Commitment To Futility – By Gavin Muirhead

The dizzying, and always incompetent, Raiders are yet again staring down the barrel of another failure season.



The Oakland Raiders faced the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football this week, and it was the kind of train wreck you just can’t turn away from. You know the kind of slow motion, Full-HD glory of a train wreck, the ones with bits of train and passengers flying about as if set to a subtle Beethoven score and finishes with an immense fireball and mushroom cloud?

That is exactly what the Raiders looked like.

The Broncos looked like the people who said “Psh, f*ck the train lets just fly” and in midair diverted to Vegas instead.

It’s also exactly what I expected, and before you grill me for being a “Raider Hater”  Know this – those armor wearing thugs in The Black Hole? – That was me as a sperm. So bear with me.

The Raiders opened the season in losing fashion to the Colts in Indy, but that wasn’t surprising. After major salary cap issues caused by a litany of high priced contracts to draft busts and regular busts Al Davis left behind, (Carson. I see you licking Cheeto dust off your fingers) GM Reggie McKenzie gutted everything and is rolling with a real life “Replacements” team. The cold hard facts are simple: the 2014 Raiders will have a lot of salary cap space because in 2013, 85% of the Raiders are on 1 year contracts and they also wont be paying millions to players who aren’t even with the team this season.. Carson. JaMarcus.. Many others. This means we get to race Jacksonville to the #1 overall draft choice in 2014, and when Free Agency rolls around – it’s on. We will have the space and money to make some big things happen – it’s up to Mark “Eternal Bowlcut” Davis to make sure that happens though.

So here we are, 3 weeks in to the 2013 NFL season and Oakland is 1-2. Not horrible right? Wrong. They barely slopped up a win over Jacksonville, in Oakland. If it was a road game in Jacksonville, we would be looking at 0-3 along with the Giants and Redskins. To add to last nights expose` in defense dissection, Terrelle Pryor was rocked on a run and is working through a concussion, and may be out for week 4 at home against the Redskins. If that’s the case, and Matt Flynn starts week 4, good god I hope you pick up the Redskins defense in your fantasy league.

Terrelle Pryor is the only hope Oakland has for a not entirely shameful season, because the offensive line is damaged – regardless what Dennis Allen tells the media, in game they fold like a blanket. This means Pryor has to run, which thankfully he does very well and it does keep defenses honest to a degree but now his brain is swollen… Flynn came out with 2 minutes left in Monday nights game, from the pocket he showed nothing worth mentioning – it’s just a matter of time before he goes down as well, because unlike Pryor he couldn’t outrun a toddler.

The O-Line, is bad. When an NFL team has a weak line, chances are the rest of the offense falls apart. This can be felt most importantly through Darren McFadden, who again is struggling against any real defense that comes his way. With a 6′ 2″ 210lb frame he is a strange combination of speed and power, or at least should be, however it’s becoming more and more apparent that he can’t provide the needed power or speed to compensate for the O-Line. Time after time he runs into a wall for no yardage, or tries to break to the outside and is stuffed for a loss, and with his ability to find ways to break bones at random EVERY season, it’s a matter of time before that wall officially wins the battle. With that said, Ben Tate is a promising free agent in 2014, hearing me Oakland?

It’s time to let Run DMC go.

The talent lining up for free agency in 2014 is silly at wide receiver, and a veteran like Julian Edelman or Jeremy Maclin could make for a nice addition. As Maclin comes back from a torn ACL and with Avant and Jackson emerging for the Eagles, he may end up available, time will tell as it is still very early in the 2013 season. To be clear, I am not ready to ditch Denarius Moore or Rod Streater and Jacoby Ford is still working into game shape, so it’s yet to be seen what he can deliver as he grows up. What I am saying is that a big name with some experience can add a lot of leadership, and give defenses something to focus on.

Speaking of defenses.

D.J. Haden could be my new favorite player. After almost dying last year, he is not afraid to hurl his body into coverage, and watching him play in the nickle is entertaining to say the least, yes he gave up a big pass interference call to Denver but he was pressuring and will develop more and more and he can learn a lot from veterans like Charles Woodson and Tracy Porter who are on the roster this year.

Now aside form that, we need to add some key parts to the Raiders defense. No, i don;t think it is all trash, and personally I like Nick Roach in the middle – the guy played with Brian Urlacher for years and has what it takes to lead a defense. Akeem Jordan could be a good addition next to Roach, but we need a D-Lineman that is worth something, Michael Bennett I am looking at you. Seattle signed him to a 1 year deal worth almost $5 Million, and is a free agent in 2014.

I think the biggest problem we have is Dennis Allen. As a young defensive minded coach, he is ill equipped to succeed with the way the league is changing now, as a coordinator I have no qualms with him, but I do not think he is the head coach to lead the Raiders to a scoring offense. Defense doesn’t win games any more, they give Offenses chances to win games. I’m still on Team Hue Jackson, but I also do not want to throw Reggie under the bus yet, I want to see what he can build in 2014 before I grab my torches and pitchforks.

Much like the Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars, the Oakland Raiders are looking forward to building in 2014 and are planning to scrape by this season giving it’s young talent much needed game experience when the offseason rolls around. It’s time to let the best parts stay and everyone else needs to make room for some real weapons. Coaches included.

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