by Scott Davis Los Angeles Raiders
Reality really can bite. The Oakland Raiders were set to prove their worth to the masses in their 2015 season home opener against the Cincinnati Bengals and were backed by buckets of positive spin spread around in abundance throughout this past off-season. Unfortunately all the cheers turned out to muster up only one big collective “Ouch!”. The definition of hype reads like this: Extravagant, intensive, and many times exaggerated publicity or promotion. need we say more? Yes…
The Oakland Raiders had enough supportive content that went to print throughout the preseason. So much that that even the hardcore pessimists were second guessing any inclination to rant against a revived re-surging Raider organization. The ardent onlookers including writers and fans alike were clearly sucked in by the barrage of rhetoric that promoted the expectation of big results for the Raiders. As the saying goes “talk is cheap”! Cheaper than a devalued yaun on the world market.
QB Derek Carr along with receiver Amari Cooper and Latavius Murray where set to rule. The defense, lead by Khalil Mack, offered a plausible rationale to be hopeful the Raiders would more than hold their own. And together the “team” was absolutely ready to compete. Did you hear the brakes slamming and the tires screeching all over the league?
Turns out the team may not be so close to skipping right over the rebuilding process. Based on the Oakland Raiders 2015 season opener they are definitely a team that appears only to be at the very beginning of a lengthy rebuild.
Head coach like Jack Del Rio seemed embarrassed. And who can blame him? The team, to many, appeared to be making some real progress right up through and until last weeks opening performance. What happened? Anything is certainly possible and maybe the Raiders just needed to flush out the butterflies, and get in sync, and fine tune their timing, and…. Oh heck, who are we kidding? In light of this past Sunday’s loss, it appears, obvious even to the layman’s eye, that betting on a Raider playoff run is just plain foolish. Or is it?
Interesting how fast the public tide turns. Now the sportswriters are crashing back to earth with an intensity that suggested their parachutes failed to open and fans and insiders alike are having crow for dinner ( I admit I’m not digging the taste of silver and black feathered bird). After all nobody likes to be that wrong based on their “expertise” backed by years of cumulative experience. Damn emotions can sometimes produce a haze similar to the fog that commonly hangs on the west coastline in the early morning hours. Question is when will the fog burn off and show the Raiders the light of day?
Briefly, the Raiders did lose starter quarterback Derek Carr for the entire game with a hand injury (The good news, according to the x-rays, is that it’s not broken). But the Browns lost their QB starter as well. Wonder what would have been the outcome if the Raiders didn’t have the “home field” advantage? Yikes
The Browns struggled with 5 turnovers and 109 yards in penalties. The Raiders couldn’t capitalize at all and could hide behind no such excuse to soften the blow. At one point Justin Tuck, a Raider defensive end, actually apologized to the crowd looking on.
The Raiders failed at almost every aspect on the statistical comparison. They averaged just 4.0 yards per play and converted only 3 of 12 on 3rd down attempts. On the other side Oakland’s defense allowed 396 yards of total offense against them and not a peep as far as forcing a turnover. No sacks, no nothing. Scoring for the Raider’s didn’t occur until the final quarter of the game; or “garbage time” as it has been referred to.
Undisciplined is a good word to describe the effort which was a under Jack Del Rio’s watch. Offensive play calling was flat and ineffective. Bill Musgrave certainly was not close to his best as O-coordinator.
It was however a record setting day In Oakland. Cincinnati has never left Oakland with a victory before.
The upcoming schedule isn’t pro Raiders by any means. One thing we’ll find out for sure is what kind of character the “new” rebuilding Raiders are made of. Fingers are crossed
Scott Davis produces, writes several blogs dedicated to Raiders, charities, social media and business marketing