Talking About Everything But The Broncos

Everybody wants to talk about the Donkeys, the burros. It makes sense since Sundays in the late Summer and Fall are what many in Raider Nation look forward to. Mondays are much better after a victory.

It’s been two weeks since we last tasted that sweet smell of victory. Our Raiders lost two straight and now they will battle the Broncos for second in the AFC West. A win over Denver is exactly the distraction we need as Raiders fans. It’s why many of the team reacted to the resignation of their head coach with comments about moving forward, accountability and professionalism. The rest of the season will test all of that now that Jon Gruden is no longer steering the Raiders organization.

Make Gave and Took Away

This past Monday is one many of us will want to forget. Not because Khalil Mack registered 8 tackles against us while nursing injuries the day before. Five-deuce reminded us one more time he never wanted to leave Oakland by throwing up the iconic “O” after stopping a two-point conversation. It a sack vs the Raiders but a tribute to the Mecca of the Silver and Black. 

This moment was the eye before the Gruden storm right when everybody wanted to brush past the DeMaurice Smith comments and racial trope. Mack reminded the Raiders they sold him and Oakland out for an Oasis in the desert. Gruden traded Mack as soon as he got to town. Mack countered by giving Gruden his final loss as a head coach. As if a game with enough Bear fans to catch the attention from those in attendance wasn’t enough of a reminder.

Bigger Than All The Takes

“No one is bigger than the Raiders shield,” they all say. Yet, we all must look back with revisionist history when we look back at those great Gruden teams. You hear all the former players and coaches shocked and confused. Some supporting a friend and mentor while others reached for their “I told you so,” strap.

We understand why so many vets and young players walked in and out the building. J.G. was a control freak that pushed out the Raiders Black G.M. Reggie McKenzie. McKenzie was the mastermind behind the Raiders last playoff run.

Gruden promised us all winning. When it didn’t happen, he should’ve stepped away like he said he would. All those misses in free agency and the draft was enough to do him. Instead, he got exposed in the worst way. It was a spit in the face to everybody who bought what he sold. With Gruden gone, he answered questions about the long-term vision of this team. It never had one. The foundation built on Gruden turned into Quick Sand.

No Surprises

It shouldn’t surprise that Gruden’s dated mentality exists in football coaches because we all experienced this at every level we played. Yet, Raiders fans must look back at the last time our franchise was great with shame. That’s the part that hurts us who don’t identify with the groups Gruden offended. Can we honestly say we deserved to win we look back at the Tuck Rule or the game when Siragusa sat on Rich Gannon? Maybe Al Davis was right thinking Gruden got ahead of himself. Davis made the trade when he needed somebody else to get him over the hump.

Either way, this is one more reminder that culture doesn’t change as fast as we want. The organization with a history that includes the first active gay player, first Black coach, first Hispanic head coach and highest ranking female executive was not saved from an insidious culture that enabled mediocrity and bigotry.

Raiders fans left the old Coliseum behind but this is one more reminder we can’t have nice things. One more reason for us Raiders fans to become divided. One more black eye from a long bout with the entire league carried with us. Another time for us to remember Mark Davis is not his father. 

The truth is, nothing should surprise us from these thousands of emails from the Washington Football team. This boys will be boys culture is as old as the game. Why do you think the NFL doesn’t think they are news?

Same Old NFL

Still, it’s pretty ironic that only the Raiders had emails from their head coach leaked. Maybe that’s cause Gruden is one of the last standing pillars of the old guard. More likely, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. The iceberg that might finally put the Raiders into the position the NFL has always secretly wanted. They strategically released the emails mid season when they knew about them early in the summer. Checkmate Davis Family. 

Does that whole nobody is bigger than the shield motto include the family that built it? While I agree Mark Davis doesn’t seem like a bad guy, at the very least he is guilty of not knowing who his friends really were. That’s not a liability the Raider Nation or NFL can afford. Mark found us a home but maybe he was only meant to take us this far. I am not saying to cancel the guy but perhaps he needs to retire like many do when they move from Cali to Southern Nevada. Enjoy the equity and casinos. 

Process This

The point is, there are many layers to this Gruden situation. If we as fans need time to process this, how do you think these players and coaches feel? As much as I want to move on, I want to talk about everything but the Donkeys. Gruden takes most of the good memories I have as a Raiders fan with him.

Remember when Mark Davis said they always wanted Gruden even when they hired Del Rio? Mind you Del Rio grew up a Raiders fan and steady the ship during an uncertain time. Talk about tainting what it means to be a Raider. All of us had a peace that hoped Gruden would work out.

Obvious Questions

I don’t know what the team will look like with a new play caller who was actually Carr’s old offensive coordinator. Perhaps they both spring from the Gruden influence cocoon like butterflies. I don’t know much about Rich Bisaccia’s coaching philosophies.

Is Gus Bradley staging a coup and can his defense sustain with Mayock making the bulk of roster decisions? Will this team win for their exiled coach or will it show they won in spite of him? They could also waive the red flag and start getting ready for the future. But if the Raiders quit, I really won’t know what it means to be a Raiders anymore. At that point, I’ll really think the essence of the Silver and Black was left at some off strip slot.

Regardless, there are more questions than answers at the moment. Let’s see if this team plays hard and consistently fights for 60 minutes like they never could under Gruden. That’s the start.

We all know what it will take to beat our division foes. Running the ball, making big plays, sacking the quarterback and limiting the run. It’s not rocket science.

Can this Raiders team pull themselves out of the darkest hole? Does this team and coaching staff have the leadership with think it does? Will they make us feel an ever deeper bottom by playing bad the rest of the season?

Raiders Reminders

Nothing is more Raider than winning admit all this adversity. Raiders accept who they are and who they are not. They are not Jon Gruden’s Raiders anymore. Praise God.

Vegas is limited up front, banged up in the secondary and flawed enough to get exposed in bad spots on defense. They can push the ball down the field and rely on their dominant tight end to move the chains. The offense finds another gear when Josh Jacobs and Derek Carr find their highest gears.

Defensively, they need turnovers from the secondary. That’s what they relied on early in the season. A consistent pass rush versus a Denver team that wants to get the ball out is also important. Plus, you know the Broncos always want to run the ball versus the Raiders.

This week we find out exactly who this team is post Gruden. How will they come out fighting versus a familiar foe? The Raiders have their backs are against the wall and nobody would blame them for losing this game. Will they take the out like Gruden did?

What needs to happen is basic and written all over the walls. Commit to excellence, will your way to win and find just the right amount of autumn in the wind. Remind us one more time what that shield stands for by playing hard versus Denver and winning. Mark Davis show us you have the light when we need it most.

This football team must give us a reason to talk about football again by winning Sunday. Show us your professionalism beyond saying the right things in the press conference. Stop talking about how you’re ready to move on and show us that possibility. Make us proud to wear the Silver and Black. Take our colors and culture back from some overrated and dated coach who clout chased it all the way to exile.

Keys For Battling The Mack Attack And More From A Weird Week For Raider Nation

Forget about the Raiders and Chargers on Monday Night. It is not worth remembering the poor line play, ineffective running game and our QB falling into old ways.

Vegas got 21-0 skunked in the first half after the lightning delay. They came out and made plays but they never really got the offense rolling on full cylinders. Former Raiders TE Jared Cook also cooked em. One more reminder the Raiders have a long history of not covering tight ends. 

