2015 Raiders: Back in (Silver and) Black?

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I think we're finally seeing a Raiders revival.  This is one of the great franchises in the game and the league is better when they're at least competitive.  Its only three games and I'm not predicting them to make the playoffs.  But I could see this as an 8-8 or 7-9 type team that has the firepower to beat anybody if things are breaking right for them.  I'm not sure they have the quality up and down the roster, especially on defense, to really compete with the better teams in the league over the course of the whole season.  But they've done a fantastic job in the last couple years adding key pieces through the draft.  Carr may never become a superstar but he's pretty clearly got the talent to be at least an average starting QB in the league (which is a rare thing to find) and the best QB the franchise has had since Rich Gannon.  Mack is an absolute stud.  Amari Cooper is proving correct the people who thought he was the closest thing to a slam dunk you were going to find in the draft.  I also really like Latavius Murray as a solid all-around back and a good fit for their offense.
 
Going back to last year, they're 5-4 in their last nine games with a couple nice scalps in that run (Baltimore, KC).  Their schedule is fairly soft in the middle of this year before getting brutal at the end.  So I could see them hovering around or just above .500 for a while and getting some buzz before faltering down the stretch.  But give them a good offseason adding quality depth through the draft and FA and this team could challenge for the division in 2016 against a Manning-less Broncos, a still-led-by-Andy-Reid-and-Alex-Smith Chiefs, and a faltering Chargers franchise.  That's probably the best position the Silver and Black have enjoyed since 2002.
 

tims4wins

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Agreed with all of the above. I watched quite a bit of Carr last year and was mostly impressed. Like you said he may never become a superstar, but I could definitely see him in the top 10 of QBs in the next couple of years. I really like his game and as you noted he has a lot of weapons to work with. They definitely need more depth and talent on D but that is a franchise headed in the right direction, at least at the moment, which like you said is probably the best thing you can say about them since 2002. A team I will definitely have my eye on this year every week.
 

Gunfighter 09

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You guys are killing me, knock it off. My dream scenario for this season featured someone on this forum noticing that the team might be worth talking about around week three or four.
 
I think MMS nails the schedule piece, it looks soft at the start and they might get really lucky, missing both Cutler (edit: The Chicago sell off can't hurt) and Big Ben when they play at Chicago and Pittsburgh. The end is hellacious, as December looks like this:
 
- KC at Home
-At Denver
-Green Bay at Home
-San Diego at Home on Christmas Eve, in probably the last game ever in Oakland
-At KC
 
They face three of their four toughest home games with two cold weather division games mixed in. Winning even two of those games in December will be a challenge for the Raiders.
 
The offense looks really good so far and might be a top half or even top ten unit. The influx of Wide Receiver talent (only one real returning receiver from last year is playing) and the upgrade at the center position and on the right side of the offensive line seems to be paying significant dividends. Further, Carr's improvement in season two is pretty dramatic, in terms of his ability to find secondary receivers and willingness and ability to throw the ball down the field. The final element of the offense that is much better than last year is the fact that Latavius Murray is the feature back, rather than sitting on the bench behind the corpses of MJD and Darren McFadden. That nine game sample that MMS notes starts at the KC home game last year, which was the first game Murray started and received significant carries. The additions of Roy Helu and brining Taiwan Jones back to running back from CB has also helped the running game actually make positive early down gains and kept Carr out of the constant third and long holes he faced last year.  They are 7th in total offense right now, even though they only had Carr for three possessions in week one. I think they stay somewhere in that rage (health dependent) for most of the season.
 
