The moves made by Reggie McKenzie mirror that of A's GM Billy Beane. Mandatory Credit: Jason O. Watson-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Raiders May Be Better Than Everyone Thinks They Are


Dec 6, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders defensive back Phillip Adams (28) celebrates a defensive stop during the second quarter against the Denver Broncos at O.co Coliseum. The Broncos defeated the Raiders 26-13. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

According to the national media and nearly everyone outside of Oakland, the Raiders are the worst team in the NFL, mired in a decade-long slump and once again in the so-called “rebuilding” process that stands for “we suck but we’re just calling it a ‘rebuild’ to keep everyone’s hopes up.”

Ask Raiders fans though, and they’ll say all that talk is nothing but a pile of baloney.

I found this out the hard way when I posted an article quoting and agreeing with NFL.com’s Greg Rosenthal, who called the Raiders’ linebacker group and defensive line the worst at their respective positions in the league. I called the Raiders’ free agent signings “scabs,” meant only to plug up holes until the rebuilding process is completed.

That ignited a firestorm of reaction from Raider Nation, with the comments pouring in, angry at the negativity of the piece.

“I am done reading your very always negative articles, ” said one reader. “This is the start of a new season, so why don’t you stop writing all this negative BS about the Raiders.”

Other comments ranged from me being “always down about the Raiders” to calling me a “s— writer” who constantly dishes out “hate on the Raiders.”

Ok, I get it.

Raiders fans are tired of getting this kind of treatment. They are tired of losing miserably for over a decade. They are tired of being ranked among the worst teams in the league year-after-year, and they are tired of the media fanning the flames with their pessimistic articles.

This year is no exception. The season is far from starting and here is what the mainstream media has already offered about the Raiders:

I could have included about 10 more articles on the same note, but you get the point. The Raiders are nothing but a laughingstock to the casual fan and the national media, who do not hesitate to point out the lack of success in Oakland.

However, how they are perceived by the diehard fans that make up Raider Nation is completely different from the national consensus.

The main reason for this? Look no further than the popular ideal of the “new regime.”

Fans believe that GM Reggie McKenzie — who has been handed the tall task of taking over for the late Al Davis — has made all the right moves since taking over at the helm in January of 2012.

Instead of following Davis’ “win-now” strategy of signing players to questionable lucrative contracts (Stanford Routt) and trading away prime draft picks for former stars on the decline (Richard Seymour), McKenzie took a page out of Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane’s Moneyball book.

Severely limited by the expensive moves made by Davis and the “old regime,” McKenzie cleared up cap space by releasing the likes of Seymour, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Michael Huff, and Tommy Kelly.

He let Shane Lechler, his superstar punter, walk away and sign a multi-year deal with the Houston Texans. Comparably, Beane has lost stars such as Jason Giambi and Miguel Tejada to free agency in the past.

Again, like Beane, McKenzie utilized the free agent market to sign players at a low price on short-term deals, such as Josh Cribbs, Pat Sims, and Vance Walker. Beane brought in Jonny Gomes and Brandon Inge last season for a bargain, and they wound up being huge producers for the A’s in their unexpected playoff run.

Last, but certainly not least, the A’s were counted as down and out before the start of the 2011-2012 season. So-called experts predicted them to lose at least 100 games with a roster full of misfits: minor leaguers and washed-up veterans. Yet somehow, they found a way to rally in the second half of the season, winning the AL West in stunning fashion and nearly advancing to the AL Championship Series.

We could be seeing a similar optimistic fate in the Raiders, who nearly everyone believes will be among the worst franchises in the league next season.

Well, everyone except for their fans, that is.

 

 

 

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Tags: Oakland Raiders

  • paranoid1

    What the pundits say is based upon what we have done, our history as of late. It has nothing to do with what the Raiders are about to DO. That is entirely up to Mckenzie and crew.

  • http://twitter.com/RickyBo60099188 Ricky Bobby

    we Gucci!!

