Part of the Bay Area News Group

Raiders hope for springboard similar to ’99

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Friday, December 31st, 2010 at 12:18 pm in Oakland Raiders.

Even without the cooperation of the San Diego Chargers, the parallels are striking.

Back at the turn of the millennium, the Raiders closed out the regular season at Arrowhead Stadium against the Kansas City Chiefs in hopes of finishing with a .500 record and the promise of a better day.

The Raiders were 7-8, losing to the Chargers the previous week not long after they learned they’d been eliminated from the playoff race before taking the field Sunday afternoon.

All Kansas City needed was to win and capture the AFC West. Lose and they were out of the playoffs.

It set up the same way this season until Cincinnati upended San Diego last week, giving the division title to Kansas City.

Given that the Chiefs have already assured themselves a playoff berth, it’s impossible to duplicate the ecstasy that came with the 41-38 overtime victory on Jan. 2, 2000.

The Chiefs had beaten the Raiders 11 straight times (including a wild card playoff game) at Arrowhead and took a quick 17-0 lead only to have the postseason ripped from their grasp as Jon Gruden and Co. celebrated wildly when Joe Nedney’s 33-yard field goal split the uprights in overtime.

Some other instances of history repeating itself:

— The Raiders, scored 390 points that season, were convinced they were better than their record, ranked fifth in total offense and eighth in scoring.

The 2010 Raiders feel the same way, having scored 379 points to rank seventh in scoring and No. 10 in total offense.

— Place-kicking woes with Michael Husted (20-for-30) cost the Raiders dearly. He was eventually dumped in favor of Nedney with three games to play with Al Davis drafting Sebastian Janikowski in the ensuing draft to make sure it didn’t happen again.

Janikowski, for as well as he kicked this season, missed three field goal attempts, including a 32-yarder at the final gun, in a 24-23 loss in Arizona in a loss many see as the death knell to their playoff hopes.

— There were rumors going into the Chiefs game that Gruden’s job was not safe because Davis felt the Raiders underachieved. Davis later joked at a press conference that when the Chiefs went up 17-0 that day, Gruden and assistant Bill Callahan engaged in some gallows humor about looking for new jobs.

– Coach Tom Cable is in the last year of his contract this season and only Davis knows if he considers this season requisite progress or totally unacceptable. Hue Jackson, to whom Davis entrusted the offense with good results, has aspirations of becoming a head coach.

When the Raiders were knocking out the Chiefs, Cable was transitioning between being an assistant coach at Colorado and a head coach at Idaho and said he knows little about the 1999 game except that it gave the Raiders an 8-8 record.

The same record this season, Cable believes, along with a 6-0 record within the division, “absolutely’’ could be a similar lift-off point as the 1999 team had in taking down the Chiefs.

“First of all, it gets that losing thing away from us – meaning we don’t finish 7-9, we finish 8-8,’’ Cable said Friday before the Raiders departed for Kansas City.

“We sweep the division, which is a tough thing to do in any division in this league. And then I think it just sends everybody to the next step, meaning the offseason, feeling like heh we’re right there and now we gotta finish the deal and make it all the way next year.’’

Oakland used the 1999 game as the impetus for a 12-4 record the following season and its first division title in nine years.

Running back Tyrone Wheatley was the author of the game’s signature play, a 26-yard run on a counter draw during which he broke several tackles before crashing into the end zone, a moment captured by play-by-play announcer Greg Papa’s call of “Wheatley won’t go down!’’

Wheatley, now the running backs coach at Syracuse, said his enduring memory is what it took to cross the goal line.

“I remember Darryl Ashmore pushing me into the end zone _ everyone helping a teammate score,’’ Wheatley said. “It signified the extra fight that was maybe missing earlier in the year and we went and rolled off three years of real good football.’’

Wheatley said offseason participation was high.

“Guys bought in _ it was an incredible deal,’’ Wheatley said. “Accountability was big. We were accountable for our own mistakes and accountable for each other.’’

INJURY REPORT
Defensive tackle Richard Seymour (hamstring) and running back Darren McFadden (turf toe) did not practice and both were listed as questionable, with Cable saying McFadden has a better chance of playing than Seymour.

