Oakland Raiders: Damned if They Do, Damned if They Don't


Dec 27, 2013; Alameda, CA, USA; General view of an Oakland Raiders helmet at press conference at Oakland Raiders Practice Facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 27, 2013; Alameda, CA, USA; General view of an Oakland Raiders helmet at press conference at Oakland Raiders Practice Facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Life is rough as Raiders fan. It’s been a long time since the team has been relevant or had respectable play on the field.  When you’re down, you’re expected to rise up and keep going.  It seems this franchise cannot catch a break. Everything is scrutinized and turns out to be bad press. Hell, not even the Raiderettes can escape the ire of the media. Unfortunately for the loyal fans of a storied franchise, it’s not always easy to keep your head up when every move your team makes is seen with disdain and mocked regardless of how positive the efforts are.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not all in all the time for buying into what the Raiders do. I have questioned my choice of NFL wardrobe and my commitment to the Silver and Black over the last couple of years. But after analyzing the moves more thoroughly, I stay loyal and move on from my idea of using my Raiders gear for wash rags.

This past weeks start of  free agency saw no shortage of Raider bashing at its finest.  First, it was the big “mistake ” that the Raiders made by cancelling Rodger Saffold’s contract because of his failed physical with the teams doctors. To me,  the bigger mistake would have been to go through with the contract and be stuck with a player with a history of injuries and overpaying for said player.  But of course since it’s the Raiders cancelling the contract, it looked as the ludicrous, dysfunctional thing to do. I don’t know about you, but if I buy a high ticket item and get home and realize that said item is damaged, I’m turning back around and asking for a refund. I don’t know, maybe my common sense is getting in the way. But lets just pretend that Saffold does get signed and gets that big contract. Guess what the headline would have been? ” Raiders Sign Injury Prone Lineman to Big Bucks – Same Old Raiders”. See what I did there?

Another point that became fodder this past week was the fact that the team was not able to keep their most valued players in Jared Veldheer, Rashad Jennings and Lamarr Houston. While I liked Veldheer, early reports circulated that the team did make an offer before free agency started, but it was Veldheer who exercised his right to seek employment elsewhere. Good for him. Good luck blocking for Carson Palmer again in Arizona. As for Houston, the media points out that he led the team with six sacks last season and that number somehow made him elite. In actuality, six sacks is middle of the road and Reggie McKenzie was not going to shell out for that. The Chicago Bears were willing to pay however, and Reggie was more than ok with that in the end.  Another early head scratcher was the re-signing of Darren McFadden. While I like Run DMC, I thought it was totally off base to retain an injury prone back who the team already knows all about. Then I read the breakdown of the contract and I was ok with it, because it’s such a low risk move by McKenzie the way the numbers add up. McFadden may have turned many of Raider Nations most loyal against him because of his injury history but the truth is, watching him makes you hold you your breath for two reasons, he could bust out a long smooth run to the end zone or he could get hurt and be out for 4-6 weeks. But for me, for him to take a big cut and to stay with the team, that speaks volumes about his commitment to the team. I’ll give him lots of credit for that and can’t wait to hold my breath again this coming year. Now – when it comes to Jennings, that’s where I disagree. In my opinion, Jennings more than earned his chance to get a long term deal with the team and I have no idea why the team would let him go and sign with the Giants. All these moves of existing players were looked at with a raised eyebrow by the majority of the media. No surprise there.

Moving on with the additions of Justin Tuck, Lamarr Woodley and Antonio Smith. Because these players chose to sign with the Raiders, instantly the Negative Nancy’s  were  quick to label them as past their prime, old,  injury prone players looking for one last paycheck. Forget the fact that none of them broke the bank or committed to long-term deals. While their age may be a hindrance down the road once the season starts, I doubt it, that doesn’t mean they’re not productive. As a matter of fact, Tuck racked up 11 sacks last season and Woodley wrapped up five of his own in just 11 games. Same sack number for Antonio Smith. Put that into context with Lamarr Houston’s six and I think these players are an upgrade even if they are older than Houston. Like that old saying goes “age ain’t nothing but a number”.  But still, the media would have you believe that these moves are all destined to be busts and once again bad for the team.

Last on the list is that wonderful number of sixty million. Now that the Raiders have all that money to spend,  the Debbie Downers were questioning as to why the team hasn’t spent it all yet in the first week to load the roster. So let me get this straight -Under Al Davis, if the team over extended and spent big money on a free agent, it was laughed at and ridiculed. Now the opposite is happening and  the team doesn’t spend it, the team is once again being laughed at and still being ridiculed.  Man, the mainstream  media is so fickle.

