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Difficult to call this progress

Owner Mark Davis told colleague Tim Kawakami earlier this month that the Raiders are ending their “deconstruction” phase and entering a “reconstruction” phase. If so, then now is as good as time as any to measure the progress.
With that in mind, close emphasis was placed on Sunday’s game against the San Diego Chargers as a means of gauging what Davis, McKenzie, Allen and the Raiders have to show for their two-year tear down of a Raiders team that went 8-8 and came within a season-ending loss to the Chargers from making the playoffs.
In short, not much, and we’re not solely talking about the fact the Raiders lost 26-13 and dropped to 4-11 on the season.
Part of the lack of progress owes to many of the players on the roster being under one-year contracts and several others on the verge of hitting free agency unless McKenzie uses some of the league-most cap money at his disposal on them to bring them back.
Some of that owes to McKenzie failing to land any game-changing players of the 16 he selected in the NFL draft the past two seasons. The rest is a result of McKenzie not signing any free agents that are indispensable.
Add it up and the Raiders don’t seem much closer, if at all, to turning the corner than they were in 2011, when then-coach Hue Jackson got the Raiders within a final-game collapse of the Raiders first playoff berth since 2002.
The knee-jerk reaction is for many to call for Allen’s firing. Davis and/or McKenzie very well might decide to go that route.
If so, McKenzie needs to answer how he expected Allen to win without a proven quarterback, with a patchwork offensive line, no standout running backs, wide receivers or tight ends and a defense devoid of impact players.
Those calling for Allen’s ouster also need to explain how it’s his doing when fullback Marcel Reece has a ball fall through his hands in the end zone in the final minute. Or why it’s Allen’s fault when Lamarr Houston and Jason Hunter jump offsides, Greg Jenkins fumbles a kick return, Jeron Mastrud drops a pass in the open on a third-down play or Mike Jenkins and Miles Burris keep alive Chargers drives with senseless penalties.
The Raiders still are in the market for a quarterback and McKenzie might be faced with a major roster turnover for a third straight season.
Lest you disagree with this assessment, you better be able to provide a lenghty list of players worthy of coming along for the ride next season, when this so-called reconstruction phase is in full swing.
From here, and based what we saw today, again, it says that the Raiders still have a long way to go.
On the bright side, the Raiders likely will have a top-five draft pick to help with their latest infusion of talent next year. As of now, they are in line for the No. 3 pick, behind only the Houston Texans and Washington Redskins.
Then there’s the matter of McKenzie having north of $60 million in salary cap room to spend on re-signing players such as left offensive tackle Jared Veldheer, defensive lineman Lamarr Houston and other prospective free agents, his draft class and whatever free agents he feels can help the Raiders get over the proverbial hump.

– The Raiders committed 12 penalties for 73 yards, while the Chargers got flagged only three times for 24 yards. This harkened to the Jackson Era, when the Raiders set the league marks for most penalties and yards penalized.

– Sebastian Janikowski appeared to strain a groin muscle on a pre-game kick. However, he remained healthy enought to convert both his field-goal attempts against the Chargers.

– Running back Darren McFadden scored Oakland’s first touchdown on a 5-yard burst up the middle in the second quarter. That turned out to be the lone highlight for McFadden in his most extensive action since he suffered an ankle injury against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving.
McFadden rushed four times for 8 yards and caught one pass for 8 yards. Rashad Jennings led the Raiders with 45 yards rushing on 10 carries.

– Rod Streater caught one pass for 2 yards Sunday. What seemed like a safe bet two weeks ago, now is a long-shot of Streater reaching 1,000 yards.
He needs 152 yards against the Denver Broncos in the regular-season finale to become the first Raiders receiver with 1,000 yards or more since 2005, when Randy Moss accomplished the feat.
Streater got denied of 35 yards or so late in the game, when a long pass he caught and turned into a touchdown got overturned when the ball came loose at the end of the play.
It’s something that happened to Louis Murphy a few years ago, when the officials ruled that Murphy didn’t control the ball through the play.

– If you thought the Streater call was brutal, how about the officials waiving off a play the Raiders ran because of a clock malfunction and then taking back a penalty on the Raiders because a fan blew a whistle from the stands?

– McGloin completed 20 of 36 passes for 206 yards and no touchdowns, with one interception. He made a handful of nice throws, missed badly on a slew of passes and had the kind of game you might expect from an undrafted rookie.
In other words, the Raiders still aren’t much closer to having a franchise-type quarterback, and McKenzie and Allen have only one more game to evaluate McGloin and Terrelle Pryor to see if either might fit the bill.
Given Pryor didn’t play today, it’s unlikely that he’ll be used against the Broncos, unless Davis intervenes and orders a change, as he did before the finale last season.