    • goldenbaysports

      Gucci?

  • http://charlesmalloy.com/ Chas Malloy

    More than ever it is time for the Raider Nation to practice PDP – Patience Discipline & Perseverance Writing off the season is unwise, I predict a few surprises for the fans this season, it would be folly to unveil what the prognostication results are , but this is the NFL where any number of impacts can alter a teams success or lack of success….injuries, missed kicks, dropped or intercepted passes….If the pro pundits are right ..I will welcome Mr. Jadeveon Clowney, whole heartily or even Johnny Manziel.
    PDP the Raiders have almost $70 million in cap space in 2014 and the team had to go through such a redesign to become a 21st century team. I would add that with Google share price north of $900.00 perhaps we could get a couple of SV investors to Build a new stadium….Larry, Sergey I hope you read this

    • goldenbaysports

      Agreed. A lot of things could happen during the season and surprises may occur. If not, bring in a franchise player with the No. 1 pick and sign some quality free agents next year with all that cap space.

  • FloridaMan23455

    The raiders suck

    • Jon Mcgee

      They really suck but, a$$holes like you sure take the time to check on the Raiders on these sites this is a Bay Area site and I’m sure you did’nt just by accident stumble upon this article so plz ask yourself the question what direction is your life going in LOWLIFE LOSER!!!!!!!!!!!!! LMFAO RAIDERS4LIFE

  • http://www.facebook.com/dean.thomas.5496 Dean Thomas

    Funny, because I remember the “power polls” in 2000, 2001 & 2002 where the Raiders were never ranked higher than 10 but were arguably the best team in the NFL. This of course caused the NFL to cheat them in the playoffs (see the ‘no call’ when Siragusa landed on Gannon like a killer whale & the phantom PI call on Adre Rison in the 2000 AFC championship and of course the tuck rule call in 2001). But that’s what the NFL an the stupid media think anyway. The team will never get respect and just need to go out and beat the shit outta people (see 1970′s!!!)

    • Jon Mcgee

      Agreed DT great post!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/dean.thomas.5496 Dean Thomas

    It was only a couple seasons ago we swept the AFC West and kicked the Donkey’s ass 59-14 & 39-23!!

  • R8RSRULE

    Thumbs up to Eric for finally writing an article by that isn’t a complete rehash/re-post. Thumbs down for removing my comments from the previous post about the worst LB’s and D line.

    Anyways, the team isn’t going to the playoffs; at least not on paper. But every year there is a team that goes from worst to first over the course of the season. Miami, Detroit, Indianapolis, even the Niners have had recent success after years of languishing in the depths of non relevance. I think most Raider fans are seeing the changes and that is what is giving us hope. As a die hard, I have no problem emulating a winning program like GB’s or SF’s as long as the W’s start to come. To that point, that is EXACTLY what Mckenzie is doing. What’s wrong with that?

    The national media will go which ever way the tide is going. Over the last ten years, the tide has not been kind to the Raiders and most fans either love the Raiders or hate the Raiders, which way do you think they would go to sell papers and get clicks?

    We all know Raider fans are among the most loyal and passionate fan bases in all of American sports, and after ten years of futility, any sliver of hope is all that this fan base needs to dust off their silver and black gear and wear it with pride, instead of false bravado for past glory.
    Lastly, to your comment: “Well, everyone except for their fans, that is.” What do you expect fans to do? Not cheer for their team, not support their team? That’s the whole point of being a fan, to cheer your team on no matter what.

  • Raidertat

    I for one do not expect to win every game or even close to it for that matter. I am excited about our direction with R.M. at the helm. I am also excited about our speed and energy on defense. We may not have the multimillion dollar studs, but we do have hungry players working their tail of for a pay day. As far as the offense, there is plenty of talent but not a lot of depth. Hopefully we can stay healthy on both sides of the ball and prove the so called experts wrong. Fortunately the AFC West is up for grabs with only Denver picked unanimously to have a winning season. Raider Nation Pride!