Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

June 30, 2008
Taking their shots at Davis

Recent press hasn't been kind to Raiders owner Al Davis.

He sounds like a bully that can't make up his mind.

There was the Yahoo Sports report that he's second-guessing all the money spent in free agency.

Then retired defensive tackle Warren Sapp chimed in from Florida in the St. Petersburg Times on his time in Oakland, which didn't put Davis in a positive light.

Here's what Sapp said:

"As dark as a black hole. Stuff went on in that organization that shouldn't go on in sports. I don't think there's one person who knows who or what is making the call. Let's just say the Oakland experience is unique. The phone rings quite a bit on that sideline. Insubordination is grounds for termination in any company."

You can guess who's making those calls. If you're clueless, here's former Raider employee Mike Lombardi writing for SI.com:

"Having worked in that "black hole" for eight years, I know exactly what Warren is talking about. And those calls to the sideline are from one man and one man only. At times I have been the reluctant messenger on a few of them myself. They are never pleasant."

There are plenty of folks that would tell you Davis is very involved with the gameplan.

As I was once told, there's a reason why the Raiders rarely blitz on defense.

Best case: Davis' calls provide insight that help. But with all that goes on during a game, no coach wants to worry about taking a message from the owner during a game

The practice only reminds players their coach really has no say. And there are players that view Raiders coaches as puppets.

"Al Davis will never hire a coach with (guts)," a player told me at the end of the season.

Even with criticism, it's hard to believe Davis doubts himself. Davis will fire someone he believes is to blame for poor performance, before he doubts his football acumen.

Note the dismissal of Lombardi and the head coaching changes. After all, Davis did say Art Shell made him draft Michael Huff.

But Davis doubt himself before the team has played a game? That's a tough one to believe.

If that's true, there would definitely be reason to ask if Davis OK.

****
The recent arrest news about Denver receiver Brandon Marshall could help the Raiders a lot.

Marshall was arrested in March and arrested twice last year. If he's suspended for repeated issues with the police, the Broncos would be in Oakland for the season opener without their top receiver.

--Jason Jones

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About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

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