Monthly Archives: August 2013

Oakland Raiders Culture

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Since the passing of Al davis last year, the Oakland Raiders franchise has gone through dramatic changes in culture and on the field. GM Reggie Mckenzie came from a prestigious Packers Franchise and was installed to bring the franchise back to its winning ways.

First, lets not get things twisted, in the NFL there is one goal, and that is to sell tickets and merchandise. The only way to do that in sports is to win games, and put a product on the field that fans are going to buy into. Insert Reggie Mckenzie. Mckenzie has a philosophy of drafting and acquiring blue collar, hard nose, and smart football players. It is a philosophy that has brought many championships to green bay, but the Raiders are not green bay.

You see, there is a special ora about the Raiders. There is a reason why the team has one of the most reliable fan bases despite being irrelevant for over a decade. The Raiders are the Raiders because they are the gritty, underdogs. The Raiders have been the team renown for their toughness, explosiveness, and even recklessness. It is a reputation that has caused many people to hate the raiders, but many others to love the team.

The Raiders logo represents a grittiness and toughness in itself, so much that gangs and rappers have affiliated with the logo. I don’t see too many people in green bay affiliating with the packers. The packers are an organization partly owned by its citizens, it is a franchise build on heritage and tradition, but it is mainly an organization dedicated to the blue collar hard working meat packers of Wisconsin.

Thats the biggest difference between the Raiders and Packers historic organizations. The magic of the Raiders is found in the minority fan base that has claimed the team as its own. Besides being the logo for urban youth around the country the Raiders were the first team to have minority coaches, and executives. This organization is built on a culture of reckless, so if Reggie McKenzie hopes that fans will be patient while he “builds things the right way,” then he has another thing coming. Raiders fans want to see a product that reflects the recklessness and rebellion in themselves. The reality is they don’t care about hardworking smart football players. Raiders fans want to see deep balls, big runs, big hits, and mostly they want to see them win.

Raiders fans love the raiders because they reflect an enigma in our society. The idea that someone can win and be successful doing things their own way and not caring what others think is something that resonates with the hearts of Raiders. The Markets of Los Angeles and Oakland are both huge minority fan bases that love the Raiders. You see, the white collar fans have teams, in northern California those fans can see 9ers games, and in the south they have chargers games. But for everyone else, all the bad asses and people who don’t give a fuck, those are the people the raiders are built for. It is a totally different fan base than the Wisconsin folk who will live and breath green bay football regardless of how good it is. See in California, we have so many other choices as sports consumers that we dont have to follow all of the mediocre free agent signings that McKenzie has made. All we want to do is see wins, so if McKenzie keeps anything from the previous regime it should be “Just Win Baby!”

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Corner Competition

The Oakland Raiders defensive Backs took turns getting picked apart last season. Throughout the season guys got, hurt, guys got signed, yet they were all interchangeably bad. This season the Raiders completed a complete overhaul of the entire secondary in hopes of reversing this culture. In The process they drafted a player in the first round and signed a few veterans with experience and a lot to prove. This unit has so much swagger that they practice with Blue Balls because there harder to find in the light

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Ideally, The Raiders hope that this new found swagger will change the dynamic of the defense. So lets assume that DJ Hayden turns out to be exactly what the raiders drafted him to be. If Hayden fully recovers and is able to translate his game to the professional level then he should be able to seize a starting spot at corner.

After that, the Oakland Raiders brought in a couple of savy veterans whom they hope will play chip on their shoulder.

Tracy Porter is a fimiliar face to Dennis Allen as the two worked together in New Orleans. Porter’s athletecism and ball skills have kept Porter in the league. His gambles, injuries, and tackling abilities lead him to the bench and a third team in three years.

Michael Jenkins was once a big time draft pick of the Dallas Cowboys who was expected to be a lock down corner out of USF. Initially Jenkins had plenty of success as a starter, but soon offenses began to pick him apart and he fell out of favor with Dallas.

Both guys have NFL starting experience. Both guys have made plays at the highest level of the game. Each has a slightly different skill set, but both are capable of being starting cornerbacks. One of the two is just going to have to stand out by playing with the bigger cheap on its shoulder.

Personally I’m gunning for Jenkins because he possess a bigger all around skillset. He has unique size and speed to match up in zone or man coverage. Jenkins does lack the ball skills and ability to create turnovers which is Porters strength, but I think the raiders defense could use the versatility and consistence.

We won’t even know who the winner will be until these guys start wearing shoulder pads instead of shorts and tee shirts. I want to see which one of these cornerbacks has more confidence after suffering a lack of success. The one with the bigger chip will be the one contributing on sunday. Who are are you taking to start at corner? I’m sure your happy as I am that it won’t be Ron Bartell LOL

Not so tight end

Don’t hold your breathe, the Oakland Raiders tight end position is filled with joe schmoes that will probably never be big time players. The Raiders will need someone to start for them on Sunday afternoons.

The tight end position is especially crucial for the Oakland Raiders because they lack a dominate force on the outside. Last season, Meyers was able to accumulate 80 receptions, from the tight end position, but he bolted to Giants for a bigger paid day. The current players on the raiders roster lack any real NFL experience or production.

What The Raiders do have:

David Ausberry is a wide receiving prospect out of USC whose lack of experience at blocking has held little production, in his first few seasons.

Richard Gordon has been on the field primarily as a blocking tight end. He has the most experience of the group, but his questionable receiving skills leave much to be desired.

Then there are the two rookies the team drafted. Nick Kasa out of Colorado is a converted defensive end prospect. His collegian production and blocking ability have many hoping his recieving skills will improve.

Michael Rivera out of Tennesse is an interesting prospect whose size lead to many TD receptions at receptions. Most of his production came when he was motioned outside, and his blocking skills have become liability.

As a whole the Tight end position leaves much to be desired. All of the four players possess potential, and the skill sets remain to be an enigma.

Ausberry possess the most well rounded skill set and highest ceiling. His route running ability and hands add versatility to the Raiders line up. Ausberry’s struggles to become consistented have been noted, but I along with a lot of people hope he can live up to his potential. His size alone makes him capable of being the red zone target the Raiders have been looking for. Another year of experience should aid the young tight ends blocking ability.

If Ausberry is able to have a successful season he will be the dependent reciever any of the Raider quarterbacks could utilize. Having a solid tight end will definitely open up the outside for Moore deep and streeter or Criner intermediately. Ausberry’s reciever skill set will make the defensive have to honor his receiving threat more than the other players on the roster.

The only thing that will hurt David Ausberry is his suspect blocking ability. The Raiders have made it known they will pound the football and if Ausberry is unable to block, Gordon or Kasa will gain those snaps. Meaning, he can’t be consistent or efficient if he is losing snaps because he can’t block. But if the competition does dicatate an increase of receiver skills than David Ausberry might be fighting just to stay in the league. Either way, if the Raiders can’t find production out of one of the Tight Ends, it is gonna be an even longer year for the Raiders Offense and whoever is QBing it.