Raider fans, this off-season could not be any better. Well, we could have acquired Payton Manning, Reggie Bush and Ray Lewis ,but, I'll take JaMarcus Russell, Michael Bush/Dominic Rhodes and Quentin Moses. I mean, the organization was even fined for practicing so hard. CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT??? Millionaires and rookies alike working their tails off so hard at "Optional" camps that the team gets fined?!?!?
This is not the 2006 "Optional" camp season, no way...Jerry Porter is far from the dog house and is on board the "Son of Monte" (Remember, I will not call him Lane until he becomes more than the "Son of Monte") love train.
In fact, if all is well in "Lane's World", I can see this team being 10-6.
Remember Raider fans, it was not the personnel as much as the coaching that made this team 2-14 last year. It was an antiquated man blocking scheme and an offensive play book that had defenses saying things like, "I haven't seen a play book like that since High School" and had our rookie quarterback crying for, "Some quick hits and Three Step Drops".
The latter response may have saved Andrew Walter's life...Seriously. By questioning, Tom Walsh, (Best known as Bed & Breakfast around these parts) Walter was benched and Aaron Brooks suddenly healed his...Cough...Cough...Bruised Ribs. The same...Cough...Cough...Bruised Ribs...That Mr. Brooks developed after trying to run the futile offensive game plan for 2 games. IN short TD stood for something other than touch down for our QB's last year. It stood for "Tackling Dummy".
In Randy Moss's average seasons he alone scored more TDs (That stands for Touch Downs in case some of you also think it stands for tackling dummies) than the horrid Oakland O. That "O" stood for "Ole", as in "O"ffensive Linemen saying "Ole" to defensive stunts because they were instructed to block the man in front of them!!!
I believe that I speak for most of Raider Nation when I say that the best part of our season was the 18th week...When it was over.
After the final defeat we knew that we would have the first pick in every round of the NFL Draft in a draft that I felt was very deep. That was the good news...Then the better news has just kept on coming since.
The first myth that I wish to clear up is the myth that Steve Sarkisian was ever offered the Oakland Raider job. Yes, he did say that it was a dream job. Yes he was brought back three times. Yes he did step on his own feet by speaking ad nauseum of the brilliant Lane Kiffin at USC.
His continual pumping of Kiffin led Lord Al to look into this "Son of Monte".
Upon his first meeting with Lane, Lord AL was very impressed. He saw a young man who eats, sleeps and drinks coaching football. In fact, he saw a younger version of himself.
After a sleepless weekend where AL and "Son of Monte" tirelessly broke down tape of every game from the debacle that was the 2006 Raiders, the Raiders had a new coach.
This would be the third young coach in 10 years to be offered the job and the second to take it. John Gruden accepted the job and Sean Payton accepted and then denied the job. I am sure that you will all agree that when Al goes after a young coach, he is spot on. From Madden to Payton he has yet to be wrong.
"Son of Monte" got busy constructing the team that He and AL believed they could be.
The ax fell on every coach except for Willie Shaw and Robb Ryan.
Gone were Shell, Walsh, Eatman, Shupp and Slater. And in were Tom Cable, Tom Rathman, Keith Millard and Gregg Knapp.
This coaching change signified a major change in offensive philosophy. No longer would they be a nine-step drop man blocking offense. Cable is a zone-blocking guru who teamed with Knapp to have the #1 rated rushing offense in football for the last two years.
The next major coaching change signified that this is indeed becoming "Lane's World". One of the lone remaining "Old School" Raiders who was still actively on the field, Freddie B, was allowed to retire/resign.
Freddie B had been a Raider since AL Davis signed him to a contract under the goalposts after his last College game.
Yep, times were changing, and they were changing VERY quickly.
The next sign that this season could be different was the signing of Dominic Rhodes.
Rhodes was a HOT commodity on the Free Agent market, but he didn't last long. After a reported meeting with Reggie Bush in which Bush told his buddy that "Son of Monte" would get the ball in his hands and allow him to make plays, Rhodes RUSHED to Oakland. Keep in mind that SOM will call all of the offensive plays and Knapp will merely be a guide.
I'm sure, that once again, I am speaking for all of Raider Nation when I say that I almost fell down celebrating when I heard that a running back who could have went anywhere had just signed with US!!!
Yes, Raider Nation, that tide is turning and I will keep this going with part II tomorrow.