Raider Hater Journalism 101
I find articles like this (see link) very annoying for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it is difficult to respect a writer (Teddy Covers) who is too lazy to check the facts that are the basis of the story. I call writers like this “Raider Hater Journalists” or “Mickey-Mouse Scribes”. They show their disdain for the Raiders by making sloppy, bias, broad brush-stroke statements to make their points of view more dramatic.
In the above article I counted at least 4 clear cut factual errors and 4 very questionable statements.
(in reference to Art Shell) “But we’re talking about a guy that hasn’t been a coach in this league for more than a decade”- Art Shell continued to coach after leaving the Raiders in 1994. He was an offensive line coach for Kansas City from 1995-1996 and Atlanta from 1997-2000. This writer seems to think that Shell stopped coaching after 1994.
(in reference to Aaron Brooks) “Brooks wasn’t a winner at Virginia in college”- Brooks was the starting QB for Virginia in his junior year (1997) and his senior year (1998). Virginia was 7-4 in 1997 and 9-3 in 1998. 1998 was one of the best years in the history of Virginia football. The team was ranked #18 in the country and lost a close game to Georgia (35-33) in the Peach Bowl. If you are 16-7 as a starter, does that qualify as being a winner?
“(Brooks) was never a winner for the Saints”- Brooks had a winning season in 2000 and led the Saints to the playoffs and a playoff win. Brooks had a winning record in 2002 (9-7). Overall in Brooks 1st 5 seasons as a starter the Saints were 35-34. Granted, this isn’t a very impressive win total but to say he was never a winner for the Saints is hardly a fair and accurate statement.
“The Raiders haven’t had a winning season since Gruden left town”- The year after Gruden left town the Raiders were 11-5 under Head Coach Callahan and went to the Super Bowl. Oops. I guess you forgot this fact.
“The OL was not improved this off-season”- The Raiders drafted Paul McQuistan (OG/OT), Kevin Boothe (OT), and Chris Morris (Center). The Raiders signed veterans Kelvin Garmon (OG) and Cameron Spikes (OG) as free agents. These 5 acquisitions provide depth to the offensive line. The Raiders hired Hall of Fame Offensive Tackle Art Shell as the Head Coach and Hall of Fame Offensive Tackle Jackie Slater as the Offensive Line Coach. Langston Walker returns to the team at 100% health and will be playing his natural position of RT. Robert Gallery has been moved to his natural position of LT. Barry Sims strengthens the interior line by moving to LG. With quality depth, better offensive line coaching, injured players returning to the line-up, and starters playing their natural positions, it is safe to say that the OL has improved this off-season.
“Just about every key player they have has some character issues”- This is the most outlandish, unfounded blanket statement in this article. The only player that comes to mind with any “character” issues is Randy Moss. However Randy Moss was a model citizen, the Raiders ultimate team player last year, and is very busy in the off-season with a number of charitable foundations. So, who are these so called key players with character issues? What are the character issues?
“The players know that the power here resides with the owner, not with the head coach”- Art Shell is a firm, stern leader. The Raider players know who is in charge. His name is Art Shell. (see link)
Here are some quotes from the players during mini-camp:
- Center Jake Grove: "He's done this. He knows what he's talking about. He's got that credibility. He's a presence out there on the field, and he's someone you're going to listen to and respect."
- Center Adam Treu has been an active Raider longer than any other, 10 years, and he sees a difference. "There's an emphasis on individual accountability," he said. "If something is done wrong on the field, we repeat and correct it."
- Guard Barry Sims: “It feels good, like we're on the right path," he said. "Everybody's doing the right thing. Everybody's held accountable for our actions and what we do. That's the only way you'll be successful is to be held accountable, and this coaching staff is different than the last couple. The last few years it seemed a little too loose, like we didn't really have the leadership we have now."
- Tackle Robert Gallery said: "I think the attitude is changing because he's demanding it. We'll see when we put the pads on, but I think it's moving in the right direction, that's for sure."
- Defensive Tackle Warren Sapp also likes what he sees. "It (the response) has been real good. The thing about it is, everybody is closing ranks and getting in line and following one leader in one direction.
“Denver, San Diego, and Kansas City all have legitimate Super Bowl aspirations. That should leave Oakland as the prime contender for last place in this division”- This writer reasons that since the Raiders divisional rivals all are Super Bowl contenders that means the Raiders will come in last place. I would agree that Denver has legitimate Super Bowl aspirations considering that the team lost in the AFC Championship last year. However San Diego and Kansas City both didn't qualify for the playoffs last year and have some serious flaws to lump them into “legitimate Super Bowl” contenders. San Diego has an unproven, new starting QB in Philip Rivers. Kansas City has one of the worst defenses in the entire league (30th ranked pass defense last year).
I get it. The Mickey Mouse Scribes don't like the Raiders and don't think the team is very good. I can live with this viewpoint. However if you are going to express this viewpoint don't try to get tricky and disguise it with misguided and factually incorrect statements to back it up. That is very "M-I-C", "K-E-Y", "M-O-U-S-E".