Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Million Dollar Questions


With the 27-10 loss to the Bengals on Sunday, the Raiders record over the last 4 years is an abominable 15-46 for a winning percentage of .245. As the 2006 campaign comes to a close in the next few weeks, there are a number of major issues that need to be resolved and concerns addressed. Here are my 10 “million dollar” questions that I pose in which the ultimate answers will greatly impact the health and success of the organization:

(1) What is Al Davis’ plan for the Raiders in 2007 and beyond?
(2) Will Davis hire a new GM or will Shell and Lombardi be forced to co-exist in an unproductive relationship?
(3) Are Shell and/or Lombardi coming back in 2007 in their 2006 roles?
(4) Will Davis pay top dollar to hire the best coaches outside of the Raider family?
(5) Will Davis allow the eventual new HC after Shell to pick and choose his ENTIRE coaching staff and personnel?
(6) Will Davis allow the new HC and GM the full authority to make trades & release players?
(7) Will the player personnel and scouting departments be bolstered in line with an 800+ million dollar enterprise?
(8) Will Davis give up the reins to the key management team to allow for a vision outside of the "Raiders" box?
(9) Are under-performers (Moss) and malcontents (Porter) going to be traded or released?
(10) What is the blueprint for revamping and revitalizing the offensive unit?

In all of the key leadership positions of a professional football team (QB, HC, OC, DC, GM, Owner) the Raiders have major question marks excluding the DC.

- Is Brooks going to be released? (is he the projected starter for 07?)
- Is Walter the QB of the future? (if so, why isn't he getting valuable playing time in this lost season?)
- Are we going to draft a QB, trade for a QB or sign a free agent QB? (Quinn, T. Smith, Vick, Simms, Leftwich, Ramsey?)
- Is Shell coming back as HC in 07? (or is Ryan going to be promoted to HC in 07?)
- Is Shoop good enough to be OC in 2007? (is Jim Fassell under consideration?)
- Can Lombardi and Shell co-exist? (will former GM Ron Wolf be brought out of retirement?)
- How good is Al Davis' health and who will he designated to be the key decisionmaker?

This organizational disarray and uncertainty is a major obstacle to the short and long term success of the Raiders. There needs to be bold changes and decisive moves made with a clear plan formulated. The Raiders have hit rock bottom. The last 4 years failures should be the impetus to setting a new course. The fire needs to be re-lit in order to restore a sense of hope in the Raider Nation.

16 Comments:

Blogger PantyRaider said...

CalicoJack: Very Good Questions..

To some questions I will say NO..it is not the RaiderWay.....but some changes need to be made....where does AlDavis find someone he can trust to make these changes and eventually take-over the team and lead it in the direction that AlDavis dreams of it going....where does he find a "Friend" as loyal and devoted to the Raiders as he is and who understands the RaiderWay and the NFL...I think we already know the answers to those questions....and this organization needs to be run from the inside by true believers in the RaiderWay....ArtShell..JimOtto...TomFlores...JimPlunket...HenryLarence and other active allumni....that is what makes this organization differant from all others.....weed out the "ForiegnBoddies" and restore leadership from within...That is the only way I see this "RudderlessShip" going back into battle....Victorious at sae the "RaiderWay" and the hell with the "AntiRaider" Haters who sit on the docks shouting out their BullShit slogans against our ship...

PantyRaider....JustKeepFlotinBaby!!!

9:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CJ,

Great blog as always.

You know what scares me the most? The fact that most of your questions will go unanswered. One of the biggest problems facing the Raiders and runs through each of the issues you mentioned is the lack of direction. Many of those issues should have been addressed last year, who would have thought we would be taking a step backwards from Norv Turner.

Given the fact that the overhaul you suggested is not going to happen while Al is in charge and not able to function as he has in the past, I suggested the following baby steps.

1. Shell must go period, regardless how much we all love the guy as a Raider. He is clueless as a head coach. He has done nothing positive this year---nothing. A quality coach like Parcells or even someone who at least has vision and consistent direction such as Childress in Minnesota would have managed to eke out more than two wins. Even if Shell can turn around the moral and weed out the bad apples, his football acumen is a joke.

