Nervous times for Raider Nation

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Six years since the last Super Bowl appearance and we’re now half way to becoming the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the 1980′s. A streak of 11 losses or more since 2003 has left Raider fans with a Rich Gannon hang over and a Tom Cable sized headache.

As it stands, the greatest mind in the history of football – Al Davis – is betting the franchise on the arm of JaMarcus Russell, the legs of Darren McFadden, the hands of Darrius Heyward-Bey and the heart of Nnamdi Asomugha.

Aside from Asomugha, the rest of the aforementioned anatomy is in question.

Tom Cable’s arrival marks the fifth head coach in six years. Things just haven’t been the same since Jon Gruden took his scowl from the East Bay to Tampa Bay.

The wallets of Raider Nation are being held hostage and season tickets aren’t getting any cheaper.

It goes without saying that times are bad. But how bad are they?

Has it become so bad that we question JaMarcus Russell because he does not have the physique of Corey Maggette? Are times so tough that we wonder if our draft is at a loss because a few rookies sit a couple days of mini-camp? Is the situation so dire that we ponder the future of our franchise just because of the Tweets of a Bay Area beat writer

While the current situation might not equate an immediate return to the Commitment to Excellence, it certainly does not warrant a melt down in the middle of May.

Over the last month, the sounds of panic have echoed from the practice facility in Alameda to the empty Coliseum in Los Angeles. We all are desperate for a winner, yet somehow we’ve lost our focus.

While most NFL franchises are scrambling to win now, Al Davis has quietly been plotting to build a winner for years to come. After making a $250 million dollar mistake in 2008, Al Davis has finally listened to the calming voice of Tom Cable.

Raider fans must make a peace with the current state of affairs. This is the only way to weather the storm. The 2003 team that lost to Chucky on the grand stage was a veteran team. The team that will take the field in 2009 is a much younger edition of the Silver and Black. With youth comes mistakes and with mistakes – hopefully – comes growth.

Darrius Heyward-Bey will not make the Pro Bowl his rookie year. JaMarcus Russell is not going to supplant Gannon as the newest Raider MVP in 2009. Nnamdi Asomugha will still be the best cornerback in the NFL but he’ll most likely still be watching the playoffs next January.

The reality is that this is a young team with a first year head coach. Improvements are to be expected, but the fourth Lombardi trophy is but a mirage looming on the desert horizon.dhb2

Young legs must adjust to the rigors of the NFL. Heyward-Bey is not going to prove worthy of a top ten selection in one mini-camp. Young arms must continue to progress. Russell is not going to be benched for a few errant throws in May. New coaches must have a grasp on the talent that fills the roster. Cable is not Madden because he squeezed a few wins out of a hapless team in 2008.

The reality is that the young Oakland Raiders are still not yet ready to take the NFL by storm, at least not in May they’re not. Raider fans that are looking for reasons to jump ship after the first mini-camp are not true Raider fans at all. There is no such thing as a bandwagon in Oakland, but there is plenty of room on the one in San Diego.

Feel free to trade your number twenty one jersey in Silver and Black for a number twenty one jersey in powder blue if you’re nervous that your favorite team will still be the butt of jokes in ’09. The rest of us will continue to cheer just as loud while never forgetting why we support our team.

For better or for worse, this is the path that Mr. Davis has chosen. Misery loves company and I’ve got tickets to eight games in 2009. Who’s going to be there with me?

Topics: Al Davis, Oakland Raiders, Raider Nation, Fans, Popular, Featured, Corey Maggette, Darren McFadden, Darrius Heyward-Bey, JaMarcus Russell, Jon Gruden, Nnamdi Asomugha, Rich Gannon, Tom Cable

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  • Manuel Ramirez

    Well said, anyone in Raider Nation who continues to judge a player based on a mini-camp workout, needs to mellow out.

    It’s going to be a process, so right now, our best option is to ride McFadden/Bush/& Fargas until our passing attack gets familiar with each other, along with more reps.

    The greatness of the Raiders is in it’s future!!!

  • Howie

    You guys that think the greatness of the Raiders will be decided in the quality of its skill positions are as clueless as Al Davis. The greatness of the Raiders is like any other winner, it is decided by the lines first. Once the dominant lines are in place, everything else falls into place. The Raiders have been the laughing stock of the NFL because the “O” & “D” lines have s been very bad, built with rejects from other teams rather than quality draft picks.

  • http://SlogansHeroes.net Cavalrysword

    Bravo! There is no such thing as someone who “used to be a Raiders fan”. You either ARE, or you never were.

    And I will be there, my season ticket is paid for.

    The commute from SoCal and the hotel rooms I will work out on the fly. If necessary, I’ll sleep in my car.

    This is going to be a good year for the Silver & Black!

  • SD Raider Lou

    Well Said! I have it worse, I live down here in SD, where all the RAIDER HATERS are. Plenty of SD charger fans talking smack EVERY YEAR because we just cant seem to beat them. I go to the Home opener every year up in Oaktown. Looks like i will be seeing 2 charger games this year. GOOO RAIDERS!

  • JSpicoli

    “Raider fans that are looking for reasons to jump ship after the first mini-camp are not true Raider fans at all. There is no such thing as a bandwagon in Oakland, but there is plenty of room on the one in San Diego.”

    —Your best point. The media onslaught and the natural attrition of weak puke fans has brought about the “Hater Fan”. This is the Raider fan that joins in the bashing, but still maintains they are a fan = IQ and balls of a female bird.

  • http://myspace.com/sizzlingcell Sizzling Cell

    Outstanding read! When you bleed silver and black you just laugh at all the haters, alot of fans these days are for whoever is hot at the time, every time a charger fan gives me crap i just ask him how many rings does his team have? Ususally shuts them up quick…

  • bigsnow81

    I feel sorry for the season ticket holders. I sat through the entire Falcons game last season. The Raiders had more punts than 1st downs. It set a record. I was sick to my stomach. My loyalty to the Raiders was questioned at that game, the person questioning it left with 5 minutes to go in the 4th. I stayed to the last gun and was rewarded with getting to meet Tom Flores. I refuse to contribute my hard earned pay for the product that has been given the past 6 seasons.