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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

  • J Hill

    Lefty,

    Why do I get the feeling that Manning would have been creamed by some of these fans had he been drafted here?

    I can just here all the just can’t win the big game talk with the playoff exits, lol.

  • RAIDERMAN99

    GG, I agree that our pass protection is horrid. This OL is not just vulnerable to outside speed rushers, they also get overpowered right up the gut.

    Do we need to protect the QB better ? Absolutely. On that, I think we’re in complete agreement.

    Having said that, I don’t agree that Brady gets 5 seconds almost every pass attempt. Or that Peyton Manning does.

    Their lines apparently are and probably are better at protecting the QB. But a large, large part of that is the fact that these elite QBs actually read a defense, know where they’re going, hit a hot read and get rid of the ball super quickly.

    And when they are afforded the time to go downfield – they do.

    Accurately and with good results.

    And this has been true even when their WR corps haven’t been that great or depleted due to injury.

    Can’t tell me that the Colt offensive line is that great a pass blocking unit so that the Raids pass rush never even touched Manning.

    That was the work of a masterful QB that knew where he was going, manipulated the defense and got rid of the ball QUICKLY.

    Same thing applies to Brady.

    These guys are making their reads, scan the field…and ZIP…the ball is gone.

    JaJason can’t do that.

    Not many can.

    But JaJason doesn’t even TRY to go downfield, even when afforded time.

    Heck, even his checkdowns seemingly take forever.

    JaJason sucks.

  • lefty12

    Brady doesn’t need all the time you say he gets-in reality he doesn’t get all that time.He gets rid of the ball because he can read the defense as soon as he steps up to the line.All the great ones have that ability.Unfortunately,our QBs don’t.

  • lefty12

    That is true JHill.I believe the same could be said of Madden.If he was the coach today,he would be crucified on here just like Cable is.I remember cussing Madden after games for being too conservative.Today,he would be hated by most on here.

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

    Lefty and RAIDERMAN…

    You’re also very right about that they don’t get 5 secs every time, and read defenses very well at the LOS, etc.

    Indisputable.

    But we’ve also all seen games when the Colts and Pats pass protection has been terrible in a game and how putrid Brady and Manning look. They look just like Andrew Walter.

    The Colts and Patriots are BUILT to be pass-heavy, and their OL’s are built for pass-protection. Much like how Marino’s Dolphins were built primarily to pass-protect and weren’t much at run blocking.

    Our OL is built for run-blocking. But go thru some highlights of Campbell in youtube, the deep passes, and you’ll see our OL for that play really gave him a good pocket, picked up blitzes. He was able to stand and deliver.

    I dont think Campbell is Brady/Manning. But he’s far better than Russell. He’s proficient/servicable that if we really focused on the OL, he could be very good for us.

    But we should still endeavor to draft a QB prospect to push Campbell.

  • J Hill

    Brady throws most of his passes out of the shotgun and short to Welker and co.

    When Brady, Manning, and all the other QBs can’t set their feet b/c of pressure, they look a lot like Jason Campbell.

    Manning this past weekend threw a BUNCH of underneath stuff and WR screens. The commentators were even pointing out how the the Colts WRs were going deep, and Manning was taking advantage of receivers running underneath while the Raiders backs were turned.

    I remember Manning throwing “down the field” to a WR on a 3rd and 19 and got a PI call. Threw about a 15 yd pass that Routt got called for a PI on. Other than those TWO plays, one on 3rd and looooonggg, please tell me when Manning was throwing the ball downfield?

    Did I mention Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon are WAAAYYYYY better than ANY WR we have and BOTH would start for us?

  • lefty12

    He has delivered at times,but he misses more than he connects.I’m in the minority because I don’t think our line does as bad a job as everyone says it does.As you say,there have been plenty of times where JC has been given the time to go down the field with his passes,but he hasn’t been very accurate when doing so.

  • J Hill

    Lefty,

    Do you believe Hue when he says he has COMPLETE control of the offense including who plays?

    Do you think Cable has any input on the defense?

    Do you think he’s done a good job with TOs and challenges?

    Just trying to figure out where he contributes.

  • lefty12

    My problem isn’t that JC doesn’t go down the field enough,it’s that he doesn’t utilize his WRs enough.The quick 3-5 yard pass to DHB(like the one he threw last game) is there all game and should be thrown at least 3-5 times a game because the DB is going to play back due to his speed.If the DB tries to come up,DHB could go right by him.Quick slants to Ford should also be a staple.Either our QB won’t/can’t make those passes or our OC won’t have him try them-and that isn’t utilizing your personnel properly.

