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News » Countdown: Davis continues to dismantle Raiders

Countdown: Davis continues to dismantle Raiders

Countdown: Davis continues to dismantle Raiders
Al Davis has done a lot for pro football. His personnel acumen and strong-willed business approach helped merge his upstart American Football League with the mighty NFL. Joe Namath and the Jets and the late Hank Stram and his Chiefs proved that the so-called minor league could not only compete, but also whip the NFL big boys.

Davis later took the NFL to federal court for the right to relocate from Oakland to Los Angeles. His victory infuriated many of his former ownership pals and drove an unbreakable wedge between himself and the late Pete Rozelle.

NFL Week 5

Week 5 action

    Redskins at Eagles -- Preview | Notes
    Seahawks at Giants -- Preview | Notes
    Titans at Ravens -- Preview | Notes
    Bears at Lions -- Preview | Notes
    Falcons at Packers -- Preview | Notes
    Colts at Texans -- Preview | Notes
    Chiefs at Panthers -- Preview | Notes
    Chargers at Dolphins -- Preview | Notes
    Bucs at Broncos -- Preview | Notes
    Bills at Cardinals -- Preview | Notes
    Bengals at Cowboys -- Preview | Notes
    Patriots at 49ers -- Preview | Notes
    Steelers at Jaguars -- Preview | Notes
    Vikings at Saints -- Preview | Notes


  • Whitlock: WRs are crazy
  • Schein: Andy Reid on Hot Seat
  • Schrager: Quarterly Report


  • Strahan on Giants
  • Marvez on Cowboys


  • Week 5's top moments
  • Raiders' coaching carousel

Ever since that victory 25-plus years ago, it has forever been Al Davis versus the NFL. Davis went from earning respect to disdain throughout. Yes, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones struck up a friendship with Davis, but everyone else believes he has ruined what was a nationally popular franchise, one with so much history and lore. The Raiders were everyone's favorite bad guys.

Which brings me to this past week's startling press conference in which Davis smeared his hand-picked head coach Lane Kiffin, calling him a liar while revealing more dirty laundry than was really necessary? OK, so Kiffin and his offensive coaches didn't want to draft JaMarcus Russell. Kiffin wanted to win immediately and he figured he could win with quarterback Josh McCown, especially if he had receiver Calvin Johnson running opposite Jerry Porter last season. Kiffin wanted to take Stanford's Trent Edwards, now Buffalo's starter, in the second round.

Davis spoke for more than 45 minutes, revealing his case against Kiffin. All he had to do was say that he was firing Kiffin not because he had a 1-3 record this season but for cause and unspecified reasons. That would have been sufficient and he could have answered a few questions. Instead, he wanted to pile drive Kiffin into the ground. He wanted to show everyone that Kiffin was the bad guy and not him!

I don't know what has happened to Davis. He used to be an amazing figure, the only owner who was actually a very good coach. In fact, he was the AFL's coach of the year in 1963 with a 10-4 record.

Later, Davis, with John Madden and Ron Wolf, built very good teams over two decades, the 1970s and 1980s. Eventually, Davis gave up on Los Angeles, believing he could turn back the clock in Oakland while pocketing a chunk of change, a figure close to what he gave uninspired defensive tackle Tommy Kelly this year. It was a short-sighted move on his part. Had he stayed, the Raiders would have been the only team in Los Angeles and someone, maybe R.D. Hubbard, would have helped him build a fancy new stadium.

Davis and the Raiders haven't been right since he couldn't share the stage with Jon Gruden. Gruden was the perfect, irreverent coach for the Raiders, plus he was his own man. And he effectively used Bruce Allen, his general manager now in Tampa Bay, as a perfect buffer between himself and Davis. If Gruden, not Bill Callahan, was coaching the Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII, Davis would have won his fourth Super Bowl.

The Raiders and Davis have spiraled out of control since that 2002 season. He refuses to listen to any of his employees in practical matters while his health has worsened.He now lives in a suite of rooms at a hotel near the Raiders' practice facility. Callahan once called Davis a character between Elvis Presley and Howard Hughes. And all he did the other was further ruin his legacy as one of the NFL's most important innovators and contributors. Instead, he has tarnished most of that and become simply a mean, old man.

GAME: Washington at Philadelphia


WHAT TO WATCH FOR: The Eagles insist that all-purpose RB Brian Westbrook (ankle) will play, but the question remains how effective will he be if he does start? Can he stop-and-go, his trademark style? In last year's two games, Westbrook had 345 yards of offense. Regardless, the Eagles will be minus RG Shawn Andrews, one of the NFL's best. On the flip side, Redskins RB Clinton Portis dominated the Cowboys last Sunday, and his 86 rushing attempts have helped the Redskins average 32:26 in time of possession. That's a big reason QB Jason Campbell has looked more in control of the offense every game as he has yet to throw an interception; in fact, the offense hasn't turned the ball over this season. Running the ball against the Eagles' blitz-happy defense is a must. With TE L.J. Smith back and WR Reggie Brown close to full speed, QB Donovan McNabb has more downfield options.