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Steve Corkran

  • Rico Stifler

    There is only three new starters that were UDFAs cuz of injuries or ineffective play. Jennings, Holmes, and McG. Four if you count Nix as a sometimes starter. But still, those UDFAs, except Nix, played better than the starters they replaced.

    There won’t be 10 new starters as Branch, Burnett, Moore, Hayden and Roach will be starting next year. The DL and half of the secondary will likely be revamped. Also, we have the money to afford to revamp them with better players.

    So, I kinda smashed your arguments….

  • Rico Stifler

    One, DA will be gone.

    Two, Carr is far from being a buster…

    You are a buster, not Carr….

  • ENGLANDRAIDER

    “McFadden had four carries, eight yards…”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    LoL.
    All too believable.

  • ENGLANDRAIDER

    Also sick of it.
    It makes no sense to fire the HC every two years and start all over again.

  • ENGLANDRAIDER

    He made them relevant again and then he didn’t.
    Which is why McGloin got to start.

  • David Kern

    Clearly, we haven’t run into each other here before. I am huge fan of Pyror’s and was furious with everyone about their haste in abandoning him too. In fact, I was on here getting berated night after night about it and didn’t see much of you. My post wasn’t just about about McGloin; its this stupid mentality everyone (including the owner of the team, apparently) has in the NFL anymore, in which, despite the fact that patience always seems to pay off, all anyone wants to do is blow crap up and start over year after year with out any long-term thinking or consideration of circumstance. But to your point, McGloin is three years younger and shown more aptitude for the position. As someone who vehemently defended the continuation of the Pyror experiment to the end of the year and possibly into the next, I am hear to tell you that TP got beat and their is no reasonable justification to put him back out there as long as we have a healthy McGloin. Your off your rocker if you think TP was playing as well as McGloin has played beyond TP’s first couple of games. TP, like so many others, got figured out and once he did he wasn’t all that hard to stop. The man had thrown 1 td to 8 ints his last six games before getting hurt, you dont get to pretend that one big run against Pitts during that time was enough of a case to rush him back out onto the field and a basis for a successful offense going forward. I am so sick of this partisan, biased thinking when it comes to this team. Be objective for once, folks, please, I am begging you…

  • David Kern

    You’re right, that is an obvious answer but I am not sure its that clear that this point considering that for the first half of the season we were more disciplined than we had been under Gruden. No, I think its that there are a lot of frustrated guys who are trying desperately to keep their jobs going into next year and are losing their heads trying to make plays. I mean we have a whole team of free agents. Can you imagine what that does to a mentality of a group of players who are losing game after game?

  • Tyrone Wheatley

    Yeah. I will say I was at that Steelers game and I believe 2 of those INTs were the WR’s fault. And the other INTs at KC..well we had Brisiel playing center. Guy had absolutely no time. I do have my criticisms of Pryor as well. He doesn’t gun the ball like he should and is not quick with decisions.

    McG has those 2 qualities that pryor doesnt, but these fans saying he’s the raiders future are pretty crazy. Bruce Gradkowksi is not a franchise qb. Gruden thought he might and kept playing him in Tampa Bay. He’s turned out to be a good spot player.

    Pryor? Yeah I think he still has upside.

    Whatever the case, I don’t think these coaches will get the best out of our team.

    Not calling for Hue back, but a good offensive mind is able to make people look good—-i.e. Jacoby Ford and Jason Campbell.

    A bad offensive mind makes people look bad. see Gregg Knapp.

  • Tyrone Wheatley

    True. He didn’t play well in KC with Brisiel at center.

    Also didnt play well against Giants.

    I just don’t want the raiders putting their eggs in the McG basket.

    I compare him to Bruce Gradkowski. Gruden thought he might be the guy. He’s a good back up.

  • Tyrone Wheatley

    McGloin is a Bruce Gradkowski type! Don’t be fooled!

    Draft a QB top 5 pick, just not Manziel or Carr!

  • David Kern

    I don’t understand why people keep comparing McGloin to Grad. They are not even close to the same player. McGloin has shown physical tools light-years beyond what Grad ever had. McGloin has shown efficiency; Grad was never really efficient but he led us to some amazing wins wins through grit and guile. The only two things they have in common is that they are both short and white. Again, if you take draft status away from McGloin put him side by side with many of young Qb’s in this league with similar experience, you’d have no problem saying that you’d commit to him for another year and bypass using a super high draft pick on a QB in a year where frankly they aren’t all that great. They not terrible but I am not taking any of them with the #3 pick we currently hold. As far as the coaches go, I still really don’t understand for the life of me how anyone could be so confident that DA isn’t the answer. This is a roster of backups. What coach, who we would even have a hope of bringing in (esp. with our penchant for firing everyone hastily) would do a better job with this group? It is so short-sighted to be ready to jump ship again. No one is going to want to coach here if they think that Mark Davis is his dad.

