Ryan Craig

Raiders can't get anything right

Posted September 11, 2009

It wasn't that long ago that we were talking about the Raiders as one of the NFL's best teams.

With a rabid fan base, Rich Gannon at quarterback, and a berth in the Super Bowl, Oakland was one of the best teams in the league in 2002.

What a difference seven years makes.

Since the 48-21 embarrassment in Super Bowl XXXVII, in which Gannon threw five picks, including three pick-sixes, absolutely nothing has gone right for the Raiders.

Nothing.

Just one season after leading his team to the cusp of a championship, coach Bill Callahan was out of a job. After throwing for nearly 4,700 yards in '02, Gannon was out of the league after just ten more starts over two seasons.

The team's draft picks in recent years? Brutal.

Robert Gallery was supposed to be the next great can't-miss monster tackle out of the Big Ten. Instead, he's been almost as bad a second-overall pick as Ryan Leaf. Well, not that bad - but then again, nothing is.

In 2007, Oakland drafted JaMarcus Russell out of LSU. He had a cannon for an arm, but unfortunately no desire to show up to camp. We're now in the third year of the Russell experiment, and all he has to show for his efforts is $31.5 million in guaranteed debt, the potential for more than $30 million more, and a career QB rating of under 74.

Even when it seemed like the Raiders had pulled a rabbit out of a hat - when they finally made a move that you had to think twice about simply because knowing the team, you couldn't imagine they would do something as smart as was just reported - something goes wrong.

The Raiders and their increasingly-ghoulish owner Al Davis finally pulled off what seemed to be a smart personnel move by trading for Richard Seymour. Sure, the Patriots will probably end up getting a future 10-time Pro Bowler with the 2011 first-rounder that Oakland had to send them, but let's be honest - the Raiders wouldn't have done anything with that pick anyway.

Instead, Oakland gets a proven defensive lineman with star qualities and championships to boot.

Well, at least they should be getting a proven defensive lineman with star qualities and championships to boot.

But because it's the Raiders, that premier acquisition has morphed into a nightmare back-and-forth being staged through the national media for all to see.

Seymour wants a new, bigger contract - most likely to include a Raiders tax to make up for having to play for the moribund franchise. Oakland has apparently sent out an ultimatum that gives Seymour five days to report before being suspended for the year.

This should end well.

Either you've given up a first-round pick for absolutely nothing, or you have a disgruntled player taking the field every week for a team that is already saturated with under-achieving athletes.

Whatever the worst solution is, you can bet the Raiders will find it.

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