Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

30 Aug 2010

ESPN: Oakland's Real Black Hole

ESPN will be running a series of back-and-forths over the next couple of weeks for free; we'll be the ones shouting on the side, "But what about..." for the Insider perspective. Today's feature is on the Raiders and their miserable record of player development over the past few seasons.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 30 Aug 2010

13 comments, Last at 01 Sep 2010, 6:06pm by Alaska Jack


by RichC (not verified) :: Mon, 08/30/2010 - 4:35pm

I don't think this has anything to do with player development, or Norv Turner. You can't turn shit into gold.

I'm looking at you Al

by speedegg :: Mon, 08/30/2010 - 5:07pm

I disagree, I think it's two sides to the same coin. They have trouble drafting good players (Mike Mitchell anyone?) and don't do a good job of developing the ones they have. I'd rather watch Cal or USC practice than go to a Raiders game.

Whether it's due to the coaching staff, lack of coaching continuity, or owner interference the cause might be in question, but the end result is the same. They are just awful and will be worse than the Lions by the time Al Davis gives up control.

by zlionsfan :: Mon, 08/30/2010 - 9:35pm

Yeah, but that's only because Mr. Ford screwed up and accidentally hired someone who knows something about talent. When the Raiders were last in the Super Bowl (incidentally, they drafted Asomugha the following year ... must be nice to pick up that kind of talent with the 31st pick), Millen was scouring the Big Ten and Pac-10, searching for players exhibiting a shocking absence of NFL-caliber talent. (Charles Rogers, 15 NFL games ... every other first-round pick from 2003 played at least twice that many, even Rex Grossman.)

I do agree with you, though, that one feeds off the other. Good picks can become bad from poor development; look at Fabian Washington, for example. Maybe he just couldn't develop in Oakland and had to land somewhere else to blossom. (The thought of Mike Williams experiencing juvenation in Seattle ... I can't even finish the sentence.) And a good coach can't do nearly as much if the GM or president or President of the General Partner is supplying him with LEGOs instead of players.

by Alaska Jack :: Wed, 09/01/2010 - 6:06pm

hmmm. I used to follow the draft pretty closely back then, and I'm pretty sure Charles Rogers was considered a minimal risk, super-blue-chip pick at WR.

In other words, not like Darius Heyward-Bey.

- Alaska Jack

by The Ninjalectual :: Mon, 08/30/2010 - 5:51pm

The article isn't for free like Bill claims... it's still Insider only. Bleh.

"Just look at that pumpkin."
-John Madden, looking at the moon.

by NY expat (not verified) (not verified) :: Mon, 08/30/2010 - 7:45pm

I believe the "free" portion is actually the "debate" article, where Bill Williamson goes out on a limb and suggests the Raiders could win their division, while Mike Sando suggests 3rd place is more realistic: http://espn.go.com/blog/nflnation/post/_/id/26820/great-debate-raiders-w...

by andrew :: Mon, 08/30/2010 - 9:50pm

He suggested nothing of the sort. He suggested the Raiders could win the NFC West.

by dbostedo :: Mon, 08/30/2010 - 10:46pm

That IS their division -- the NFC West Division.

by jimbohead :: Mon, 08/30/2010 - 11:30pm

check again. And Sando was claiming that, were the Raiders in the NFCW, they would probably end up 3rd in the division, presumably ahead of St Louis.

by raider (not verified) :: Tue, 08/31/2010 - 12:49am

Yes, Al is horrible at the draft, but in defense, quite a few wanted their chance at JaMarcus, so they were fortunate Al chose him. They have clearly chosen badly for a decade. Don't know that means anyhting about palyer development. The Raiders have made it to the Super Bowl in the 60's, 70' 80's and 00's. And even in the 90's made it to the AFC Championship. No other team can say that. Closest would be the Steelers. They are down, but will come back. At least they did not have to cheat their way off the field like the Niners and Patriots to win Super Bowls. Those 2 teams were fined and lost draft picks and in the Patriots case, the coach was fined a record, the highest amounts in the the history of the league. That's not player development. That's cheating. And as for them, their done. Pats are on the downside now for sure.

by Basilicus :: Tue, 08/31/2010 - 1:36am

Call me crazy, but I think the Raiders this season give the Chargers a run for their money and make the playoffs as a wild card, possibly even as the division leaders. It'll be a good year for both sides of the bay.

And, raider, the Pats'll make the playoffs. Any team that can go 10-6 in a clear development year against a historically insane stretch of pass defenses isn't having problems.

by 49erllama (not verified) :: Tue, 08/31/2010 - 9:44am

Al Davis is the Fidel Castro of the NFL. Until he dies they will be mired by the idealism of an outdated era.

by Fan in Exile :: Tue, 08/31/2010 - 10:58am

I was with Sando until he said that the NFC west teams can eagerly expect to face the Broncos and Chiefs. I don't mean to say that either team is going to the superbowl, but I think both have improved to the point that NFC West teams aren't marking them down in the win column.