Growing pains. It’s not just the last time Kirk Cameron was sane, it’s also what all of Raider Nation is learning to cope with as rookie head coach Dennis Allen and rookie GM Reggie McKenzie sort out the future of the franchise. Let’s just hope Monday Night’s 22-14 debacle against the San Diego Chargers is more fluke than preview of what’s to come.
We already knew Darren McFadden was going to be the alpha and omega of Oakland’s offense. We just didn’t think that meant Greg Knapp was going to turn his offense into something Mike Brown fashioned for LeBron James where it’s all Run DMC all the time.
We already knew it was going to be an uphill battle for Coach Allen to instill discipline in a team that’s been lacking such for more than a decade. We just didn’t think a team captain like Tommy Kelly would be the one to resurrect the ghosts of penalties past.
We definitely knew depth was going to be a massive concern for an already thin roster. We just didn’t think long snapper was going to be the position that derailed an entire evening of football.
Jon Condo and Darren McFadden never looked more valuable than they did last night. Too bad the Raiders as a whole never looked more incompetent…at least not since a certain QB who wore #2 last played in the East Bay.
Speaking of the last time you-know-who was playing QB for the Silver and Black that was the convenient excuse for why Greg Knapp’s first tenure in Oakland was so underwhelming. Now what’s the excuse? I know the Raiders are minus two of their top receivers which made it impossible to stretch the field. Carson Palmer’s commanding check down performance was about as electrifying as an Amish yard sale.
Leave it to Knapp to turn an explosive talent like McFadden into a glorified safety valve. I’m willing to give Knapp the benefit of the doubt for now but his offense is going on 5 outings including the preseason and was in not for Terrelle Pryor we’d have nothing to talk about except long drives that fall short of the end zone.
At least Allen and Jason Tarver are making good on making the defense respectable. The Raiders played bend but don’t break all night long holding the Chargers to field goals despite the fact they were routinely working with a shortened field.
Now how the Chargers got that shortened field so often is another story in itself. One that will live in infamy.
Travis Goethel wasn’t known outside of Raider Nation or Arizona State for that matter until last night. Now it will be impossible to forget him. It will also be impossible to overlook how vitally important Jon Condo is.
Why Goethel was put on the field after having never even practiced long snapping as a Raider is puzzling. Why Dennis Allen could be caught in Paul Reubens fashion on this is whole situation just embarrassing.
Chalk it up to more of those growing pains. Allen is experiencing them for the first time as a head coach. McKenzie the same as the GM. The team as well during their adjustment to the new system and so too are all of us as members of Raider Nation. We expected a few bumps in the road, that’s not shocking. We just didn’t think it would look as painful as last night’s hideous showing.
Patience will be preached. Expectations will be adjusted. All of that is fine. What will never sit right is yet another coach selling us all on promises of improvement only to put an unprepared and unfocused team on the field. Patience is necessary but time is not a luxury for Allen. Not in the bottom line business of pro football and not when a new era gets off to an all too familiar start.