Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

09 May 2007

Raiders Fire Lombardi

Hey, if Vince was still around, I'm sure they would get rid of him, too.

Michael Lombardi's been let go by Oakland.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 09 May 2007

36 comments, Last at 11 May 2007, 9:13pm by Shalimar

Comments

1
by DWL (not verified) :: Wed, 05/09/2007 - 9:54pm

Raiderjoe right. Raiders make all right moves. Raiders AFC champs, buy tickets now for Arizona.

2
by Raiderjoe (not verified) :: Wed, 05/09/2007 - 10:00pm

Raiders good, but not that good. More like Miami. Super Bowl 43 will be in Miami, right?

3
by Silver & Black Surfer (not verified) :: Wed, 05/09/2007 - 10:36pm

There is a Santa Claus!
This is great news. This Mike Lombardi guy was abysmal. Just a total waste of time. I agree with the first two posters. The Raiders should contend for a playoff spot this year and should be title contenders in 2008.

4
by zip (not verified) :: Wed, 05/09/2007 - 10:44pm

#1

AWESOME

5
by Oily Harry (not verified) :: Thu, 05/10/2007 - 12:09am

Posts #1 and #2: written by robots?

6
by Bronco Jeff (not verified) :: Thu, 05/10/2007 - 1:15am

Raiders lack common sense. Need new owner, O-Line. Will lose big to Broncos. Bronco Jeff will enjoy that.

7
by Oily Harry (not verified) :: Thu, 05/10/2007 - 1:46am

Yeah, the Broncos are leaps and bounds better than the Raiders. There must be some good weed out Oakland way. The first three posters in this thread better hook me up!

8
by Sergio (not verified) :: Thu, 05/10/2007 - 3:47am

re: 1

I didn't know there was a Raiderjoe template out there.

9
by Will (not verified) :: Thu, 05/10/2007 - 7:41am

Here's some actual analysis:

For any Raiders front office guy, it's hard to tell how much control he has and how much of the decisions rested with Al Davis. Lombardi's role is more of an advisor/consultant/implementer than the decision maker.

They've actually done a pretty good job drafting on defense - Morrison, Howard, Schweigert, Huff, Asomugha, Williams, Brayton, Sands, Washington, and Routt have performed really well and are still on their first contracts. The signings on defense have worked better than expected - Burgess has been huge, Sapp is overpaid but Oakland has to overpay for talent because of how bad the team's been, and Thomas has been solid.

On offense, the picks of Gallery and Grove really doomed the offensive line, but it's hard to blame Lombardi for the picks as they were universally lauded. Langston Walker did at least decently as a Raider, and Jolley net them good trade value. The jury has to still be out on Walter, and Teyo Johnson was a bust.

As for signings, Brooks and Jordan all obviously underachieved, but again I don't see how Lombardi can really be faulted for those. Jordan looked great in limited time in NY, and Brook was prolly the best QB the Raiders could've signed to mentor Walter. They were really high on Walter, and as a Pac-10 fan I have to say I was impressed too. He looks like a monkey under pressure, but almost all QBs do.

Then there's Randy. Ouch. But honestly, Randy Moss for Napoleon Harris and a 1st? That sounded like a great deal at the time to me. That and Gallery really doomed the rebuilding of the Raiders.
The Raiders had a brilliant run with Gruden and Gannon, but years of bad drafting under Bruce Allen during the 1990s set the franchise back. The team certainly appears to be on the right direction - would you really cut bait on Gallery and Grove? Or pay ridiculous money for a guard? Really, the franchise needs some patience and consistency, and hope the offense catches up before the defense gets expensive. I find it hard to really fault Lombardi's performance over the last five years, and I'm afraid this might be a sign of making changes for the sake of change.

10
by andrew (not verified) :: Thu, 05/10/2007 - 8:07am

Lombardi.

A certain magic still lingers in the very name.

It speaks of duels by the bay and the cool November mud."

........
I think you can fault him for Brooks. The signs were there.

But he probably did not have a hand in the coaching hires. I mean, Art Shell? Normally you'd think a coach is only worth 4-5 wins at most, but I think over the past years they could have been at least .500 with a decent coach..

10
by andrew (not verified) :: Thu, 05/10/2007 - 8:07am

Lombardi.

A certain magic still lingers in the very name.

It speaks of duels by the bay and the cool November mud."

........
I think you can fault him for Brooks. The signs were there.

But he probably did not have a hand in the coaching hires. I mean, Art Shell? Normally you'd think a coach is only worth 4-5 wins at most, but I think over the past years they could have been at least .500 with a decent coach..

12
by Raiderjoe (not verified) :: Thu, 05/10/2007 - 8:08am

Re: 6

You are sadly mistaken. Raiders O line not a problem. Alex Gibbs the great line coach brought it to instal new zone blocking scheme. Raiders got good personal. Newberry has zone blocking experience. Rest of line good. Problem last year was bad coaching. O line will be good this year. Raiders definitely better than broncos,.You will eat words at end of season.