Both will be game day decisions.

Other official injury designations included wide receiver Johnnie Lee Higgins (ankle-questionable), wide receiver Nick Miller (ankle-questionable) and tackle Langston Walker (concussion-questionable). All were limited during practice.

Cable said Walker “seems to be OK,’’ making him the likely starer over Mario Henderson at right tackle.

Tight end Zach Miller (foot-probable), cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha (ankle-probable), cornerback Chris Johnson (groin-probable) and safety Mike Mitchell (ribs-probable) all practiced without limitations.

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  • Sweep The Leg.

    You can’t blame the manager when your top product (the QB) is not selling because it’s inferior.

    If I am trying to sell generic soda for the same price as the Pepsi from the store next door, who do you blame?

    The owner who is supplying the products.

  • http://atm Raider O

    Thx.LOL
    You are right. We can’t afford to make any mistakes. Not in coaching, draft, or FA. We need to upgrade what we have. We need to add more talent, and improve the coaching staff. The only unkown I’m welling to risk it on is Harbaugh. I want an NFL coach with exp and a good record, or I will just keep Cable for another season.
    Marshall has to go.

  • Just Fire Baby

    And because the store has below average sales, you don’t have enough money or reputation to go out and bring in top notch “managers” from the outside.

    You either promote from within, or go get below average talent and hope they perform better than ever.

  • http://atm Raider O

    STL,

    LOL!
    “Generic soda for the same price as the pepsi”
    I love it!! LOL
    I have to disagree with you about the QB. I thought he played well enough to put us in positions to win more games than we did. He also didn’t play against AZ, Miami, and I can’t remember the other game.
    Still LOL.

  • http://atm Raider O

    Vegas,

    I think we have enough talent on this team that we should be able to find a coach who is interested in being our HC. We have great players on defense like Seymour & Nnamdi, we have a young team, and we have a solid vet QB.
    Another thing that helped us this season to attract more coaches is our record under Cable. I’m site there are coaches out there (Gruden) they think they could have done better with the same talent. The reason I said Gruden is his interview on Sat Radio when he said this is a good raider team that can win a lot of games.

  • http://atm Raider O

    I’m sure*…
    That* think….

  • Just Fire Baby

    QB play was awful this year in the Tenn game, 49ers game, Pitt game, and Miami game.

    It was below average in the STL game (both QB’s combined), AZ game, and KC game.

    Only played average or better in the Hou game (average), Indy (average) Sea game (above average), 1st Denver game (very good), 2nd Denver game (average), Jax game (very good even with last minute blunder), and above average in both Chargers games.

    So I got it at:

    Awful – 4 times
    Below average- 3 times
    Average- 3 times
    Above average-3 times
    Very good- 2 times

    10 out of 15 games were average or worse. #1 reason we are 7-8 right now. Not Tom Cable, not Hue’s play-calling, not John Marshall, not Cooper Carlisle, not because we didn’t give enough carries to Mike Bush, not because of RoMac or Stanford Routt.

    We rarely ever outplayed the other QB, when we did, we won easy. It really is that simple.

  • hellsbells

    Rt. Gaither
    Cb. Joseph

    These would be huge up grades. Let Langston and Campbell fight it out for RG.
    Think Mcfadden and Ware will be keepers for nickel and dime packages. Real question do we resign Huff or do we get our young S out there?

  • http://atm Raider O

    When I’m talking about QB play I was talking about JC only. I blame Cable for playing Grad over JC in games like AZ & Miami.
    Marshall’s unit allowed 30+ points in 6/15 games! That’s another reason why we lost our last 2 games. It’s wasn’t due to the QB play. JC played well the last 2 games, but we still didn’t win because we allowed 30+ points. We allowed 31 points in 2nd half of that Jags game.

  • buckeyeraider

    Happy New Year fellas!

    Vegas,Raider O and every member of The Raider Nation.

    Hope 2011 will be kind to all.

    Interesting slate of college ball today. Whole lotta Big Ten vs. SEC. Interested to see how they match up.

  • http://atm Raider O

    ALA J Jones is a beast!

  • http://atm Raider O

    Happy New Year Buckeye. Same to you and your family.
    Legalize it and Go Bucks!!!

