Monday, August 25, 2014

Raiders, and other stuff

The man never was given to the timid gesture, so it's safe assume to Al Davis would never just roll over in his grave.

No, sir. Al would be inclined to do this, upon hearing the news that an NFL Nation Confidential poll identified his beloved Raiders as the least desirable team to play for in the entire league.

Lest we forget, after all, this is a league that includes the Buffalo Bills, who haven't won more than they've lost since 2004, and who play in a city that had a combined 38.5 inches of snow in November and December last year. And it's a league that includes the Cleveland Browns, who have marginally less hideous weather but who have only two winning seasons in the last 20 years.

And now they've got Johnny Manziel, so welcome to Quarterback Controversy Hell, too.

The Raiders, of course, are no prize, either. Since going to the Super Bowl 12 years ago they've won more than five games only twice, when they went 8-8 back-to-back in 2010-11. They have no discernible stars, unless you count Maurice Jones-Drew, the mostly used-up former Jacksonville road warrior. And no matter how many roofing nails the Raiders' borderline psychotic fans attach to their elbow pads, Kenny Stabler or Cliff Branch or Ted Hendricks is not going to suddenly materialize to lead the Raiders back to the glory days.

In other words: That famous pirate on the side of the Raiders helmet could use two eyepatches these days, not just the one. 'Cause then he wouldn't have to watch.

Meanwhile, elsewhere around the NFL ...

* Has anyone fallen in public esteem farther and faster than Robert Griffin III?

The quarterback for That Team In Washington, once hailed as a franchise savior, has now disillusioned so many in the nation's capital that there is actual, serious talk that back Kirk Cousins might be the better option at this point. Which is crazy, because Cousins has given no indication that he's the next Kurt Warner.

His career numbers: Eight games, a 56.2 percent completion rate, eight touchdowns, 10 interceptions. And a 68.6 quarterback rating.

Yet he's the answer  RGIII apparently isn't. Astounding.

* So what's with the buzz around the Colts?

We're coming up on the last preseason game and everyone (or almost everyone) seems to think they have a shot as being better than last year, when they went 11-5 and lost big to the Patriots in the divisional playoffs.

Yeah, maybe, if you consider the schedule's softer than goose down this time around. But this could be one of those situations were a team wins more games but isn't as good; they are, after all, weaker on paper in the secondary, no better on either line (especially with Robert Mathis sitting out four games) and probably weaker in the run game with Donald Brown gone.

In regard to the latter, everyone seems to be putting a lot of chips on Trent Richardson  re-emerging as Trent Richardson again, instead of the pale imposter who spent most of last season vanishing into thin air. But that seems like a shaky bet at best; the longer the season went on last year, it became apprent that the pale imposter wasn't really the imposter, but perhaps the real article.

If so, then it's Andrew Luck against the world again. And the world might just get in a few more icks this time.     


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