  • J Hill

    Lefty,

    How long have I been screaming for those 5 yd slants to DHB?

    Just makes NO sense that those are not part of the game plan!

    But like GG says, we are going to run the ball first, and go to the pass once it’s 2nd and 11 or 3rd and 9.

  • lefty12

    He oversees the whole tamale.He lets the coordinators do their thing games days-just like every other coach in the league.As far as challenges go,he is supposed to be given guidance from upstairs on whether or not to throw the flag.I wonder why we even bother trying to challenge plays,because it seems even when we are correct,we get screwed,ie the N.Miller fumble.What do other coaches do that is so much different than what Cable does?The main thing Cable does is work WITH the old man,which isn’t the easiest thing to do.

  • AirborneRaider

    Let’s Sweep The AFC West!

  • J Hill

    He lets the coordinators do their thing games days-just like every other coach in the league

    ——————————————————-

    Is that a NO, you don’t believe Hue has total control of the offense and reports directly to Al Davis?

  • lefty12

    On game days Jackson has control-he calls the plays and the personnel.During the week the staff works together to formulate a plan.Together the staff decides which players should play in certain instances.When a play is called the players know who is in and who is out.I also believe if Cable felt strongly about someone not doing his job,he could and would make a change,like he did with Veldheer and Henderson.I don’t believe Jackson reports directly to the old guy,that is Cable’s job.

  • http://atm Raider O

    Fire Marshall!!
    Upgrade Cable!!!
    Happy New Year!!!

  • Just Fire Baby

    Tom Brady has 5 to 6 seconds to throw it because defenses a scared out of their minds against him. They know the blitz and the Pats will score in about 5 plays.

    Logan Mankins missed half the season and is a pro bowler. He was replaced by Dan Connolly, who before he was returning kickoffs, was an undrafted FA who was cut by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Patriots didn’t miss a beat.

  • http://atm Raider O

    I hate the Pats, but they do have great coaches and a good system.

  • http://atm Raider O

    That’s one of the reasons why I think T Brady is overrated. Another reason is that he is from Mich. (Happy New Year Preppie!)
    Damn you Mich!! Go Bucks!!

  • lefty12

    I don’t understand why everyone gets so pushed out of shape over the pro-bowl.It is a joke.Lesser players get picked if they play on certain teams while players that deserve to go get bypassed because they play for lesser teams.

  • http://atm Raider O

    Small market teams don’t get a lot of media attention.

  • Vinous

    Kirk #11 your timing is impeccable after drafting the fastest player in the draft in the 4t rd….LMAO

    The Raiders had one of the very best drafts in the entire league

  • J Hill

    I don’t even watch the pro bowl.

    Having it the week before SB is REALLY dumb!

    How many SB participants does that pretty much exclude?

  • nycraiders

    Cable needs to go… a big part of our improvement was based on Cable not getting involved in the playcalling..Huejack is way more valuable than Tom the cheerleader..Cable, handled the QB situation horribly..the only thing worse was how he handled challenges and timeouts..time for him to go

  • Sweep The Leg.

    I really think all the “Cable has to go” stuff, is so shortsighted. I know he isn’t Vince Lombardi, but he has done an remarkable job in my opinion.

    We are leaps and bounds ahead of where we were when he took over, and to not see that is ridiculous.

    We need consistency within the org., and to make another go at another coach will set us back, yet again.

    Now if you got a real GM, and if you could land a premiere coach like Jeff Fisher, you could make the case for a change, but we all know that is not gonna happen.

    The BEST thing we could do is get a GM to take the reigns over from uncle Al, and have a long term plan, but his ego and stubborness won’t allow it.

  • 504 Raider

    Happy New Year, Nation!

  • Angry Villager with Pitchfork

    Happy New Year to all Raiders and The Raider Nation.

  • Angry Villager with Pitchfork

    I like our team and our coaches. I hope Darren McFadden breaks Marcus Allen’s rushing record next season. Raider defense needs to improve. I wish for a new DC.

  • Raiders for life

    A new year for the nation!!!!!!

    Gotta go listen to gun fire now.

  • Orthodoxdj

    HAPPY NEW YEAR.

    Let’s beat the Chefs, have another good draft, and find a QB who actually leads and inspires. Keep Cable and the staff (maybe a new DC). If we’re stuck with Campbell, here’s hoping he gets a A LOT BETTER. People who defend him don’t have a clue.

