In this continuing segment, Just Blog Baby had the pleasure of interviewing Charlie Pugliese who lives in Sarasota, Florida. Charlie works in the manufacturing industry. In his spare time, he plays guitar and writes and records music. He has been a die-hard Oakland Raiders fan for the past 40 years. He’s proud to represent Raider Nation on the east coast, and he always keeps up with everything Raiders.
Charlie grew up in Fort Lauderdale, FL, back in the early 70’s. His parents were hardcore Miami Dolphins fans, and they took him to some games. Once he started learning about different football teams, the Raiders piqued his interest, and he immediately felt the love and passion for the Raiders. Charlie loved the style of the Raiders. In the 70’s and 80’s, it was the long-haired, bearded renegades that were labeled as the bad guys, and they were great. 40 years later, Charlie bleeds Silver and Black, and he will never stop. Although he has not been to a home game in Oakland, CA, he has represented Raider Nation in four games that he had attended in both Miami and Tennessee. Charlie is a Raider for life!
I asked Charlie the following questions, and these were his answers:
1. How well do you think the Oakland Raiders will perform in 2013? Discuss.
Answer- “I think we will be much improved from last season as far as competing on a more consistent level. Tough call on wins and losses, I would say at least 6 wins and as many as 10 if the stars align for us. And I believe the games we don’t win, we will be far more competitive and scare a lot of teams that may take us lightly. Losing always sucks, but close nail-biters against teams that are supposed to run over us will give this team the confidence it needs to be consistent week in and week out. The close losses will translate into wins quickly. The obvious concerns are McFadden staying healthy and not knowing who our starting QB is going to be, but my biggest concern is Dennis Allen. He really has to prove that he is solid head coaching material. How far this team goes lies not in the roster, but in chemistry, and especially coaching. Allen makes me nervous, I find it hard to have faith in him as a coach until he produces.”
2. What is your favorite off-season move that was made by the Oakland Raiders? Explain.
Answer- “The first move I can think of is getting rid of Knapp. That was such a disaster last year, I knew the season was lost after a handful of games. Also, thankfully we have finally cleared out the ‘check-cashers’ (Seymour, Kelly, etc…) and brought in some hungry players that want to prove themselves. I love the draft we had, and I especially want to watch Latavius Murray, as I have a gut feeling he could become an impact player quickly. There is a lot of potential here, and I would like to see him get a lot of playing time while McFadden is healthy and not wait until DMC gets hurt to put him in. Also, the return of Charles Woodson is huge. He will have a major impact and influence on the young defense, and I think he will surprise a lot of people with his play this year. I think he has more than a good bit left in the tank. Our entire secondary is so vastly improved over last year. I think a lot of QBs around the league will find that out the hard way!”
3. Can Denarius Moore become an elite receiver? If so, what must he do to become one?
Answer- “Man, I would love to say so, but I honestly see him as becoming a solid receiver in a solid group, but maybe not elite. The route running and drop ratio must improve dramatically. For so much promise in his rookie year, Moore definitely has regressed a bit since then. I would rather see a solid core of Streater, Moore, Ford (if he can stay healthy), and Criner stepping it up as well. Another dark horse breakout player could be Conner Vernon. And all of this depends on the QB, of course. Moore and all of the others will have to be on the same page as the QB, and we don’t know who that will be. Major question mark for this team.”
Answer- “That is a tough one… so many great players! My gut would say Kenny Stabler. The guy would come out on Sunday hung over and lead the team to victory. I think he is vastly underrated as a leader. The first poster I had when I was a kid was Fred Biletnikoff. Even before the Kiss posters! Kenny and Freddy were my favorites for a long time, but I have to put Bo Jackson in there as well. If not for that unfortunate injury, I am convinced that Bo would have been the best of all time. Better than all of them. He was so unreal, luckily the younger generation of Raider fans have YouTube and the 30/30 doc to see for themselves. I have a lot of favorite players through the decades, but those are the first three that come to mind.”
5. What is your favorite Oakland Raiders memory, and what is a typical tailgate party like for you at home games?
Answer- “My first live Raiders game, in 1975, Monday Night Football vs. the Dolphins in the Orange Bowl. My parents took me, and needless to say, they did not enjoy the ride home after the 31-21 Raiders victory. I was over the moon when Harold Hart returned a kickoff 101 yards for the TD. Another big highlight was when I went to Nashville in 2005 for a Raiders-Titans game. We won that one, too. We only won 4 games that year, and I was at one of them! And before the game, there was a huge section of the parking lot set-up by Raider Nation! It was like heaven, and I got to meet several of the guys that I see on TV in the Black Hole every week that made the trip. Number one on my bucket list is to go to a game in Oakland and sit in the Black Hole someday! Until then, we all need to keep our heads high and know that the rise back to the top is closer than it has been in a long time!”
It’s an awesome feeling when Raider Nation bands together at football games. The greatest part about being a Raiders fan is the brotherhood and sisterhood that we the fans share. I, too, believe that the Raiders will surprise their critics this year.
I would like to extend my gratitude to Charlie Pugliese for taking the time to conduct this interview. It has been my honor to have been able to bring the different opinions of Oakland Raiders fans to the Raider Nation. Whether on the East Coast, West Coast, Middle America, or anywhere else in the world, Raider Nation is strongly represented. I look forward to another year of football, and I look forward to connecting with more of Raider Nation through this blog and in person.