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Raiders hope for springboard similar to ’99

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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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • PurpleDrank81

    I’ve seen him ranked as high as number 2 but I havent heard to much out of him.

  • alex7

    NC has produced some crazy athletes.

    I’m just taking it day by day with the teams on TV.

  • PurpleDrank81

    Every1′s mock drafts are all over the place rite now…

  • Raiders for life

    imo I think the priority for defense should be CB. A replacement for Routt if W.Mcfadden or J.Ware can’t step up.

  • Raider guy

    the 18th thing is sort of arbitrary, do you think that there are teams pounding down Cable’s door to be a coach? the 18th can come and go and if al comes to the decision to keep cable, he’ll sign him to an extension.

  • http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=eb53t3&s=5&hid=3&tag=my+pool Lynn from Snot

    I say, let who ever ran our last draft run it again.

  • DKnight007

    Raiders need to sign a vet FA who will be better than Routt not draft one early in Round 2.

  • DKnight007

    # Lynn from Snot Says:
    December 31st, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    I say, let who ever ran our last draft run it again.

    ^^^^^^^^
    It wasn’t the old looney man Al that’s for sure! LOL

  • Guy

    What possible FA CB is better than Routt? I can only think of Jonathan Joseph right now, and hes not lock to be a FA.

  • M Lonetree

    Terrapin,

    I finally get your point. LDE or RDE. To me it is unimportant as to my sight it doesn’t matter. JPeppers lines up anywhere. DBurgess in Oaktown did the Mathis side with no help at the Freeney. Reggie White was more LDE than anything else. In the face of the QB or on his back doesn’t make a helluve lot of difference if the pressure is there. (And is TBone now the Donk QB? LDEs gotta bring it as well as RDEs.)

  • RaiderDebo

    Here’s how our coaching and QB questions should be answered. Fire Cable, Hackett, and Tollner. Cut Gradkowski. Elevate Hue to HC. Hire Greg Knapp as OC (a promotion from QB coach in Houston) and John DiFillipo as QB coach. Finally, sign back Jamarcus who has been sufficiently humbled. Can’t imagine any JR chants in the stands so no pressure on JC.

  • M Lonetree

    Raiderdebo,

    what about Matt the wunderkind Leinart as the new stiff in the backfield? He could hold down the Hobert-Wilson-Hollas-Ware-Mirer-Evans-Schroeder-Marinovich-Brooks-George-Collins-Walter-Popgun-Tuiasasopo fort while JR dranks and wonders what the fuss is about.

  • J Hill

    Jamarcus?????

    Really?????

    Why?????

  • J Hill

    Have we fired Cable yet?

  • PurpleDrank81

    Nope thats next year

  • http://www.wix.com/GGEden/ggeden GG

    Speaking of the past…

    I was watching the Super Bowl win against the Eagles again, namely the post-game part, and the Raiders players and Al Davis made a very big deal about how this win was all about “our philosophy” is better than every other team’s philosophy. Ie, Al’s system. They kept going on about it. Whilst Vermeil was more like, philosophy doesn’t matter. You can win in the NFL with any philosophy. That their philosophy got them to the Super Bowl. Just the Raiders were far better and disciplined on the day.

    Al is obviously very committed and philosophy-driven, it’s all about winning a certain way come hell or highwater. Success vindicates his mind and philosophy and he can throw the word “great” around like it’s going out of style.

    While I agree that a modern NFL team needs to have many different looks, schemes, tactics, I also understand Al’s philosophy, and also can resign myself to the romanticism that every team has it’s own style that should be preserved. Like Raiders Football means a certain thing. Bears Football means a certain thing. Steelers Football means a certain thing. Etc.

    As long as we sign and draft good and committed players, and hire good proficient coaches, the Raiders Football can still and always work.

  • Raiders for life

    JR is working out with John Lucas.

    Woopdee fu%in doo

  • J Hill

    As long as we sign and draft good and committed players, and hire good proficient coaches, the Raiders Football can still and always work.

    ——————————————————

    I actually think it’s as simple as better play in the secondary. 3rd and 19 right before the half this past weekend and Chris Johnson gets a PI called against him. Needless to say the Colts just went right into the end zone after that play.

    Too many defensive brain farts!

  • J Hill

    116.PurpleDrank81 Says:
    December 31st, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    Nope thats next year

    ——————————————————-

    In about 6 hours ????

  • http://www.wix.com/GGEden/ggeden GG

    Yep, how many times is our defense out of alignment, players confused who they’re covering or what they’re doing, not set when the ball is snapped.

    I can remember so many big gains/TDs by the opposition offense with our defense not ready, DBs confused, etc.

  • Just Fire Baby

    So they just had Trent Dilfer, Marcelus Wiley and Jerry Rice doing this thing for the “year of the QB” or whatever they are promoting.