  • priesttj

    Personally I think this is the most important offseason of the last 20 years in Raider history due to the position we’re in right now and where we’ve come from. There was a real disconnect with thepast history before Gruden came but not like after the SB in ’02 we really lost our way with coaches like Kiffin coming in making a mockery of the organization.

    I know Mr Davis meant well hiring respectable men like Norv Turner and Joe Bugel as well as Art Shell who in their own respects are very good coaches. We just didn’t have the players to support those men unfortunately. Times had changed and players had changed for the worse they’re great athletes but society has deteriorated a lack of respect for authority is the order of this day.

    Now it’s about money and just being in the NFL. Commoradory and team take a backseat to meism. So as a result you have to appeal to another side of the players these days.

    Lefty12 said some very astute things earlier when e compared Madden to Cable. It’s just that now cinisism reigns people make a mockery of authority now. Madden was not as good an X’s and O’s man as Cable is plus Madden had great players that made him look great. The talent he had on the Oline was 3 x’s better than what Cable is working with. The QB was a potential HOF’r and so were his WR’s. Madden as Lefty12 pointed out was a very conservative coach. Most fans might have hated him if he coached now. That is very true. The plays you’re seeing now under Hue would’ve been laughed out of the meeting room back then we rarely EVER saw a reverse or anything innovative as what you see now with Hujack.

    The same thing is true with Flores rarely any innovation. The things we’re seeing under Cable and Hujack are lightyears more innovative than anything we saw under either Madden or Flores although Flores was a step up from Madden. When I think of Cable interms of the great coaches of today the on;y difference is he hasn’t WON anything yet. I think he is lightyears better than COWER who was a boring coach the offenses he had were basically Mike Mullarkey and the AZ HC. Cowers defenses were LaBeau’s so who was Cower I say he was not much more than Mike Singletary.

    I think if we can win Sunday’s game I’m more than on board with Cable and continuity.

    Now that is just the beginning we have o have a great draft again and sign some very strategic players. We could easily take a step back or move into greatness it just depends on what we do as an organization. I really believe we have reconnected with the greatness that is the Raiders and the future is really bright if we take these final steps into greatness.

  • http://www.hotmail.com The Dirtee Raccoon

    Happy New Year, Nation!

  • RAIDERMAN99

    Was Madden a great coach ? I don’t know. His record indicates he was, but it must be said he had great personnel to work with.

    One thing about those Raider teams – they had an identity. By that, I mean they had signature plays and a definite style of play.

    When you played the Raids in those days you KNEW you were getting a heavy dose of power running behind Shell and Uppie, you knew there was the posession rcvr in Biletnikoff, you knew there was the deep threat in Cliff, and you knew when the Raids got to the red zone it was play action and a touhdown pass to Casper whenever it was needed.

    You knew what was coming but you still couldn’t stop it.

    Those guys were that good.

    And on defense you knew through the years you were gonna get man to man coverage with Willie and Lester or Mike Haynes or Skip and there was always Tatum and Atkinson scaring the piss out of opposing WRs.

    Those teams effectively used the awesome personnel they posessed and had a definite style of play and identity.

    When you talked about Raider football in those days, you were talking about a team that marched to the beat of a different drum, did things their own way, and won.

    Flash forward to Art Shell and the ‘bed and breakfast’ offense. Art made the mistake of trying to bring back the deep verticle strike behind an offensive line that couldn’t even begin to pass block.

    Watching Andrew Walter continuously taking 5 and 7 step drops, waiting for a play to develop, only to get creamed and sacked was the low point in the history of this franchise.

    That was horrible coaching on top of miserable personnel.

    Then finally Gruden comes in and we’ve got a dominant offensive line, a QB that’s a fabulous field general (albeit with a pop-gun arm), and suddenly the Raids have an identity again. They’ll kill you with the run and a dink and dunk passing game augmented by some Gannon scrambles and even dumps to the FB Ritchie.

    Conservative ? Maybe, but it was right up Gannon’s alley and was effective.

    What was this year’s Raider team identity or signature play ? The double reverse was as close to a staple play that this offense posessed. And of course, some great running by DMAC. But there was nothing, and I mean nothing, that could be counted on to consistently gain yards through the air. Absolutely no identity to the passing game.

    I place the blame for that mostly on JaJason.

    Not entirely, there are other contributing factors.

    But still, mostly JaJason’s fault.