The Defense is a bit of a mess and will likely struggle to stop the passing game all year long. They are 13th against the run and 30th against the pass. They made a decision to go with young homegrown corners, rather than bring in veterans and that has hurt them a bit. Worse, they revamped the linebacker and safety positions through free agency (with the exception of brining back Charles Woodson) and they have been destroyed by Tight Ends and slot receivers in all three games (fantasy tip - play the tight end that gets to face the Raiders - that would be Martellus Bennett this week). Part of this is because they lost free agent safety signing Nate Allen on the third play of the season, so their plan to shift Woodson to strong safety and play Allen where he is useful, in centerfield, has been shelved. Woodson is a bit like Peyton Manning at this point, in that he makes plays with his mind, not his feet, so he has had a couple of great, clutch moments, but is largely a liability in coverage. Woodson also has played the last two games with a dislocated shoulder, and his usually strong tackling has been suspect. The linebackers have been solid against the run, but absolute disasters in coverage. The strength of the defense is having two young, dynamic defensive ends in Khalil Mack and Aldon Smith and it shows in that almost every successful play the defense has had this year has been a result of pressure by one of the ends. If / when Smith gets suspended or if Mack gets hurt, it is hard to imagine how they will stop anyone. The hopefull view is that they will keep the two defensive ends healthy and active, the young corners will continue to grow and that they will get Allen back in early November, which will fix the problems defending the middle of the field against the pass.
 
MMS is right, the future is bright. They have $70M in straight cap room next year, with a projected $18M in carryover. They can make another $30M in cap room by eliminating contracts with no dead money. They have to resign LT Donald Penn, Aldon Smith, Justin Tuck and Michael Crabtree and will probably want to do an extension for Murray. After that, they will still have $60ish million to spend. They have all of their draft picks going forward and will either have an extra 5th or 6th round pick from the Sio Moore and Brice Butler trades. Reggie McKenzie has done a great job turning over the roster and getting the salary cap situation in a good place and I think they finally have a competitive Coaching staff.  It is hard to say how the potential for a move will affect them in recruiting free agents, but they did just spend almost $50M to completely rebuild their facility in Oakland, which are now finally up to competitive standards with the rest of the league. They should peak in around 2016, right as the rest of the division is both leveraged against the salary cap and replacing key older components, so there is quite a bit of hope for first time in a long, long time.
 

E5 Yaz

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Yeah, this might taken a couple of years, but San Diego can't seem to get out of its own way, Denver is a potential mess on offense, and Kansas City has Andy Reid and Alex Smith. The Raiders are primed for a leap forward. Carr gets most of the kudos, but that defense is nothing to sneeze at.
 

Al Zarilla

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[SIZE=10.5pt]Raiders finished 8 - 8 in 2010 and 2011 after 7 really bad years, but then went really bad again for the next 3 years. How sure are y'all that this is the real thing? I see a lot of well thought out, reasoned good stuff in the thread so far, but I'll believe it when I see it. Too bad the Raiders don't play the 49ers this year. They should play every year.[/SIZE]
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Gunfighter 09 said:
You guys are killing me, knock it off. My dream scenario for this season featured someone on this forum noticing that the team might be worth talking about around week three or four.
 
I think MMS nails the schedule piece, it looks soft at the start and they might get really lucky, missing both Cutler and Big Ben when they play at Chicago and Pittsburgh. The end is hellacious, as December looks like this:
 
- KC at Home
-At Denver
-Green Bay at Home
-San Diego at Home on Christmas Eve, in probably the last game ever in Oakland
-At KC
 
They face three of their four toughest home games with two cold weather division games mixed in. Winning even two of those games in December will be a challenge for the Raiders.
 
The offense looks really good so far and might be a top half or even top ten unit. The influx of Wide Receiver talent (only one real returning receiver from last year is playing) and the upgrade at the center position and on the right side of the offensive line seems to be paying significant dividends. Further, Carr's improvement in season two is pretty dramatic, in terms of his ability to find secondary receivers and willingness and ability to throw the ball down the field. The final element of the offense that is much better than last year is the fact that Latavius Murray is the feature back, rather than sitting on the bench behind the corpses of MJD and Darren McFadden. That nine game sample that MMS notes starts at the KC home game last year, which was the first game Murray started and received significant carries. The additions of Roy Helu and brining Taiwan Jones back to running back from CB has also helped the running game actually make positive early down gains and kept Carr out of the constant third and long holes he faced last year.  They are 7th in total offense right now, even though they only had Carr for three possessions in week one. I think they stay somewhere in that rage (health dependent) for most of the season.
 
