After yet another bizarre loss to yet another losing team with yet another display of unusual 1st and 2nd half team decisions, the Raiders find themselves once again in the unusual position of competing simultaneously for a theoretically diminishing playoff spot and the Number 1 draft pick. It takes skill to even manage such a dubious dual-accomplishment. We officially have succeeded, though, in achieving the apparent goal of a second losing season after that brief two season flight from reality.
The interesting thing about this game is all the talk about the head coach going into the game. Call me a skeptic, but I don't think he acquitted himself very well. This game stressed the importance of much of the debate the last week. Many fans feel that DA inherited a piss poor team and deserves the chance with next year's improved roster offers. Other fans felt as if 8-20 is a suspect record to hand your strongest roster ever to given the way the games have been conducted. This game certainly emphasized the position of the latter. Despite 10 days to prepare for the game, the Raiders were never in it. Much like the recently deceased bye curse, the Raiders seem to struggle with too much time on their hands or too little times on their hands. A scripted insertion of TP on the 3rd series of downs illustrated much of the confusion surrounding the team. Pryor clearly has not been benefiting from his time on the bench and it showed. However, the team saw a semblance of a running game with him and were able to at least put 3 points on the board. One sense I had regarding the substitution is that it did no favors for either QB. TP was probably a lot flatter than he would be if he were taking snaps and Eminem2 came out rough after the series. While it makes sense from a "let's get a look since we're not going to the playoffs" standpoint, it certainly was an odd juncture to choose this game. Given 10 days of preparation, I can see how this game might be chosen but by the 3rd drive it was clear we were off script anyway (well hopefully, the asskicking wasn't scripted).
The last 8-10 minutes of the game clearly speaks to the problem with the team. Despite the fact the team was down by 17 points, there was not a sense of urgency on the field. MM did not display a sense that time was running out and neither did the coaches. Time outs were wasted during the second half on such things as a 3rd and long defensive timeout that resulted in the rookie QB getting a TD. We also burned one in the first half when TP took a little more time pulling his head out of his ass and looking at the clock. DA, inexplicably picked up on the TP head-up-ass gaff but missed the last 8 minutes of the game. It was a strategy that was worse than having no strategy (which apparently was our backup plan).
I, for one, have seen enough. I don't think it's fair to give DA 3 years after going 8-21 if that means that you fire him after next year. For one reason, whoever comes in to replace him will be talking to a GM on the last year of his contract which means it's a lot more pressure on the coach. Also, it means that there will already be some adjustments to the great roster we anticipate for next year since there will be more expiring contracts after next season. It's time to fish or cut bait and RM should be reaching for the knife now.