Thursday, May 21, 2009

Fun Photos

Here are 4 photos that I find amusing or interesting for different reasons:

Is there any doubt who owns this nice trinket? If it was up to me, I would have advised him to go for the home jersey in onyx and the jersey number and name in ice.

Godfather bling supreme. Added bonus: It goes with the entire wardrobe!

The ultimate way to travel. The Oakland Raiders partner with Air Asia to market the Raider Nation brand globally. Nice ... very nice!

Last but not least, how about some serious ink. Is there any doubts whatsoever that this dude is a die-hard?

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Oakland Fury - Video

I enjoyed watching this 2008 video showcasing some of the young guns on offense. The Raiders have a strong core of young, skilled players on offense that should develop into an electric group. This group consists of Russell, Run DMc, Bush, JLH, DBH, Chaz, and Zach Miller. Enjoy the video and "Stay thirsty, my friends!" :D CJ is about to enjoy an ice cold Dos XX. Cheers Raider fans!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

3 Headed Monster

One of the Raiders' biggest strengths going into the 2009 season will be the offensive rushing attack. I believe that one of the most important elements to the Raiders overall success as a team will be determined by how the RBs are utilized.

It will be imperative for Head Coach Cable to use his trio of backs in a creative, diversified, and prudent manner. Darren McFadden, Michael Bush, and Justin Fargas are each more than capable of being the "lead" back. Each component of the 3 headed monster has a different running style and brings a different skill set to the table.

Darren McFadden
In the case of Darren McFadden, he would seem to be the prime candidate to be the lead back due to his explosive talent and overall versatility. The way that I view Run DMc is that he is the type of weapon who deserves as many touches and time on the field as possible. When 100% healthy, #20 showed his electric play making ability vs. K.C. in week 2. In this game, McFadden ran the ball 21 times for 164 yards (7.8 YPC) and 1 TD. After suffering through multiple bouts of the dreaded turf toe, McFadden gutted through the rest of the season. The turf toe kept McFadden's season rushing attempts to a minimum (113) yet he was still productive at 4.4 YPC and 499 rushing yards and 29 receptions.

One of the most important goals Cable should have for each game is to creatively mix and match his complement of running backs to maximize matchups. It is also critical from a strategic standpoint to keep McFadden on the field the vast majority of snaps. Here are some of the sets where McFadden forces the opponent's D to account for his presence:

* McFadden as a single back; 3 WR set
* McFadden in the I formation with Neal as his lead blocker
* McFadden in the I formation with Bush; McFadden motions out of the backfield as a WR
* McFadden in a 2 RB set with either Fargas or Bush
* McFadden lined up in the slot as a WR
* McFadden out wide as the Z WR
* McFadden as a QB in the wild cat formation; run/pass option

Run, catch, and pass ... McFadden is a big play waiting to happen.

CJ's prediction: McFadden - 272 rush attempts (17 per game) x 4.5 YPC = 1,224 yards; 45 receptions

Michael Bush
Michael Bush's extraordinary performance vs. TBay in the last game of the season sets things up for him to move to the #2 back in terms of carries. Prior to the TBay game, Bush received very little playing time and opportunities to show off his talent. Playing a Bucs team gunning for a playoff berth, Bush demonstrated his future worth to the Raiders by ringing up 177 yards on 27 carries (6.6 YPA) plus 2 TDs. This breakout performance was no fluke. Bush was one of the most productive running backs in the history of the NCAA. It was an awakening for Raider fans and coaches alike because it was the first time in Bush's 2 year career that he received 20+ carries in a single game.

Bush would have been a sure-fire 1st round selection in the 2007 draft if not for suffering a broken leg in his senior season at Louisville. He has a unique combination of attributes which makes him a perfect complimentary back to McFadden. His size (245lbs) strength, and straight-line speed is ideal as a 1 cut and go, between the tackles, downhill locomotive for the Raiders ZBS. Michael also has very soft hands as a pass catcher and the ability to pass on selected trick plays.

CJ's prediction:
Bush - 144 rush attempts (9 per game) x 4.4 YPC = 633 yards; 32 receptions

Justin Fargas
Justin Fargas, aka "Test Crash Dummy", is the ultimate selfless team warrior. Last year he led the team in carries (218) but produced only 3.4 YPC. His reckless, hard-charging running style does serve a valuable purpose. Fargas all-out efforts and determination is an inspirational reminder to the rest of the team. However, with the emergence of Bush at the end of the season and McFadden being a player capable of becoming an elite back, I believe Fargas' carries will be minimized to roughly 6-8 carries per game. As a back-up, change of pace, and injury insurance, Fargas will still be a key cog in the 3 headed monster. Each game in a 16 game season has unique and varied circumstances. Depending on injuries, opponent, weather conditions, and other variables, each back has an opportunity to be a difference maker.

CJ's prediction:
Fargas - 112 rush attempts (7 per game) x 4.0 YPC = 448 yards; 15 receptions

CJ's prediction on the 3 Headed Monster's production: 528 rush attempts for 2,335 yards

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Six - The Hard Way

In my last post, I took out a wide angle lens to frame the Raiders success over the past 46 years in comparison with our divisional rivals.

Tonight, I have the unpleasant task of focusing on the Raiders past 6 seasons in comparison with the entire league.

After reviewing all 32 teams' season records and playoff berths, only 5 of the 32 teams had the undesirable combination of (1) no playoff berths and (2) three or more seasons of double digit losses.