2. The biggest single personell problem on the team is the offensive line. We never got to see Porter, Moss, Curry and Jordan never play together together who knows what could have happened. My feeling is that with an offensive line like ours not mcuh it could have been Montana, Sanders, Rice and Tim Brown and we still would have been awful. The offensive line needs a full overhaul. I know what you are going to think Boothe, McQuiz, have potential and Gallery the jury is out. I don't agree with the exception of Boothe they all look like Rory Graves. Grove too weak, we need a big strong guy at center. Barrett Robbins had his issues but when he played that was really the last time we had a running game.

3. Quarterback, Brooks nor Walter are the answer. I like Brhom in the draft or Simms in free agency----though I don't think Phil would let Chris go anywhere near the madness that is the Raiders. Leftwich is another statue no thanks.

4. Most important of all, I read all these biased blogs and comments (not yours specifically you are very objective) and I always hear we have to restore the Raider Way and Raider Pride, blah, blah.

I have loved the Raiders since 76, I would give a few toes for a Super Bowl win, I have become physically ill after losses.

However, I have to admit and I may be roasted for this but the Raider Way is gone. The Raider way has not exsted since the mid-80s, maybe early 90s. Nowadays players are not loyal, hidden gems can not be unearthed. Foorball is big business and the slogans and old war stories are not cutting it anymore. What we need to restore the Raiders is a leader someone who can come in and change the culture by sheer force of personality. We had that for a few years with Gruden (he never would put up with Moss's crap like Shell has). He was orgnized, focused and had a plan. We need to find another Gruden this is the most important thing. One man can make a difference, Gruden did, Shell has not.

I am sorry to say but I think Al is no longer capable of running things by himself due to health reasons

Here is hoping for some new leadership, it may never be the same or nearly as sweet without Al leading the charge and doing it his way but at least we may get back to winning.

Jeez, I just read my last sentance how bad are things I am even hating on Al now.

Let's hope we at least get a win over KC before the end of the season.

Regards

Florida Raider

10:05 PM  
Anonymous raider00 said...

Calico,

Many great questions, at such a critical point in time.

I think you know where I stand on this.

With Gruden, the Raiders had an excellent running attack, & an awesome SHORT passing game. The problem was a lack of a deep passing attack.
I do not believe Gruden was at fault for this, but rather Gannon, a great dart thrower, simply lacked the arm power to throw the deep ball.

As it stands now, with Art Shell, the Raiders are trying to return to the Gilman/Davis attack of old.
But, as we have painfully seen, this offense can do NOTHING well. It cannot pass, or run block, and it cannot pass, or run at all.

This is why I believe the Raiders should return to more of a hybrid, vertical/west coast style of offense, closer to what they had under Gruden.

Thae man who is available, who can best do this right now is, Steve Mariuchi.

10:07 PM  
Anonymous Tooz 72 said...

CJ, when even you start calling for sweeping change, then it's time for sweeping change. In the case of the Raiders, it's past time.

It starts at the top. We need a new top. I suggest a Pebble Beach-style (stay with me here) ownership with major former Raiders in charge. Pebble was being run into the ground by the Japanese ownership group two decades ago. Who saves the day? Clint Eastwood, Arnold Palmer, and Peter Ueberroth buy the thing back. They kicked ass, restored the belief of the faithful, and everyone sleeps well knowing they're in charge. Can you imagine Plunkett, Brown, and Allen as a similar ownership group? Or pick any other three -- you see where I'm going. I don't know if any of our alumni alone or as a group could cough up the cash, but I do like the idea of alumni involvement. The Raiders are different and that counts for a lot.

But that is where alumni involvement stops. These guys must be smart enough to hire professionals at every level. Best in class GM, head coach and so on down the ranks. Innovators. People who can keep up with the game and its changes. For the love of God, what NBA owner would return to the 1960's game in 2006? Dropping nothing but jump shots and off-the-glass layups is not going to stand up vs. today's 5 worst NBA players. Same thing on the gridiron. 7 steps and bomb was the Lamonica way. Stabler, too although he added tight ends to the mix. Same for Plunk. Then the era died, the game changed, and we've been picking ass ever since except for Gruden's bold changes. 7 step drops now make us the pathetic reflection of our once formidable leader.

Mooch is nice, but we've seen how he does in a screwed up organization in Detroit. No thanks. Tedford is way, way too smart to hop on the freeway and head to Oakland. So is every other decent coach. "Coach" Shell said in the paper today he didn't even want to think about the draft. I believe it's because he knows he's done. And unless Al goes to the endzone in the sky any time soon, I expect the next coach is a D-2 guy from Tumbleweed State or another pathetic Raider retread.