The Defense is a bit of a mess and will likely struggle to stop the passing game all year long. They are 13th against the run and 30th against the pass. They made a decision to go with young homegrown corners, rather than bring in veterans and that has hurt them a bit. Worse, they revamped the linebacker and safety positions through free agency (with the exception of brining back Charles Woodson) and they have been destroyed by Tight Ends and slot receivers in all three games (fantasy tip - play the tight end that gets to face the Raiders - that would be Martellus Bennett this week). Part of this is because they lost free agent safety signing Nate Allen on the third play of the season, so their plan to shift Woodson to strong safety and play Allen where he is useful, in centerfield, has been shelved. Woodson is a bit like Peyton Manning at this point, in that he makes plays with his mind, not his feet, so he has had a couple of great, clutch moments, but is largely a liability in coverage. Woodson also has played the last two games with a dislocated shoulder, and his usually strong tackling has been suspect. The linebackers have been solid against the run, but absolute disasters in coverage. The strength of the defense is having two young, dynamic defensive ends in Khalil Mack and Aldon Smith and it shows in that almost every successful play the defense has had this year has been a result of pressure by one of the ends. If / when Smith gets suspended or if Mack gets hurt, it is hard to imagine how they will stop anyone. The hopefull view is that they will keep the two defensive ends healthy and active, the young corners will continue to grow and that they will get Allen back in early November, which will fix the problems defending the middle of the field against the pass.
 
MMS is right, the future is bright. They have $70M in straight cap room next year, with a projected $18M in carryover. They can make another $30M in cap room by eliminating contracts with no dead money. They have to resign LT Donald Penn, Aldon Smith, Justin Tuck and Michael Crabtree and will probably want to do an extension for Murray. After that, they will still have $60ish million to spend. They have all of their draft picks going forward and will either have an extra 5th or 6th round pick from the Sio Moore and Brice Butler trades. Reggie McKenzie has done a great job turning over the roster and getting the salary cap situation in a good place and I think they finally have a competitive Coaching staff.  It is hard to say how the potential for a move will affect them in recruiting free agents, but they did just spend almost $50M to completely rebuild their facility in Oakland, which are now finally up to competitive standards with the rest of the league. They should peak in around 2016, right as the rest of the division is both leveraged against the salary cap and replacing key older components, so there is quite a bit of hope for first time in a long, long time.
 
Thanks Gunfighter.  That's a great writeup and gives me a lot better understanding of where the team stands.
 
I've mainly just seen highlights but Amari Cooper looks really freaking good.  He hasn't been playing against slouches (Joe Haden, Jimmy Smith) either.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Al Zarilla said:
[SIZE=10.5pt]Raiders finished 8 - 8 in 2010 and 2011 after 7 really bad years, but then went really bad again for the next 3 years. How sure are y'all that this is the real thing? I see a lot of well thought out, reasoned good stuff in the thread so far, but I'll believe it when I see it. Too bad the Raiders don't play the 49ers this year. They should play every year.[/SIZE]
 
One big difference is that they got to 8-8 those years by trading high round draft picks for veterans like Seymour, Wimbley, and Palmer and handing out a bunch of big contracts to other guys that landed them in salary cap hell,.  That was never going to be a strategy for anything more than achieving short-term mediocrity.  This time around they've drafted potentially cornerstone players at key positions like Carr, Mack, and Cooper and have mainly avoided bad contracts (at least long term ones).
 

