By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Friday, November 20th, 2009 at 9:24 pm in Oakland Raiders.
The prevailing notion of the Raiders is a sound one. When scoring a touchdown is akin to conquering Everest on roller skates, you don’t pass up the chance no matter the circumstances.
When Maurice Jones-Drew took a dive at the 1-yard line to burn clock with his team trailing by a point, with the Jacksonville Jaguars eventually prevailing 24-22 against the Jets on a point-blank Josh Scobee field goal, it became an instant debate classic.
Offensive tackle Khalif Barnes, lauded his former teammate for being a team-player, and various analysts and pundits weighed in with similar sentiments.
The flip side is the entire mentality of passing up a touchdown in favor of a place kick, which leaves purists of physical football (some of whom have an open disdain for kickers and all they stand for) with a feeling of revulsion.
When I asked Tom Cable if he’d ever consider passing up a touchdown, he shook his head no. You take the points.
Statistics say what amounts to an extra-point would have a nearly perfect success rate, but my problem is the act of going down in the first place. It’s not something running backs practice, and if done awkardly, could cause the ball to be left unprotected where a defender could knock it loose.
Of course, if you’re the Raiders and you’ve only scored seven touchdowns in nine games, there really is no debate.
“I’ve only got one touchdown,” tight end Zach Miller said, making it clear taking a knee wasn’t an option.
Said running back Justin Fargas: “Now maybe if I was Maurice Jones-Drew and I scored about 12 touchdowns a year . . . he’s got throwaway touchdowns.”
Jones-Drew has played in 56 games and scored 52 touchdowns _ 46 rushing, four receiving and two on kickoff returns. He’s been in the end zone so often stopping at the 1 was a break from the monotony of the spike.
But apparently there’s one Raider who can see the value in passing up a touchdown to use the clock. The one in charge.
“I remember my (position coach) Skip Peete telling us about a situation where Charlie Garner had a long run up the sideline,” Fargas said. “He went ahead and scored and I guess Mr. Davis asked Skip Peete why he didn’t go down on the 1.”
Maybe Cable ought to rethink his philosophy.