I am sick that my 4-12 prediction was setting the bar too high. I'll wait till I see the schedule for next year before I set a target, but I would pick 4-12 again going into the same lineup next year.

Hope springs eternal. The Raiders will rise again. It's just going to take a major, major overhaul.

Oh, and on the bright side, I put Curry on my keep list this week. There is no other bright side this week. Let's talk about a win next week!

11:36 PM  
Blogger RaiderRealist said...

As to question one, I have no idea what Al has planned for this team for 2007.

2)I don't see him hiring a new GM, but I think the friction between Shell and Lombardi has come to a head and Lombardi will be gone in the offseason.

3)I think Shell comes back one more year and Lombardi is gone.

4)Based on past practice, no.

5)No.

6)No.

7)No.

8)No.

9)Yes, I think this season got so bad that he has no choice but to show them the door.

10)To make a quick turn around I think raider00 is on the right track with that hybrid offense. From what I've read it takes highly skilled players to properly execute the Gilman, and as we've seen over the last 4 years, we don't have them. It would take time that we no longer have to build up that team, and we'd run the risk of more losing seasons and a loss of the fan base. It is possible in the NFL today to win a Super Bowl with a QB who is a good game manager, one who makes good decisions and doesn't kill us with turnovers. The Ravens did that with Trent Dilfer. We have the defense, if we had a decent offense we probably wouldn't be having this discussion.

Sorry to sound so bluntly negative on several of the questions but I'm being brutally honest here. From what I've seen of Al Davis from being a fan for over 20 years, I just don't see him doing that.

3:19 AM  
Anonymous LK said...

CJ-
all the right questions....think it will start with the HC decision. I can't see the status quo in place for the 2007 season--maybe Al will re-shuffle the deck with Art somehere in the front office. I think Ryan will get consideration. You're also right--we need a spokesman. Don't know about Lombardi--recent drafts have been productive, there will always be a few misses. As I've said before, I think the QB decision has been made, otherwise AW would be in there. Look for one if not two new QBs next year. Bold prediction--if Florida upsets OSU, look for Al to chase Urban Meyer. Moss is definitely gone and as for Porter, depends on the coach.

6:21 AM  
Blogger Raider Ray said...

Great questions and analysis bro. I guess they're all equally important, but the one that keeps sticking in my craw is Mike Lombardi. If he really was the leak, and based on the performance of the team since he's been here isn't he a reasonable person to replace? I mean, he's signed basically one free agent who has made a difference and that is Burgess. Admittedly this was a great signing, but if he isn't loyal enough to his job not to leak information to the press, regardless of his relationship with Shell, that speaks volumes to me. Imagine if I went to the press and started bad mouthing my bosses. We all know how that would end. The way I see it, Al Davis needs a new right hand man. One with football smarts, common sense, and above all loyalty. I think we'll keep Art and company at HC for at least one more year. But I'm not sure Lombardi isn't gone when the last whistle blows at the end of the New York game. I have a feeling Al is very serious about his loyalty to Art, and don't imagine you'll see Art "fired". If he doesn't do well next year, I believe he'll be moved to the front office and given a good job there for the rest of his career.

9:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome take... I am glad you are asking the questions. Hopefully the Raiders will start think about the answers now. My hope is that we start looking at some new ideas as opposed to plugging in the easiest solution and ending up with bad results again and again and again...

Chris R.

9:47 AM  
Anonymous scorpio said...

i agree with you florida raider. amen brutha!

some talk about luring ron wolf out of retirement. that would be awesome but how old is the guy? we can't rely on him for very long. we need a young GM who has a good rep and football smarts. the years wolf was with the team were some of the most productive in terms of W's and personnel. bringing back that guy or osmeone like him would be a step in the right direction.

a step that davis's immense ego would never take. which is why we will never win another championship as long as this man is still alive.

10:49 AM  
Blogger R-8-er Mike said...

You all konw the saying: "you live by the sword, you die by the sword." -- Al Davis is the Oakland Raiders. Let's face it, we can all forget about a consortium of owners, or the idea of Al Davis letting go of personnel decisions. Its been a bad 4 years, but let's not lose sight of the last 4 decades. What makes Al Davis great, is that he is a maverick - he does what he thinks is best. So long as he lives and breathes, so it will be.
Expect Shell back as HC, and the beat will go on.... all great questions JC, and they will be answered by Al. If we don't like his answeres, we are all entitled to find another team to follow. But I am following Al.

