Last season, the Raiders proved to themselves what most of the world already knew, that a mindless body - no matter how awesome that body (acting collectively like a herd or individually) hasn't a chance in hell for success in today's NFL.
The darkest night or bottom of the pit (choose your metaphor) came to Oakland during week 7 against the NYJets on a perfect day in October, 70 degrees, sunny sky, slight breeze, homefield, grass, before 39,354 witnesses. With 5:51 remaining before halftime, the Jets went up 21-0 by scoring their 3rd rushing touchdown. The volume of "Boos" coming from tens of thousands was an experience I'll never forget. We could not stop the run, our offense was nothing short of ridiculous. Our O-line, decimated by injury in the prior two weeks, was without the services of Robert Gallery, Langston Walker and Cornell Green. Jamarcus Russell had completed 6 of 11 passes (not counting two completions to Jets DBs Revis and Leonhard) - his QB rating that day was an unheard of 31.1. We played that half like mindless brutes. Poor tackling and blocking, horrendous ball security (JaRusse and Grad each fumbling once) and, most of all, mindlessness in every facet of the game, including play calling and total lack of imagination and execution on defense.
October 25, 2009 was "rock bottom" for the Raiders - the worst home game defeat in our franchise history.
After that humiliation, the fan base went ballistic in what could be described as a paradigm shift. The outcry against Cable's ZBS O-line, JaRussell's ineptitudes (cf. Grad had a QB rating of 67.2 behind that same o-line after Russell was benched) and the tragically comic rush defense that allowed 316 Jet rushing yards off 54 carries, was only a continuation of the irate booing and cursing heard at the coliseum that day. Blog sites ran posts, articles and fanshots expressing their assessments. Suddenly, all players, coaches, owner, CEOs, the whole organization was examined with merciless scrutiny. Nobody was exempt, John Marshall's timidness, Kirk Morrison's cluelessness, Tom Cable's buffoonery, Al Davis' draft choices, Amy Trask's responsibility for possibly feminizing the team, as well as the obviously poor performers on the team.
So much ink and vociferation came out of the Nation in late October and into November that many now, in retrospect, conclude that we, the Nation, were the agents of change, the catalyst, that brought about the radical change over the past 7 months.
While I salute Al Davis, Tom Cable, Hue Jackson, Mike Waufle, Amy Trask, and the others responsible for cleaning out the rotten fruit and bringing in the good, I also acknowledge the part played by the loyal and passionate Raider fan base, The Nation, who kept their minds engaged and analyzed the Raiders out of the pit well before our leaders did.