    Three former players, and they discussed for a few minutes what it is that makes a QB special and what they look for in a great QB.

    NOT ONE MENTION, of talent, arm strength or size came up. NOT ONCE.

    Dilfer said the most important quality is the ability to handle difficult and pressure situations. Wiley wants a QB that is intelligent and can think on his feet, and Jerry Rice looks for leadership in a QB.

    Ability to handle pressure, intelligence and thinking on his feet, and leadership. Probably the three biggest weaknesses to Campbell’s game.

    I’m going to go puke now.

  • RaiderDebo

    Ability to handle pressure, intelligence and thinking on his feet, and leadership. Probably the three biggest weaknesses to Campbell’s game.
    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    Most would agree that these things are important. But can you define all these qualities? And how have you determined that they’re all weaknesses of JC? Or that they’re strength’s of Gradkowski’s for that matter?

  • http://www.wix.com/GGEden/ggeden GG

    When you look around the NFL, all the top QBs and top young prospects, demonstrate these qualities.

  • http://www.wix.com/GGEden/ggeden GG

    Arm strength is important tho and good mechanics (accuracy).

    Especially those difficult out-routes and sideline fades, that doesn’t wane in different weather conditions.

    There’s like a requisite arm-strength required, you don’t need Elway-like strength, that’s just someone with an extreme amount of it. But a certain amount is important.

  • Just Fire Baby

    Bruce clearly did not show any ability to handle pressure, that’s why he failed and got hurt. He displayed leadership as always but his football IQ was only so-so.

    JC has not shown much ability to think on his feet, look at the Tennesse blunders and the disaster at the end of the JAX game. He has handled pressure better than Bruce, but not really that well, and is limping to the finish line. Leadership has always been an issue with JC, he even admits it’s not really his style.

    Guys with rocket arms are becoming a dime a dozen these days. You need all that other stuff, and not only need it, but need to be really good at it to win.

  • http://www.wix.com/GGEden/ggeden GG

    If i were a GM/scout, i’d be looking for all the QBs in the draft who primarily display the “intelligence, thinking on one’s feet, able to handle pressure, and are leaders”…then out of those pinpoint the one(s) with the height, arm-strength and good mechanics. Draft him, and then good coaching to hone those physical skills.

  • RAIDERMAN99

    Vince Lombardi, Tom Landry, Bill Belicek, Jon Gruden, John Madden…

    You know what they all have in common ?

    None of them would be able to win with JaJason Campbell at QB.

    There’s not a head coach, deceased or alive, that could win in today’s NFL with a QB that isn’t accurate enough, confident enough, or talented enough to effectively and consistently throw the ball more than 5 yards down the field.

    JaJason Campbell is incapable of providing an intermediate or deep passing game.

    True, the Raids pass protection and WR play has been less than stellar, but the bottom line is even when JaJason is given the time and has open WRs, he either misses them or elects to take the short checkdown toss.

    Now some in here will blame this on the aforementioned lack of protection, the WR corps, lack of continuity or experience in the same system, Grads or another back-up looming over his shoulder…

    All absolute nonsense.

    JaJason has never, and will never, get it done.

    He’s a rancid mutt with fleas.

    An emotionless zombie, without charisma, devoid of leadership, and most importantly – incapable of accurately throwing the ball downfield.

    Know why he checks down so much and Hue Jax calls so many short dumpoffs ?

    Because Hue and JaJason himself, both know that he can’t complete intermediate or longer passes.

    I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again…

    A healthy Bruce Gradkowski beats out JaJason for the starting QB role if they’re both on the roster 2011.

    JaJason sucks, and the Raids are doomed to mediocrity or worse as long as he’s the starter.

    To those that say we need to stick with JaJason because there’s no one better available, I say baloney.

    Don’t care how the Raids do it…through the draft, free agency, or trade…they’ve got to make a move. Attempt for better. Even if the attempt fails, at least try. There’s nothing worse than continuing to go with a proven stiff and loser.

    JaJason sucks and his coaches know it (despite whatever lip service they might pay him – that’s why he got benched twice for Grads) and if Al Davis doesn’t know it, well then the game has truly passed him by.

    Al, get this team a competent QB that will actually throw the ball downfield, or else all the coaching changes and roster moves you make will never get this team above mediocrity.

    JaJason sucks.

