It’s been over a week since my last posting, but that’s because I was on vacation. In that time little to no news has surfaced about the Oakland Raiders, but plenty has occurred in the NFL.
Here’re my notes:
• It looks like the NFL is planning another trip to London for the 2008 season. The reports mention that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks are the teams they’re considering. I’m so glad that I won’t have to lose a Raiders home game for some stupid expedition into the globalization of American football. I feel sorry for whoever gets stuck watching their team play in a stadium full of people who don’t have the fraction of the dedication, knowledge, or love for the team you root for.
• It looks like the Raiders, or the rumors that were spread on the internet, helped Monte Kiffin re-sign for a pretty penny. And although I was very interested in seeing Kiffin’s cover-2 scheme ran by the Raiders incredibly athletic secondary, the young veterans on the Raiders have gone through enough coaching changes, and a new staff might not be the best idea; “There’s always the fear of the uncertain and the fear of the unknown with a new guy in place,’’ Asomugha said. “I think we’re pretty comfortable with what’s going on right now.’’ I posted this quote three weeks ago, and support it even more now. Rob Ryan will get one more year to turn this thing around, and if he doesn’t, I think even his players will feel that change would be of need.
• I read about this kid Jonathan Meyers that chose to attend Princeton over the University of Florida. Meyers is rated as the 18th inside-linebacker in the country by Rivals.com, but chose Princeton because of the level of education that he’ll receive. Princeton does have a great football legacy (first national champion in 1869), but hasn’t been a force in almost 100 years. After further thought I realized what a great decision this kid made. He’s going to receive one of the best educations in the country, and because he’s a defensive player, he’ll still be in a good position to still make an impact day 1 in the NFL. If we were talking about a quarterback then it would be a totally different story. A quarterback needs to learn more than a linebacker while in college; timing throws with an Ivy League wide receiver who runs a 4.7 40 won’t get you ready for the pros. If Meyers wants to play in the NFL he needs to only focus on get bigger and stronger, and learning the fundamentals of shedding blocks and quarterback awareness. One thing that kills D-1 ball players is injuries. I guarantee Meyers will stay healthy, and not completely because of the skill of his competition, but because of his D-1 caliber size and strength that will overshadow his Ivy League competitors. He might need a little extra work at a preparation camp for the NFL combine, and at the start of his rookie year, but his intelligence should help him understand the concepts of an NFL defense.
• I think the return of Tony Dungy, with the idea that Jim Caldwell will take over in 2009 or 2010, is the way you build a franchise. Everyone wants a little stability, and I think a bunch of guys playing a full contact sport with no guaranteed contracts would love to know where the franchise they play for will be next year, and the years after. For as many players change teams every year, I think at least 90% of them would like to stay where they are. Professional moves like this one is the reason why the Indianapolis Colts have turned their franchise from one of the worst in the 80’s and 90’s, to one of the staples of the league.
• I hate the New England Patriots. And it’s not just because of them, it’s because the Red Sox won the World Series, and the Celtics have bought themselves a hell of a basketball team. I can say it; I’m not a fan of the city either. Why’s it that every guy in Boston seems to wear a Red Sox hat, polo shirt, khaki shorts, and flip flops every single day of the summer. I’m just glad that Randy Moss has had basically no effect on the Patriots postseason. He’s no longer being double teamed, and is being forced to make moves against playoff corners that are in no way struggling to keep up. I mention this because I believe the Moss trade was still worth it. Like every expert said, if anyone is going to get Randy Moss to turn his career around, it’s the Patriots. No matter how good Moss’s numbers made him look this year, he wouldn’t have made the Raiders any better. Moss needs a lot of help to look good now-a-days, and if it wasn’t for threats like Wes Welker, Donte Stallworth, Ben Watson, and the way their routs are spread, Moss would’ve never have been able to get down field. Moss runs terrible curl routs, terrible sideline routs, and has no upper body strength to get separation at the line of scrimmage; but he does know how to perfectly time pushing off an opposing DB to make just enough separation so that he’s the only guy in position to catch the pass. Last time I checked that was called pass interference.
• Yesterday ESPN ranked the best and worst quarterback performances in Super Bowl history. I think it is a great list for many reasons. But above all it lets young fans take a look at what the reality of the NFL. Yes Dan Marino was a great quarterback, but in the one chance he got to play in the Super Bowl he played like crap. There are experts out there that say John Elway is the best quarterback ever, but just look at his pathetic performances in the 5 Super Bowls he was in, even the ones he won. If it weren’t for Terrell Davis Elway would be standing right next to Marino as one of the most talented losers to ever play. This list also gives further light into Tom Brady’s career. Brady is defiantly the only current QB that I would choose to lead my team in a time of need, but he doesn’t come close to the untouchable Joe Montana. Brady has two Super Bowl MVP’s, but one on a mediocre performances (16-27 145 yards 1 TD), and the other blemished by an interception (something Montana never threw in all 4 of his titles). Now if Brady destroys a well playing New York Giants secondary, the way Montana did against the Broncos in 1990, then we can start debating, but until Brady shows dominance in the game of all games, people need to stop talking. Although Raider Hall of Famer Jim Plunkett was also ranked in the top 15 performances of all time, it shadows in comparison to the super hero like numbers Montana put up.
• A couple days ago the Buffalo Bills announced they had gotten the okay to look into the possibility of moving the team to Toronto. I’m sorry but those people already chose what kind of football they want to play (Canadian Football League), why should we let them get a taste of our great game now. It would be one thing if Canadians choose to take our game and just try to make their own league, but to change the dimensions, and inter workings of the game is an insult to me. What our game isn’t good enough for you? I know that the Bills have a lot of loyal fans in Canada, but what about the people of meager means in Buffalo that have filled that stadium year after year since the Bills have entered the world of mediocrity that they’ve been (they seemed to falloff after that whole Music City Miracle play 8 years ago. I hope the people of Buffalo are able to do enough to save one of the oldest franchises in the league.