Raider Debate – Don’t Mess With The Too Old Crew
April 23, 2010
Yesterday I posted my thoughts about the Raiders just prior to our first round draft choice (Rolando Mcclain, LB, Alabama). I expressed concern that Al Davis would make another bone-headed move and pick some tool like Jimmy Clausen. Thankfully he made a choice that I can get behind, and I’m now excited to see how this second (and third) round shapes up. My post yesterday elicited a rather unexpected sprinkling of hate from our buddy (and longtime follower) Alan. I have spent some part of this morning crafting my response to Al’s series of rants against the Raiders and decided to create a new post to share my thoughts. If you’d like to get the background on this little spat, you can read Al’s first comment, Steve’s response, and Al’s follow-up comments in the comment section of the post directly below this one. In this post you will find my response to Al’s collection of comments:
Ok Alan, let’s try to wade through your bullshit one argument at a time. First, you may note that the only argument from your initial comment that Steve took exception with was the COMPLETELY UNFOUNDED (and unevidenced) attack on multiple pro-bowl corner Nnamdi Asomugha. I’ll begin by agreeing with one of your statements (something else you seem to have difficulty with) and spot you that Robert Gallery was the biggest waste of a top 5 pick since the Bengals drafted Akili Smith 3rd overall in 1999. As I noted in my initial post about the draft (a fairly innocent post, especially given your rather aggressive response), we are in dire need of both offensive AND defensive linemen. That’s what we call a “concession.” Now, as for the rest of your drivel:
1. You seem to have a problem with Cable and the rest of the coaching staff, yet you have offered ZERO tangible evidence to support any of your accusations. Don’t get me wrong, a 5-11 record is unacceptable, period. The notions that Raiders fans have somehow become complacent or
content with simply posting wins against division rivals are ludicrous. I cannot speak for all Raiders fans, but all members of the Too Old crew certainly don’t feel that complacency, and, living 5 minutes from the Oakland Coliseum, I haven’t met any other Raiders fans who are content with the level of the team’s performance. That being said, all major professional sports teams go through ups and downs. From 1963 to 2002 the Raider had only 7 losing seasons. I would call that a “commitment to excellence.” True, the Raiders have not seen a winning record since 2002, but Tom Cable at least has a higher winning percentage as head coach than the 3 previous coaches. Again, not acceptable but at least a sign of improvement. I’m not sure what evidence you have to suggest that Cable doesn’t instill a competitive drive in his players (punching an assistant in the jaw seems pretty bad-ass, or at least suggestive of a certain high intensity level). You also refer to the Raiders “coaching staff” as if you have ANY clue who else works for the Raiders other than Cable. As a fan, I’m VERY excited abut some of our off-season coaching acquisitions (of which you are, perhaps, unaware). The recent hiring of new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson (black coaches!) has got me hopeful that the offense may pick up next year. His work with Baltimore over the past couple of years points to his ability to help a young, unproven quarterback shape up his game. I’m also very pleased to have two former USC coaches on the staff. QB coach Paul Hackett was the head coach at SC when I got to campus in the fall of ’99 and he was also a longtime successfull assistant under John McKay. Defensive Coordinator John Marshall was also a linebackers coach for some of those great Trojan teams in the late 70’s. These are guys with proven track records of success. So what’s your argument about coaches Al?
2. Steve makes a series of arguments (with both numbers and direct quotes from top-tier NFL coaches) about the incredible prowess of Asomugha among NFL corners and you respond with ad homs? Really? That’s the best you’ve got? I know you foreigners (forgive the xenophobia, but for the sake of argument…) may have trouble with the unique terminology used to discuss the sport you may know better as “American Football.” “Tested” refers to the number of times quarterbacks chose to throw to the receiver guarded by Asomugha. Let’s say that each teams has 100 offensive plays in an average game (probably a high estimate) and that offenses run the ball half of those plays. So we’re looking at 50 pass plays per game (again, usually more like 30-40, but whatever), multiplied by 16 games. So that’s 800 pass plays over the course of the season. of those 800, Asomugha was only defending the targeted receiver 30 times. This was not because he was defending some 4th string guy, rather, he REMOVED THE TOP OPTION from consideration just by being on the field. How can you look at those numbers and not recognize the incredible impact he has had on the opponents’ offensive gameplans? Your ad homs just come off as ignorance to the nuances of the game. Steve has offered all of the numbers, so I won’t rehash those, and he’s also provided some pretty choice quotes from big-name coaches. I’ll throw one more into the mix, this one from long-time Denver Broncos coach (now with the Redskins) and even longer Raider-hater Mike Shanahan:
“The people that throw at him usually get beat,” Shanahan said. “He’s not going to be challenged, but he plays 100 percent on every play. He plays the run, he plays the pass, the guy is a competitor. He’s the most underrated top player in the game—I can’t say the history of the game because I haven’t been around here that long—but I can say in my 25 years, he is by far the most underrated player.”
Shanahan continues—”I’ve never met him but I’m going to shake his hand after the game because I keep on looking for him but I never get a chance to talk to him. He’s one of my favorite players, even though he is with the Raiders. That shows you how much I like him.”
So in terms of pure numbers AND the opinions of well-respected evaluators of football talent you have NO ARGUMENT. Apparently your new dig on Asomugha is that he isn’t a team leader? Aside from the fact that it is VERY RARE for a cornerback to assume the kind of leadership role that you demand of him (in fact, I challenge you to name a hugely successful team with a CORNERBACK – not a safety, but a pure corner – as team leader. Deion Sanders at least had future hall of fame QB’s leading both the 49ers and Cowboys) what better way to lead than by demonstrating a commitment to the highest possible work ethic? As Shanahan explained above, this guy is rarely involved in the action on Defense (because QB’s and offensive coordinators fear him) yet still puts in 100% on every play. He keeps a detailed notebook and watches countless hours of film to ensure the highest level of preparedness. What more could you ask for from a player? That’s what makes him a professional and, simultaneously, makes your unfounded attacks seem weak and petty. I’m not sure what you mean by putting up “both sides of the case so we can discuss it” but I’d certainly be happy to compare Asomugha’s numbers last season with some of the other “top tier backs.” I guarantee that they stack up very nicely. You keep saying that he isn’t top ten at his position but offer ZERO argument to support that outrageous assertion. Now who’s running for Congress Al? I found an interesting statistical analysis done by an Atlanta Falcons fan (seemingly unbiased in terms of evaluating a Raiders corner) in which he rates the top 50 corners in the game as of January, 2009. I won’t copy and paste the long article, but will link it here. Needless to say, Asomugha is #1. Research makes for better argument, and you have none…
3. As I’ve said before, the Raiders are in need of major improvement. I’m not sure where in my earlier post you feel I expressed approval with the current state of the organization (if anything, it was trepidation with the way Al Davis would handle our first round pick – which I approved of, by the way). We have major offensive and defensive line holes, our quarterback situation is rather disastrous (yes, Jamarcus was a bust. although, actually, Gradkowski has showed promise), and we have an unproven collection of young receivers. There is much work yet to be done (and hopefully the rest of the draft, soon to begin again, will help resolve some of these issues) but one position that we will not be drafting today is cornerback (although, I would love to grab USC defensive back Taylor Mays, still available as of this post. But that’s just the Trojan in me talking).
I’m sure Steve (and probably also Ronin) would be happy to add their two cents as well (the Too Old Crew never backs down from a debate) but this sums up where I’m coming from. Next time you try to step to the Raider Nation come correct or don’t come at all.