  • RaiderDebo

    GG Says:
    December 31st, 2010 at 6:43 pm
    If i were a GM/scout, i’d be looking for all the QBs in the draft who primarily display the “intelligence, thinking on one’s feet, able to handle pressure, and are leaders”…then out of those pinpoint the one(s) with the height, arm-strength and good mechanics. Draft him, and then good coaching to hone those physical skills.
    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    And it would still be a toss up as to whether the guy would have success or not. I’ve got nothing against great leaders and intelligent guys. But I think a QB’s success in the league has everything to do with the organization the team is drafted by and the team that he has around him. Steve Young sucked in Tampa along with Testaverde and Dilfer. All prospered elsewhere. Those are just a few examples. To me, it’s plain as day.

  • RaiderDebo

    Leadership has always been an issue with JC, he even admits it’s not really his style.
    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    When did JC admit “leadership” isn’t his style? Are you sure he didn’t say something like he’s not a screamer and yeller? There is a difference.

  • http://www.pro-football-reference.com/ KoolKell

    I’d love to see the Raiders bring back J Russell at the league minimum.

  • Just Fire Baby

    Only way Jamarcus Russell is walking through those doors in Alameda is if he is carrying a check for $7.5 milllion dollars to cover the lawsuit Al has hanging over his head.

  • Sweep The Leg.

    # KoolKell Says:
    December 31st, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    I’d love to see the Raiders bring back J Russell at the league minimum.
    =======================================================

    What the what?

    The only reason I would want him to come back is to do the honorable thing, and return the money he stole from the Raiders.

  • Just Fire Baby

    Steve Young sucked in Tampa along with Testaverde and Dilfer

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

    Dilfer won more in Tampa than any QB there since Doug Williams.

    Dilfer and Doug Williams = intelligent leaders

  • Sweep The Leg.

    Raiderman 99 speaks the truth.

    Jamarcus Campbell has gotten better as the year progressed.

    But going from terrible, to not so terrible isn’t a great accomplishment.

    We will never achieve any true success with him.

    I joke with the Jamarcus comparison, but Campbell is still light years away from what we need to be elite.

    We MUST continue to search/draft/trade and whatever else it takes to find an elite QB.

    And they are pretty rare finds.

  • J Hill

    I just lol at the “throw the ball downfield” guys.

    TO WHO ???????!!!!!!?????

    The last few “throw the ball downfield despite the coverage and WRs not being open” guy didn’t work out so well.

    How about we sign Vincent Jackson, upgrade RG, and stop having the OC call so many screens to Reese?

  • J Hill

    OR ….

    We could hire Atlanta’s DC and hope he can keep our defense from giving up more than 21 pts a game.

  • http://www.wix.com/GGEden/ggeden GG

    RaiderDebo…

    It’s not like because Steve Young couldn’t make it in Tampa, that the Bucs are incapable of developing QBs. Not like because Russell couldn’t make it in Oakland, that the Raiders are incapable of developing QBs.

    I dont agree that the Raiders are incapable of it, or that any organization is.

  • RAIDERMAN99

    LMAO at the thought of bringing back JaMoron Russell.

    To tell you the truth, I really, really hope some team is dumb enough to actually sign the POS and he attempts a ‘comeback’.

    It’s gonna be epic fail, redux, for JaMoron.

    He’s too stupid, inaccurate, and lazy to succeed.

    There’s a slight chance a supremely motivated JaMoron could actually overcome his lethargy, and put in the long hours requisite for NFL QB success.

    Heck, his accuracy might even marginally improve.

    But he’ll never grow a brain.

    JaMoron is too stupid to play in the NFL.

    He’s a blathering idiot that can’t utter a comprehensible sentence or form a coherent thought.

    JaMoron isn’t just ignorant.

    He’s stupid.

    Don’t know if he attained a degree of any sort from LSU, but if he did, that university needs to be investigated and sanctioned by the NCAA for academic violations.

  • http://www.wix.com/GGEden/ggeden GG

    It just happened to be that at that particular time in all those organizations, the coaching and QB wasnt a good mix. The coaching was sub-par. The QB wasn’t mature yet. Etc.

    You get those sorts of wrong mix of QB-HC occurring in all teams from decade to decade. Why there’s so much musical chairs going on as organizations try to find a combination that works.

  • http://www.wix.com/GGEden/ggeden GG

    Another example.

    People always say that the Raiders cant develop QBs, but they’re good at reclamation projects. Ok. It worked with a few in the old days, but we’ve had a string of reclamation QBs that plain bombed here too.

    All it is….there’s a few examples of drafted QBs who didn’t develop, a few examples of reclamation projects who didnt succeed, a few examples of drafted QBs who did develop, and a few examples of reclamation QBs who did succeed.

  • ohioraider

    And the evidence still suggests that megalomaniac Al still screws around with the chemistry so much, inserting his ego and micro managing, that to expect any kind of organic winning culture to emerge while he’s still around is absurd. Coaches with iron wills, like Gruden and Cable, only find ways to win in spite of his meddling.