2:28 PM  
Blogger PantyRaider said...

Raider00:
Please Bro..NO Niner Retred...Mariuchi...not for the Raiders...he was better than what the Niners have now but he was a Failure in Detroit and we need to stick to one style of "O" until the players get it right..."Flip-Flopping" is costing us preacious time....and we need to "STOP" going outside the organization for leadership....That has been our "Failure"....

R-8-erMike-n-RaiderTake::
I agree with your position on this...loyalty is a deep seated quality in the RaiderOrganization and needs to ramain that way....that is the'RaiderWay"...and I for one will hate to see the day when AlDavis is gone....he is the Raiders and brought us the glorious history that we all follow....I only hope that thru Shell and Otto and and other Faithful Raider Alumni that the organization will find it's way into the future whit the same commitment to the RaiderWay that it has enjoyed under AlDavis....the ownership should pass to his son and and the leadership to those faithful and dear to their leader....For me this is "Political" as an inhabitant of the RaiderNaition....just like we speak of the AmericanWay....we should see the RaiderWay as a Nation of Fans.....and AlDavis is our FoundingFather....our "ForeFather"

PantyRaider...LoyaltyStricken!!!
"Have Faith Bro's"

7:21 PM  
Anonymous raider00 said...

PantyRaider,

The fact that Mariuchi was a niner in the past, does bother me some.

But if Bill Parcell's can coach the Giants to 2 SB tital's, and then go on to coach the Jets, AND, the Cowboys, are there really any "rules" left ??

The reason I say Mariuchi is because I think he is the most realistic option.

Tooz 72's idea of former great Raiders grouping to buy into the team is a nice thought, but it is unrealistic.
So is the idea of a Jimmy Johnson coming to coach the Raiders. These things will never happen.

And if you want to stick with the Gilman/Davis, vertical attack, good luck.

You have to be loaded with offensive talent in order to run it correctly.
Right now, the Raiders are starting at ground zero.

They have a mighty long way to go, and I just don't know where you expect all these great players to come from ?

11:25 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

SBF Crew:

Thanks for sharing your insight and opinions.

I believe we need to honor our past (The Raider Way) but move our approach in line with the modern game. This would mean making some significant changes to our organization and would include "outside" influences shaping and molding our future.

At times I'm torn between taking "baby steps" (thanks Florida Raider) and making sweeping changes in how the Raiders conduct business. I guess it is the difference between our practical nature and what we dream about.

Regardless of the changes and decisions in the upcoming few months, I am hopeful and optimistic of a brighter silver and black future.

"If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is a compromise." - Robert Fritz

10:31 AM  
Blogger PantyRaider said...

Raider 00:
Good questions about where do we get these players....and I think that is what CoachShell is trying to do by bringing in the young guys who can still be coached....can be taught to play a "ThroughBack" style of football...first if they have the speed and the tallent and the "Brains" and most important the "Willingness" to learn and perform and play 4 quarters of Raider football....remember...at the begaining of training camp there was several players debating whether to buy into the Raiders old way of "Hitem-in-da-Mouth" style of play....or "Intimadation"...but I think we can see now that the "D" has made those changes and is progressing very well...now we need players on the "O" to learn and perform the same way and we can be there....

PantyRaider...Hoppen!!!!

11:59 AM  
Anonymous raider00 said...

PantyRaider,

Art Shell is playing Brooks ahead of Walter.

He is playing Whitted ahead of Curry/Morant.

He is playing Randal Williams ahead of Madsen.

If Jordan were healthy, he would be giving him the bulk of carries.

Art Shell has shown practically no interest in playing young players on offense.

I predict that if Art Shell returns as Raiders coach next yr, most of our new players will be free agent, scrapheap, vets, and the young guys we draft on the offensive side of the ball, will rot on the bench.

No different then this season.

1:40 PM  
Anonymous Raider Greg said...

Great Job with this take...........I love it! Ok Calico....Where did you get your Cap numbers for the Raiders...........I thought we had 600k under with a payroll of 108.4 or so million.....And the Cap is 109 million.....What do ya think?

6:56 PM  

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