The Oakland Raiders should thank the New Orleans Saints for handing them an embarrassing 45-7 loss on Saturday. Now the players and coaches can rest knowing that their work is done.
In one preseason game, the Raiders managed to show the football world what happens when the front office sits on their hands, the coaching staff rests on their laurels and the players show up just to collect checks.
If there was a game plan to defend the Saints, then it must have been implemented in the tunnel five minutes before the Raiders took the field.
Drew Brees must have felt like he was in a walk through against the scout team. Every time he dropped back to pass, he had enough time to tie his shoes, read the sports section and draw up the next play in the infield dirt of the Coliseum before firing a bullet to an open receiver.
Other than All-Pro Nnamdi Asomugha, who left with a wrist injury, not a single Raider defender played with any sense of urgency.
The lone part of the game in which the Raiders can take any pride in is their punt coverage and in the performance of back up punter Ricky Schmitt. However, until the punt coverage can stop teams from gaining nearly 6 yards per carry or find ways to get points on the board, it is all bragging rights for film sessions and nothing more.
After spending the off-season by re-signing every player who wanted to stay in Oakland, the Raiders insured another year of bottom dwelling in the NFL.
A defense that was only bested by the Detroit Lions for the worst collection of run stoppers in the NFL last season stood pat with the same defensive tackles and the same linebacking core. A group of safeties that was pedestrian at best in 2008 remained the same and will open 2009 with unchanged personnel.
An offense that has weapons-a-plenty can’t find a way to make plays or at least not go Plaxico by constantly shooting itself in the leg with mental errors. How Cornell Green has kept his starting job, let alone roster spot, is as great a mystery as the pyramids in Egypt or the disappearance of the Mayans.
Tom Cable and his staff have been given little to work with, but so too was Tony Sparano when he inherited a 1-15 Miami Dolphin team. We all know how Sparano’s first year in South Beach turned out. After Saturday, we’re beginning to see how Cable’s first full year in Oakland just might go.
No, this is not the end of the world. It’s not even the end of the preseason yet. The Raiders still play in a weakened AFC West where they will not have to face a Saints team that has outscored them 79-10 the last two times they’ve met.
All is not lost, but it is apparent that once again nothing much has changed in Oakland. The players are still apathetic to adversity. The coaches are still ineffective in making adjustments. The front office remains lost when it comes to evaluating talent.
In 2003, the Raiders found the perfect recipe for disaster. For a brief moment in 2008, Tom Cable appeared to have made some changes. In the end, Cable is still cooking with the same ingredients so Raider Nation still has the same stomach ache even though there is yet another chef in the kitchen.
Once again, it is back to square one. Cable should thank Raider Nation for raining down a chorus of boos on his woeful team and their pathetic effort. If he’s a man of his word, then Cable will never let his team forget the feeling and he’ll use it to purge his roster of the cancerous elements that are still a part of the recipe for disaster that has permeated the East Bay for six wretched years.
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