OAKLAND, September 15, 2012 — Before getting to the Week 2 NFL Prequel, it is with deep sadness that the official death of the Oakland Raiders has to be announced.
As a fan of the silver and black since my fifth birthday when they won their first Super Bowl, it is tough to lose a loved one. The death of Al Davis last year was a blow to the organization, and it seems now that blow was fatal.
After Mr. Davis died, his son Mark decided to give the team a more traditional structure. Mark Davis is a good guy, and the general manager he hired, Reggie McKenzie, is also a good man.
Mr. McKenzie fired coach Hue Jackson, which was a shame. While Jackson did get a little too big for his britches, he kept the team together through devastating injuries. The offense was exciting again. The playbook had opened up. Once Darren McFadden, Jacoby Ford, and Denarius Moore returned from injuries, the following year could have been bright. Mr. Jackson never got his chance. The last coaching hire by Al Davis was fired by the new general manager.
Mr. McKenzie had every right to bring in his own man, and Dennis Allen was his choice. Mr. Allen is known for defense. Yet only one game into the season, it seems the Raiders are now back to being miserable on offense.
Some will say that one game is too soon to evaluate, especially with Ford and Moore still injured. Yet the issue here was not the loss at home. The issue is the philosophy. Mr. Allen has instilled what should be the most hated offensive system in all of football. The Raiders now use those three words that should be abolished from Oakland.
Even saying the words make me sick. The Raiders now run the…
The modern West Coast Offense is not the Bill Walsh offense that won multiple Super Bowls in the 1980s. When Walsh created the WCO, it was revolutionary. It was the antitheses to “New York Giant Football,” which was “three yards and a cloud of dust.” You ran the ball on first and second down and threw on third down. New York Giant football was predictable, but that did not matter. It was about power and attitude. You know what we are going to do, now try and stop us.
Bill Walsh came up with the idea that it was acceptable to pass on first down. The goal was to throw when the defense expects a run and run when the defense expects a pass. It won because it was unpredictable.
Then came the “George Siefert Offense,” which is a bastardized form of the Bill Walsh offense. The George Siefert offense is the current WCO. It requires that every single 1st and 10 involve the same four yard pass. It became boring and predictable. The WCO should have been permanently killed in 1996 when the Carolina Panthers throttled the 49ers twice. Dom Capers (originally Dick Lebeau) brought the Zone Blitz Defense.
The ZBD understood that the WCO was nothing but timing patterns. Jam the receivers at the line and the timing patterns are disrupted.
Teams around that time which ran the WCO did so for one reason, and one reason only. They had no running game. When a team brags about running the WCO, they are saying “We can’t run the football.”
This is why, despite being a very good coach, Andy Reid sees the Eagles struggle when it counts. On 3rd and 1, the Eagles are passing because they don’t have a battering ram they can send straight up the gut.
Siefert did win in 1989 with Walsh’s team and again in 1994, but it was not because of the WCO. They had a real running back in Ricky Watters, and more importantly, they had Deion Sanders. They win nothing without Prime Time.
The Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots won multiple Super Bowls without the WCO. So have the New York Giants. The Rams “Greatest Show on Turf” went bombs away. The 2000 Ravens, in a performance that may never be repeated, won without any offense at all. The Packers have Aaron Rodgers throwing down the field, and before that Brett Favre scrambling and doing things we may never grasp.
Even some of the greatest offenses of all time that did not win them all, from the 1983 Redskins to the 1990 Bills to the 1998 Vikings to the 2007 Patriots went bombs away.
What makes this so frustrating for Raider fans is that we have an electric running back in Darren McFadden. We have a thoroughbred quarterback in Carson Palmer. Yet the WCO means that on 3rd and 3, throw a 2 yard pass, increase quarterback statistics, and punt the football. Defenders know how to tackle. On 3rd and 3, you have to throw the football past the marker. If the Raiders are going to become “Dink and Dunk with (Trent) Dilfer,” then we might as well let Captain Checkdown Matt Leinart (shudder) play.
The Al Davis era of the deep ball has not passed. The Raiders just did not have the personnel to execute the philosophy properly during the losing years.
Some will say that as long as the team wins, all should be forgiven. After all, the 49ers of the 1980s were “glamorous.” Joe Montana was a rock star. The current 49ers win hideously ugly with spotty offense and a smothering defense.
Yet winning “the right way” matters to some. Many Dallas Cowboy fans never forgave Jerry Jones for firing Tom Landry. Landry was the “Cowboy Way.” Well, the “Raiders Way” is not dink and dunk. It is the quick strike. Long, time consuming drives increase the risk of turnovers and penalties. Quick strikes put points on the board.
I bleed silver and black. Now I just weep for my team. One game in, we are dinkers and dunkers. The offense that Al Davis built is gone.
Nothing lasts forever. Al Davis once said “Raiders don’t die.”
I hope he is right, but the signs for immortality are not encouraging. The Autumn wind is now in the sky with John Facenda, as the cold cruel winter prepares us for West Coast misery.
NFL 2012 Week 2 Prequel
Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers (6) was the Thursday night game.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Buffalo Bills (3)
New Orleans Saints (2 1/2) @ Carolina Panthers
Cleveland Browns @ Cincinnati Bengals (7)
Minnesota Vikings (1 1/2) @ Indianapolis Colts
(Upset special, Colts win outright)
Houston Texans (7 1/2) @ Jacksonville Jaguars
(Texans win but fail to cover)
Oakland Raiders (2 1/2) @ Miami Dolphins
Arizona Cardinals @ New England Patriots (13.5)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New York Giants (7.5)
Baltimore Ravens @ Philadelphia Eagles (2 1/2)
(Upset special, Ravens win outright)
Dallas Cowboys (3) @ Seattle Seahawks
Washington Redskins (3) @ St Louis Rams
(Upset special, Rams win outright)
New York Jets @ Pittsburgh Steelers (6)
(Steelers win but fail to cover)
Tennessee Titans @ San Diego Chargers (6)
(Chargers win but fail to cover)
Detroit Lions @ San Francisco 49ers (6.5) is the Sunday night game.
(49ers win but fail to cover)
Denver Broncos @ Atlanta Falcons (3) is the Monday night game.
(Upset special, Broncos win outright)
Brooklyn born, Long Island raised, and now living in Los Angeles, Eric Golub is a columnist, blogger, author, public speaker, satirist and comedian who is obsessed with the National Football League. There is no offseason. Every February he pretends to care about other sports while sobbing uncontrollably each Sunday until September.
Eric is the author of the book trilogy “Ideological Bigotry, “Ideological Violence,” and “Ideological Idiocy.” When not watching football, his only other hobby is Republican, Jewish women. Republican, Jewish women, you may contact Eric above.
Follow Eric on Twitter @TYGRRRREXPRESS Eric Golub is an independent writer for the Communities. Read more from Eric at his TYGRRRR EXPRESS blog. Read more: NFL 2012 Predictions | Washington Times Communities
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