- Braveheart McNasty has been penciled in as the starting RG. Great! I love everything about McNasty. He’s tough, humble, an eager student of the game, and a true character. The only “bad” news rumbling from the McNasty Fan Club front is that he shaved off his flaming red mullet!
- My 1st day back to work (Wednesday) I find out that Jerry Porter is now an under-paid WWF wrestler parading around with his “championship” money belt. Huh? Did too much time in the sun & too much grog on deck cause my brain to warp?
Clearly, the hot, push-button topic this week in Raiderville is that Jerry “Pouter” is an unhappy camper and has demanded a trade. This raises many interesting questions that need to be resolved. It also is a defining moment for new Head Coach Art Shell.
“I don’t like the way things are going around here” Jerry Porter. What is he unhappy about? Since Porter never explained to Shell, Freddie B, or the media what was bothering him, I can only surmise that he doesn’t like the firm leadership style of Art Shell. He doesn’t like a Head Coach & WR Coach who holds him accountable to the team. JP doesn’t like the discipline & authority that Shell is exerting on the entire team. JP didn’t want to participate in the team workout program. Instead he chose to work-out by himself in Florida. One thing is certain. Porter is very well paid ($20M-5yrs) to play a game called football. Considering his production the last 6 years (239 catches, 3,125 yards, 24 TDs), he should be thanking his lucky stars that he is being paid huge sums of cash for being an underachieving, inconsistent performer.
How will this play out the in the next few weeks? Here are some of the possibilities to consider.
(a) The Raiders management finds a trading partner like Chicago, S.F., or Green Bay for either draft choice(s) or an active player.
Good: Excise a cancer before it spreads; gain needed depth at RB or DT
Bad: Getting 50 cents to the dollar on the trade; salary cap issues
(b) The Raiders management decides to hold on to Porter for the 2006 season
Good: Porter is enlightened and becomes a good soldier who works hard in training camp and earns his playing time
Bad: Porter takes a valuable roster spot and stews on the bench.
As far as Art Shell is concerned, Porter isn’t going anywhere and the trade demands are a non-issue. He isn’t concerned with whether or not Porter likes him. Shell has a simple demand of all the players which is to work hard and take care of business between the white lines. “There’s guys every year that might not want to be on a team, but, hey, part of this business is you play with who you’ve got” Shell said, “If we have somebody on this team that’s here, whether he said he wants to be here or not, if he’s doing what he’s supposed to be do, then we’ll go to work.”
Excluding Porter, the rest of the team has responded very positively to Shell’s no-nonsense, clear directives. “It’s very early, but I’ve got a good sense (of Shell)” said Adam Treu. “A work ethic is going to be instilled. Guys are going to jump on board or they’re going to have a long year. The majority of the team’s welcomed that with open arms.”
I think the Raider Nation will look back on this moment in time as a true blessing in disguise.
Porter's lack of professionalism, distorted sense of reality, lack of respect shown to HOF's Freddie B & Shell (his position coach & head coach, mind you), and his me-first attitude will be the perfect opportunity for Art to clearly draw a line in the sand.
On the right side of the line are the Raider players who are fully committed to the Raider way. This consists of working hard in training camp, being willing students of the game, having a team-first attitude, and EARNING the honor of wearing the silver and black colors.
On the left side of the line are the Raider players who are malcontents, me-first, half steppin', non-performers who will either find a cozy spot on the bench or be shipped out FedEx overnight. In the final analysis, the players need to be held accountable, meet certain expectations, and take ownership in the team's welfare. If Jerry Porter doesn’t learn the Raider Way very quickly there is always another member of the team like Doug Gabriel who is ready to step up and seize the opportunity to shine.
The dignified & decisive manner in which Shell is handling this situation only confirms my belief that he is the right man to be steering the Raider ship towards a glorious future. Shell’s unwavering belief that it is a special honor to be a Raider has provided me with an even deeper feeling of hopefulness. Just call it the "Shellshank Redemption".
Andy Dufresne: "There are places in this world that aren't made out of stone, and that there's something inside that they can't get to ,and that they can't touch. It's yours."
Red: "What're you talking about?"
Andy Dufresne: "Hope. Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies. Get busy living, or get busy dying."
To gain more perspective on Raiders Head Coach Art Shell, here’s an insightful article worth reading.
Hope is a good thing,