Truth be told, I won’t remember much about the game thanks to the food poisoning I got from that SoFi hotdog. What I will remember is all the Silver and Black surrounding the stadium in rain and shine. I will remember Hunter Renfrow looking like a safety making a play on fourth down. There were also notable highlights from Henry Ruggs, Darren Waller and Derek Carr. 

Still, the defense was not horrible. They kept getting in bad spots thanks to poor offense. Their secondary was also banged up. The offense took too long to wake up and they did not capitalize on a few big plays.

Either way, the Raiders find themselves looking up to the first place Chargers. The Raiders, Chargers and Broncos are all tied for the division’s lead now. It’s early in Justin Herbert’s career but it feels like he already has our number. It is his second time beating us in his young career.

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More Chaos From The Week

Our week got even weirder as Mercury continued in retrograde. First, it was Derek Carr talking about Joey Bosa’s reaction to the win. Carr felt disrespected by Bosa saying he falters under pressure and after big hits. Carr said he did not know why he said that?

C’mon Derek, you don’t know why he said that? Bosa has played and studied Carr as much as anyone as they are only a season apart and played their careers in the AFC West. Carr’s whining just made him sound weak after he got outplayed by a second year QB. It wasn’t all Carr’s fault but he did not sound like a competitor with the Mamba Mentality. There was no need for him to even respond.  

Then, the week got even weirder as the NFLPA director tried to get elected for another term. A report leaked Jon Gruden using a racial trope when describing NFLPA director DeMaurice Smith in 2011. 

Obviously, it is not a good look for the Raiders who have always stood for diversity and inclusion. However, let’s not act surprised.  Our bosses probably say the same shit in their emails. What he said was stupid and offensive but firing someone for an email sent a decade ago sets a bad precedent. 

Regardless, the Raiders shouldn’t get punished because Gruden was not even with the organization at the time. To be determined if anything bad happens.

Moving Onto the Bears This Week

Moving forward, the Raiders face a familiar face with Khalil Mack coming to town. Good teams find ways to bounce back after disappointing losses.

Mack comes into the game with four sacks for the season and he could double that if the Raiders offensive line does not improve from last week. Robert Quinn is also having a renaissance season with 4.5 sacks this year. That’s already more than double his sack total from last year. He is a big part this team leads the league in sacks.

On the other hand, the Bears will be down defensive tackle Akiem Hicks. Hicks really disrupts the middle of the offensive line which makes it easier for the edges and linebackers to make plays. The Raiders will happily take all the help they can get after their front five looked terrible last week. Linebacker Roquan Smith will still be roaming the middle. 

This Bears defense has played together for a while but they are not dominating like before partly due to bad spots caused by poor offense. 

Rookie QB Justin Fields turned in his best game in his second start. However, he has thrown two interceptions and only completed 49 percent of his passes across his two starts and four times playing. The only time he found the end zone was by rushing in Week One. The Bears should intro more QB running with Fields as the full-time starter and the Raiders aggressive defensive line. Fields also brings arm strength to stretch the field which is something the team missed with Andy Dalton. Allen Robinson, Marquise Goodwin and Darnell Mooney offer big play threats. Jimmy Graham could also have an awakening much like Mike G. and Jared Cook found ways to carve up the Raiders the past couple weeks. 

Starting running back David Montgomery is on IR so former Chiefs starter Damien Williams gets the start. It will be his most significant role since he left KC and opted out of last season due to COVID. 

Further, the defense allowed the 11th most passing touchdowns and the 13th most rushing yards. Chicago beat Detroit and Cincinnati but lost to the Browns and Rams. They sit at 2-2. 

How Can the Raiders beat the Bears?

This game could get ugly if the Raiders offensive line does not improve this week. They made a move by starting Brandon Parker and moving Alex Leatherwood to guard. Parker has been up and down his career but he has developed since coming into the league from a smaller school. Parker’s presence should help as long as he doesn’t lose confidence like he did last year versus ATL.

Hopefully all that size and athleticism will help the Raiders maul the Bears defensive line in on the right side. We’ve seen KO, Khalif Barnes and Denzelle Good all hold down the guard spot after playing right tackle so Leatherwood could follow that lineage. That still won’t answer questions at center or the other guard spot. 

This starting offensive line rounded out by Andre James, John Simpson and Kolton Miller is really a cast of homegrown and drafted players. Miller is the only proven starter. The rest of the group must step up to keep the Raiders postseason hopes alive and validate this front office’s questionable draft history. 

Either way, the Raiders should have the edge in the run game with Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake. They need to pound the rock to neutralize the Bears pass rushers and get this offensive line some confidence. 

Otherwise, Derek Carr gets an instance chance to redeem himself versus a great pass rush and a defense that wants to create turnovers. Again, it’s a careful balance between managing the game and knowing when it is time to make a big strike. Carr walks that line between keeping his team in the game and making the play that will help them win.

The running game will help Carr get that balance. It will keep the pass rushers off him and allow him to setup the play action. 

Defensively, the Raiders gotta limit lapses versus the tight end. They will also be down two of their top four corners with Damon Arnette and Trayvon Mullen both set to sit with an injury. This week’s receivers won’t test the Raiders like the Chargers last week. However, they’ve got speed and size to make the Raiders pay if Justin Fields is given too much time in the pocket. Allen Robinson is still one of the best receivers in the game and we can not let him get back on track versus us. 

Raiders Please Make This One Easy

When Was The Raiders Last Blow Out?

Thus, the Raiders must double down and establish their identity at home this week. Let’s see them get an early lead and force the Bears sputtering offense to force big plays. Vegas should run the ball, take deep shots and don’t turn the ball over. Pressure the young quarterback, don’t get beat deep and stop this running game from getting established on your way to a decisive win.

The Silver and Black must show their identity versus a middle of the road Bears team if they want to stay in playoff consideration. Impose your will, dominate this team or whatever cliche you need to eliminate any questions about the Raiders’ legitimacy.

Don’t let Chicago stay in the game by giving up sacks, getting beat for big plays or letting this running game get established. All eyes will be on our corners. Yes, we’re short-handed but everybody got to step up. Great teams don’t lose to so-so or good teams. We will have a better idea where the Raiders fall on the ok to great team scale by how they come out after a loss.

Can Carr and Gruden make the necessary adjustments to help this team avoid another midseason collapse? Prove this ain’t last year with a decisive win over a Bears team that is trying to find themselves. Carr and Gruden need conversations focused on their performances again, rather than the off field stuff too. Just get back on the winning track this week.

Oh, and please stop comparing Mack and Madd Maxx. Totally different players.

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No Trap or Revenge Needed in Week 3 Vs Miami

Is it really different this time?

The Raiders are 2-0 much like last season. This time their defense is receiving a lot more praise off standout performances from Solomon Thomas, Carl Nassib, Maxx Crosby, and more. 

Also, Derek Carr is getting a lot more praise and recognition this time around. Dude is already amidst lots of MVP conversations. The Raiders are also doing it in Las Vegas and with fans in the building. Much different than last year’s COVID season. https://www.getrevue.co/profile/silverandblog

How Did We Get Here?

Listen, I’ll take beating the Steelers any day. However, we got to acknowledge that they were down two key starters with Devin Bush and Joe Haden out. Trai Turner left the game due to his own B.S.

One side of the coin, the Raiders beat two tough AFC North teams which will be critical for playoff seeding. The other side, the Raiders beat two overrated AFC teams with major injuries.

