In today’s NFL, if you exhale near a receiver it is a penalty.  In the 1970’s it was literally survival of the fittest.  They had to worry about the great physical play of the era and you could not be a wide receiver unless you could go over the middle. I’ve seen pass interference penalties in today’s game where a defensive back literally brushed by a player.  The rules are so comical now that records are being broken almost weekly.  The 70’s on the other hand was an extremely brutal and tough era, and the most talented and toughest defensive backfield of them all was the Soul Patrol in Oakland.

Oakland the King of Professional Sports:

The center of the sporting world in the 70’s was Oakland California.  In 1975 a team lead by superstar Rick Barry silenced all the east coast and their writers by sweeping the Washington Bullets for the NBA title after writers practically laughed at their chances.  The Oakland A’s dynasty had an amazing 3 straight World Series Championships beating national league royalty in the Dodgers, Reds, and NY Mets.  And then oh by the way, for a 25 year stretch the Raiders were the winningest team in all of US sports with several division titles, and 3 superbowl wins.  No city ever had so many titles in such a short time.

The Soul Patrol embodied what the Oakland Raiders were all about.  They were tough, borderline dirty, intimidating and extremely confident.  Each member played their role in a defense that still today is revered.

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George Atkinson Jr.:  (“Butch” 6’ 0”; 180 lbs.)

There may have never been a tougher Raider than George Atkinson.  Listed as 6 feet 1 inch tall, many say it was more like 5’ 11” but no one had the guts to tell him that.

Atkinson was an intimidator that roamed the field like a lion ready to pounce.  He was the trash talker of the group often seen taunting and intimidating players that were much bigger than he was.  He once broke Russ Francis nose with a vicious forearm hit, and his hits against Lynn Swann of the Steelers are a part of NFL history.  He had blazing speed and in fact still holds the single game record for punt return yardage for the Raiders at 205 yards.

Atkinson took it very personally when someone tried to block him low.  He learned from Tatum to go after a Wide Receiver if they tried to hit their knees or ankles.  In some films you can actually see Raiders defensive backs going towards blockers to actually hit them after they tried to hit them low.  All time great Paul Warfield once said when you went over the middle against Oakland and didn’t account for Tatum and Atkinson, you would not be in the game long without being carried off the field.  Against the run, he could go through blockers and make amazingly hard tackles.  If you ran wide against the Raiders, their DB’s would make you pay.  Atkinson loved to make players pay.

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Willie Brown:  (6’ 1”; 195 lbs.)

Amazingly Hall of Famer Willie Brown was never drafted when he graduated from Grambling St.  He was signed by the Buffalo Bills who cut him and then he was picked up by the Denver Broncos.  He soon became an all star but was traded to the Raiders in 1967 where he played for the rest of his career.  Unlike the other 3 members of the soul patrol, Brown was fast, graceful and laid back.  He wasn’t a talker but a great defender who was a shut down corner. He had good size and played the run very well, but he was a master of the bump and run man to man game that the Raiders loved so much.  His famous interception in the Superbowl with the great announcer Bill King’s call of old man Willie is as famous as any highlight NFL films has.

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Skip Thomas CB (Dr. Death; 6’ 1”; 205 lb.):

In a day when cornerbacks were just as important in attacking the run as they did the pass, Skip “Dr. Death” Thomas role was to make everyone that came near him remember that he hit them.  What is funny is he was nicknamed Dr. Death by Raiders great Bob Brown who said Skip Thomas looked like the cartoon character Dr. Death.

Skip Thomas was a vicious tackler who was the king of the clothesline tackle.  Many times his padded arm was seen knocking the ball out of wide receivers hands.  When he hit people, sometimes he would actually launch his whole body and his arm swung like a Russian sickle.  It was intimidating, violent and sent the message to not come his way.  He had a two year stretch of 6 interceptions per year.  Due to the great talent of Willie Brown, teams would try to pick on Skip Thomas and usually the results were not good.

People forget that in the Super Bowl, Minnesota moved their fine wide receiver Sammy White around so that Thomas mostly guarded him in the first half.  White didn’t  catch a pass in the first half and Thomas was on him like glue.  As the great Raiders announcer Bill King once said, “the Raiders have 3 safeties when Dr. Death was playing cornerback”.

Sadly and ironically he passed away too soon in 2011 also at the age of 61, but he will always be remembered for his talent, toughness and personality as one of the great members of the Soul Patrol.

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Jack Tatum Safety (Assassin; 5’ 10”, 205 lb.):

If Atkinson was the voice of the Soul Patrol, Tatum was the heart.  Ronnie Lott called him his inspiration and the standard bearer for all NFL safeties.  John Clayton said there was never a harder hitting safety in the NFL.  Once during the Super Bowl break, the NFL Show with Cris Collinsworth and Chris Berman were discussing players that should be in the Hall of Fame, and to a man they all said the same name; Jack Tatum.