    Mich St will lose today, which will bring me some joy, so we are starting the year well.
    I like their CB C Rucker. 6’2 200, and he looks fast enough for Al.

  • Just Fire Baby

    Watching this Wiz 2.0 game.

    McShay has him as the #3 center, and #100 something overall prospect, so he should be a 3rd maybe 4th rounder.

    He has gotten blown up a few times already on the first drive, and seems kinda small even though he is listed at 300 pounds.

  • hellsbells

    Whatvabout Moch from Nevada for OLB. Talk about some speed. Anyone see him play? Huge stats.

  • http://atm Raider O

    My fav CBs this draft:
    - Brandon Harris from Miami
    - VT Rashad Carmichael
    - any of the 3 CBs from Texas
    - D House from New Mexico
    -D Torrence from The Great OSU
    -C Rucker from Mich St.

  • http://atm Raider O

    I like House more than the kids from Texas.

  • YoungAmerican

    Man, the hyperbole here is a never-ending source of entertainment, especially when it comes to JC.

    “The Raiders will never win with Campbell at quarterback!”

    “Jason Campbell is JaMarcus Russell 2.0!”

    Y’all act like the Raiders could easily up and bring in a Tom Brady-like talent whenever they want, and they just don’t because they have Jason Campbell.

    If there was a better option, he would be here already.

    Should the Raiders bring in a young guy? Sure, at least I think so. Campbell is going to get every opportunity to be the starter next season, so now is the perfect time to give Hue a young kid to work with, and let sit on the sideline and learn the game for a little while.

    But some of you guys need to stop having conniption fits about Jason Campbell. The immature (and unbelievably stupid) “JaJason” stuff really gets old. Campbell is the starter, and that’s just the way it’s going to be for a little while. The fact is, there’s no better option for the Raiders right now.

  • YoungAmerican

    CB Davon House
    OLB Greg Jones
    WR Julio Jones

    All these guys should be on the Raiders’ radar. I’m starting to come around to Julio Jones. Kid had some problems with drops, but he seems to more than compensate by being a reliable go-to receiver, not simply a big-play threat like DHB was.

  • Just Fire Baby

    Greg Jones and Julio Jones are going to go in the top 20 picks, maybe top 15.

    No sense even wasting time looking at those guys if your the Raiders scouting department.

  • Just Fire Baby

    I’m interested to see what the TCU QB-WR combo of Dalton to Kerley do today.

    I have liked Dalton for 2 years now, as maybe a 3rd or 4th round pick. Wish he was 2 inches taller but he has a lot of that “it” factor every team is always looking for.

    Kerley as a WR is electric in the open-field. He makes tacklers miss frequently, and is very hard to bring down with one guy due to his elusiveness. Great returner as well, but not sure of his hands and route-running. 4th or 5th rounder as well.

  • YoungAmerican

    In almost every mock I’ve seen, Greg Jones and Julio Jones drop to the second round.

    Von Miller and Akeem Ayers are all rated higher than Jones, and Jones isn’t known for being a pass rusher which will limit the teams who are interested in him.

    There are a bunch of receivers ahead of Julio Jones, especially if Michael Floyd enters the draft.

  • http://atm Raider O

    Brandon Harris is a top 15 pick too, but I can still dream.

    House & Carmichael and the kids from Texas will be available 2-4th RD.

    Draft CB House or Carmichael, or sign J Joseph!

  • Just Fire Baby

    Julio Jones is the #2 rated WR by Mel Kiper and McShay, behind AJ Green among all seniors and juniors.

    Not a chance in hell he is there at #40 something, unless he blows out his knee in the next 2 hours.

  • M Lonetree

    yesterday Lefty12 made one of the most cogent comments I’ve ever read in this forum. Paraphrasing, Lefty12 wrote that if this site was available in the way back when while John Madden was Raiders HC, many many of you would’ve been ripping Madden on a daily basis hoping to see him fired and to get a “legitimate coach” in here. Lefty is absolutely 100% correct. All the nitpicking and moaning and complaining in here leaves no room for doubting Lefty12′s conjecture.