Either way, it’s clear the Steelers are a solid team. I think they took more lateral steps this year than many expected. However, many said the same thing about Baltimore last week. The Ravens just answered any questions about their contention by upsetting the Chiefs on Sunday Night Football.

There were a lot of things to love about Sunday’s win. Trayvon Mullen made a crucial pick that reminded us all our DBs are actually legit now. Casey Hayward still ain’t given up a reception.

Solomon Thomas came up big with two sacks. Mad Maxx Crosby kept up his pressures and hits on the QBs. The run defense improved thanks partly to K.J. Wright. They held Pittsburgh’s key rookie rusher to under 40 yards for the game. Starting tight end Eric Ebron was a non-factor for the Steelers thanks to improved linebacker and safety play.

On offense, Carr was 28/37 with no interceptions. The Raiders quarterback earned his MVP consideration all week. More importantly, he was 4/4 on deep passes. Carr lead PFF and ESPN advanced QB metrics last week.

Henry Ruggs also eclipsed 100 receiving yards and scored a touchdown. Daniel Carlson converted a game winning field goal and had his highest scoring game in his young career.

Otherwise, there were some ugly moments. The tussle between Turner and Crosby earned them both fines this week. Najee Harris stiff-armed Johnathan Abrams’ soul. The Raiders gave up some deep plays to the Steelers.

Our Silver and Black never really established the run game either. The offensive line played well enough but they were far from perfect.

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Keys Versus the Dolphins

Don’t call Week Three a trap game. Yes, the Raiders are favored. Nonetheless, Vegas will need to show they can beat a struggling team without struggling. This will make Raiders Nation feel like things are finally different this time.

We also can’t forget the Dolphins lead a miraculous comeback that ended the Raiders’ playoff chances when these two teams played last year. Carr didn’t play in that game last season but this time the Dolphins will be down their starter. Jon Gruden still won’t call this game a revenge game since Ryan Fitzpatrick is long gone.

Regardless, Miami damn near got mercy-ruled last week as the Bills gave them a 35-0 loss. Tua left the game with a ribs injury and Jacoby Brissett entered. Brissett will make his first start since 2019 after throwing an interception in limited action last week. He should find himself under constant pressure as the Raiders defensive line comes to town.

Miami has not done anything too scary on offense this season. Still, Davante Parker is a big name and he brings a big body that should give the Raiders some problems in the end zone. They’ve got a phenomenal rookie and Will Fuller should return this week too. Vegas will have to respect Brissett’s legs and Mike G. at tight end. Yet, the Dolphins have yet to find a featured back.

On defense, Miami features a solid mix of young players and veterans. Corners Xavien Howard and Byron Jones are among the highest paid duo in the league. You add veteran safeties Eric Rowe and Jason McCourty, along with nickel Justin Coleman. This young Raiders receiver group will get tested. There’s a reason why some think this can be a trap game.

Moreover, Christian Wilkins is a beast. John Jenkins and Emmanuel Ogbah compromise a versatile front that could cause problems for the Raiders offensive line that features some inexperienced players due to injuries.

This team is also well coached with Brian Flores. Also, shout out to former Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie who has been a part of the Miami front office since leaving Oakland.

Keys To Beating the Phins

If the Raiders want to beat the Dolphins, they have to establish their identity. That means running the ball effectively enough to get short second and third downs. It means converting downfield shots without turning the ball over. The Raiders have done that for the most part the last few weeks.

Now, their offensive line must step up and do it against a tricky Miami front. They can’t take any steps back just because they are the favorites. We can’t kill ourselves with penalties or let them hang in the game.

One-on-one, the Raiders young receiver corps face a tough matchup versus the Dolphins. They can answer any questions about the group with a solid games versus the Phins. Vegs should win if Carr can continue his efficiency while also stretching the field. Again, Carr’s success will rely on the success of his young receivers, offensive line and hobbled backfield.

This is also a prove-it game for the Raiders’ secondary and defensive line that is capturing national attention for their turnaround. Don’t let Miami find their rhythm in the run game or gain confidence with big scramble plays or pass completions.

Even if he wasn’t the Week One starter, Brissett is not a bad player. He could expose the team if they don’t play discipline. The Vegas defense can’t have any lapses versus a hobbled Miami offense that appears subpar on paper. It’s about establishing their dominance with turnovers and big hits but also playing with enough discipline to keep the Phins from having a chance.

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Ultimately, the Raiders can prove they are not the same team that collapsed in the second half of the last two seasons by dominating a team they should beat at home. They can show their defense is real by a third straight strong performance from the defensive line, along with continued consistency in the secondary and increasingly improved play by the backer.

Offensively, this young group should benefit by many reps versus a stout Dolphins defense. It is up to them to prove themselves in the trenches and one-on-one from the outside. We know what Carr and Waller will bring in terms of efficiency. Kenyan Drake could also use a big game on the ground versus the team that drafted him. Drake has been a weapon in the air but the Raiders will need him to make some big rushing plays as Jacobs continues battling injury.

The Raiders handling the Dolphins should continue building playoff momentum and rhythm for the young Raiders offense and defense. It’s a chance for a statement made over a team that narrowly edged them out over some B.S. last year. A statement that says we aren’t just the same Raiders as last year. Plus, who doesn’t want to be 3-0 heading into Chargers week on Monday Night?

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2021: Back and More Silver than ever

Last season doesn’t really deserve an exit blog post. That is why you won’t find one on this blog. It’s also cause I’ve spent the last year raising teenagers. Thus, this is probably the least I’ve written about the Raiders over the last five years. Time to make up for lost time before the Raiders officially welcome fans to Allegiant for Monday Night Football..

2020’s Conclusion

Insert your favorite failed milk carton challenge and that’s what last year feels like for Raider Nation. The Raiders headed towards the right direction despite us all knowing it was built on a crooked foundation.

They reset the team pretty hard after a 6-3 start resulted in another missed playoff attempt. Many thought that would finally mean a new quarterback. Sike. Derek Carr is still leading the helm. At one point, they were even talking about extending dude. It’s not bad given the Lions got two first-rounders for Matt Stafford. AKA there was a premium even on solid-good quarterbacks.

This time the offensive line took the blame. Gone is staple Gabe Jackson. Trent Brown, once a marquee free agency acquisition, shipped for greener New England Pastures. Rodney Hudson is out of here too. Watch Hudson and Jackson both fill missing pieces for their respective NFC West teams. Davontae Booker and Nelson Agoholor are not returning on offense and that hurt a bit. Both were real bargains turned bright spots. It’s not surprising they left for more money and better opportunities.

Last season, our secondary never came along. The young players like Arnette and Abrams struggled along with many others. At least, Erik Harris and LaMarcus Joyner finally left the Silver and Black behind. Daryl Worley is gone too. Nevin Lawson is finally out as of the preseason. We were tired of seeing them in other team’s highlights.

Jeff Heath surprisingly got his walking papers. Despite getting picks, he was let go. Fellow former Cowboys Maliek Collins was not brought back. Raekwon McMillan, Vic Beasley and Takk McKinley never did much for the Raiders so they are out too. No use crying over spoiled defenders.

Arden Key and Mo Collins joined the 49ers after the Raiders wouldn’t even give them a shot to compete for a job. It’s ok because they underperformed but it was not that long ago we thought they would be still. Sorry to Reggie McKenzie’s draft picks. Derek Carr is the best one left.