  • David Kern

    I mean seriously, who? Just as thought experiment everyone should consider if a Beillcheck or Fox or Reid take this roster playoffs? You can’t tell me that our roster currently is better than rosters those coaches had when they each got dropped from their last jobs.

  • kuhlest

    sooo, that leaves 2 underclassmen that have not declared yet!
    Bridgewater
    Bortles

    not sure if there is a framchise QB in this years draft?

  • David Kern

    So who’s the coach that we can bring in when MD convinces everyone that hes the same as his dad ready to fire a guy at the drop of a hat? What guy who’s out there now would have taken this roster to the playoffs? Just as thought experiment everyone should consider if a Beillcheck or Fox or Reid take this team to the playoffs. You can’t tell me that our roster is currently better than rosters those coaches had when they each got dropped from their last jobs. THIS ISNT A MADDEN FRANCHISE! Good, grief.

  • kuhlest

    why can’t there be 2-3 franchise type QBs in a draft when we are obviously going to draft one…..

    last time it was between Russell and Quinn

  • Tyrone Wheatley

    Possibly Mariota. He looks faster and quicker than pryor and has a strong accurate arm (which pryor doesn’t have at this point).

    People have soured on these types of QBs however.

    I definitely like the way Bridgewater throws. Some of the throws he makes are spot on under heavy durress. His TD-INT ratio is pretty amazing.

    I’d go with him, but he might be gone at #1

  • David Kern

    I feel like this is the Tp argument all over again where the sensible among us were misrepresented time and time again. Our position isn’t, “everything is fine” clearly, it isn’t. The actual argument goes like this: ” After a decade marked by historical bouts of losing and unprecedented upheaval, we are not sure we have enough to go on, at this moment, to encourage the type of management decisions that clearly contributed to the current predicament.” Here is the other sides argument and seemingly, yours: “We’re losing, therefore its broken, so lets start from scratch.” Its a petulant and short-sighted attitude that has made the Oakland Raider fanbase renown for its delusions.

  • Tyrone Wheatley

    I like your objectivity. I think McGloin can do well on a real good team. But I think he’s one of these guys like Colt McCoy. People get high on him because he shows potential as a rookie with his decision making, but I feel like we’ve seen the highest he can go. And it’s decent at best. I guess we are all looking for that awesome QB that every team wants to have. McGloin doesn’t feel that way. I say keep him on the roster but still look for another QB who becomes a clear cut franchise guy.

    Dennis Allen yeah. In all reality, I think last season, the team underachieved, especially on offense. they went 8-8 previous 2 seasons with a similar roster. I blame that on Gregg Knapp mostly. but that was DA’s decision.

    I just don’t trust his offensive mind. And defensively, he was overrated in Denver. They were middle of the pack and did even better when Jack Del Rio replaced him (they did have peyton though).

    A good coach makes a bad team look better than it is. Makes bad players better than they are. For all the criticisms of Hue Jackson, he did make Jacoby Ford look great. And fully realized DMAC’s potential.

    I don’t trust DA with this very significant off season. This offseason will determine the raiders for years to come.

  • David Kern

    I am so glad you used the phrase “sample size.” We are men having an argument with children who couldn’t tell you what the importance of having a good sample size is. They like going with their guts!

  • David Kern

    Dude, Star had major character problems and a heart condition.

  • Tyrone Wheatley

    Definitely last year they had a very similar roster as Hue’s 8-8 team and went 4-12, a year after we were very close to making the playoffs if it wasn’t for our horrible defense with Chuck whatever his last name was (probably Al Davis’ hire).

  • David Kern

    Talk about 20/20 hindsight with that guy. I am sick of hearing his name.

  • David Kern

    I can begin to see that argument but you have to remember that we had a healthy, productive Mcfadden for a spell. I doubt he would have stayed healthy just because Hue was the coach.

  • Tyrone Wheatley

    well Hue did make the right decisions with the offensive line coaches and dmac. we were very happy with the direction of our wr’s. they looked great.

    once hue was named o-coordinator and took that responsibility out of the hands of tom cable, man our offense took a huge step. went beyond expectations.

    but yeah hue’s a wildcard. if we could combine hue and dennis allen we’d have a great coach, sort of like how if we could combine mcgloin and TP, we’d have a great QB.

    I’m just saying that the right coaches can make a huge difference. And is DA the guy? He’s definitely made us less penalty-prone (not recently), but he’s not a special coach.

  • David Kern

    I made a comment above that i think is worth repeating. These things are not always cut and dry. Yes, coaches need to be held accountable but I agree with the author of the article when he says that a Coach can’t account for every mistake made by his players. we were a sound football team early in the season and then a bunch of one-year contract guys started feeling the pressure of playing well and they have all digressed. You can’ expect a coach. no matter how great, to be able to negate all of the youth and pressure this particular team was facing. I think Allen has shown glimpses and that no and I mean no one in this league would have done a better job with this roster. He gets a another year, period.