The Raider Nation is at it again.
I am a Raiders fan.
In fact, the only reason that I'm even frustrated enough to write this is because I am forced to interact with more fans of the Silver and Black than any other fanbase.
These are my frustrated thoughts.
My frustrated thoughts. As in, they belong to me. You do not have to like or agree with them.
However, if you're going to argue a point, please bring some intelligence to the discussion.
Look, nobody appreciates what Al did for not only the Raiders, but the NFL as a whole like I do.
As a coach, GM, owner, and commissioner, he impacted the NFL in a thousand ways and changed the way the game is played.
And until the early 2000's, he had done an amazing job of keeping the Raiders in the spotlight and in playoff contention.
But... Unfortunately... the game passed him by.
It's not a knock on Al, it happens to everybody (Except for Bill Parcells apparently).
It happened to Knoll, it happened to Gibbs, it happened to Landry, it happens to everybody who stays in the NFL longer than their window.
If anything, they should be astonished that he remained relevant as long as he did. He kept the Raiders rocking and rolling in one way or another from 1957 until 2004.
However... From 2004 until his passing in 2011?
Not the same story.
During that span, he worked very hard to destroy everything he had built with the Raiders.
Al's ability to evaluate talent.
What used to be his strongest ability quickly became the key to not only his, but the Raider's downfall.
Once upon a time, Al had an amazing eye for talent. From Lance Alworth in 1962 to Rich Gannon in 1999. He could watch a player in shorts and tell you what kind of player he would be in pads. He could see a player who others had deemed washed up or "past their prime" and resurrect their careers.
It was a huge part of what made the Raiders one of the winningest teams in the NFL during the 20th century.
However, as that ability began to decline, so did the Raiders.
If I had to pick a moment to define when the Al Davis regime began its decline, I guess I'd have to think back to the 2000 draft, when the Raiders shocked the sports world by drafting Sebastian Janikowski in the first round.
Now, while "Seabass" has played extremely well for the Raiders over the last decade, even briefly holding the record for longest field goal in NFL history, a kicker in the first round? That crazy.
Just to put this in perspective, let me list a few of the players taken after Jano.
2005 league MVP Shaun Alexander, All-Pro linebacker Keith Bulluck, Pro-bowl left tackle Chad Clifton, Pro-Bowl Quarterback Marc Bulger, another All-Pro kicker in Neil Rackers, and oh, yeah... a certain sixth round pick named Tom Brady.
Even the most biased Raiders can't tell me that they would rather have Sebastian Janikowski than Tom Brady.
Well... It was all downhill from there. Every first round pick in the Al Davis era since, perhaps with the exception of pro bowl corner, Nnamdi Asomugha, has been a bust.
5 shaky defensive backs, a tackle who couldn't play tackle, an injury-prone runningback, a receiver without hands, a troubled inside linebacker, and perhaps the worst quarterback in the history of the league all got early phone calls from Al during the Raiders decline from powerhouse to laughing stock.
Those hilariously bad picks, along with awful free agent signings like Javon Walker's 55 million dollar contract and DeAngelo Hall's brief cameo as a Raider for the small, small price of 70 million dollars, had a lot to do with the Hero-to-Zero slide.
Jeez. Wanna talk about a slide...
Since Al "traded" Jon Gruden to Tampa Bay in 2001, the Raiders have had seven head coaches.
Sure, Bill Callahan took the Raiders to the Super Bowl in his brief stint as head coach, but we all know that was Jon Gruden's team. After him, we had to endure Norv Turner, Art Shell, Lane Kiffin, Tom Cable, and Hue Jackson.
Oh jeez. Hue Jackson.
Don't get me started.
While Hue Jackson is a brilliant offensive mind, he was a terrible coach, and hurt the Raiders more than any other coach in recent memory.
I am so sick and tired of hearing about how much production he got out of Darren McFadden, and I'm going to lose my mind if one more Raider fan tries to talk up those back to back 8-8 seasons.
"Well Dennis Allen only has 8 wins in two years! Jackson never got a chance to prove himself"
That's because of the worst trade in NFL history.
One first and a second round pick for a guy who did... What exactly?
Now, I'm not blaming Palmer for his failures in Oakland.