Offseason Recap

Jon Gruden went out and hired one of the best defensive coordinators, Gus Bradley, to make this unit competent. He wasted no time putting together a new defense. Yannick Ngakoue joined as the marquee pass rush signing, despite all his previous Raiders trolling. Quinton Jefferson came from the Bills as a cap casualty. Soloman Thomas is a redemption project. The former top-five pick is still trying to stay healthy mentally and physically as he ascends in the league. Johnathan Hankins was brought back as the run stuffer.

Darius Philon was out the league but he is back with Bradley, his DC from the Raiders day. At least, David Irving is gone…

Safeties Trevon Moehring and Tyree Gillespie were added as good values in the draft. Rasul Douglas and Casey Hayward were added as vet corners to compete. Douglas didn’t make the roster. Karl Joseph came back after a really good year in Cleveland. It was surprising how cheap too.

On offense, their best signing was backup running back Kenyan Drake. The Raiders got a lot of flack for the signing since they were already good in the backfield. At least, Drake and Jacobs are good friends and know how to work together.

The team also drafted a right tackle with their first pick. Many people saw Alex Leatherwood as a developmental tackle taken too high. Many people, including me, thought the same thing about Kolton Miller but we were wrong. Either way, the tackles taken above Leatherwood are both banged up right now. Not a bad pick after all?

Otherwise, the team tried to replace Agoholor with John Brown. Brown asked for his releases after not being happy with his role. They also added veteran Willie Snead for some veteran presence and junk work. Zay Jones was brought back. It’s not the huge moves Raiders fans hoped for but they really believe in Hunter Renefrow, Bryan Edwards and Henry Ruggs III taking the next step. Cough, if you have three, you have no alpha. Either way, I think Snead is a versatile backup who fits the group. Jones and Carr get along well. The young guys hopefully take the next step developing as consistent starters.

Anyways, Denzelle Good is also back. He saved us in many OL crunches. Shoutout Khail Barnes! Andre James is also getting a lot of hype as Hudson’s replacement. Free-agent signee Nick Martin was supposed to push him in camp but I do not think that happened. There’s been a lot of talk about Andre James’ chemistry with Derek Carr this camp. Patrick Omameh and Richie Incognito are back. Incognito is already banged up and Omameh has never been more than depth. Omameh didn’t even make last roster cut. Hopefully, Jon Simpson can take the next step so we don’t rely on them.

Oh, Marcus Mariota also came back. The Raiders may trade him before the year ends or they put in a package just for him. They could use him like Baltimore used RGIII in spots or how the Saints used Hill in gadget formations.

The Draft

Once again, this draft could be defined by who the Raiders did not take. They kept the status quo at receiver and quarterback despite the blog-o-sphere hating it. They drafted more offensive linemen and defensive backs because their track record with developing those players is bad the past decade. Sorry Tanner Muse, another wasted third round pick. Muse should fit in Seattle though. Time will tell how we remember the 2021 class but the Raiders need Leatherwood to dominate instantly if they want to have a shot at the playoffs.

2021 Hope

Speaking of hope, the Raiders have some for the first time in a bit. Allegiant Stadium and the practice facility in Henderson are state-of-the-art. Hopefully, their A.C.s are too with that Vegas heat. LOL.

Right now, tickets in the blackhole are selling like at over $700 each. It’s a few hundred dollars just to get in the seats. Raiders Fans have been to games at Allegiant but imagine the playoffs? Hope we can all afford to make the trip. I’d hate to see the stadium gentrified with corporate betting sponsors and not Raiders fans. Well, I guess it’s better than shit on your feet from overflooded toilets when you’re peeing at halftime.

SoFi Stadium

Speaking of new stadiums, SoFI is everything good and bad that you heard. Yes, there’s traffic and it’s also the best football viewing experience I have ever felt. Corporate sponsorships are everywhere but that place was packed with Raiders fans when I went to watch us play the Rams. It’s definitely worth going to, especially when the Raiders play the Chargers on Monday night. Catch me in section 211.

AFC West

In Kansas City, the Raiders hold confidence as they nearly beat the Chiefs twice last year. However, that team should be just as good. Meanwhile, the rest of the Raiders’ AFC Rivals got better.

As for the rest of the AFC West, the Chargers do actually look good. I caught a few of their practices since I live in L.A. Justin Herbert might be the best quarterback in the AFC West, not named Pat Mahomes. The defense should also get healthy but to to be determined.

The Broncos added Teddy Bridgewater which should make them legit. Their defense also gets Von Miller back. Bridgewater with those weapons will be decent at the least.

Thus, the Raiders can’t just pencil in four division wins. They are going to win. If they don’t it should cost Jon Gruden his head. The coordinators and roster took the fall the past two years. It’s Gruden who should next if the Raiders can’t bring a playoff game to Vegas this year.

Those are high expectations but they come with having the most tenured quarterback and highest-paid coach in the division. If all you need was a defense, Bradley and the new additions should solve that… Right?

Something In the Water

You’ll notice I left Denzel Perryman and Gerald McCoy out of the acquisition segment. Why?

I wanted McCoy five years ago and Perryman two years ago if not when they came in the league. They always had the athleticism and chip on their shoulders to be Raiders.

Unfortunately, McCoy is off an injury. He joined the team late so he must have some juice left if they liked his workout? Or, they have no confidence in all the defensive line help they enlisted in free agency. It just felt weird.

Same for Perryman. They could’ve signed him this year or last. How did he not win a job in Carolina? The Raiders have invested in free agency and drafted the position in the past years. Usually, I go for adding veteran leadership and seeing what a player can bring.

Except for this time it feels like Vegas must not feel like they have enough if they traded for Perryman this late and flirted with K.J. Wright. They brought in Wright after final roster cuts. We will see what these guys have left when they have to chase LaMar and those AFC West Tight Ends.

I get Gus Bradley wants guys he knows, who also know his scheme. However, do you go back to your thing from two or three years ago if you got a better one five years younger? Hell Nah…

Guess we will find out in Week One

The Ravens come to Vegas and it will be a real test for the Raiders. Baltimore and the Raiders usually end in a dramatic fashion. This one shouldn’t be different. Lamar Jackson is a God and they added Sammy Watkins and Rashod Bateman to give him more weapons. Bateman got hurt but Hollywood Brown should be back. Good tests for the Raiders improved secondary and pass rush.

Baltimore also features veterans across the offensive and defensive line. Our revamped units will have a real tough matchup. The Ravens’ biggest test includes figuring out their own pass rush on the edge.

Oh yeah, Marcus Peters also comes to town. Although it’s not his town, you know he always has extra gear for the team he grew up loving. Let’s see if he can pick off Derek Carr and take one to Vegas’ end zone for Oakland. I’d hate and love to see that for the town. (Tear I wrote this before he got hurt! Prayers for Peters for real.)

The Ravens also had several injuries in their running back room. Their top-two runners both went down with injuries. They signed former Raiders runner Latavius Murray after dude refused to take a paycut in New Orleans. Murray has been solid since leaving the Raiders for shared roles in Minnesota and New Orleans. It looks like the Tay Train will make a stop in Vegas only a few weeks after the Raiders thought about signing him.

As long as the Silver and Black come out flying around and running the ball, they should be able to win Week One. Many bettors are calling Vegas a lot but Raiders fans know better than to get excited about that. The opening game usually comes down to heart, excitement and execution as many teams are far from finished products.