To wrap this up, the Broncos made some splashy additions in the past week. By splashy I mean 100 million dollars tied to Demarcus Ware, Aquib Talib, and T.J. Ward.  While this is a lot of money for just three players, not once did you hear about these moves being seen as busts. Instead, Ware gets the “veteran, with something to prove” label instead of the “old, injury prone, cashing in ” moniker bestowed to the Raiders players signed.  Talib  and Ward were apparently worth the big bucks and signing bonuses because the Broncos are going all in as Dream Team 2.0 and this has to be the team destined for a ring next year. I do recall Dream Team 1.0 in Philly a couple of years ago not fulfilling that obligation. But of course, because it’s not the Raiders making these large commitments to buy a title, it’s all good and the Broncos have earned themselves a golden ticket in the eyes of the media. I remember before Al Davis died, he was trying to do the same thing and somehow that “old, senile grandpa who had let the game pass him by” was just doing things the Raiders way. LOL said the media. Funny how you don’t hear that from the media now that it’s the Broncos employing that very same tactic. I guess the game hasn’t passed by John Elway, he’s an innovator right? Hardly, unless you count being part of losing six Super Bowls innovative. I guess the main stream media is right after all.

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Tags: 2014 Free Agency Darren McFadden Denver Broncos Jared Veldheer John Elway Lamarr Houston Oakland Raiders

  • Luis Hernandez

    Love this article, awesome read

  • KloverJane

    Good stuff.

  • Don

    The Cheatriots copying the Donkeys too

  • Roy-909

    One of the best articles I’ve read in a while everything you said is dame true

  • 757Raiderfan

    Wow I commend you sir. I’ve been saying the exact same thing. We just can’t win. Good article

  • Chris Schroeder

    There’s nothing like a good read in the morning to go along with my morning coffee. I couldn’t have agreed more. It’s almost like we were connected at the mind. The Donko’s lol….. That’s so true, everything you wrote about them, and the media. The way they preceive things.

    Here’s an add just to put things in further prospective. The Raiders are the most hated nfl franchise outside of threre own fan base. To be that hated by the media and by fans of other teams, well….. the Raiders must be doing something right. You don’t waist that much energy on something unless you love it, or envy it. Not every team can be the silver and black. There’s only one nation under God. Raider Nation. Get over it haters. Boom!!!

  • Clifford Shiller

    Good article! Hard to believe I was ready to join in on the witch hunt!

  • JoeSchmoo

    Finally, an coherent and honest assessment. I too wished Jennings had stayed, and was not unhappy with JV or LH leaving. Go Raiduhs!!

  • Bob

    We are getting impatient. The Raiders have had the worst record in the NFL since 2003. Yes, even worse than Detroit and Cleveland.

  • Gus Gustoffson

    Very good article! Love the end about elway lol

  • Lupe Rubalcava Jr.

    Great article!!!!

  • Stanley Carr

    Nice read!!

  • Ervin Barrentine

    Best article in year’s for the Raiders!! Raider Nation stand up

  • eddytap

    I agree with everything you’re saying here but as a side note, Adam Scheffter reported that the Raiders did offer Rashad Jenning $3 mil per year at the time of the combine but he decided to seek a better. 3 to 4 milion seems to be the going rate for RB during this Free agency. Prior to last year, Rashad’s highest rushing total was 459 yards a season. Last year, he finished around 800. I’m thinking Reggie didn’t want to break the bank on a 29 year old running back with one good season. I’d say that’s being financially responsible and they are probably thinking at 3 million, they can replace his production a lot cheaper with either another veteran or a rookie from the draft.

  • Kevin Lurker

    Nice read. We are the team they love to hate. Only winning stops this talk both in & outside the Nation. IMO..Veldheer was hosed by RM. Besides that I’m down. Still think RM needs better QB scouting skills.

  • http://facebook.com/TRBC2 Tulsa Raiders Booster Club

    Holy s*** this is the best article I’ve read in YEARS and sums up exactly what needs to be said. Way to go.

  • Brian J. Flores

    Good piece.

    Unfortunately the “Raiders are bad and don’t know what they’re doing” topic has become one of the easy topics for lazy writers to go to. It’s been around so long, there’s rarely any actual research done anymore. The funny thing is that so many in the media love hating the Raiders, and the team and its fans seem to love being hated. But there’s no question that the Raiders remain the single most villainized team in the NFL, despite the fact that there’s no real reason for it.