12
by Raiderjoe (not verified) :: Thu, 05/10/2007 - 8:08am

Re: 6

You are sadly mistaken. Raiders O line not a problem. Alex Gibbs the great line coach brought it to instal new zone blocking scheme. Raiders got good personal. Newberry has zone blocking experience. Rest of line good. Problem last year was bad coaching. O line will be good this year. Raiders definitely better than broncos,.You will eat words at end of season.

14
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Thu, 05/10/2007 - 8:20am

Re: 13

Fortunately, whoever is having to eat their words at the end of the season won't have to digest a complete sentence.

Wake me up when Davis leaves the Raiders.

15
by James, London (not verified) :: Thu, 05/10/2007 - 10:20am

Al Davis clearly runs the FO, so I don't know how much impact this has on the Raiders.

Raiderjoe-like optimism aside, if the Raiders can create a mediocre offense to pair with their D, they'll be 7-8 wins competitive this year. Whether a mediocre offense is possible remains to be seen.

16
by Charles the Philly Homer (not verified) :: Thu, 05/10/2007 - 10:20am

8:

Sentence - prepositions = raiderjoe

17
by joel in providence (not verified) :: Thu, 05/10/2007 - 10:22am

Raiders front office complete disaster. Crazy uncle left in charge. Crazy uncle driving team bus off cliff. 1970s long time ago. Buy tickets now for Super Bowl... if you're Colts, Pats, Chargers, Panthers, Eagles fan.

18
by joel in providence (not verified) :: Thu, 05/10/2007 - 10:24am

I'm reading this whole thread into a window fan. much more fun.

19
by White Rose Duelist (not verified) :: Thu, 05/10/2007 - 10:29am

Fire baaaaaad!

20
by MCS (not verified) :: Thu, 05/10/2007 - 10:49am

This little gem from the article The biggest issue facing the Raiders before the start of training camp is negotiating a contract with top pick JaMarcus Russell, whose deal is expected to include close to $30 million in guaranteed money.

I had no idea the guaranteed money for the first pick had entered the realm of $30M. I guess I haven't been paying much attention. I hope the Packers never get another first pick. Ever.

BTW, ...cool November mud ? Is that yours or Facenda?

21
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 05/10/2007 - 11:54am

This is where the loser's curse looms large. Maybe Jamarcus Russell is a bigger version of John Elway, or maybe he'll be as good as Brian Leftwich, and if the latter holds true, the Raiders we'll be hurt somewhat, given the guaranteed cash. The real danger, however, is that Russell could bust out, which would be disastrous, given the cap space consumed.

No, I'm not predicting that is the outcome, but I wouldn't be shocked, either. Drafting at the top of the first round sucks.

22
by Crushinator (not verified) :: Thu, 05/10/2007 - 12:13pm

21

Yeah, it does.

I think it's funny how people always say "X team should just trade down". Most teams towards the top of the draft actually seem to want to trade down. It's just not an option - other teams won't give enough value on the chart to justify it, and it's just too much risk for one player.

I really think that the draft has some big flaws in it. I think the teams it helps the most are the teams who were good last year, and it forces teams too much into paying superstar money for an unknown commodity. I think the first 5 picks should have their salary adjusted a bit and the draft chart should be updated so it doesn't cost the entire draft for the privalege of spending 30 million dollars on a player who may or may not be very good.

23
by raiderconan (not verified) :: Thu, 05/10/2007 - 12:16pm

Russell strong. Eat Elway for breakfast. Al Davis genius. Him great leader. Raiders beat Patriots, crush puny Tom Brady. Raiders go to Superbowl, drink blood of enemies.

24
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 05/10/2007 - 12:16pm

Maybe Jackie Slater and Art Shell can't coach offensive linemen a lick, while Alex Gibbs has certainly proven he can. A zone blocking scheme, however, isn't going to help Gallery avoid looking like a revolving door in pass protection. Gibbs may be able to help dramatically, but it isn't a sure thing.

In two years, I could see the Raiders going 11-5, assuming they don't lose their defensive coordinator. I could also see them going 4-12.

Regarding the Moss trade, I believed the Raiders were obviously overpaying, both in terms of trade value and cap consumption, because Kerry Collins wasn't any good, and because Norv Turner wouldn't be repected by Moss. The Pats are in a completeley different position. Moss knows he has this year to earn one more large chunk of guaranteed money, and he knows the Pats can cut him relatively painlessly if he doesn't put forth a professional effort.

Oh, and Tom Brady is a little better than Kerry Collins.

25
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 05/10/2007 - 12:24pm

I read today at PFT that the rookie salary pool growth rate is capped at 5% by the CBA, while the overall cap this year grew at smomething close to 7%, iirc. If that disparity stays in place for several more years, drafting at the top of the first round may become less risky.

