Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Oakland Raiders Wide Receiver Randy Moss popped off again. This time he said that the Raiders as a team doesn't seem to care about being 3 and 0 in the loss / won statistic -- the only one that really matters.
In an interview with Fox Sports Chris Myers, Moss said "I don't really want to single players out. I mean, I don't really know what the feeling is, but I know the feeling is bad. So that's saying no one cares about what's going on around here."
Moss comment started a buzz on any and every Raiders fan message forum in existence. Fans on Raidersfan.net have issued open letters to him. Newspaper columnists have accused him of dropping the ball himself. People -- Raiders fans -- have lined up to shoot the messenger.
But Randy's right. The Raiders don't care.
The organization's more concerned about having a kind of offense that reflects a tough, macho,...and outdated style than with winning. Head Coach Art Shell hired Offensive Coordinator Tom Walsh, he of the bed-and-breakfast who believes that football doesn't change much, thus giving way to a 1960s approach, and is not only being proven wrong but at the expense of the players he coaches.
Players like Moss.
People forget that a team is only as good as the coaches -- not the players. You can have the best players, as I was expaining to former Stanford Running Back Darren Nelson on Tuesday, but if the coaches are telling them to do the wrong things, then the players will only play as well as they're instructed.
And right now, the Raiders players are poorly instructed.
What can the Raiders do to make Randy and the offensive players happy?
Well, here's a list:
1) Offensive Line blocking: This unit's technique has improved -- they're not retreating as much, and are actually punching in their technique, but it's not consistent. Focusing on consistency here is the key. Of course, they would be helped by a really good...
2) Short passing game: The Raiders' current passing system is a freaking joke. It lacks variety in formation, patterns, and points of attack. This is the Raiders weak point, they could help the offensive line by focusing on this, and what they've got to do is..
3) Add more plays: Offensive Plays are the tools used to attack defenses. But when you go into a game with just five runs and 10 passes -- as the Raiders did against the Baltimore Ravens, you're entering the game at a handicap before the contest starts. The 1981 World Champion 49ers went into Super Bowl XIV with 89 passes and 31 runs in the game plan. There's no reason the Raiders can't do that.
4) Trick the opponent: There's nothing wrong with a good halfback pass or an onsides kick in the first quater of a game. Get the players -- like Moss -- excited. Then they will perform.
5) Teach the passing game: Run the same plays over and over again in practice. Stay until it's dark outside. Seek perfection.
6) Design plays like this one:
.... Which I've described earlier.
Art needs to make the prescribed changes, and eventually send Tom Walsh on his way and bring in Bengals Wide Receiver Coach Hue Jackson. Art's a great figure to have as a leader, but his image in this department is taking a beating just by his resistance to change, from how he dealt with Wide Receiver Jerry Porter, to this matter of the Raiders offense.
If the Raiders are smart enough to follow my advice, they'll begin to put points on the board, rack up wins, and salvage this season. In the process, they'll turn Randy Moss from media sinner to media saint.
Posted by Zennie Abraham at 10:47 PM
At the same event where I reported the unfortunate news about former 49ers and Stanford Head Coach Bill Walsh, I had the chance to chat with former 49ers and Cleveland Browns President Carmen Policy (pictured with KGO-AM San Francisco Radio Personality Ronn Owens) about a lot of matters mostly personal. But one that wasn't was the idea that he and former Niners owner were going to purchase the Oakland Raiders.
That was never true, according to Carmen.
See, the story was originally reported by my friend Sports Illustrated Senior Writer Michael Silver. I've known "Sil" since 1986, and so feel a certain obligation to help promote his terrific writing. Sil has penned great stories, come based on drunken exploits he's had with celebrities like NBA Basketball Legend Dennis Rodman.
Silver has a knack for getting a person to say something that's newsworthy while they're at a certain level of intoxication. In fact, Mike's broke a number of stories this way, but what's forgotten is that he's got such a great relationship with so many NFL operatives, he's able to get into a situation where he's drinking with someone. Not bad.
Regardless of one's view of this approach, it's certainly effective. According to Carmen, that's exactly what happened when Silver attended the giant Las Vegas party DeBartolo held for former Niners player, staff, and press who were involved with the 49ers durring their glory years.
Carmen and I agreed that Mike has a way of asking a hypothetical question, like "Let's say you were able to buy the Raiders -- would you?" And, in a Las Vegas-party atmostphere, with the booze flowing, the answer Eddie gave was "Yeah."
But it doesn't mean he or Carmen plan to purchase the Oakland Raiders.
The answer from Carmen is "No."
Posted by Zennie Abraham at 11:24 AM