  • Gregg Brennan

    Whatever the Raiders do, they’ll be criticized for it, so I’ve given up paying attention to the self-professed media “experts”. If McKenzie could pull off a trade tomorrow for Aaron Rogers and not give up anything more than a late round draft choice, these same media “experts” would automatically start talking about how washed up Rogers is, how he can’t play QB anymore and how the Raiders screwed it up again.

  • Kevin Martin

    I’ve said it elsewhere. People also ignore the fact that Tuck and Woodley have 3 SB rings between them, and come from winning, well respected franchises. Smith and Brown both have played in a SB each, and have been part of successful teams. Our team has severely lacked leadership in recent years (true, we had Seymour for a while, but he was wasted playing along side Tommy Kelly), and Tuck and Woodley are well respected players who can add both on the field, helping develop younger players, and in the locker room!

  • Francis Warren

    Great article couldn’t of said it better myself…I guess James Jones is washed up too lol

  • R8RSRULE

    Thanks for the positive feed back KloverJane, I appreciate it!

  • R8RSRULE

    757Raiderfan,
    Thanks for the positive comment.! A lot of us fans harp the same things but unfortunately they fall on deaf ears. No matter, still gonna be a Raiders fan regardless.

  • R8RSRULE

    Chris Schroeder,
    Glad I could help you get your morning started right ! I’ve tried to figure out why the team is so vilified and best I can figure is that unlike other bottom dweller teams, they actually have a great history before the last decade or so. Those old school fans lived the great days of glory and either you loved the team or hated them because they were so good. I’m not sure that they’ve been doing something right over the last few years but I think those deep rooted ties to the team still exist. Hell I don’t think it, I know it.

  • R8RSRULE

    WOW Roy-909, you’re gonna make me blush! Thanks for the positive comments.

  • R8RSRULE

    Joe Schmoo,
    Thanks for reading my post! I try to be honest when it comes to our team because I know you either love them or hate them, there is no middle ground. Filling the fans with fluff and crap is just not me. There’s enough bloggers/ writers out there that do that already

  • R8RSRULE

    Don, thanks for reading my post. They do say this league is a copycat league right. Both NE and DEN are using this now because they know time is running out on their two best players Brady and Manning. After that, back to the cellar.

  • R8RSRULE

    Brian,
    Thanks for the props and reading my post. You’re right in that most writers/bloggers have lost their ability to actually support their opinions anymore with actual facts. Which to me makes me try harder to try to put out meaningful posts. I would rather put out a handful of well prepared posts than a crap load of clichés and drivel. Todays posts are more about getting traffic to your sight than substance. Sad.
    I think the fact the fans are so ardent about their team, that makes it fun to pick on the fans because most people say they don’t like to stir the pot but secretly they’re holding the ladle anxiously. And Raiders fans aren’t known for backing down.

  • Don

    Re-sign woodson take the donkeys out of the playoff and strip sack Brady at the end of the game in foxburrow

  • R8RSRULE

    Thanks for reading my post Stanley! I appreciate your support.

  • R8RSRULE

    Gus,
    Thanks for reading my post and liking it. I was most proud of that ending. It’s never a bad idea to smack talk a division rival, that’s part of what makes football fun no?

  • R8RSRULE

    Sad but true Bob. I would say some fans are well beyond impatient after 10 years. But the thing about DET and CLE is that they don’t have any SB’s to speak of. My friend at work is a Browns fan and we go back and forth with our respective doom and gloom for our teams. We actually made a bet last season as to which team would end up with the better record. 5 bucks a game…ended up tied. Go figure!

  • R8RSRULE

    Thanks for reading my post and following our site Lupe! Go R8RS!

  • R8RSRULE

    Ervin, I wouldn’t say best article in years but I’ll take it. Thanks! I do get where you’re coming from though. the whole reason I became a blogger for this site was because I got tired of reading all the negative stuff over and over again. Now I have an outlet to offer a different perspective, even if it is a little biased. LOL.

  • R8RSRULE

    Luis,
    Thanks for reading my post, and supporting our website, glad you enjoyed it! Go R8RS!

  • R8RSRULE

    Clifford,
    I don’t think half the fans would be mad at you for picking up that torch and pitchfork, they’d be right there with you. Thanks for the support.

  • R8RSRULE

    Somehow Gregg, I know you would be right. We just can’t win for trying.