26
by justanothersteve (not verified) :: Thu, 05/10/2007 - 12:59pm

22 - Agreed. Rookie salaries are out of control at the top of the draft. I don't know if it's possible, but maybe the NFL could install some sort of rookie scale like the NBA's. The NFLPA might agree to it if it also included limited actual years. E.g., make all rookie contracts three years with no right to franchise players at the end of the rookie contract. That way, if a player busts, you're not on the hook for an arm and a testicle. And if the player looks like he might be any good, you can renegotiate after the first or second year. Normally, you can figure out whether a player has any serious potential after two years. Not always. But a well-managed team should be able to figure out who's worth keeping.

27
by CA (not verified) :: Thu, 05/10/2007 - 2:11pm

Re: 26

The real issue is not that early draft picks are overpaid but rather that later draft picks (especially late first, second, and third rounders) are significantly underpaid. Even at the beginning of the draft, the surplus value of draft picks is positive, according to Massey and Thaler in "The Loser's Curse." That is, the performance value of top picks exceeds their cost, on average. It just doesn't exceed their cost by much. That is considering only expected value and not variance; nevertheless, the point is that available evidence indicates that even the expensive players picked at the top of the draft are not systematically overpaid, and in fact the cheap players picked a little later on are systematically underpaid. An NBA-like rookie salary scale merely would ensure that the top picks become vastly underpaid in their first contracts, and that's an extremely bad deal for players in a league in which injuries are frequent and careers often are short.

28
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Thu, 05/10/2007 - 2:31pm

". An NBA-like rookie salary scale merely would ensure that the top picks become vastly underpaid in their first contracts, and that’s an extremely bad deal for players in a league in which injuries are frequent and careers often are short."

Right, but I think its a better solution to have the top 10 guys drastically underpaid, than have what we have now, which is hte top 10 being paid thier worth, and the next 300 being drastically underpaid.

29
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 05/10/2007 - 2:54pm

Three year, or even two year, rookie contracts, without the ability to franchise, would be a decent deal for players and management alike.

While I agree that, on average, guys at the top of the draft aren't overpaid, I don't think that reality reflects the years-long impact of a top pick busting out. Just like investment strategies, roster construction has to be viewed on a risk-adjusted basis.

It would be interesting to study, for instance, what 30 million guaranteed for a draft pick can be expected to deliver in terms of performance, versus, say, 20 million guaranteed to a veteran free agent, although I don't know if the sample sizes would be big enough to draw useful conclusions.

30
by Independent George (not verified) :: Thu, 05/10/2007 - 4:11pm

I think it makes a lot of sense for the union to push for an NBA-style rookie cap; it's not about benefitting the owners, but benefitting the veterans who currently occupy a roster spot. The teams will spend the same amount to fill their rosters regardless of a rookie cap; the question is whether it goes to a rookie who might not be in the league four years from now, or an existing, dues-paying union member.

I think the bigger question is not the gross salary, but the length & structure of the contract; suppose they limited 1st-round picks deals to 4 years, with the first 3 years guaranteed at a fixed % of the salary cap. A top pick might be underpaid for 4 years, but benefits from reaching free agency sooner while leaving his team the option of extending him before it gets to that point.

The best part is they could probably sell this as a 'concession' in the next round of negotiations, in exchange for something like ditching the franchise tag.

31
by Murr (not verified) :: Thu, 05/10/2007 - 5:35pm

#23

You forgot to mention anything about the lamentation of the women.

I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

32
by andrew (not verified) :: Fri, 05/11/2007 - 1:06am

32 -

We win again! This is good. But what is best in life?

The open steppes (kansas city). A fleet horse (bronco). A falcon at your wrist (vick). And wind (chicago) in your hair (vikings).

Wrong!

-------
And props for who can tell me the connection between the Oakland Raiders and Conan the Barbarian....

33
by Alex (not verified) :: Fri, 05/11/2007 - 4:09am

#32: "And props for who can tell me the connection between the Oakland Raiders and Conan the Barbarian…."

Well, let's see...

Arnold Schwarzenegger starred in "Conan the Barbarian". He is now the governer of California, which is home to the Oakland Raiders. Is that it?

34
by andrew (not verified) :: Fri, 05/11/2007 - 8:35am

The connection I refer to is someone who played for the Raiders and also played a major character in the movie.

35
by Mr Shush (not verified) :: Fri, 05/11/2007 - 9:50am

#34 - The answer is of course former AFL all-star and NFL pro-bowl DL Ben Davidson, who played Thulsa Doom (James Earl Jones)'s henchman Rexor in Conan.

36
by Shalimar (not verified) :: Fri, 05/11/2007 - 9:13pm

Ben Davidson is a great guy, he currently owns apartment complexes in San Diego. He was my landlord when I went to law school, and was easily the most hands-on owner I have seen, always around, always helping people. He's really nice, but also the most intimidating person I have ever met. He's still in great physical shape even in his 60s.