Oakland - No playoff berths + 6 seasons of 10+ losses
Detroit - No playoff berths + 5 seasons of 10+ losses
Cleveland - No playoff berths + 5 seasons of 10+ losses
San Francisco - No playoff berths + 3 seasons of 10+ losses
Houston - No playoff berths + 3 seasons of 10+ losses

There were additional teams that met half the parameters but not both such as:

Buffalo - No playoff berths + 2 seasons of 10+ losses
St.Louis - 2 playoff berths + 3 seasons of 10+ losses
Miami - 1 playoff berth + 3 seasons of 10+ losses
Arizona - 1 playoff berth (SB appearance) + 4 seasons of 10+ losses
Washington - 2 playoff berth2 + 3 seasons of 10+ losses

The elite teams over this six year span clearly were the following teams:

New England - 5 playoff berths, 3 SB appearances, 2 SB victories + 0 seasons of 10+ losses
Pittsburgh - 4 playoff berths, 2 SB appearances, 2 SB victories + 1 season of 10+ losses
Indy - 6 playoff berths, 1 SB appearances, 1 SB victory + 0 seasons of 10+ losses
NYG - 4 playoff berths, 1 SB appearances, 1 SB victories + 2 seasons of 10+ losses
Seattle - 5 playoff berths, 1 SB appearances + 1 season of 10+ losses
Philly - 4 playoff berths, 1 SB appearances + 1 season of 10+ losses
San Diego - 4 playoff berths + 1 season of 10+ loss

You might be asking "So ... what's your point, Calico Jack?" Let me share my untarnished opinions and you are welcome to take them for what they are worth.

#1 There are bad seasons (no playoffs, 10+ losses), mediocre seasons (7-9 wins; no playoffs) and good seasons (10+ wins, playoffs). 6 bad seasons in a row is nothing short of vomit stew.

#2 In a league driven by parity, 6 seasons of ineptitude is totally inexcusable. Only 16% of the entire league (5 of 32 teams) were true bottom feeders.

#3 When you start stacking enough consecutive double digit loss seasons together, a losing culture and dysfunction rears it's ugly head.

#4 The 2 key alpha leaders of any franchise are the QB & Head Coach. Since Gannon went down, it has been an endless cycle of poor performing QBs and a Head Coaching carousel.

#5 JaMarcus Russell and Tom Cable need to end this vicious cycle now by providing the required top level performance and leadership.

#6 Any way you slice it, this has been the worst stretch in the franchise's proud history.

#7 Lucky Number 7 as in season 7 needs to see tangible progress. Solid improvement would be a 7,8,9 win season. This would be gaining traction, establishing consistency, and building stability. Another 4,5,6 season is continued ineptitude and another "Oh sh*t, here we go again".

Friday, May 08, 2009

AFC WEST Scoreboard (1963 to Present)

Being a Raider fan has been especially difficult the past 6 seasons. What really gets under my nerves are the fans from our divisional rivals who talk trash but don't have the numbers to back up their unfounded rubbish.

Most of this gibberish tends to center around putting down owner Al Davis. Al Davis joined the Raiders in 1963 as Head Coach and General Manager. The numbers below paint the accomplishments of each respective divisional team throughout this period of time. By any objective standard for measuring and comparing these franchises, the Raiders have clearly been the team which has been the most successful. Using the 7 categories below, the Raiders outrank the Chiefs and Chargers across the board. The Raiders outrank the Broncos in 5 of 7 categories.

Here is the true AFC West scoreboard from 1963 to the present:


Playoff Appearances (seasons)





Playoff Wins (games)





Divisional Titles





AFC Championship Appearances





AFC Championship Titles





Super Bowl Appearances





Super Bowl Championships





Taking it 1 step further, here are additional facts for divisional rival foes to calibrate the next time they open their pie holes:

San Diego: Prior to the 2007 season, the Chargers last playoff victory came in 1994. The trophy case remains void of a single Lombardi Trophy.

Kansas City: The Chiefs only Super Bowl victory was 40 years ago and last playoff win was in 1993. 16 years have gone by without a single playoff victory and you want to harp on the Raiders recent 6 season swoon?

Denver: Since Elway hung up his cleats after the 1998 season, the Broncos have won 1 divisional title and 1 playoff game.

Oakland: To put the above facts in perspective, the Raiders have won 4 playoff games, 3 divisional titles and appeared in the Super Bowl within the last 9 years.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

JaMarcus Russell - The Franchise

After getting a full season as the starter under his belt in 2008, Russell is ready to make the next leap in his career progression. As fans, we got a glimpse of the game slowing down for #2 in the last 6 games of the season. Enjoy the video and "Stay thristy, my friends!" C.J. :D

Throwback AFL Uniforms

As a part of the 50 year AFL anniversary, 8 teams including the Raiders will be busting out throwback uniforms during selected games in the 2009 season.

From NBCBayAreaSports:

“Interestingly, the throwback Raider uniforms are not the original uniforms they wore in 1960, the season we're celebrating the anniversary of here. From 1960-1962, the Raiders wore gold and black. But Al Davis switched the team colors to silver and black when he took over as coach and general manager in 1963.”

Here are the 4 games that the Raiders will be wearing their 1963 uniforms and helmets:

Monday, September 14: Chargers at Raiders
Sunday, October 25: Jets/Titans at Raiders
Sunday, November 15: Chiefs/Dallas Texans at Raiders
Thursday, November 26: Raiders at Cowboys (Thanksgiving Day game)