    That’s why I find all the chatter on this blog about draft picks and new coaches to be laughable. Repeat after me: IT DOESN’T MATTER.

  • http://www.wix.com/GGEden/ggeden GG

    Someone posted this on another forum….

    —-

    This might be an interesting read for those fans of teams considering drafting a QB: http://www.patspulpit.com/2010/12/29/1897693/nfl-draft-how-to-draft-an-nfl-quarterback

    The main gist of the article is that for a QB to have a higher chance of success, they should :

    1. The quarterback must be between 6’1 and 6’6, between 210 lbs and 245 lbs and they should have three or more years of starting experience.

    2. They must be able to complete a cumulative 60% of their passes at the college level if they are in a Bowl Conference; if they are in a lesser conference, they need to show an improvement of dominance each season.

    3. They will have a minimum TD:INT ratio of 2:1 as a senior, and will have shown some increase in that ratio during their time as a starter.

    4. They must not be a product of the talent that surrounds them; be wary of quarterbacks on teams with elite receiving talent.

    5. They must be able to play well against top opponents, not just weak teams.

    Most of it is common sense, but its surprising how many first round QBs have failed because they dont meet such simple criteria.

  • Just Fire Baby

    I just lol at the “throw the ball downfield” guys.

    TO WHO ???????!!!!!!?????

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

    To whoever is down there from time to time.

    CJ37 and Routt can’t be the only guys in the league who draw PI penalties even though they have there man well covered.

  • RAIDERMAN99

    You throw the ball to Louis Murphy, Jacoby Ford, DHB, Zach Miller or whoever is out there.

    That’s who.

    Might not be thr greatest cast, but you still attempt to throw downfield. You still attempt to develop an intermediate passing game because the run isn’t always going to be working, especially when defenses don’t respect your passing game.

    JaJason (aka Captain Checkoff) doesn’t even try to go downfield.

    If the WRs drop one of his infrequent on target passes, fine. Then we’ll moan about the WRs, and justifiably so. But don’t try to convince me that these guys are absolute garbage that never get open and drop everything that comes their way.

    That’s a bunch of crap.

    I’m not saying this is a great or even good WR corps, but I am saying a decent QB would get the ball to them and make them look better.

    Sick and tired of all the excuses for JaJason.

    He needs more time in the same system. His WRs don’t get open. His confidence was lost when he got pulled for Grads.

    Bull.

    JaJason sucks.

    Fact.

  • J Hill

    So you’re saying just throw it up there and see what happens?

    MAYBE we get a PI????

    Isn’t the risk of something bad happening just as great if not greater?

    I mean which one of our WRs do you “TRUST” to get anything positive done?

  • http://www.wix.com/GGEden/ggeden GG

    The problem RAIDERMAN99 is that our OL doesnt often create a good enough pocket. When we do, you do see Campbell sit back there with time looking for a downfield pass and throwing it.

    Look at Tom Brady, he gets like 5-10 secs in the pocket almost every time, and that’s why the Patriots pass offense is so consistently good. Receivers get enough time to create separation.

    I do think tho you’re right too. Campbell doesn’t go downfield enough still. But i think that’s also due to our game-plan, which is about minimizing Turnovers, running the ball, and trying to stay IN a game as long as possible.

  • RAIDERMAN99

    I got a kick out of the poster here that enjoyed exclaiming “Jason Campbell is kicking your asses”.

    Mystic loved posting that stuff.

    Funny thing is he was right.

    JaJason was kicking our asses.

    ‘Our’ being the Raiders.

    And if he’s on the roster next year JaJason will continue to kick our asses.

    Right into the dustbin of another failed Raider season.

    JaJason sucks.

  • J Hill

    RIDICULOUS to think that a QB can over come an Oline that NO ONE (except JFB) disputes can’t handle the pass rush consistantly, or a WR that NO ONE is even ready to admit is even good, lol.

    Give me ONE example of a QB operating under those circumstances that is doing well?

    And please don’t tell me Philicia Rivers! His team has one more win than ours.

  • lefty12

    To those that say the organization makes the QB it should be mentioned that Indy was the punching bag of the league before Manning got there and Irsay was hated.

  • J Hill

    146.GG Says:
    December 31st, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    The problem RAIDERMAN99 is that our OL doesnt often create a good enough pocket. When we do, you do see Campbell sit back there with time looking for a downfield pass and throwing it.

    Look at Tom Brady, he gets like 5-10 secs in the pocket almost every time, and that’s why the Patriots pass offense is so consistently good. Receivers get enough time to create separation.

    I do think tho you’re right too. Campbell doesn’t go downfield enough still. But i think that’s also due to our game-plan, which is about minimizing Turnovers, running the ball, and trying to stay IN a game as long as possible.

    ——————————————————

    Bingo!