The Oakland Raiders are a mess. Just when we won 2 out of three both against winning teams, we get annihilated by a 3-9 Redskins team. And Bruce Gradkowski, who we thought was our QB of the future, goes down with injuries to both knees knocking him out for the season. It was 10-10 when Gradkowski left the game, and JaMarcus Russell came in and we lost 34-13.
Numerous draft picks have been on busts, most notably JaMarcus Russell, and Darius Heyward-Bey. Although JaMarcus Russell did have the best college career of all the QB’s in the 2007 draft. Heyward-Bey drafted solely for his blinding speed, has not even caught 10 passes through nearly the entire season despite starting every game. Al Davis has even drafted a kicker in the first round, only the third time in NFL history a kicker was drafted this high, when the Raiders got their reliable kicker Sebastian Janikowski. Al Davis has only drafted two pro bowlers in the last ten years. They are CB Nnamdi Asomugha and P Shane Lechler, who is a perennial pro bowler. Lechler has the best net punt yardage in NFL history and is clearly headed for Canton. Nnamdi Asomugha, widely regarded as the best CB in football, rarely sees a pass thrown his way so he has no stats to show for, but this shows how much respect other team’s QB’s have for him. Both are the highest paid players at their position. Draft picks are not the only thing Al Davis has blundered in. He has had a knack for signing old free agents when the team is clearly in a rebuilding mode. For example Daunte Culpepper, Randy Moss, Javon Walker, and Richard Seymour all players who did absolutely nothing while playing for the Raiders. Except for Randy Moss, of course, who intentionally dropped passes thrown to his because he was disgruntled by the team’s performance. He even sent a letter to the team saying he was disappointed with the Oakland Raiders organization and he wanted out immediately. They went 2-14 that year. The next year Al Davis drafter Russell mostly for his incredible arm strength but he was benched earlier this year for Bruce Gradkowski. While it is true the Raiders have many bright spots, especially on defense. They are lacking capability in key positions especially on offense. In today’s NFL, a team must have productivity from their quarterbacks, and JaMarcus Russell has shown time and time again he is ineffective as a starting quarterback in the NFL. Of course, a quarterback can only be so successful when he has two starting rookie receivers, like the Raiders (Heyward-Bey and Louis Murphy). The Raiders leading receiver is their promising young tight end Zach Miller. The Raiders have a potent rushing attack, with three able RB’s, and a strong pass defense led by Nnamdi, but their run defense and passing offense rank 31<sup>st</sup> and 32<sup>nd</sup> respectively in the NFL. Clearly special teams are the Raiders’ forte with Lechler and Janikowski.
We Raiders fans are clearly disgruntled with their Raiders’ performance. In a recent home game against Cincinnati, a rare win, only 34,000 people showed up, the lowest in recent history. They have not sold out a single home game other than the nationally televised opener against San Diego. Just recently on December 1<sup>st</sup>, Raiders fans put up a billboard on I-880 right next to the coliseum asking Al Davis to hire a GM. Fans of other lowly teams like the Cleveland Browns have protested games and have made “We Are Terrible” towels available for purchase. Of course, if Raiders fans tried protesting, it would be a futile effort because Al Davis probably wouldn’t care. If Al Davis is making money, Al Davis is happy, and he is making a lot of money by just being an owner by the NFL’s shared revenue. While there is a significant drop in ticket sales, they are only a small portion of the team’s money. Regardless of whether Al Davis cares or not, I think fans should stop going to games because especially in this economy, why waste money on a bad product? The Oakland Raiders organization is selling a bad product and it is unnecessary to waste money on the Raiders.
So my message to Al is, please hire a GM, so the Raiders can be watchable again.