What do you do if you’re trying to get your team fired up and don’t have quite enough verbal ammunition?
Use a little creativity. Make it stronger. Edit.
Hell, make it up if you have to.
Judge for yourself.
Here is what the Raiders had posted in their locker room Wednesday from former Chiefs and Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer as a means of motivation for Sunday’s game against the San Diego Chargers, citing a recent Sirius radio interview:
“The one constant you can count on in playing the Raiders is that they don’t finish. They don’t finish plays and they don’t finish games. I always told my players that if they kept playing hard against the Raiders, they would eventually fold. That is why I knew we would always win. That is still the perception around the league.”
Many words were either underlined or capitalized to enhance their effect.
If you’ve talked to any former Schottenheimer player about their days preparing for the Raiders, this is actually pretty mild. He was fond of telling them the Raiders would back down the moment you “hit ‘em in the mouth.”
But Schottenheimer didn’t go even remotely that far Monday during his Sirius radio show. Here is what he said, with beat writer Steve Corkran listening to the segment on the Raiders and transcribing it word-for-word:
“Well, from my perspective, you know, I’ve always saw in that football team, they don’t finish plays very well. And I’m not going to sit here and tell you that, you know, that they don’t care, but I do think that losing over an extended period of time produces guys that tend to.
“They don’t finish plays the way you need to finish plays. And, in the National Football League, it’s all about how you finish whatever it is you’re doing, whether it’s on offense, defense or in the kicking game. And that was always the thing that I felt about the Raiders and why I felt we could always beat them is, that if you just go out and do your job and you do it and commit yourself to doing it for the entire contest, regardless how much time that is, go finish the thing, and they would find a way – I always would tell our players, if you just hang in there with the Raiders, they will find a way in the end to lose themselves.”
Asked about the Raiders surrendering 249 yards rushing, Schotteheimer said:
“I have always said that I would rather give up an 80-yard touchdown than have them take the ball and drive it 80 yards on you running it because, I promise what happened, if you throw an 80-yard touchdown pass, it’s probably one or two guys involved in the end result for you defensively. Somebody didn’t do their job, blew the coverage, whatever.
“When you have them take the ball and run the ball down the field on you for 80 yards, I’m talking about a sustained drive, what happens to you is that guys start standing around, looking to their right, looking to their left, ‘What’s going wrong? Why aren’t we getting this done?’ All of a sudden, they’re focused more on what’s wrong than what they’re supposed to be doing right.”
Schottenheimer has a well-documented dislike for the Raiders, and has put things in much stronger terms to players while preparing to play Oakland.
But read closely what he actually said in this case and try and find some fault with it.
You can’t. It’s all true.
As for the locker room version, well, Schottenheimer never said the word “fold,” nor did he say anything about it being the “perception around the league.”
Throwing a little extra fuel on the fire for bulletin board material wasn’t invented by the Raiders. Most coaches say they don’t use it, but chances are it happens every week over the course of the season for almost every team.
The interesting thing about the embellishment of Schottenheimer interview Wednesday isn’t that it gives any insight of what he thinks.
It’s that it tells how the Raiders view themselves.