He may have been the most intimidating force in NFL history this side of Dick Butkus. John Madden said many times he was mentally saddled with the hit on Darryl Stingley which paralyzed Stingley for the rest of his life.  Many close to Tatum said he really never got over it up to his death in 2010 at the age of 61 due to complications from diabetes.

Earl Campbell said no one ever hit him harder than his touchdown run where he and Tatum hit head on.  Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton said he thought Tatum knocked Sammy White’s head off in the Superbowl hit that Tatum laid on him when the Raiders dominated the Minnesota Vikings.  Even his counterpart George Atkinson said once, “he hit a tough Denver TE Riley Odoms so hard it sounded like a gun shot.  Odoms was in agony and his eyes rolled back.  I thought he had killed him”.

I remember a story that Ahmad Rashad told.  He said that days before the Vikings were to play the Raiders in the Superbowl, Tatum had walked into a room where the Vikings were relaxing and playing cards.  Tatum walked into the room and into the closet and just stood there for a couple of minutes.  He then walked out of the closet and left.  Rashad said that not one Viking laughed or said a word until they saw Tatum walking out of the building.  Rashad said that it was a mind game of intimidation and he said it worked.  He said, “we laughed; we just made sure Tatum couldn’t hear us”.

Tatum was a linebacker playing safety.  He also was dominating against the run and would take on guards and tackles at any given notice.  Many game films show Tatum chasing blockers trying to hit them before the blockers would try to block him.  Tatum was vicious, fearless and ready to hit anyone.  He epitomized the great physical play of the day, and what the Raiders defense always tried to do; stop the run and make the quarterback go down, and go down hard. With a good pass rush, the Raiders defense was hard to beat as was seen in their dominance.  I would like to do an in depth article just on Jack alone in the future.

Jim’s Jamz:

With today’s rules there will never be hits and aggressive play like the Soul Patrol did.  Quarterbacks and Wide Receivers pretty much do as they please and the Soul Patrol would not be allowed to do what they did best; intimidate, make plays, and be legends.  In the most physical era, the Soul Patrol was like a pack of wolves ready to take down any sized prey.  They remain the greatest defensive backfield of all time.

“Final Oakland Raider Grades v.s. Arizona Cardinals; Week 7:”

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Arizona Cardinals  24 (5-1)

Oakland Raiders  13 (0-6)

Quarterback:

Derek Carr had a so so game missing on a few passes that he should have hit.  He also had a couple of drops that hurt.  He was unable to hit many long passes as he did against San Diego.  His weakness in college was handling a pass rush and he had mixed reviews with the blitz happy Cardinals.  He was 16-28 for 173 yards and no TD’s or interceptions.  Arizona is near last in passing defense so this was disappointing.  I HATE the Raiders routes.  The middle so often is wide open and they don’t utilize it.  They have to get the tight end involved to help out Carr.

GRADE:  C+

Carr seemed reluctant to go down deep and when he did he either missed or the Raiders weren’t open.

Running Backs: 

Again, another team that is making the Raiders throw the ball.  For much of the game Arizona had 7-8 men on the block daring Oakland to throw.  They took away the running game and the Raiders were unable to take advantage of this.  McFadden was banged up, and the Raiders didn’t have the injured Marcel Reece which hurt them.  Maurice Jones-Drew wasn’t a factor.

Grade C

Arizona’s game plan was to take away the run and they did.  Unfortunately the Raiders were unable to hurt the Cardinals with the pass, which was disappointing.  The Raiders running backs blocked fairly well picking up the blitzes.

Offensive Line: 

They had a lot to deal with today with Arizona doing everything to rush the passer and take away the run.  Arizona blitzed on almost every play and the line overall did well protecting Carr.  With Arizona crowding the line there wasn’t much of a chance to run.  The Raiders line gave up only 1 sack.  Overall not a great game but they also didn’t get much help from their teammates.

Grade C+

They did a good job picking up the blitzes but the Raiders just didn’t have the passing game to win.

Wide Receivers: 

Andre Holmes had his weekly drop which is frustrating because he has so much talent.  He has to concentrate.  Brice Butler had a long 55 yard catch that needs to happen more.  James Jones is Carr’s favorite receiver.  He had 8 targets but caught only 4 for 35 yards.  The Raiders really had chances to go deep and they have to spread the field like they did against San Diego.

GRADE:  B

They had a few more drops and that can’t happen.  Butler and Holmes are inconsistent and Carr threw to the tight end twice all game.  The Raiders have to go to the tight end and utilize the middle of the field with slants as well instead of just fly patterns and deep outs.  I really hated some of the routes today, and the game plan overall.

