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Opinion: Raiders Have The Firepower To Save Winless Season

(Image courtesy of Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
(Image courtesy of Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Oakland Raiders had a new coach in Tony Sparano and a new attitude as they faced the 4-1 San Diego Chargers this past Sunday.

In the game they didn’t have the best outcome, but had the team played their best game by far all season long. The Raiders rookie quarterback Derek Carr made history for the franchise as he became the first Raiders quarterback to throw for four touchdowns.

His first and only mistake came with one minute left on the clock as he threw the ball to cornerback Jason Verrett of the Chargers.  The Raiders battle the first place Chargers till the last-minute–and in sense–was a moral victory with better things to come this season.

But what happened to the Raiders prior to Sunday and where does the team go from here?

Raiders are a team in flux, admit it Raider Nation. Everyone surrounded by the NFL knows it. The average fan has stereotyped them as the worst team in the NFL for years now and now they simply are its caught up to them in 2014.

Let me start by saying that as a true Raiders fan, I have been thru thick and thin. I was there in Los Angeles when they raised the Super Bowl trophy back in 1983. Exactly a 30-year drought okay in between they been to a Super Bowl and a couple of AFC Championship appearances, but in all that was history, the team has struggled to get a winning record in 12 seasons.

I am not going to explain a long history of coaching changes and quarterback disasters most of you reading know the historical part, but let’s flashback to 2011. The best season they had in the last 12 years, it was historical but the team lost their founder, owner and coach Al Davis.

In reality, as he got older the team went downhill.

Beginning back in back in 2011, Davis brought in an experienced offensive-minded coach in Hue Jackson. His Raiders team went 8-8, beating long-time bitter old AFL rivals such as the Denver Broncos and Kansas Chiefs, and having dramatic wins against the Houston Texans and Chicago Bears.

At this time, the Raiders were in the midst of building, but it was all scraped away and shortly forgotten as Marc Davis, the son of Al, inherited the team.

Shortly after the season,  he hired current general manager, Reggie McKenzie, who cleaned house and fired Jackson as well. He wanted a complete new slate a new feel around the building. But he slipped into the shadows of his dad, Al in hiring and firing head coaches.

McKenzie stepped in and didn’t hire a well-known or overpriced coach or anybody with head coaching experience. He hired Dennis Allen, former defensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos. The long-time secondary coach had no head coaching or leadership experience, and it showed.

Firing Allen was the best step for the team, but in recognizing the intentions of Davis and McKenzie, a new regime will seem continue to swindle underneath the covers.

First order of business for the Raiders should be hiring the right head coach for the team to begin the proper revival, instead of another five-year plan. But picking up where they left off and promoting Sparano, may be a blessing.

But transformation of the team just doesn’t happen with the changes made in management and staff. To McKenzie, it’s seems to me that he is not a real manager or the type of person who knows how to build a successful enterprise.  In any industry or in any business, the way people on a team with a good leader, have the ability to make success with the right plan and strategies in place.

This holds the same true for the Raiders.

The Oakland Raiders are a company with an owner and a general manager and lots of talented workers. So why are the laughing-stock of the league you ask?

Believe me, Raider Nation will support the team in thick or thin. Silver and Black fans understand the NFL and their players and love their team. Many other fans across the NFL spectrum are very critical and stereotype the fan base as gang-bangers among other names.

When they not only have a great fan base in the United States, but in the world. It was shown in London a couple of weeks back in the loss they took to the Dolphins.  Falling from the top of the mountain to the bottom is where they are now.

This needs to begin with Davis and McKenzie working together with Sparano and his coaching staff to sink a new mindset to their players and possibly making some environmental changes. Like Sparano did recently by switching the locker-room around.

If Raider Nation is sick and tired and being on the losing end of the stick and being criticized by general media, ESPN, Fox Sports and NFL Network, things need to happen–and soon.

Moving the Raiders to Los Angeles again is not a bad plan, as they will have a new stadium in 2017 and possible play in their old stadium, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in between then.

A new environment and a new beginning just may be the proverbial re-boot that the beat-down, down-trodden Raiders need at this point.

Back to the coaching emphasis give Saprano a break he has experience in head coaching in the NFL, he got the Dolphins to the playoffs in fact one year. I believe he has what it takes to lead the Raiders to new heights and has a future with the Raiders.

It’s a start, building a new structure and stop dwelling on the old tales from the past, is what needs to happen. Worry about chasing the big fish such as Jon Gruden and Jim Harbaugh only if you feel that Sparano doesn’t fit into your long-term plans.

It’s time for the Raiders to set write a new history for themselves and focus on the business development process for the sake of everyone who loves not only the Raiders but the NFL.

Why should the NFL have a team in their own industry to laugh at?

Sparano already has the team moving forward and looking in the right direction. Sending a message to the team clearly and recognizing of placing the past behind.  He knows the importance of teamwork and character bringing his experiences with him.

Sparano is fired up and understands that he has the talent of youth and veterans alike, and is now is building the bonds of troops forming the team that was lost in a battle long ago.

  • A burial on the practice field
  • The locker room shift
  • Speeding Practice
  • Lessons in the game

The formula is there and it’s only the beginning of a new chapter of Raiders football stay tuned.


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