CZAR'S SCOOP: This is the first time since 1973 that Redskins will play their first three road games of a season against divisional opponents. Campbell has a streak of 146 passes without an interception. Everyone thought Washington coach Jim Zorn was imitating George Allen's old "hip, hip, hooray" cheer in the Dallas locker room after last Sunday's win. Zorn said he was really copying Chuck Knox, his former Seattle coach and the guy who gave him a chance to be a NFL quarterback. Zorn knows that some of his players might have thought the cheer was a bit corny. "When Knox did it, I thought it was very old school," Zorn said. "But it kind of fired me up and then I thought, 'What's wrong with old school?' I just enjoyed the enthusiasm that Chuck Knox had when he led that cheer." McNabb needs 41 pass attempts to pass Ron Jaworski (3,918) for the most in franchise history. Odd stat: for nine consecutive seasons, either the Eagles or Redskins have made the playoffs.

GAME: Seattle at NY Giants


WHAT TO WATCH FOR: There are significant changes to Seattle's passing game with the return of Deion Branch at flanker and Bobby Engram in the slot. Billy McMullen, who leads Seattle's receivers with seven catches, will start at split end. This is the first game for both Branch and Engram, and you can bet that Matt Hasselbeck plans to test New York's secondary. For the first time, Hasselbeck has his offensive line intact. On the flip side, Eli Manning is minus Plaxico Burress, his main man. Unless Manning can generate some big plays from Domenik Hixon and Steve Smith early, the Giants may try to control the game and line of scrimmage with their running game. How the undersized Seattle linebackers handle Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward should be critical. The Giants may be unbeaten, but they have only one takeaway. Tom Coughlin's team is 1-3 following a bye week.

Kansas City at Carolina: Chiefs TE Tony Gonzalez needs three receiving yards to break Shannon Sharpe's NFL record of 10,060 for tight ends. Gonzalez was upset with the coaching staff that they didn't call his number and get the record last Sunday in front of the home crowd. Chiefs QB Damon Huard played well last week, but he really acts like he doesn't want the job. Brodie Croyle will dress Sunday and can't wait to play, probably after the bye week. With WR Steve Smith back in full swing, the Panthers have a balanced attack that will prevent the Chiefs from over-playing the run. The only scary news for Jake Delhomme is that Travelle Wharton starts for LT Jordan Gross (concussion) and rookie RT Jeff Otah (ankle) may also miss the game.

Indianapolis at Houston: The Texans, who are trying to avoid the second 0-4 start in franchise history, are 1-11 against the Colts. In 12 games against the Colts, the Texans have been outscored 33.0 to 16.1. Thus far, the Colts have struggled this season, losing the time of possession battle by more than 10 minutes a game. The Jaguars ran for 236 yards against the Colts, and that's what Houston rookie Steve Slaton must do. The extra week off surely will help Peyton Manning with his rhythm and accuracy, plus his offensive line is getting healthy. Also, good news to have offensive line coach Howard Mudd back on the sidelines to make those critical in-game adjustments.

Buffalo at Arizona: With the loss of WR Anquan Boldin (sinus facial surgery), Cardinals QB Kurt Warner shouldn't be able to take advantage that Buffalo is minus its best cornerback Terrence McGee (sprained left knee). Third-year man Ashton Youboty starts and this year's first-round pick Leodis McKelvin moves into the nickel slot. Warner did pass for 457 yards last week, but most of them came after his turnovers gave the Jets a commanding lead. The Cardinals don't want to have a quick hook of Warner, believing when they switch to Matt Leinart it could be for the remainder of the season. Bills QB Trent Edwards (9-4 as a starter) has directed three straight fourth-quarter comebacks.

New England at San Francisco: The Patriots have never won in San Francisco in four previous tries, and this is the first of a team-record four games on the West Coast this season. The Pats will train in San Jose this week before flying down to San Diego. The key to the game is if Matt Cassel starts looking for Randy Moss deep. Don't forget that Mike Martz has a friendship with Bill Belichick, and he will attempt to out-smart him a few times. Martz has new QB J.T. O'Sullivan on pace to be sacked 76 times this season.

Cincinnati at Dallas: Before the season, Bengals WR Chad Ochocinco wanted to be traded to the Cowboys. "If I was in Dallas, they would have to change all of our games to pay-per-view because you need to pay to see (me and Terrell Owens together)," he said. Bengals QB Carson Palmer (throwing elbow) says he will play, but he said the same thing last weekend. Ochocinco said he plans to run to the middle of Texas Stadium and kiss the Cowboys' star if he scores a touchdown. Pacman Jones wouldn't say if he would retaliate if that happened. "When Sunday gets here I'll be ready," Jones said. "I expect him to have the same horrible games (as) the first four weeks. He hasn't done nothing so far." Ochocinco has only one touchdown on 11 receptions.

Pittsburgh at Jacksonville: The Jaguars have a huge advantage in that they have a healthy quarterback in David Garrard and two healthy and gifted running backs in Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger has been hit 31 times (either sacks or knockdowns) in his last two starts. Big Ben needs a painkiller for his throwing shoulder on Thursdays and now has a banged up knee. The Steelers' offensive line is makeshift, plus new RB Mewalde Moore is not the greatest pass protector. Willie Parker will return to lineup after next week's bye weekend.

Minnesota at New Orleans: This game figures to have playoff implications at the end of the season should either one of these teams get into gear. After failing to crack 100 yards the past two games, Vikings RB Adrian Peterson has a chance for a big game against the league's 20th-ranked run defense, allowing 5.2 yards per carry. The Saints lost DT Sedrick Ellis during the week but have a huge edge at quarterback with Drew Brees, plus RB Deuce McAllister got back into the flow last Sunday. However, it is very difficult to run inside on Minnesota with their two defensive tackles. The Vikings, though, will miss under-rated MLB E.J. Henderson, who is out.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: October 5, 2008

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