Rudi Fingers

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Gunfighter 09 said:
 
 
The Defense is a bit of a mess and will likely struggle to stop the passing game all year long. They are 13th against the run and 30th against the pass. They made a decision to go with young homegrown corners, rather than bring in veterans and that has hurt them a bit. 
 
Interesting (and scary) profile of Mark Davis today.  Relevant quote:
 
 
After the Raiders' third preseason game, a 30-23 loss to the Cardinals in Oakland, Davis went to dinner with a group that included his mother, Carol, and general manager Reggie McKenzie. With no explanation, Davis ripped the top corners off a piece of paper and handed them to McKenzie.
"This is what I need you to get me," Davis said.
McKenzie, flummoxed, turned the tiny triangles over in his hands.
Seeing nothing, McKenzie gave up. "What is this?" he asked.
"Two corners," Davis said. "I need you to get me two corners."
 
http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/13735322/are-mark-davis-raiders-leaving-oakland
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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After I made this thread, the Raiders proceeded to lose to the Bears.  So at the risk of jinxing them again...bump.
 
This team is pretty good and really fun to watch.  They wiped the floor with both the Chargers and the Jets in the first half of those games.
 
If you could pick a trio of players from any single team to build around going forward in the NFL, how many trios do you pick over Derek Carr, Amari Cooper, and Khalil Mack? 
 

tims4wins

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Clearly this is not a mirage, as they could well be 6-1 instead of 4-3. Of course part of becoming a good team is learning how to close out games.

Very interesting and big game this week. If they win they will have head to head wins over two of their biggest competitors for a wild card spot. Can they win on the road vs. a good team?
 

dcmissle

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Morgan's Magic Snowplow said:
After I made this thread, the Raiders proceeded to lose to the Bears.  So at the risk of jinxing them again...bump.
 
This team is pretty good and really fun to watch.  They wiped the floor with both the Chargers and the Jets in the first half of those games.
 
If you could pick a trio of players from any single team to build around going forward in the NFL, how many trios do you pick over Derek Carr, Amari Cooper, and Khalil Mack? 
Weighing in with superstitious trepidation too. I'd really like them to grab a wild card spot, or at the very least mature and learn how to win.
 

Gunfighter 09

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Reggie McKenzie has done a great drafting young studs like the guys mentioned above and mixing in quality mid level free agent veterans like Woodson, Crabtree Dan Williams and Malcolm Smith. If the season ended today he would have to be executive of the year.

His best work, and the key to offense's success (5th in DVOA) has been the offensive line. The same 5 guys:

LT Donald Penn- FA signing from the Bucs
LG Gabe Jackson- 3rd round 2014 draft
C Rodney Hudson- FA from the Chiefs
RG Jamarcus Wedd - Street FA
RT Austin Howard- FA signing from the Jets

Have played all 369 snaps this year. FO has them #1 in pass blocking and 10th in run blocking this year. Hudson is the highest paid lineman in football this year(his deal is massively front loaded with all guaranteed $ this year) but has made a huge difference with his mobility and leadership. 2013 2nd round pick Menelik Watson won the RT job in training camp, but tore his Achilles in the 3rd preseason game. Mike Tice has done a great job putting this line together and it really is the key to Carr's improvement and the offense's flexibility. If they can stay healthy, the Raider's will be tough to stop.

I did not expect them to tear the Jets apart like they did, as they had saved their best work for bad defenses like San Diego and the Ravens before last week. If they can repeat that performance and get a win in one of the next two against Minnesota and at Pittsburgh, they will be in great shape. Beating Pittsburgh would give them 5 conference wins and tiebreakers over the Jets and Steelers.

At the end of November, the Raiders hit a soft part of the schedule (Detroit & Tennessee) before closing out with four division games and Green Bay. If they can get to those last five December games with seven wins, they will be in a great position to get the 9 or 10 wins it will take to secure the wild card.