    Happy Gregorian New Year (and if you don’t like this one, well, the Old Calendar New Year rolls in very soon, and then the Lunar one, and then the Zoroastrian one etc. etc.)

  • Just Fire Baby

    Walterfootball, probably the best prognasticator behind the ESPN-NFLN guys, has Julio Jones going #10 overall.

  • buckeyeraider

    What a play by Mark Ingram. MSU in Big Trouble.

  • Just Fire Baby

    YoungAmerican Says:
    January 1st, 2011 at 10:52 am
    In almost every mock I’ve seen, Greg Jones and Julio Jones drop to the second round.

    ********************************

    Any chance you could provide a link saying Julio Jones would fall to the second round?

    I would be curious to see it. Haven’t found one mock, and I just looked at about 6 of them, where he wasn’t taken in the top 12 picks.

  • YoungAmerican

    I’ll check in a little bit, I’m cleaning my turtle’s tank right now, it’s possible his draft stock has risen in the last few weeks. I haven’t really checked the WR rankings recently I guess. I remember him being a early-to-mid second rounder a couple weeks ago, mostly because of concerns about his consistency. But if he’s had some big games in the last few weeks it’s definitely possible he’s rated higher now.

  • Just Fire Baby

    This Wisniewski is not very impressive.

    Not even playing C (is not the best C on his own team??) and is getting pushed around a lot.

    I would take him in the 4th round, and no earlier.

    Pouncey does look for the Gators though. Appears his early season struggles are behind him, and I would be suprised if he wasn’t taken right around the same spot as his brother, in the early 20′s.

  • buckeyeraider

    This Florida-Penn State game has the #1 ranked Center in the Pouncey twin and #3 in Wiz 2.0. Not sure who the #2 ranked C by McSahy is.

    I don’t know that C is that pressing of a need for the Raiders right now. I’d think the D that gave up 30+ six times needs a little more attention, IMO.

    For whatever reason the Raider Nation never took to Samson Satele. Everybody’s always looking to upgrade the C position. He is amongst the least of their worries.

    He got off to a rough start last year. But he was rehabbing from shoulder surgery. He is the starter for the #2 rushing attack in the NFL. McFadden isn’t doing it all by himself. When you watch the replays of some of their big plays..long runs and screens, you’ll often see SS downfield making key blocks.

    He is not the 90 lb wek link inside that many make him out to be either. When the Big nose tackle from Denver (used to be in SD) walked a lineman right into JC’s face like he was on skates, the announcer misspoke. He said it was Satele. It wasn’t. It was Coop.

    The Raider O-line needs some fine tuning, but the C position is in capable hands, IMO.

  • Just Fire Baby

    Happy New Year Buck!!!

    Wiz is playing RG.

    And I agree with you on Satele.

  • http://atm Raider O

    Wis will be drafted in the top 40 picks!

  • Just Fire Baby

    Raider O Says:
    January 1st, 2011 at 11:35 am
    Wis will be drafted in the top 40 picks!

    *******************************

    You think McShay is going to be off by 65 picks?

  • http://atm Raider O

    I think McSh!t is an idiot. Mel too.

    BTW WalterFootball has him as a 2nd RD pick, and according to you it’s a great source for draft info.

  • Just Fire Baby

    I think the key to Wiz is if he is a C or G.

    If a team thinks he is a center, he will go a lot higher than as a guard.

    Walterfootball is a good source, but I think Mel and McShay are better. Not that their numbers are the be all end all, but if one of them has a guy at #105, pretty safe to say he will go in the 75-125 range, IMO.

  • buckeyeraider

    Overall, I don’t think the O-line is as bad as most on here do. They are a very good run blocking line. They give ups ome sacks, but that is not all on them.

    Some of it is on public enemy #1 JC, with his indecision sometimes, coupled with a slow release.

    Most of it is on the Raiders passing philosophy, IMO. When you hear “vertical passing game”, you think of The Bomb, and Branch, Jett or DHB streaking down the sideline. But, it’s more than that.

    The Raiders don’t run many shallow, crossing routes. All their routes …outs and crossing routes are seemingly 15 to 20 yards downfield. That puts a lot more pressure on the O-line to hold their blocks. deep drops by the QB. Those routes take time to develope.