Either way, it could be a nice statement win to show the AFC that the Raiders can take down playoff contenders. All eyes will be on Gruden and the Raiders Monday Night as they start their quest to finally make the playoffs under their legendary coach.

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Week One Welcome Back

There’s a lot to talk about ahead of Week One 2020.

Unfortunately, I haven’t met my duties as a Raiders blogger this offseason. Between COVID and taking in my two brothers and sister, I’ve been busy. I was covering the Lakers, doing a two-times weekly podcast and started my own newsletter. 

However, that all came to a stop when my 14-year-old brother couldn’t go anywhere else and when my 16-year-old sister felt so abandoned by her adopted mother that she ran away 2,000 miles across the country without telling a soul. Them two and my twelve-year-old brother are home with me now.

Football takes on a whole knew meaning when you’re in the Dad life. It’s no longer just entertainment. It’s the time of the week to see friends and be left alone. It’s a past time to share with your family. 

Anyways, back to the Raiders. The Silver and Black have long been my Sunday escape. I probably need it more this year than ever.

New Defensive Era, Please

I am looking forward to finally having a steady group of linebackers. We know the two big free agents Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski. They should make not covering the tight end a legend left in Oakland. I am also interested to see Raekwon McMillan in the mix as a run stuffer. 

The defensive line should also improve with another year experience and some dead weight let go. Maliek Collins has been one of the talks of camp. They gave a lot of money to Carl Nassib who should see a lot of snaps. Arden Key and Mo Hurst got to show some gains to stay in the rotation. Maxx Crosby needs no sophomore slump.

Speaking of which, I still would’ve signed another vet like Jadeveon Clowney. They still need that massive disruptor that makes every one else better. I’m not sure if Clelin Ferrell is that guy but they need to give him opportunities all on the d-line to find out.

The back end should also be interesting. The Raiders didn’t make a move there based on the development of Trayvon McMullen and the potential of Damon Arnette. LaMarcus Joyner also go double-digit million reasons to improve. Jonathan Abram needs to stay healthy and deliver on last year’s Hard Knocks hype too.

Offense Leading The Way

On Offense, there’s no excuses. Jon Gruden and Derek Carr Year Three. Plenty of talent. The Raiders have an elite back in Josh Jacobs and line to support Carr. 

His receiver group will miss Tyrell Williams’ size and speed. They will start rookie receivers in Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards for the first time since the DHB and Louis Murphy era.

A Thought On Drafting

Which BTW, Las Vegas needs to stop drafting developmental talent like Lynn Bowden Jr. If they are unwilling to do everything to develop him. They traded him for a future pick the same offseason they drafted him despite knowing he was a gadget guy who would take time go hit the field. 

As for the tight ends, the Raiders have a top group. Darren Waller, Foster Moreau, Jason Witten and Derek Carrier give them the right blend of size, blocking and pass catching.

This Raiders team is positioned to run the ball and take shots. It will be up to the play caller to make those calls and the QB to execute.

Week One Matchup 2020

Nonetheless, the Raiders face a formidable opponent in Carolina. Teddy Bridgewater is a fellow member of the 2014 Draft class like Carr. Jacobs is not on McCaffrey’s level but both are threats any time they touch the ball. 

The Raiders must do whatever it takes to own the line of scrimmage to disrupt Bridgewater and McCaffrey. Ball will be out quick guaranteed in Matt Rhule’s offense. Shout out to former Raiders receiver Seth Roberts who is on this roster.

On defense, the Panthers are also retooling. They will start two highly regarded rookies. Vegas should dominate these guys early and often.

Carolina also replaces one of the best backers in this generation with Tahir Whitehead. Raiders fans know his liabilities in coverage. Again, circle our tight ends all day. 

Ultimately, this should setup as a nice test for where the Raiders are versus another young team in the middle of a retool or rebuild. It is still hard to look past them given we haven’t seen their offense in the NFL yet. 

Not to mention, we last Bridgewater helping the Saints take command of the NFC. McCaffrey is also the league’s biggest x-factor.

Vegas Days

Regardless, there is no reason the Raiders can’t start the Vegas era undefeated. With or without fans, 1-0 in a new stadium is what our fans deserve. 

We’ve had this looming over us for years, decades really. We finally have a home that is uniquely ours and we can’t even see a game. Damn. I’m also not sure how COVID will impact our tackling or blocking. Will we see more injuries? 

Either way, the Raiders gotta start the 2020s and their tenure in Vegas by Just Winning Baby! This Carolina game sets up exactly like that but it could easily be a trap game if Vegas doesn’t handle business urgently. We are gonna need that confidence from a win versus the Saints and the rest of the AFC West.

A Goodbye to Oakland and Beating the Jags

Oakland is an Experience

Everyday for the past four years I’ve woken up and looked at the Oakland Coliseum, Alameda Coliseum. O.co or whatever it is called. A few years back someone bought me a picture of the stadium printed on canvas.

It’s a reminder of the place I feel most at home.

Gruden hit it perfect when talking about the Black Hole via an ESPN article earlier this week:

“There’s something about these people. They’re nuts. They’re the closest thing to me that I’ve ever seen. We have that in common.”

You get that feeling throughout the entire Raiders gameday experience. Some of the best days of my life are the Raiders games I’ve gone to.

Last month, My friend and his wife along with me and my pops traveled to the Bay for Oakland’s final Thursday Night Football game versus the Los Angeles Chargers. It was my first night game in the Coliseum and a very tight turnaround from early Thursday A.M. until Friday the next morning.

The tailgate was as great as ever but we had to prioritize trunk space in my sedan over bringing the full BBQ and meat experience. Luckily, one neighbor from Sacramento, Ron, was a butcher. He hooked us up with a cowboy-cut steak large enough for our part of four. The tender meat possessed all sorts of flavor from the charred bone attached and the carmelized fat. It literally made our day.

I’d be lying if I said this is the only time I got help from generous tailgaters at a Raiders game. I can’t recall all the paper towels, lysol wipes, utensils and helpful hands setting up I’ve acquired from literal strangers. There is no tailgate like a Raiders game. UCLA, USC, Rams and more are cool but they are no Oakland.

Tailgating is an uncertainty headed to the new stadium. However, the Oakland tailgating experience was one of a kind. It is something you had to experience whether you were a Raiders fan or not. Sometimes, just being there feels like a win.

The Legend of Oakland 2.0

All week, there’s been great reporting from across the Bay Area. Scott Bair, Vic Tafur, Jerry Richardson, and Paul Gutierrez all taking their own angles on The East Bay’s final home game for the Raiders. Those

Various fans and legends have all talked about their favorite moments and pieces of Raiders history in the Coliseum. Of course most of them revolve around Oakland and Raiders Nation.

Kirk Morrison, hit it on the head with this quote via Gutierrez:

“The positive I took from those years was the fans, always showing up. Being a Raider and being a Raider fan is not about sports; it’s a lifestyle. One that says, ‘We don’t take nobody’s s—.”

For me, that’s what I’ll always remember. The great fans. I did not grow up to see the Badasses. I missed Madden, Tom Flores, Marcus Allen and most of the Raiders greats. Heck, I barely recall the first Gruden and Gannon days.

I will remember Raiders twitter. That time we got #DJAXtoOakland trending. Or the many free agents we tried to tamper with. All the second guessing of Reggie McKenzie.