I am afraid to believe just yet, but this has been pretty fun so far. They are a great team to watch, which hasn't been true for over a dozen years.
 

burstnbloom

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This is a really fun team to watch.  The upgrades at WR have really helped Carr build on the promise that he showed last year.  It's amazing that among all the hyped young QB's to come out the last couple of years, Carr appears to be the one with the most promise.  I can't believe it, but I'm rooting for these guys to continue to improve.  
 

Al Zarilla

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burstnbloom said:
This is a really fun team to watch.  The upgrades at WR have really helped Carr build on the promise that he showed last year.  It's amazing that among all the hyped young QB's to come out the last couple of years, Carr appears to be the one with the most promise.  I can't believe it, but I'm rooting for these guys to continue to improve.  
I don't think he has enough on his resume yet to put him ahead of Russell Wilson. As for Andrew Luck, a hall of famer named Steve Young wasn't good with a bad Tampa Bay team, had to get with the 49ers before he became outstanding. Luck has looked terrible a a lot this year but I don't think he's suddenly lost it. His team and coaching suck too.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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This offense is a lot of fun, and the defense is adequate enough to keep them in games.

The league is more fun when the silver and black are competitive. Maybe they'll dig up the corpse of Al Davis to put him back in the owners box where he belongs.
 

GeorgeCostanza

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I don't think he has enough on his resume yet to put him ahead of Russell Wilson. As for Andrew Luck, a hall of famer named Steve Young wasn't good with a bad Tampa Bay team, had to get with the 49ers before he became outstanding. Luck has looked terrible a a lot this year but I don't think he's suddenly lost it. His team and coaching suck too.
One may ask, has Luck every really had "it"? Remember a guy named Stafford put up 40TDs and 5000 yards in a season. Outside of last season Luck has been good, for a rookie, average second year, and dogshit this year.
 

burstnbloom

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I don't think he has enough on his resume yet to put him ahead of Russell Wilson. As for Andrew Luck, a hall of famer named Steve Young wasn't good with a bad Tampa Bay team, had to get with the 49ers before he became outstanding. Luck has looked terrible a a lot this year but I don't think he's suddenly lost it. His team and coaching suck too.
This must have gotten lost in the changeover but I replied to this saying that I really wasn't thinking about Luck, Wilson or Tannehill when I made that post. I think of the 2012 class as Veterans now. I realize that is arbitrary and probably kind of dumb on my part, but I was thinking of the 2013/2014 classes (Manziel, Bridgewater, Geno, Manuel etc.). Carr is closer to the three guys in the 2012 class than he is to those other guys, though you're right, he still does have a lot to prove.
 

Gunfighter 09

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The terrible loss to the Steelers is going to hurt the Raiders quite a bit in terms of tie breakers more than anything, but it doesn't throw them terribly far off schedule for a shot at the wild card. They needed to split the Jets & Steelers games and they did that. I thought they had them with the score tied and Landry Jones at Qb, but I underestimated Ken Norton's ability to completely misunderstand the game situation and the opposing team's likelihood to use their best weapon. I can't believe they single covered Antonio Brown with no protection over the top on the most important play of the game. They seemed too focused on preventing a three yard run, when a 50 yard pass was really the only way they could lose at that point.

Updating two points from my post from a few weeks ago:

Y

1. The offense looks really good so far and might be a top half or even top ten unit.

2. The Defense is a bit of a mess and will likely struggle to stop the passing game all year long..... If / when Smith gets suspended or if Mack gets hurt, it is hard to imagine how they will stop anyone.....The hopeful view is that they will keep the two defensive ends healthy and active, the young corners will continue to grow and that they will get Allen back in early November, which will fix the problems defending the middle of the field against the pass.
1. I might have underestimated how good the offense is. I think their ceiling is top 5 or even top 3. I am having trouble accepting that Carr is this good. He is hitting what I envisioned as his year 3 or 4 ceiling right now. I have suspected that much of his success was due to the great protection he has received. But even after Center Rodney Hudson went down in the fourth quarter he continued to shred the Steeler's defense yesterday. The game was really lost with five drops, three of them on third down and a terrible route by a rookie TE leading to his pick in the end zone, but Carr hung in there and continued to move the ball. Look at these numbers and see the answer on who QB #2 is at the bottom of the post:

Rk Player Team Pos Comp Att Pct Att/G Yds Avg Yds/G TD Int 1st 1st% Lng 20+ 40+ Sck Rate

1 Derek Carr OAK QB 174 273 63.7 34.1 2,094 7.7 261.8 19 4 96 35.2 68T 30 7 8 104.3

2 ---------------------- QB 163 252 64.7 31.5 1,937 7.7 242.1 19 3 83 32.9 65T 31 5 19 108.2


2. They can't stop the pass at all, though that might get better. Nate Allen comes back to help out Woodson at Safety this week and they didn't have their only good coverage guy, CB/S TJ Carrie, yesterday and he will be back next week. Khalil Mack didn't practice midweek with a lingering hamstring injury and looked a step slow yesterday. Yesterday has to be the low point for the passing defense, but I don't think they have the horses or the defensive coordinator to stop any good passing offense.

They need to win the Minnesota game, then get the Titans and Lions in the next two games before their tough December stretch.






The answer is Aaron Rogers, which is nuts. I am pretty excited.
 

Al Zarilla

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Gunfighter, yeah, the 19 3 gave it away, then the 108.2 left no doubt. Other QBs can have the % completion, yards, yards per attempt in the range but the crazy TD/INT ratio could only be a couple of guys and I knew what Brady's is.

When I watch the Raiders and Carr, I keep expecting him to start doing dumb stuff and making bad passes because it's been so long since a QB in that uniform hasn't done those things. It is looking more and more like he is the real deal. What does it do to you if they move to LA again?

Edit, Andy Dalton has a TD/INT ratio in the range also.
 
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Gunfighter 09

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What does it do to you if they move to LA again?
.
My family is from the Central Coast and I live in San Diego, so from a fan perspective, LA or Oakland makes little difference to me. Right now our tickets are $50 a game with no other fees and we have been able to work our way up to row 1, second deck, in a corner. Of course, O.Co is a fucking abomination that is dirty, poorly maintained, has terrible contract customer service and the most expensive concessions in professional sports. So, I will not miss that place, though it has an awesome tailgating environment.

If they move to LA, there will likely be a PSL fee in the range of $5K and the price per ticket will likely double. There will be no guarantees that we will get our same seat locations, though our season ticket rep has implied that we will have first shot at PSLs if they move. I imagine the concessions will be about the same price, but the stadium environment will be top of the line. This assumes a Carson stadium where the Raiders have a stake in the process.

The top concern for me is the success of the franchise, so I favor a move to LA under the right conditions, specifically the Carson deal with the Chargers. I am less enthusiastic for them being Stan's tenant in Inglewood in a stadium without a parking lot that caters to more upscale fans and is built to the Rams spec. I would probably prefer they find a way to get a stadium funded in Oakland than rent from the Rams, but I doubt a stadium in Oakland is possible.

One thing is for certain, there are more Raider fans than any other NFL brand in LA, so they would succeed there. But I don't know if the generally working class and darker complected Raider fans are what Roger Goodell and Co are looking for in their big move back into LA. They want corporate $ and fans from Orange County and West of the 405, so a Rams and their billionaire owner is the most likely answer. Marc Davis is supposedly selling a ~15% share to a big name in LA to help bring cash and marketing savvy to the team, so it will be interesting to see if that changes the calculus prior to the big votes in January.

