“Raiders-New Definition of Black Hole”
Do you remember when the Chargers-Raiders rivalry meant something?
Now it’s all but ancient history. Stabler, Plunkett, Alzado, Marcus Allen, Bo Jackson. Those were great Sundays, back in the day, but back in the day was a lot of 3rd and 20-Sundays ago.
Al Davis is gone. His legacy of greatness is now some 30-years removed in the rear view mirror.
His more recently legacy is a football man who lost touch with everything. The modern day economic business of the NFL. Talent scouting. The draft. Free agent spending. Budgets. You name it, he left it in ruins.
As for his son, Mark Davis, who inherited the franchise. he is an observer, surely not a football man. Look at what his leadership has wrought.
And for the fans, for some odd reason, they still follow the team, travel, party-hardy, and wear the gear. Their may not be as many of them now as their had been in the past, but all fans take up causes, and the Raiders appear to be lost cause.
The Chargers play the Raiders on Sunday, matching one lame duck team vs another. The Chargers may be in the LA market, but they are surely not LA’s team. The Raiders may be in Oakland, but who knows where they play next year, and now no one really knows what Las Vegas will get when the shiny new stadium opens there in two years.
Jon Gruden may have a smile, a wise-cracking attitude, and his TV reputation intact, but he doesn’t have very much going for him these days.
Sure he coached the Raiders in the tail end of Al’s days of running it. Yes he won a Ring in Tampa Bay, with what was left behind by the legendary Tony Dungy.
But this rag-tag wretched team he puts on the field this weekend, is the end result of drafts, trades, free agent signings, and mistakes, some his, lots from those before him.
The Raider Nation has enjoyed 1-winning season in 15-years. They have a composite (82-166) record in that span.
How did this franchise get so bad? The trades of 1st round picks Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper in the last two months, escalated the free fall. Yes you can now have 5-first round picks in your pocket over the next two drafts, but it won’t mean anything if you don’t select good players.
QB-Derek Carr is the last man standing from what was supposed to be the last rebuild, but he’s not really standing, but getting knocked down. He was once a bullet proof QB, not prone to mistakes, play safe, make a big pass here and there. Now halfway thru this misery of a season, he has 10-turnovers and 24-sacks, and not much hope of competing.
You cannot ignore history with this franchise. Surely no one has ever forgotten ‘Commitment to Excellence’ or ‘Just Win Baby’. But that was a long-long time ago, like White Jump Suits and gold chains.
More recent history shows that at the top of the Raiders draft board (Rounds 1-thru-4) covering 2013-thru-2017, the Silver & Black have just 2-out-20 top draft picks playing and starting, Derek Carr and OG-Gabe Jackson. Think about that number, they whiffed, missed, gave up on 18-of-20 top picks.
Take it back further, dating to Al Davis’ final draft in 2010, the team has just 3-of-32 picks on the field.
The spiral down always begins with the Raiders drafting speed, and often striking out.
1st round pick CB-DJ Hayden was a bust in 2013. Mack was the top pick in 2014 and has since been dealt away. Ditto the top pick in 2015-Amari Cooper. The top pick in 2016 was safety Karl Joseph, last seen bench sitting next to the top pick in 2017-cornerback Gareon Conley, who can’t stay on the field-hurt, and doesn’t make plays on the field when healthy.
The Raiders always wanted to make an impact in free agency, giving out ludicrous contracts to guys, who got paydays but didn’t make a difference. Marshawn Lynch to Michael Crabtree to Larry Brown, and a whole bunch in between.
This is a long road back, and many now will question whether Gruden, who was out of the NFL as a coach and player personnel guy for nearly a decade, is the right guy.
The Raiders play in a dump of an Oakland Coliseum, known for its sewage backup problems. Now the product not he field looks like sewage too.
The fans, what few who are left, are still passionate, costumes, face paint and all. That’s great. What they’re seeing on the field isn’t great, and might not be for a long time.
The 2018-Raiders, last in a lot of NFL stats, might not win another game the rest of the year.
The Raiders have given the phrase ‘Black Hole’ a whole new definition.