Defensive Line:

If you take out Khalil Mack out of the DL equation, they really are non existent.  Lamarr Woodley got his weekly 1 tackle and the leading tackler on the DL was Pat Sims with 2.  They are too easily blocked and just aren’t getting to the quarterback.  The Cardinals ran for 123 yards and during two drives, the Raiders literally could not stop the run.

Grade:  D+

The Raiders DL is just not a factor and this has to be fixed this off season.  The Raiders have 5 sacks all year.  Detroit leads the NFL with 20.

Linebackers:

The linebackers played their best game of the year.  Khalil Mack had his best game by far with 11 tackles and 3 for loss.  He still doesn’t have a sack in 6 games and that is troubling.  He got beat twice on passes as well but overall, a very encouraging game.  Sio Moore had a controversial penalty but he also had a good game with 5 tackles with one being for a loss.  Miles Burris had 5 tackles but missed big time on a couple of runs including a touchdown run.

Grade B-

This unit has struggled big time in the past but they are getting healthier and it shows.  Not a bad game and it’s good to see Mack finally making a difference.

Defensive Backs:

These poor guys are playing their hearts out.  They are on an island due to the terrible Raiders pass rush and they are trying to hold their own.  TJ Carrie has his good moments and he has potential.  Usama Young and Charles Woodsen are taking a beating on running plays and they are having  to make too many tackles in the run game.

Grade C+ 

The Raiders struggled at times getting off the field on 3rd down and it killed them.  Several times Carson Palmer hit key passes for first downs.  These guys are not going to last long physically having to make so many plays.  Even though he’s healthy DJ Hayden is not a factor which should tell you something.

Coaching:

Greg Olsen encouraged me last week, but this week it was same old song, different dance.  The Raiders have to start using the middle of the field and start using the running backs and tight ends more.  The offense is too wide receiver heavy.  There are some routes that show the wide receivers just running down the field and I really don’t get it.  Carr needs safety valves for help.

Greg Olsen seemed to go away from throwing deep against one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL.  The Cardinals were next to last in pass defense but the Raiders could not exploit it.  Arizona is using 3rd stringers so they have to blitz but the Raiders still could not shore up their passing game.

On defense, the Raiders just don’t have a good defensive line and they had another 1 sack game.  There just isn’t much of a scheme that you can use when your defensive front isn’t good.  The Raiders are next to last in sacks in the NFL with only 5 all year and their DL is probably the worst in the NFL.

Grade C

I felt the Raiders were too conservative.  They have to throw deep, if just to keep the defense honest.  Do a no huddle when you get a couple of completions, especially playing against the Cardinals who have a thin defensive line.  The Raiders are limited talent wise on defense, and I didn’t expect them to win, but this was a little disappointing.

Special Teams:

Sebastian Janikowski must really hate Marquette King.  Whenever he misses, King catches flack.  Matt Schaub now holds for Janikowski.  He was 2 for 2 for field goals and hit a 53 yard kick.

TJ Carrie is a good return man.  You wonder if it’s smart having him return though.  He is taking a beating at times trying to stop the run as a defensive back and you wonder how long he can last.  He did have a bone head play that looked like a punt hit him but the refs ruled it didn’t.

Marquette King was solid as ever punting.  Not a great day but he was solid.

Grade B-

Special teams didn’t play a huge factor in this game but the Raiders did a good job.

Next Opponent:  @ Cleveland Browns (3-3; last game, loss @ Jacksonville Jaguars 24-6)

Outlook:

This week was one of those games that the Raiders needed to show their fans that they are really back on the right track.  Unfortunately this loss really makes the mood dark in Oakland; again.  The Raiders are now 53-129.

In their next 4 games the Raiders will play at Cleveland and at Seattle, and then come home to Denver before flying to San Diego.  Not many teams have a tougher stretch.

The weather will be a typical cool, fall day in Cleveland with no rain and temperatures in the 50’s.

The Browns are very inconsistent with big wins at home over the Saints and the Steelers but they’ve also lost big to Jacksonville on the road.  They are playing much better at home than they are on the road.

Brian Hoyer had a terrible game against Jacksonville and so did the defense which gave up 183 yards rushing.

Look for the Browns to play much better at home.  This is a game the Raiders have to win.  From this point on the Raiders play one team that has a losing record, and the rest are at least @ .500.  The Raiders will also have games in Kansas City and Denver in mid to late December respectively so cold weather is ahead; maybe snow.

The nightmare continues and another high pick will probably be seen by the Raiders.  Hopefully the NFL will show mercy and hide defensive backs NFL combine 40 times to help the Raiders pick a good 1st round draft pick.