Follow these guys on twitter if you really want good NFL to LA info:

Vincent Bonsignore
@DailyNewsVinny

Sam Farmer
@LATimesfarmer

Fred Roggin
@FredNBCLA

 
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Tony C

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One thing is for certain, there are more Raider fans than any other NFL brand in LA, so they would succeed there. But I don't know if the generally working class and darker complected Raider fans are what Roger Goodell and Co are looking for in their big move back into LA. They want corporate $ and fans from Orange County and West of the 405, so a Rams and their billionaire owner is the most likely answer. Marc Davis is supposedly selling a ~15% share to a big name in LA to help bring cash and marketing savvy to the team, so it will be interesting to see if that changes the calculus prior to the big votes in January.


Has there been much talk about this, or is it one of those great unspokens? For those who don't know, the Raiders were and remain the team of L.A.'s Latinos -- mostly Mexican Americans. That has the great advantage of a readymade and rabid fan base -- nothing L.A. Clipper style where all except a small minority are drive-by fans, which could happen with the Rams and/or Chargers. But the "downside" is references to the "gang atmosphere" back when the Raiders were in L.A. -- i.e., a not too subtle racism (as with Dodger Stadium, the solution to that is to spend a few bucks on security, not demonize an entire ethnic group). It's been a puzzle to me that the Chargers and Rams are considered favorites to move to L.A. (and, yes, the Rams have a history here, but no fanbase of note, and the Chargers being in SD already would give them a claim to being a SoCal team, but even less of an L.A. fanbase than the Rams), but that might be the explanation. Probably is.

Anyway, agree on the excitement about the Raiders and Carr. The league is better when the Raiders are good.
 

dcmissle

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5 arrests since 2012. In August, hit and run drunken driving. This was under substance abuse policy.
 

Gunfighter 09

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One arrest for being an asshole to TSA, one arrest for having a Federally legal, but non California compliant AR-15. Two DUIs and then his incident in August, where he hit a car while parking, then opened his door and hit another car. He then went into a nearby restaurant and came back drunk according to the cops, sober but pissed off according to Smith. Either way, he failed the sobriety test and was an asshole to the cops.

Well, the Raiders took a risk, and got OK production for 8 games at a total cost of $4M.

Their best case at this point is that he beats the case in court, which apparently seems possible, and then takes the NFL to court to be re-instated, since they suspended him prior to adjudication for something that hurt nothing other than someone's paint job (that is the charitable view, of course, based on his track record, it is probably safe to assume the cops are right and he was drunk). His court date isn't until December, so this year is finished, but he might see the start of next year if he can continue Goodell's court losing streak.

He is technically a free agent as of today. However, he seems to have responded well to the way the Raiders have handled him, and wants to return next year (see quote below). This also likely means that his mentor Justin Tuck is likely back next year is well, despite being a free agent.

“First, I want to thank the Raiders, my teammates, the fans, our coaches and our owner for supporting me throughout all of this,” he said in the statement. “I am taking this time to work on myself and become the man I need to be, my team and organization needs me to be, and I know I can be.

“I had lost my love for the game and it led me to some poor choices, but I am thankful to the Raider organization for believing in me this season and will continue to better myself and grow from my experiences. I look forward to rejoining the team next year.”
http://www.sfchronicle.com/raiders/article/Raiders-Smith-suspended-for-a-year-by-NFL-6639185.php?t=9a48b1dc71f294ee0d&cmpid=twitter-premium
 

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I really hope Smith isn't just saying the right things, and he gets the help he needs because he's a fantastic talent who has an alcohol problem. If he has found a mentor (Tuck) who can help him get through today (and 363 more), Smith and the Raiders will profit greatly.
 

Gunfighter 09

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And the Raiders break out of their slump with a win in Tennessee. I like the way DelRio prepares the team and the way he runs a professional operation compared to past Raiders coaches, but his conservatism is killing me. He seems to operate under the mistaken impression that he has a good defense and an average offense. He has taken his foot off of the play calling gas in every Raider win this year.