  • R8RSRULE

    Tulsa RBC,
    Thanks for the good vibes. I’m sure there’s been other better posts over the years for sure. I’m not that good, just call it like I see it. Thanks for repping the team in OK, we really are a Nation because of efforts like yours. Keep up the good work. Go R8RS!

  • Rene Menjivar

    Awesome article….I just wish and hope they re-sign Woodson!

  • R8RSRULE

    Kevin, thanks for reading! appreciate it. Winning does change everything. I thought that too about Veldheer but he did choose to go elsewhere, it’s not like RM didn’t try. His picks have been hit or miss for me for the most part. IMO- 50/50.

  • R8RSRULE

    I’m sure he is too Francis. The minute he signed that contract he got credit for two drops. Just because it’s the Raiders

  • R8RSRULE

    Good points Kevin! Now we have to re-sign Woodson to keep that SB leadership intact.

  • R8RSRULE

    Eddytap,
    Thanks for reading my post, I appreciate it. I was not aware of Jennings offer. Maybe I should follow Scheffty on my twitter acct. Unfortunately the way the league has become, RB’s aren’t as valued as they were before. I think we’ll be ok at RB in the end. With Kory Sheets, RUN DMC, Latavius Murray and of course Reece, maybe that was the better thing to do.

  • R8RSRULE

    Thanks for reading my post Rene. Appreciate it. I would agree with you that he would be the next in house signing that absolutely/positively has to get done. Especially when you consider his place with the fans and all the fan support that went in signing him last year.

  • Gus Gustoffson

    Yes, very true! These latest signings have me very optimistic.

  • 757Raiderfan

    Raider nation man! Plus I really feel like these signings have been good contrary to other writers.

  • eddytap

    No problem R&R… I’m totally on board with everything you said above. Contrary to what the national media is putting out, I’m ok with the moves Reg is making. People need to understand it’s going to take time to build this up right. Given that he is a new GM, he will make mistakes along the way. Hell, more tenured GM make similar mistake but since it’s the Raiders, right or wrong, it’s magnified. People also need to realize, this team was devoid of leadership. Lamar Houston was a team captain and look at the comments he is making now. He was never on board. The only mulligan I’m sure Reg wish he could do over would be Valdheer. That was a mistake and he know it but hey, it’s done and let move on. Thanks for listening.

  • http://facebook.com/TRBC2 Tulsa Raiders Booster Club

    Thank you and believe me, your article is what I’ve been thinking for a long time. If we even won the super bowl, “BS”PN would be saying it was a fluke and it wasn’t well deserved. The NFL and media hates us; We’re the red headed step children. Appreciate the respect! Raider Nation is a family! So excited for this season to start already. Go Raiders!

  • Chris Sanchez

    I do agree to the premise of the article, but you have to ask yourself one question : Are the players they signed going to make this team better than last year? To most observers the answer is no. They still have no QB, their offensive line is a mess, and the defense still has holes all over the back end. Not seeing how the Raiders catch the Chiefs, Chargers, or the Broncos, this season or even in the next few seasons. Sure, Manning will retire soon but when you look at the roster outside of the QB position, the Broncos have a better roster as does the rest of the division. Until they find a starting caliber QB. The Raiders will finish last or next to last for the forseeable future. You can mad at critics and other fans for saying those things but the reality is the current roster has more known names around the league but you can’t honestly say they are better than the Raider team that played last season.

  • R8RSRULE

    As a whole the team does need a lot areas to fill and I don’t think they’re playoff bound as it stands right now, even with the signings. But I do think these signings will lay the foundation for the next three years. Given that they play the toughest schedule next year, I cant say that they’ll exceed their win total But last year I saw a lot of effort from the defense and they were actually a top the D until injuries piled up and the wheels fell off. I wouldn’t say the division teams have a better roster. Denver’s o-line needs help (see the SB), SD is aging and has past their prime(with the exception of Allen). KC is good but they have no WR’s to speak of and the one they do have, they don’t throw to. Plus the Raiders have one of the youngest teams in the league even with the vets we’ve signed lately. I think the team will hold their own in the division games this year. They’re always fun. The thing with the QB is that the only way one will get better is by more game time. switching back and forth from Pryor and McGloin does no service to them or anyone else. Consistency at that position is the key for me. If they decide to get a QB in FA then I would say Schaub or Freeman. As both are a year or two removed from solid seasons. What bothers me most about the media isn’t that they rag on the Raiders, but more so that they don’t actually take the time to examine the team and the progress and just spout off because well- it’s the Raiders. The fans are split 50/50. Some that follow the team religiously and those that are the casual ones. Everyone’s got an opinion.