Some people are fans of the Oakland Raiders. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Oakland Raiders. This 2012 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read the other Why Your Team Sucks 2012 previews here.
1. Al Davis died six months too late. Actually, probably six years too late. No wait, make that 10 years too late. Frankly, we could just keep going back in time and continue improving the world the earlier Al Davis is done away with. But for the sake of THIS season, let's consider what would have happened if the old man had died in early 2011. Hue Jackson would have been replaced immediately, or his front office power would have been severely limited in his first season (perhaps a better solution, as Jackson seemed like a capable standalone head coach). The Raiders never would have spent a supplemental draft choice on Terrelle Pryor. And they never would have traded away a first- and second-rounder for Carson Palmer, because the rest of the football world knew Carson Palmer magically turned to ass after Kimo van Olafhugnageloffersonburg pulled a Gillooly on him.
But instead, the old man hung around picking at his forehead scabs until October, which left Jackson in charge to make horrible trades as he pleased, right before being replaced with a potentially functional GM/head coach combination in Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen. Jackson's giveaway for Palmer leaves McKenzie and Allen in a hole that will take them at least another year to dig out of. They're stuck with a starting QB (Palmer) they don't want and a project QB (Pryor) they don't want. And thanks to Jackson's fuckheadedness, they didn't have a first-rounder or second-rounder this year to fix the problem, nor will they have a second rounder in 2013. Thank god they signed ...
2. Puffy Vest 4 Life. Matt Leinart is the kind of player who signs with the Raiders and causes people to be like, "Whoa hey, maybe he'll go to Oakland and suddenly be good JIM PLUNKETT JIM PLUNKETT RABBLE RABBLE." Shut up. Go away. The idea of any player being magically rejuvenated because he came to Oakland is an old and tired myth. It's one of the many things about the Raiders that are old and tired—from the stadium to the Black Hole to the slogans. Also, Matt Leinart is fucking horrid.
3. Darren McFadden only likes the beginnings of things. God, he looks so good at the beginning of a season, doesn't he? Running for big yardage and turning little swing passes into long touchdowns and looking like a legitimately healthy player. Then Week 6 arrives and it all goes to SHIT. Darren McFadden has never played a full season in his four seasons as a pro, and the worst part is that the Raiders let Michael Bush—a back with starter abilities—walk after the season. Bush ran for more yards in the second half of last season than McFadden did in the first, and somehow the Raiders were still stupid enough not to re-sign him. The depth behind McFadden is nonexistent. By Week 12, Palmer will be throwing the ball 60 times a game, and Darrius Heyward-Bey will drop 59 of those passes.
4. The defense is somehow even shittier. This was the 29th-ranked defense in football last season, and now they've lost pass rusher Kamerion Wimbley and CB Stanford Routt. Linebacker Rolando McClain, one of the few decent draft choices in Davis's twilight years, will begin the season in jail. Peyton Manning could have a tumor with eyes growing out of his neck and throw for 400 on this outfit.
5. You Raider fans aren't as tough as you think you are. Despite my admiration for Raider Milt's commitment to skullfucking bitches, there's nothing worse than Oakland fans who somehow think their team's history and choice of black apparel makes them magically more intimidating than any other NFL team. Even after a decade of almost impossible dysfunction, many Oakland fans somehow believe that their team ... their LIFE ... is somehow significantly more hardcore than fans of another team. And the worst part is that handfuckers like Berman go on the air and continue to perpetuate this bullshit mythology, specifically so that moron Raider fans will gobble it up like the steakheads that they are. You're nothing special, Oakland fans. You never have been, and now that Al is finally dead and buried, you've lost your one lame excuse to pretend you are.
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