Fortunately Derrick Carr is a fucking star. He was great on the game winning drive. His throw for winning TD was a work of art made when he knew he was going to lit up, the receiver wasn't out of his break and he needed to put enough air under it to give the receiver time to get under it. He delivered it perfectly, got smashed and the Raiders won.

The Raiders have not had a drafted QB work out like this since Ken Stabler, the three most successful QB's since then, Plunkett, Hostetler and Gannon, have all been pulled off the scrap heap. Raider fans like me have been waiting our whole lives to watch a young QB turn into a star like this. This is pretty cool, and now I understand why other fans get so excited when a young QB draft pick hits.
 

Sox and Rocks

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Yeah, Carr is legit. He's probably a top 10 QB right now, and his ceiling could vault him into the legit range.

While the offense has been far better than I expected, the defense has been bad, and given that there is talent there and that Del Rio has been a successful D coordinator, it's hard to fathom. You obviously watch more of their games than I do, but it seems like the secondary is really bad, especially the corners. They were bad last year, too, and Mackenzie failed to upgrade the position. Is this a fair statement? Last year he brought in some veterans to mentor the younger corners, but this year he went with all young corners instead of using some of their massive cap space on the position, and from what I've seen, this strategy has failed. I know the free agent CB class wasn't all that good, but there were players who would be a major upgrade over what they have now.
 

Tony C

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Apr 13, 2000
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I think you answered the question. They have a whole offense -- up and coming QB, a really good RB, a surprisingly good OL, and some really good receivers (Cooper is all that and more). The defense...has some pieces. But with such poor DBs a pretty good DL and LB corps can't hold up. Amazing how much more talent this team has than the last few years when really each element was sub-par.

To me this is a transitional season. Draft/sign some CBs and safeties for next year and looking at a playoff team.
 

j-man

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Dec 19, 2012
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the raiders are going to be denver biggest worry going foward but they have to get their stadium worked out by 2018

i am 4/haif hours from st louis that couild be a good spot for SD or Oak oakland can get a fanbase anywhere and st louis will build a nice stadium for the raiders if the Raiders go to the NFC then i wouild push for NFC South with tampa going to the nfc west
 

soxfan121

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Dec 22, 2002
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Vic Tafur ‏@VicTafur 38m38 minutes ago
Sounds like the NFL may try and force Raiders to play at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara

@Gunfighter 09

Re: relocation
First, it is the NFL, so it's completely believable that there's a secret bylaw inserted into the NFL Constitution requiring the Davis family get fucked at all times, until they sell or the universe ends. That is how much Pete Rozelle hated Al.

Second, if this is remotely true, it's more proof that the NFL legal office is run by the most arrogant jerks in America. Jed York must have peed himself a little thinking about the rental income.
 

Gunfighter 09

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Sure fire first ballot Hall of Famer Charles Woodson is retiring at the end of the season. Christmas Eve will be his last home game.



The numbers:

8(soon to be 9) Pro Bowls
4 times 1st Team All Pro
3 Times 2nd Team All Pro - he will be either 1st or 2nd team All Pro this year

65 Interceptions - 5th all time, one more gets him 4th
11 Pick Sixes - 2nd all time, one more ties him for 1st
13 total defensive touchdowns - first all time

The only player with 60 (or 50) INTs and 20 Sacks

All Pro and Pro Bowl player in three decades
Defensive Rookie of the Year
Defensive Player of the Year

At 39, he is third in the league in Interceptions and first in fumble recoveries. I think he is the best defensive player who has played for the Raiders, better than Howie Long, Mike Haynes, Ted Hendricks or Willie Brown. He is probably the nickel back on the all time NFL team. He is my favorite Raider ever, so it might get a bit dusty in our seats on Thursday night.
 

loshjott

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Dec 30, 2004
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And he beat out Peyton Manning for the Heisman.

I'm glad he got a SB championship, and glad it wasn't with the Raiders. I'll never get over Darryl Stingley and Ben Dreith.