I’ll remember the one playoff season. The taste of greatness I never really got to experience got delivered by a QB from Fresno St. and former NFL Linebacker turned head coach from Heyward.

I will remember the draft headaches from Jamarcus Russell all the way to D.J. Hayden.

I will remember the bit of home gamebreakers like Denarius Moore, Jacoby Ford, Darren McFadden and others gave us. Did we win? Nah, but the only glimpse of hope we had each week came from those guys.

How about standout defensive players like Thomas Howard, Derrick Burgess, Fabian Washington, Stanford Routt or Michael Huff. These alumni might not ever make a Hall of Fame but they’re legends and icons for those of us that never had any.

What about all the veterans that passed through. Maurice Jones-Drew, Justin Tuck, Lamar Woodley, Doug Martin, and the list goes on. Sure, we were a blimp in their career but I won’t forget the excitement we sold ourselves.

Remember Charles Woodson’s return? Or the Goat’s final game versus the Chargers on Christmas Eve. Marshawn Lynch’s addition was crazy too in its own way.

Plus, the hoggies like Jared Veldheer, Stefan Wiśniewski or Jon Feliciano. Lamar Houston, Stacy McGee, Desmond Bryant and others we developed through the years. You have to look fondly at those considering all the times we missed.

All the coaches that passed by. Some too early like Hue Jackson and Lane Kiffin. Others too late like Art Shell and Norv Turner.

The man, the myth and legend that was Al Davis patrolling the sideline in his all white and Raiders gear. The bowl cut infamy from Mark Davis that watches from the box these days. They are the foundation of the story too.

Goodbye to Raiders Nation’s Mecca

Good and bad, we leave an era behind today. No matter what the Raiders become it won’t be the same as Oakland.

A NFL.com article described it pretty well.

A pro football team born in the ebb-and-flow fires of the AFL — tinged initially with threats of bankruptcy — only to morph into a rough-and-tumble underdog puncher predestined to permanently rock the 100-year-long storyline of the NFL.

Whatever it means to be a Vegas Raiders fan it won’t be the same as an Oakland or L.A. Raiders fan. Either way, there is not much we can do but say Goodbye to Oakland.

Goodbye to the place that inspired the colors and names of the Raiders. Goodbye to the City that supported the team through nearly two decades of trash play.

Goodbye to the community this renegade team supports and represents. A place significant to culture. A place important to history whether it is the Black Panthers or Hells Angels.

Goodbye to the place that welcomed the Raiders back when they left. Goodbye to the place that welcomed me and Raiders fans from outside of the area every single week.

That’s why this hurts so much. Oakland has been nothing but great to the Raiders. It is not their fault ownership can not front a stadium like Kroenke and the Rams. This is California in 2020 and no team is getting a stadium built with tax paying dollars with homelessness and everything else on our agenda.

So this blow to Oakland is felt throughout Raiders nation because the team is not relevant. The Raiders need a lot of stuff to happen for them to have a craps chance at the Playoffs. It would have been nice to bid the city farewell with one last playoff role.

Instead, Oakland gets gifted one last mediocre season. They got to watch young talent like Maxx Williams and Josh Jacobs flash only to see them blossom in another city and time down the line. It hurts but might only hurt less if the team leaves on a high note. They got to beat the Jaguars for this to be a true Goodbye.

Either way, it will probably feel far less kumbaya and more like Cleveland, Baltimore, Seattle or any of the times a pro team just up and left the community that berthed them.

Ending On a High Note

Back to the game today. Josh Jacobs is expected to play today. You saw what the team is like without him in the second half last week. They needed a playmaker. Jacobs would’ve worn on the Titans by that point in the game.

Oakland needs better QB play. They need to create more pressure upfront. They need better receiver and DB play. These are all things I’ve been screaming for literally every week. Some weeks it has been enough and others it hasn’t come close.

My bet is that it will come closer to enough this week. The Jaguars are in about the same boat as the Raiders. They have some talent, youth and experience. They lack the QB play to get them anywhere near consistent but they are good for a surprise.

The Raiders can not afford to come out slow. They can not afford to mess around because the Jaguars will surprise them. They matchup well especially with their strong defensive line.

Still, the Silver and Black got to bring it together for a win. They got to come out hot and hyped. They better since it is Oakland’s final week as host. For now, all I’m screaming about. Goodbye to Oakland. But I’d like to toast to one more win in the Easy Bay.

 

Forget AB, for Oakland’s Sake and more game notes Week One 2019

Week One is upon us and Antonio Brown is behind us. The entire, short-lived Antonio Brown situation was nightmare for the Silver and Black. However, the biggest loser in the entire situation is Oakland. 

Without Brown, the Raiders are that much less talented and that much harder to support in their future ex-home city. Oakland deserved a team better than last year and Brown was supposed to be apart of that. Brown was supposed to be a center piece of the Raiders promise to bring Oakland a winning season and new culture. Delivering on these promise from the Raiders gets infinitely harder without a great player like Antonio Brown. Oakland deserved better than what AB and the Raiders did to them this offseason. 

Instead, Oakland got baited and switched. They bought their Brown Jerseys and drafted him as their fantasy player in hopes he’d be a focal point for the Raiders in the next few years. Then he left them hanging and used for clout. He backed the Raiders into a corner and forced them to go from the offseason’s biggest winner to the biggest loser overnight.

Whatever comes next with the actually season here might be worse than the Brown filled offseason circus. If that’s the case, then Oakland will continue to be the biggest loser of the entire Antonio Brown drama.

Oakland is the place that packs out every Raiders Game. It is the community that supports the team through 17 years of dysfunction and heart break. Oakland is still paying for the previous renovation that brought the Raiders back too. They do all this despite the team leaving for bigger and greener pastures in Las Vegas.

Regardless, the East Bay deserved a great player like Antonio Brown this year. They deserved a winner in the final season hosting their beloved football team. They deserved to have a reason for excitement every Sunday like AB.

They got more dysfunction instead. Now, they’ll get an offense built around Derek Carr and a team that is only as good as their infamous coach. Spoiler, we saw how bad that was last season.

Either way, many thought AB and Hard Knocks would be a great litmus test for the Raiders. Except this trial by fire didn’t go so well and it isn’t even Week Two. The Raiders had to put out AB’s sparks of negativity before it could spread like California Fire Season. 

Cutting AB is great for protecting the Raiders locker room but horrible for Oakland. Instead of talking about the final season in Oakland, the media is talking about Antonio Brown and the Raiders front office. They’re talking about the picks given up for the receiver and the headlines AB made in his few months as a Raiders. Media are searching for AB’s replacement and overlooking what the team’s absence will mean to the city.

No one is talking about how the Bay and Raiders culture intertwine. No one is talking about the franchise drawing inspiration for the very name, colors and swagger drawing from the place it called home for the better part of sixty years. No one is talking about the Raiders breaking up with their Mecca and what that means to the community thanks to this entire Antonio Brown distraction.

Raiders Nation and Gruden, remember when Amari Cooper wasn’t alpha enough? The Raiders shipped him out for a pick that would be Jonathan Abram and traded a mid round pick for AB to assume the role as shifty, speedy No. 1 receiver. Was that low price gamble on AB, an alpha, worth the squeeze? Hell no, give me my late round picks back especially if Oakland is gonna suffer through another bad season. 

Nonetheless, this entire Antonio Brown saga is the latest instance of a divide between the Raiders front office. Still, Gruden and Mayock got their shit together and aligned by cutting their No. 1 receiver. Both men looked noticeably irritated simply addressing AB’s latest altercation and suspension even though it is only Week One and Year One.

