Monthly Archives: November 2013

RIP Thomas Howard

This is a Giant Game

If I scroll down my bleacher report team stream far enough I can see stories from two weeks ago about how good the Raiders Defense was playing, and how they had hopes for the playoffs. Scroll up a bit and the Raiders collapse against the Eagles has taken the headlines.

At first glance the raiders big loss could be attributed to the Raiders overlooking a struggling Eagles team. Frankly, The Raiders just didn;t match up with the Eagles well.

At the beginning of the season many picked the Raiders to be the least talented team in the league. Well the Raiders are stacked with intelligence and work ethic, even I wouldn’t argue they are stacked with talent. The Eagles on the other hand are a struggling team with tons of speed and athleticism.

I think the Raiders were just over matched all over their field. On defense, players had their hands on their hips. They failed to get any real pressure on quarterback nick foles. The Defensive backs were stumbling all over the place. And the worn out defense failed to stop the run and limit big plays.

On offense a make shift offensive line could not provide Pryor any real time. The recievers and playmakers of the raiders failed to counterreact the high octane Offense of the Eagles. While they were able to get yards, there defense just couldn;t get any real help. But its a new week and the Raiders have no time to waste as they face another struggling athletic team.

I don;t think anyone would argue that Eli Manning and his two superbowl rings are more consistent than Nick Foles. Combine that with the big physical receivers of Hakeem nicks and Victor cruz and there are elements for a similar debacle if the Raiders don’t bring an A game. On the Defensive side the Raiders will also have to do a much better job at pressuring Eli, so that he can be forced into interceptions.

Offensively the Offensive line face Jason Tuck and Pierre Paul. They have the speed and explosiveness to pressure Pryor and keep hm contained. Pryor needs to recognize blitzes and get the ball out. He needs to not have happy feet trying to perserve the play. Manelik Watson will make his starting debut, and pryor should be able to trust is offensive line. Running lanes should be there if he chooses to scramble but that should only be after his first or second read. Lastly, someone is going to have to step up and make a play for pryor. 2010 Mcfadden is not going to be on the field, so the raiders will take playmaking ability from anyone. It is time for one of the Rookie tight ends to step up and make a play. Otherwise Reece or Moore seem the most capable of providing the offense a needed spark.

This game against the Giants will tell a lot about Dennis Allen and this Raider team. Allen has already been quoting as saying this team won’t collalpse like last season. Well this will be an indicator of progression or regression for this Raiders team. The Giants have won two games and  are playing every game to win like a scrappy boxer. If the Raiders don’t want to knock the hope out of their playoff pipedream than they need to have an A game against the giants.

Keep the lockerroom antics in the Lockerroom Context

I’m glad that Terrelle Pryor helped put The “Dolphin Bullying scandal” into perspective. In an interview with Pro Football talk, Pryor said that he sees the bullying incident as the responsibility of team leaders specifically the Quarterback.

We all understand that bullying can happen anymore, regardless of shape or profession anyone can be victimized by bullying. I think its foolish to turn a blind eye to lots of the hazing that goes on in an NFL locker room. In general, football is a hyper masculine culture, where ‘boys will boys.’

As a former football player I understand what kind of banter goes on in the comfort of teammates. I think 80% of the things said are put into the context of jokes, because that is how men socialize. It can only be worse in a culture like the NFL because men are taught to be nasty and aggressive. This kind of behavior has been accepted throughout college and high school. Despite NFL players large checks and professional atmosphere they are still accustomed to a hyper masculine culture.

All that being said, it shouldn’t be alarming to hear about some of the antics that have allegedly taken place in the Dolphins Locker room

Many of the Dolphin Players and come out to say that Incognito is not a bad teammate nor is he a racist. I don’t think that is to turn against Martin more than it is a way to suggest that many of the teammates didn’t realize how bad the situation. Since, little boys many of them have been desensitived to racial slurs, hazing, and insults. While Martin may or not have been singled out, I don’t buy that Martin couldn’t have found one confidant amongst the 70 plus players in the lockerroom. Maybe Martin bottled up many of the emotions he was dealing with, but he plays one of the most physical games. He should have used the physical outlet of the game and taken it head up with Incognito in drills. Once things really got bad, he should have approached Incognito man to man, where there would have been a physical confrontation or a mutual understanding. Alternatively he could have approached a team leader. He could have approached one the defensive players who could punched Incognito in the face.

I guess my point is simply, hazing in the NFL happens.Rather its carrying the bags or stupid haircuts, hazing happens in a hyper masculine culture. The only way to reverse it by having the team leaders handle it internally. 12,000 vegas trips and every week strip club visits might have taken it to far. However as for the racial slurs and verbal harassment. One of the 70 people in the locker room should have risen to the occasion if things were as bad as they sound. But they didn’t probably because they didn’t see anything they haven’t seen since they were kids. Therefore all this info coming out about racial slurs, should stay in the lockerroom, because only the participants in that lockerroom understand the context and acceptability of those words. I’m not condoning anyone threatening, calling someone a racial slur, or having sex with one of their family members. We can’t act like these things are unheard of, and we can’t pretend like the context couldn’t have been a joke, because lockerroom cultures are different than anything mainstream. Obscenities in the real world are just everyday pieces of the NFL lockerroom.The more that develops from the Martin case will only be more of opening the can of worms that is the NFL Lockerroom.