    I’d like to see some more quick hitting plays from Hue next year. Run some more quick hitting plays. 3 step drops.

    I’d like to see some quick slants to DHB and Jacoby Ford. Get the ball in their hands and let them run after the catch.

  • Just Fire Baby

    One part of the equation in assessing our O-line that gets overlooked is the fact that Reece is not a very good blocker and Zack Miller is a terrible blocker.

  • http://atm Raider O

    Well said Buckeye. I still think we need to upgrade the right side oh put offense including the C position.
    -Cooper is old, and is not playing as well as he did 2 seasons ago.
    -Walker has problems with speed, and I think he can be better at playing G. He is a FA too.
    -Satele is avg at best, and he will be a FA too.

    I rather draft a C and G/T than resign Walker and Satele. I also want to give B Campbell a chance to play at G/T.

  • buckeyeraider

    Vegas,
    No Zach is never going to be confused with a Dave Casper or Mark Bavaro. I think he is generally a capable, and willing blocker. it’s never going to be his strong suit,though.

    In his defense, he was rarely healthy this year. The second half the season he was trying to play on a very painful foot injury. Plantar Fasciatus or whatever. Might have affected his ability to plant and hold his blocks. He defenitely struggled.

    Blocking was supposed to be Myers’ strength coming out of Iowa. I was kinda hoping he’d step up a little more this year. He was a bit of a disappointment for me.

  • http://atm Raider O

    I want a blocking FB more than anyone here, but no way would I day that Recce is not a good blocker. I think he is a good Blocker, but he is not great. He also doesn’t overpower the guy he blocks, so it doesn’t look good but he is still effective.
    Z Miller can’t Block!

    BTW, I don’t think Wiz will drop to the 3rd RD!! No way!! I’m
    Almost willing to bet on it.

  • Just Fire Baby

    BTW, I don’t think Wiz will drop to the 3rd RD!! No way!! I’m
    Almost willing to bet on it.

    *********************************

    I’m not willing to bet on it either.

    But I always figured him as a late first early second pick. When McShay ranked him as the #105 player that really suprised me.

    That would be the 9th pick in the 4th round!!! If he goes in the second round, that would be one of the worst projections McShay has ever done.

  • YoungAmerican

    Denver might part ways with RT Ryan Harris, who I think would be a perfect fit for the Raiders’ offensive line. Great ZBS tackle, excellent in pass protection and run blocking.

  • Just Fire Baby

    I hope we draft a RT prospect, more so than any other position on the O-line, in one of our top 3 picks (rounds 2-4).

    However, I don’t want a guy that was a LT that moves to the right or anything like that.

    Draft a guy who was a very good RT in college, that played there for a few years at a big school.

    No more moving guys around all over the place.

  • http://atm Raider O

    Vegas,

    That’s what I’m thinking. Later 1st or early 2nd. It will be interesting to keep up with this after a few months (after pro days and the combine).

    Later Gents and Happy New Year.

  • PurpleDrank81

    Wiz wont drop to the 3rd round but Greg Jones will be a early 2nd round pick…There’s alot of good OLB’S in the draft..

    And If you guys are going to watch the Connecticut game look out for Lawrence Williams who plays OLB

  • Guy

    I’m starting to think that OLB may be the weakest link in the run D (Groves), and the top 4-3 OLBs are Travis Lewis, Greg Jones, and Bruce Carter. In most of the mocks I read, atleast one of those 3 slip to the Raiders and it the reasoning is usually because 4-3 OLBs are slowly getting less valuable.

  • PurpleDrank81

    Wiz has size issues and power issues and tends to get pushed back by Big Nose Tackles

  • Just Fire Baby

    Wiz has size issues and power issues and tends to get pushed back by Big Nose Tackles

    ******************

    Probably why he was replaced as the teams center.

    He is playing G now.

  • alex7

    J Hill.

    QBs make receivers.

    Sam Bradford isn’t whining about lack of WR talent. He’s making money throws downfield that any athlete who made it to the NFL can catch.

    The Bills finally found their QB of the future in Fitzpatrick. They LET GO of Owens. Fitz is making stars out of whoever is left there.

    The QB makes the WR.

  • Crawfish Joe

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