In the end, it’s the last season Oakland. We should be talking about the Raiders very logo, colors and cultures tied to Oakland but we’re talking about AB. Instead of reminiscing about the decades of great renegade football we’re talking about AB. We’re not talking about the community ties or social justice history of the Raiders either. We’re just talking about AB and that is disrespectful to Oakland which is the Mecca of Raiders football.

Ultimately, there are no winners when your coach and GM beef with each other or when their best player is cut. That’s even more true when you consider AB went to the Raiders’ hated-rival, the Pats. The L becomes even bigger when you read Brown did whatever he could to leave the Raiders and Oakland. Even if you deny that Brown conspired this all along, you can’t argue that Oakland losing a player of Brown’s caliber hurts the city’s entire prospect of having one more good season. 

Unfortunately, Vegas is coming fast and it is time for the Raiders to deliver on all those new culture promises. It’s time to deliver Oakland a decent team not all these headlines and trending hashtags from Antonio Brown dividing the Raiders front office or distracting the locker room. It’s time to move on from AB, for Oakland’s sake. Knock on wood if you’re with me. 

WEEK ONE KEYS VERSUS THE BRONCOS

In other news, football is back. The Raiders are the last team to kickoff their season with the late night double header versus the Broncos. They got to battle their long-time division rivals in what will be Oakland’s last installment of this legendary AFC West rivalry.

What do they need to do to beat the transitioning Broncos? Denver is a team somewhere between rebuilding and the Super Bowl they won less than five years ago. They’ve got their third head coach in four seasons and went the old-school, established vet. coach with lots of experience to make sure the team revamped their defense and didn’t lose any games from small mistakes.

The Raiders must win the game upfront. Oakland will be without their usual starters at guard due to suspension and injury. That means the Broncos should use a lot of twists and blitz to really confuse those guys. The Raiders offensive line will need their tackles to show improvement from last year since Kolton Miller is in Year Two and Trent Brown is making bank. They will need the o-line to consistently compete with Von Miller and Bradley Chubb so that Derek Carr stays clean and poised for most of the game. Good pass pro should also help get the run game going for Josh Jacobs and the Raiders other backs.

Also on offense, the Raiders will need receivers to step up across the board. AB gone puts Tyrell Williams in the uncomfortable spot of proving he’s worth all that skrilla. He must prove he’s a legit No.1 receiver and not only the deep threat he was type casted as with the Chargers. The same goes for the rest of the Raiders WR depth chart which is filled with young and inexperienced gadget-type receivers. Shoutout to Darren Waller who is also going to need a big game as the x-factor at tight end. Carr loves his tight ends and he’ll need Waller to live up to Hard Knocks hype quick. Outside of the o-line, Carr will need his receivers to step up versus the Broncos.

On defense, the game plan isn’t too different. The Raiders will show their inexperience at end with rookie Clellin Ferrell making his first start across from second year end Arden Key. Garrett Bolles and Ju’Wan James might be the Raiders greatest draw at tackle all season. Really, this entire Broncos front line is filled with question marks. Oakland needs a coming out party from the entire defensive line if they want to win this game. That includes versus the running game. Rushing the passer is great until Denver starts hitting on those open run lanes in the zone and scoring with their dynamic backfield. That means the key to winning this game starts with the defensive line.

Further, the Raiders secondary is supposed to be much improved. They added role players and starters through both the draft and free agency. We need some return on investment via turnovers from this group. That’s especially necessary if Joe Flacco or Emmanuel Sanders can turn the clock back. Don’t sleep on Noah Fant or Courtland Sutton who bring the size and athleticism to give the Raiders nightmare for a long time, despite their young age. The secondary is gonna need to limit big plays as well as make their own takeaways.

Antonio Brown shit aside, it’s time to Just Win Baby! What better place to do that than Monday Night Football in Oakland on opening night!

 

2019 Raiders Draft Notes from Petty Pete

All bets are off this year for the Raiders draft. No one can really accurately predict what will happen since this is Mike Mayock’s first draft with skin in the game. Not to mention, the Silver and Black and Jon Gruden are always a wildcard.

Here’s what I’m expecting from the Raiders draft.

A trade

Everyone is talking about Oakland’s four picks in the top-35. That’s fine but the team doesn’t have a third or sixth round pick thanks to the Antonio Brown trade. I don’t expect Gruden or Mayock to stay pat with idle thumbs.

That means a player like Justin Ellis, Eddie Vanderdoes, Karl Joseph or another holdover might here their name called in a trade for some mid-round draft compensation. This team is fully in on out with the old and in with the new so I don’t expect the draft to be any different.

Moreover, they could also trade up or trade back. Either of those scenarios are realistic because the Raiders have so much capital and so many needs. Still, I’d side on adding more picks since this team is desperate for help at the starting and depth positions.

An elite defensive player

I don’t care if it is fourth or twenty-four, the Raiders got to get them a player to build their defense around. Devin White, Quinnen Williams, Nick Bosa or Josh Allen would all be vast upgrades early. However, a top-end talent like Montez Sweat, Rashan Gary, Devin Bush, Clelin Ferrell, Ed Oliver or Christian Wilkins all could be top-10 talents too. They have more questions than the first group but they would definitely be steals if the Raiders wait to select one in the twenties or trade into the teens. Even at the top of the second, they might find an impact player like Nasir Adderly, Rock Ya-Sin or any number of DBs who can make an instant impact.

Playmakers across the board

Speaking of playmakers, I said this last year and we walked away with a bunch of hoggies. That’s cool and all but this year the Raiders need playmakers on every level of their defense. They could also afford to add some explosive help around Derek Carr. Regardless of position, the Raiders need to take some productive players with high-upside who can develop into big-time playmakers. It really doesn’t matter the position.

Still, I like Noah Fant or any of the tight ends early. I wouldn’t rule out a RB like Josh Jacobs or Miles Sanders. X-Factors like A.J. Brown, D.K. Metcalf, Hollywood Brown and others might be too good to pass up.

A QB

No, I don’t expect Haskins or Murray to the Raiders. I know that hype continues building but please don’t put ass through another young-QB development phase. Still, I think the Raiders take a QB. Their backups don’t exactly jump out of any page except draft busts. I could easily see the old-school Mayock and Gruden taking some sort of QB in the draft. Tyree Jackson could be a steal late or how about Will Grier in the middle rounds? Their nowhere polished but they could develop into something if you believe in Gruden’s genius.

We will find out what a Raider is…

Above all else, I believe we’ll find out what Raider in 2019 looks like. Mayock had that quote early in the offseason talking about how he and Gruden were working together to see what culture they want to build and what players fit that.

After tonight, we’ll have a much better idea what that means in for the Silver and Black. So far, we’ve seen them sign overrated Trent Brown, wild-ass A.B., Vontaze Burfict and a bunch of other experienced veterans like Crowell. There really isn’t a lower common denominator in that equation. However, we’ll have a better idea what that looks like after tonight.

More Questions

Overall, it will be interesting to see how the Raiders attack the defensive line, offensive line and secondary in this draft. Is the team still high on Gareon Conley and Joseph or is it time to ship them out and/or find their replacement?

