John Madden didn’t become the icon of NFL football that he is by making things more difficult than they need to be. His everyman style in everything from coaching to commenting has endeared him to the public by making a complex game appear simple.
So it’s not too surprising to hear him say the obvious when asked about the Raiders chances in 2012.
In a recent interview Madden opened up on the keys to unlocking a winning season in Oakland. To the surprise of none he singled out two very important factors for the Raiders: Darren McFadden’s health and all those penalty problems.
When asked if McFadden was the key Madden kept it simple like he always does while also delivering a clear message to the entire team.
You hate to say it, but he (McFadden) has to stay healthy. You can say that about anyone, but if he doesn’t stay healthy, they still have to have a good running game. You have to be able to do that. Then you can play-action pass, and then stay out of really long yardage, and stop the stupid penalties.
To Madden it’s just that easy. Stay healthy and don’t commit “stupid penalties”. Of course addressing both of those issues has been anything but simple for the Raiders.
Chalk it up to whatever you want but McFadden’s inability to stay on the field is a broken record that keeps skipping. Of course he’s only been with the team for four years now. The penalty problem has been going on for far too long.
Yes, there is plenty of reason to think some of those flags on the field are a direct result of the colored history of the silver and black. However stereotypes have nothing to do with pre-snap penalties and personal fouls. If you jump offside or punch a QB in the face you’re going to get flagged no matter what logo appears on the side of your helmet.
While Madden appears to over simplify a complex problem you get the feeling that he’s pretty much right on the money. Keeping McFadden healthy is something that can’t be helped. That situation is what it is.
Now cleaning up all the laundry on the field is something this franchise, from top to bottom, must make a priority of. You’re not going to win if you’re battling the opposing team and yourself every Sunday. Oakland has been its own worst enemy for far too long. So you’ll excuse Madden if his frustration with his former franchise boils down a long running problem to a four word suggestion of how to fix it.
So I’m suggesting those four words from Madden should become Dennis Allen’s motto in camp. Keeping things simple is the right approach. Say it with me now:
Stop the stupid penalties!