The first year of the post Al Davis–era in Oakland ended much the same way as much of the previous decade – with the Raiders on the outside of the playoff picture looking in. After a promising 2011 saw Oakland hit the .500 mark, salary cap issues and a lack of draft picks caused the Silver and Black to take a large step back in 2012.
Those same issues continue to plague the Raiders heading into 2013, as does a roster full of injury prone (Darren McFadden) and head case (Rolando McClain) athletes. So what can coach Dennis Allen and General Manager Reggie McKenzie do to get this team on the right track? And how long will it take?
Zoneblitz: The Raiders dropped to 4-12 in 2012. What went wrong with the season and how did the results compare with your expectations heading into the year? Continue reading
I’m not sure if my brother feels this way, but for me, most seasons, there usually is a point where I feel like I’ve started to feel like I’m at least getting a hint for which teams are good, which are bad, which know how to go for the jugular and which are prone to bad upsets.
Not this year. I don’t have a flippin’ clue. It played out again last week in a 1-3 mark that dropped my best bets to 26-33-1 for the season. That sounds bad – and it is terrible. But it’s still actually ahead of my brother, who went 0-4 and hasn’t made a correct bet in this segment since week 14.
We are committed to playing this out for the season, but if we were really playing this out in Vegas, we’d either have been committed or we’d have been left lying in an alley with our legs broken multiple times.
On that upbeat note, happy holidays and here are our bets. Continue reading
The sense heading into the 2012 season was that if Peyton Manning could come back to anything resembling his earlier years, the Denver Broncos would be in position to have a pretty good season.
Manning has answered any doubters he may have had to the tune of 3,800 yards and 30 touchdowns heading into week 15. And the Broncos have won eight in a row, running away with a division that in recent years often has been won by whatever team can reach eight or nine wins for the season.
Kim Constantinesco, senior editor of Predominantly Orange, thinks the best is yet to come.
“When all three phases are playing well, this is undoubtedly the best team in the NFL,” she says. “If everyone stays healthy and takes care of business, the Broncos team is Super Bowl bound.”
I’m not sure the separation is that great yet. New England is playing well and, when on its game, Houston can play with anyone. But the Broncos are right in the mix to be playing for the town’s first title since John Elway retired.
Constantinesco joined Zoneblitz as our guest blogger for week 15. She follows Greg Cowan, managing editor and senior writer with Colts Authority. I’m not sure we’ll be inviting him back again – Cowan destroyed both of us by going 11-5. Andy was a brutal 6-10 and Tony finished a paltry 8-8. Tony maintains the lead as we head into the final three weeks of the season.
Drew Brees and Roger Goodell far from burying the hatchet
New Orleans Saints players indicted and convicted by Commissioner Goodell had their suspensions overturned by Paul Tagliabue, who had been appointed to take another look at the BountyGate allegations.
But neither the commissioner, nor Saints quarterback Brees are backing down from the ongoing fight.
Brees chimed in shortly after Tabliabue’s ruling saying Goodell lacked credibility with players and fans for how he handled the incidents. The quarterback has been outspoken from the start about his frustration with how the allegations were handled.
Goodell responded via the Huffington Post article by saying he would not apologize for anything and indicating that he still believes the Saints employed a bounty system and that doing so was unacceptable.
I’m not sure either guy is completely right. I think Goodell has done a credible job since becoming commissioner of creating penalties for players who A) don’t conduct themselves well off the field and who B) carelessly put opposing players in danger with massive hits, etc.
But like many of his critics, I think Goodell has gone too far in appointing himself as accuser and judge. There needs to be a more equitable and fair process. And he has been less than forthcoming about any evidence that does exist against Saints players, executives and coaches.
Brees, meanwhile, has always conducted himself with respect and class. But he seems to have buried his head in the sand, at least to some respect, as far as BountyGate goes, seemingly denying that anything took place despite admissions from defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and others.
It’s understandable that Brees would be frustrated about how the season has unfolded. The 5-8 Saints are virtually out of the playoff race and he isn’t getting any younger. How many more chances he’ll have to chase a second Super Bowl is no guarantee.
But still, even if the evidence against the players wasn’t strong, penalties against Williams, Sean Payton, Joe Vitt and Mickey Loomis were warranted, whether the ones they received went overboard or not.
With the gay marriage amendment defeated during the election in Minnesota earlier this month, outspoken Vikings punter Chris Kluwe has found a new topic on which to opine: Ray Guy’s omission from the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The arguments have gone both ways. He revolutionized the punter position. So he should be in. He’s just a punter, so he should stay out. He was great at pinning teams inside the 20 yard line so he should be in. His gross average wasn’t all that great so he should be out. As this Pro Football Reference blog post states, few players’ cases stir “as much passion and disagreement as Ray Guy.”
The topic came up again earlier this week when a Yahoo! Sports story featured the 62-year-old Guy, who now works at Southern Mississippi with former athletes from his alma mater, where he also helps raise funds. Continue reading