    JaJason sucks.

  • priesttj

    So do you!!!

  • priesttj

    Your little hero couldn’t get it done so you’re pissed it’s understandable………….petty but understandable.

  • priesttj

    Takes one to know one, however that’s about as corny as it gets……..lol

  • 2romes

    JUST WIN BABY!!!!!!!!!!!
    HAPPY NEW YEAR, RAIDERS BE WITH YOU

  • Orthodoxdj

    I’m glad Jason Campbell got it done! What a joke.

  • http://www.safc.com/page/StadiumofLightDetail/0,,10281~1706060,00.html neilb

    To Jerry Mac and to all of the Raider Nation……

    Happy New Year and all the best!!

  • Pretty Rick

    Jason Campbell didn’t have a great year but he didn’t have a terrible year like some people try to make it out to be, due to the fact he was never given the chance to play the full season because Cable was determined to play musical chairs at Qb even though Campbell is clearly better than Bruce Bruce. If the line was right I think JC wouldve had a much better year. The talent on this team alone is worth about 7 wins, a half decent HC can punch out 3 wins with this team so we should win 10 games next year. Oh well I guess we can start the mock draft talk now.

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

    Cable better than Madden? Bahahahaha.

    Other than that, Happy New Year all!

  • raidermarty

    Happy New Year Nation!
    May 2011 bring us more wins, a playoff berth,
    and stronger unity as a RAIDER NATION!
    GO RAIDERS!!

  • http://atm Raider O

    Cable is better than Madden?!?!? You People had too much fun last night.

    Cable:
    -16-27 as Raiders HC.
    -We have enough talent to win games like AZ, Tenn, SF, Miami, and the Texans.
    -He doesn’t adjust well at halftime.
    -The team played well against division teams, but we were sorry outside the division.
    -He doesn’t manage the roster well. 9 LBs activated for the last 2 games, but he only had 3 CBs activated. We run a 4-3! We don’t need 8-9 LBs!!!
    -He doesn’t override bad call from the OC or DC.
    -He blames his OC and DC, but he doesn’t take the blame as the HC
    -He plays fav with players. He likes Fargas, Cooper, Branch, and GarbageKowski.

    If you hire a guy to help you team win, but you finish below .500 for 2 full seasons with him, then he needs to be fired.

    The Players are paid to play, they don’t have a say in Coaching situations/ issues.

    I will not keep a guy hired just because other employees like him/ her. He/ she needs to perform to keep their job.

    It’s all about the WINs! Cable is 16-27!!

  • nycraiders

    comparing cable to madden is ajoke..cable not even on the same planet as gruden..the raiders had a great draft and with DMAC now at the next level ,it critical they need more than a cheerleader for a coach..in reality do you EVER see Tom Cable as an elite coach?

  • ENGLANDRAIDER

    WHEATLEY WON’T GO DOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • ENGLANDRAIDER

    HAPPY NEW YEAR RAIDER NATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    JUST WIN BABY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • RaiderDebo

    Nycraiders Says:
    January 1st, 2011 at 8:27 am
    comparing cable to madden is ajoke..cable not even on the same planet as gruden..the raiders had a great draft and with DMAC now at the next level ,it critical they need more than a cheerleader for a coach..in reality do you EVER see Tom Cable as an elite coach?
    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    Never. Al had to save the guy from himself with guys like Kwame Harris, Justin Fargas, Hirame Eugene and last AND least, Gradkowski. Personally, I think this team would be light years ahead of where it is if the Kiffin hiring had worked out. I think Cable has held the team back.

  • http://atm Raider O

    Fire Matshall after the game!!!
    Upgrade Cable before Jan 18th!!!

    Happy New Year!!!!!!!!

  • http://atm Raider O

    Marshall*

  • http://atm Raider O

    If you own a store, you hire a manager, and you keep him for 2.5 years. The employees love him, but Sales are still below avg. He increased sales from prev managers, but they are still below avg. Would you keep him?
    No!!!!!
    All I care about as the owner of the store is revenue/ Sales. It’s the same thing in Football. You don’t keep/ Fire a guy because of the players feelings. It’s all about wins and losses.

  • Just Fire Baby

    That’s a good analogy Raider O.

    The one concern though is, if you fire a manager who has had increasing sales numbers, you have to replace him with someone who is going to continue with that sales growth from the levels of manager Cable.

    Our “store” can’t take one step back to hope to take two steps forward in the future, right now.