Hey guys (said with eeyore voice). I was going to post something earlier about this past game, but I didn't feel like it. I didn't feel like doing much.
Monday's blow. Just the start of another mundane week that is a race to see which boring and pointless event will make my mind snap.
To help keep me from sinking into the abyss, I have avoided talking and watching football like it was the set Alanis Morrisette played before Pearl Jam rocked the house at a charity concert I attended.
But it's time to face the demons.
Kickers are stupid. Last year, I liked thinking of the kicking game. Janikowski only missed 3 field goals and I think he would've only missed five had he been kicking on Arena League field goal posts.
This year I have grown more worried with each kick and I certainly did over the course of that game. Then, as the Raiders drove as the clock was winding down, they kept showing shots of fat-ass (this is his nickname when he sucks) on the sideline. He was in his head. Like a golfer who has lost his swing or a pitcher who can no longer find the strike zone, things were going a little funny in that bloated overactive melon.
With manic swipes, he kept toweling off his giant bald dome, over and over. It was like he was trying to buff out the demons. I kept thinking, "He is either really nervous or grilling on ecstasy right now. I am not sure which one I would prefer.... Wait, yes I do. I'll take Seabass on ecstasy over nervous Seabass any day." The Raiders managed to get him within chip shot range and I felt better about things as I told myself, "Well, being this close has to quite his head and as long as he doesn't go into the GHB worm dance, I think he's got this."
We know what happened and my funk ensued. It's silly that a football game can affect my mood. I know this. I tell myself this, but it does. As I began to think I realized, I wouldn't have it any other way.
Football is not as fun when I am not emotionally invested.
I began to see my agony over the loss as a good sign. I'd rather be upset by a Raider loss than watch another defeat in muted apathy. It is a sign of progress. So, I sit here helping myself feel better knowing that the team is good enough to make feel like shit 'cause they lost. Twisted right? Well, I have found other reasons to not keep sinking.
My Happy Place:
- Rolando McClain: He is learning quickly. He didn't get any credit for a tackle for a loss. I don't know how accurate that is and if they weren't for losses they were damn close. He shot the gap twice and stuffed Wells at the line of scrimmage. The kind of plays the Raiders haven't had from a MLB in years. He is improving in avoiding the blockers on run plays and playing on instincts. Now he needs to work on sniffing out the play actions.
- Nnamdi Asomugha: Insert glowing dynamic superlative here. He is a pure joy to watch. I felt the pass interference on him was a ticky-tack call. He gave up one catch to Larry Fitzgerald. Nnam earned his hefty salary on Sunday.
- The Physical Dominance and Toughness: This is the type of game where previous Raider teams would've have quit early. They got punched in the mouth on the opening kickoff and had many mistakes after. Their is no quit in this team. For the first time in forever, they seem to wear out their opponents. This, more than anything is helping me stay positive. The Raiders have intense physical players that will not back down or give up.
- Jon Condo: In a position that gets little positive attention, Jon Condo earned some as he busted ass to recover the first miffed punt. As always, his snaps were perfect.
- Michael Huff: Huff has taken his share of abuse and deservedly so, but his tackling was solid in this game and he did an admirable job in some extended run at corner after Walter McFadden popped his hammy.
- Marcel Reece: It may be getting to the time that I stop pointing out he is improving his blocking, but he looks better every week. My favorite was a nice pick-up as ILB Paris Lenon shot the gap and prepared to stop McFadden dead in his tracks. Instead DMC got a seven yard gain. DHB also had a nice downfield block on Kerry Rhodes.
- Darren McFadden: Just another game most of us didn't think he was capable of.
- Louis Murphy: A few nice catches and great plays. Murphy is tenacious and I believe it's contagious. In 3-WR looks Murphy moves into the slot. He looks good in the slot and if Chaz ever comes back or the Raiders get another WR, the Raiders will have a potent 3 WR set.
- Darrius Heyward-Bey: He had one horrible drops and a couple defended drops, but this is still a different player than last year. I think about DHB and I feel good. He had a clutch 4th down conversion, he battles, he blocks and he is commanding attention.
- Kickoff Return Team: The Raiders actually had a decent return. Jacoby Ford got out to the 40 and it felt like a miracle, but he actually had decent blocking.
My Dark Scary Place:
- The Penalties: Sweet tit of Medusa, chill on the penalties guys. It was the Cardinals most potent offensive weapon.
- Left Tackle: 'nough said.
- Game Management: It doesn't appear the Raiders are getting the plays in quick enough. Hue spent all training camp trying to get his guys in and out of the huddle quickly. That didn't work. Grad took the blame for not calling a timeout on the fatal delay of game on the 1-yard line, but it was the coaches who didn't get the play call in. It looked like Grad didn't get a play until there was 12 seconds on the play clock. It was a QB sneak. How hard is it to get the call in. That was pathetic.
- Redzone Impotence: I plan on dissecting each play ran in the redzone a little later in the week.
- Mike Mitchell: Mitchell got his first extended time when Huff went to corner. He wasn't a disaster, but I hoped for more. He was actually a disaster on his lame attempt at an arm tackle on the opening kickoff. He later had a chance to lay out Larry Fitzgerald after he got his only catch on Nnam and missed there.
- Run D: Last year, this game would've been considered a success in run D. It's not that is was horrible. The Raiders had plenty of minimum gain stops. Richard Seymour said he was still affected by his hamstring and I thought Tommy Kelly got pushed around more in this game then his previous two. The biggest difference though was Des Bryant on rushing downs instead of John Henderson. Bryant had a hard time holding his own. Get well soon John! Also, Trevor Scott struggled on the run. The only thing surprising is that teams don't run at him every time he is on the field. I was a little disappointed in LaMarr Houston's run support. A couple of times he let himself get taken out of run plays by a TE.
- The Raiders Blitzes: They were ineffective. It is popular for us all to scream for more blitzing, but they need to improve at it first.
- Sebastian Janigofuckyourself...nope not going to talk about that. Happy thoughts, happy thoughts.