He had a shoddy offensive line, a nonexistent running game, and wildly inconsistent receivers. Maybe Tom Brady could make that work, but... Carson's no Tom Brady.
And those two 8-8 seasons? Were before the Chargers fired Norv Turner and rebuilt their team. They were before the Chiefs hired Andy Reid and found their Quarterback.
Oh, and they were also before some guy named Peyton Manning decided to join the Broncos.
If you remember fondly, Hue Jackson couldn't even sweep the Broncos with Tim Tebow as their quarterback.
He was an egotistical jackass. An egotistical jackass who knew how to utilize offensive talent, but an egotistical jackass nonetheless. And I'm sorry, but the way he actually ran the team was awful. Too many penalties and awful team management. Trading for Aaron Curry? Are you serious?
That was Al's guy alright.
Perhaps this will be the last time that we ever have to discuss Terrelle Pryor in regards to his time as a Raider.
So let's keep it short and sweet.
If you haven't read my thoughts on the young quarterback, here's a link that will take any remotely intelligent Raiders fan off of the bandwagon...(http://ryandanielsmith.hubpages.com/hub/My-Problem-with-the-Raider-Nation)
Okay, so here's my problem.
The Raider Nation absolutely panicked when they only got a seventh round pick for Terrelle Pryor, but then threw a fit when Reggie McKenzie invested a sixth round pick in a trade for Houston's Matt Schaub.
For the record.
The Raider Nation wanted more than a seventh round pick for 9 interceptions, 12 touchdowns, and almost 2,000 yards passing, but a sixth round pick was too much for almost 25,000 yards passing, 130 touchdowns, and 84 interceptions.
Um... Okay. That makes sense.
Terrelle Pryor is a project that may or may not ever amount to anything who fails to grasp the simplest of offenses and failed to get the play to the huddle twenty-four times last year.
Matt Schaub is at worst, a game manager who has playoff experience and a pro bowl MVP.
The difference between a 6th and 7th round draft pick isn't that great.
The difference between a faster, dumber Tim Tebow and a starting caliber Quarterback is.
Now... My problem.
Despite all of the evidence I just brought before you, there are still some Al Davis loyalists out there.
Guys who want coaches fired after one season, who want the Raiders to overpay big name free agents (#DJaxToOakland), and refuse to let go of failed QB projects (Jamarcus Russell fans jumped on the Jason Campbell bandwagon jumped on the Terrelle Pryor bandwagon).
Einstein defined insanity as "doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."
That sums up the Raider Nation.
"Who cares if we haven't had a winning season since George Bush was a popular president, lets fire coaches and try to build through free agency. Let's just keep doing things the way that Al did and eventually we'll be good again! Lets get angry every time that Reggie McKenzie does something that Al wouldn't. Who cares if he's been trying to undo all of Al and Hue Jackson's damage. Who cares if he hasn't had cap space or a full draft until this year. Who cares if the AFC West has transformed from punching bag to the best division in the NFL, we want results!"
Does that make sense?
No. Not even a little bit.
Look at how the Raiders played last year.
That team was awful. They had almost no talent on either side of the ball, and not only did they win 4 games, but they were very competitive versus some very good teams. The Raiders probably should've beaten the Colts, Chiefs, Titans, Jets, Cowboys, and Giants. They just couldn't finish. That's almost a ten win season with a roster so bad, nobody would use them on Madden. If you can't attribute that success to the roster, then who should get the credit?
Duh. Dennis Allen and Reggie McKenzie.
Don't get me wrong. They need a strong draft and at least six wins to keep the current staff intact, a task that won't be easily accomplished versus the toughest schedule in the NFL.
But with a revamped roster and a full draft... It'll be interesting to see how this years Raider team fares.
I love the unbridled passion of the Raider Nation.
I love that despite a decade of decay, the Silver and Black faithful have not abandoned their team.
Watch the Jets or Titans play. Turn on your TV and flip to a Browns game.
You try and tell me that those fans show the heart and loyalty that the Raider Nation does.
You can't. Not honestly anyway.
Yup, I love how much my fellow Raider fans love their team, love our team.
But please, for the love of God, shut up about Terrelle Pryor, and give Reggie McKenzie a real chance.