Oakland addressed the offensive line in free agency but they still need depth and maybe a guard… Oh yea, don’t forget all that draft capital they put into the offensive and defensive line the past few seasons. Does Mayock and Gruden still value those guys like Arden Key, PJ Hall or Kolton Miller? I expect one if not all may compete for playing time (not just starting time) this year.

Moreover, how do politics factor into this draft? Will Oakland accept Nick Bosa if that’s the pick?

Tune in to the Draft all this weekend. It should be a hell of a ride. Hopefully the Raiders don’t burn a third round pick for a receiver with question marks or give anyone a franchise QB for basically nothing, cough 2018 draft.

Check out my full seven-round Mock Draft too.

Super Bowl LIII and more reasons to be Petty

it’s been awhile since I checked in. Let’s be honest, the Raiders haven’t given me much to talk about outside of some quotes from our coach and new GM.

Nonetheless, Raiders fans like myself will once again spitefully watch and binge drink to the Patriots playing in the Super Bowl.

This year is even more awkward. Not because we’re hoping this is the last call for Bellicheat or Brady. Nah, this year features another hidden evil.

New England plays the L.A. Rams in the Super Bowl this year. You thought the Media machines had fun with the Pats, wait until the Rams win a Super Bowl.

Not only do the Ramily play in LA, the home of NFL network, but they feature everyone’s favorite coach Sean McVay. MCVay rose to prominence due to his early success, age, good looks, gutsy play calling and being in L.A. McVay is a reminder of what Jon Gruden was, is and could be. It’s actually more of slap in the face considering Gruden might never get to where McVay is again despite the similarities.

Plus, the Raiders were the most loved team in Los Angeles. You see their influence all over the city. Not only did they win Championships in L.A. hosted Super Bowls but they called the region home for more than a decade. The Raiders almost called it home too until the   NFL green-lit the Rams relocation til LA over the Raiders joint proposal with the Chargers.

Thus, this Super Bowl puts Los Angeles one step closer to moving past the Raiders. For Raiders fans in L.A., a Rams win in Super Bowl means hearing about McVay’s genius in the national media and dealing with the local hype too.

Then there’s Aqib Talib whose had his beef with the Raiders before. Marcus Peters has too but he gets a pass being from Oakland. Don’t forget the Silver and Black’s flirtations with Suh everytime he is a free agent. Plus, Jared Goff is from the Bay Area.

Oh yeah, and the Rams were in a standstill with their elite defensive player Aaron donald, before giving him a record deal to end his holdout. The Raiders were in a similar situation with another generational talent from the same draft class, Khalil Mack. Except the Raiders resolved that situation by moving Mack. Thus, the Raiders ties in this game make it hard to root for the Rams in good conscious.

Further, Raiders fans will never get over the tuck rule. Not only did it berth the Pats dynasty but it also goes down in history as what deprived Oakland of one more Lombardi before the Raiders clout chase Vegas.

So Raider Nation can’t root for L.A. They can’t root for New England. Should we root for the apocalypse?

Nah fam, football isn’t that serious. Just root for not throwing up on your shoes, pop your heart burn medicine and enjoy your family while you drink the pain away of someone not in Silver and Black winning a Lombardi again.

Don’t worry though, as soon as this game is over, Raiders fans can turn their hope to another draft, free agency and season. Hopefully, the Raiders woes are left in last season and not carried on through the draft or free agency.

Because we all know what’s when it comes to the Raiders. The hangover is definitely worse than the pain.

Who you rooting for this year in Super Bowl 53? What’s on the grill?

Petty Pete’s thoughts on Steelers win, McKenzie, stadium woes and this week

They say trauma is passed down. If you’re a Raiders fan, you know this by your hate for the Steelers. Unless you read up or watch ESPN classic, you might not know why.

Once upon a time, the Raiders and Steelers has battles in the playoffs. They were physical teams who hit each other and kept hitting each other.

There are multiple classics including the emasculate deception. Nonetheless, as a Raiders fan on this era you might hate the Steelers and not even know why.

That’s why a win over the Steelers feels so good. And that’s also why it felt so weird for Reggie McKenzie to get fired the next day after a big win over a playoff contender.

Why Reggie McKenzie got fired

Reggie McKenzie got fired for a lot of reasons. Mostly, his draft picks.

McKenzie dropped the ball in every second round. He passed on Pro Bowlers throughout. McKenzie only had nine picks on this roster.

Then, there’s the Amari Cooper and Khalil Mack trades. Both players were among RM’s top successes. The Raiders asked McKenzie to trade his favorites because the team wasn’t ready for limelight. Most of that was because Mark Davis didn’t get along with the agent of Mack and Cooper.

Turns out McKenzie could’ve got more. In fact, it turns out Davis wish he got more. What took him all season to realize that?

Speaking of power struggles, we can’t act like Gruden didn’t have a say in this move. Dude got a ten million dollar per year deal to bring Oakland a Super Bowl. He’s gonna be given as much support as possible including his own personnel, scouting and front offices.

All that aside, we got to be thankful for Reggie being the bridge. He got marquee free agents to seriously consider Oakland. A few signed.

McKenzie notoriously got the Raiders out of salary cap hell after Al Davis. He brought the organizations technology and facility out of the dark ages. RM was a small peace of consistency in an organization that needed it in the fallout of losing their iconic owner.

He got us back to the playoffs. Fans loved him. Fans hated him. He signed team friendly deals. He found solid starters and good backups in the late and undrafted rounds.

McKenzie is respected around the league. He was drafted by the Raiders and groomed in Green Bay’s front office. McKenzie turned down an interview for his dream job with the Packers because he believed in Gruden and the Raiders. That was his biggest undoing.

Moving forward

No GM and now no home. It’s uncertain where the Raiders will play next year. They’re being sued by the City of Oakland for a number of reasons mostly that they’re leaving. Now, the Raiders are including every option from Sacramento to Reno to San Diego to Fresno to Glendale.

I get it from both sides. The Raiders are supposably paying anywhere from 2 to 7 million in rent. Oakland will always be their home. The colors and logo were designed based off the city. They’ve always been a cultural icon that connects the different consciousnesses in the Bay. They want to stay but they can’t play where their playing. Vegas was willing to build them a billion dollar home and Oakland wasn’t.

For Oakland, I get it too. California isn’t building stadiums. We’ve got too many taxes already. The city hasn’t even paid off the renovations they did for the Raiders to return in the 90s. They’re also loyal to the A’s who also need a home but never left Oakland.

At the same time, they can’t just sit back and let the Raiders and Warriors leave Oakland within a few years. The lawsuit is an easy PR move.

Either way, the Raiders better leave if their smart. It’s going to get ugly next year if they don’t make leaps and gains. No Marshawn Lynch homecoming or Gruden return can save their relationship with a city they’re turning their back on for the second time.

It doesn’t appear they’re gonna make a lot of on-field gains next year. I fully anticipate the Raiders will continue the purge of players signed and drafted by McKenzie. They’ll field a bunch of their draft picks again. They’ll tank again to get a high draft pick before Vegas. They’ll trade anyone who can get them closer to that goal. Then they’ll get booed every step of the way.

Back to football

The Raiders favs the Bengals this week. It’ll be the second time they face a coaching staff with Hue Jackson. Jackson was fired from the Browns this season and he’s on the Bengals now.

Still, the Raiders can completely end the Bengals playoff hopes. They very well might end the Marvin Lewis era too.

To win, the Raiders will need to continue improving their offense. They’ll need to show some sort of pass rush. It’s the same thing that’s been said all season long.