Around The Web: Raider Dislike, Translating Haley, Oakland Prevents Victory

Over the past few years, there has been a feeling among fans that the Chiefs franchise did not “buy in” to the Raiders rivalry as much as they should.  As Bob Gretz points out this morning, that shouldn’t be a problem any more.RaiderWeek

Yes, the game is on with the “Hated Raiders” and Todd Haley has thrown his fuel on the fire.

“Growing up in the household that I grew up in the Steelers-Raiders rivalry was important,” Haley said.  “Once you have it I don’t think you ever lose it.  It’s not like some point in my life I said, ‘Hey, I like these guys, they’re cool’.”

While Dick Vermeil and Herm Edwards downplayed the emotional elements of the 50-season rivalry with the Raiders, it sounds like Haley is more along the lines of Marty/Carl/Gun, where things are personal when it involves the silver and black.

“I’ve made it clear to the team that everybody in this building needs to have an equal dislike.  We’ve got to start re-establishing the great home-field advantage we have.”

Yes, yes, yes.

I understand when coaches give the “just another game” line, but when you are dealing with a rivalry as big as Chiefs-Raiders then you are insulting the fans to ignore the history between the two teams.

Speaking of Haley, he met with the media yesterday for his first in-season press conference.  The Star’s Kent Babb took the time to translate what Haley meant to say.

Haley: “Offensively, it came down to one player generally on the plays that were not executed.  Not doing their job, not two or three or four players – one player.  So that was encouraging.”

Translation: If you’re driving a car and one tire explodes, that is certainly better than if all four tires explode.  It might still result in a crash, but when the repair bill comes, at least there’s a chance that three tires will not be on it.

The problem with the Chiefs is that Sunday it wasn’t the same tire exploding each time.  Instead the car kept having to go into the shop day after day because a different tire blows every time you drive down the street.

Both the Buffalo Bills and Oakland Raiders used a version of the prevent defense when protecting a late lead.  Neither team won.  Was the defense — or lack thereof — the reason both teams came up empty?

The joke goes like this: The only thing a “prevent” defense does is prevent you from winning.

Proof positive? The Raiders’ heartbreaking 24-20 season-opening loss to San Diego on national television, a game in which Oakland outplayed the Chargers for three quarters before said “prevent” defense was instituted.

Consider: In their last two drives, the Chargers gained 166 yards after getting just 152 in the first three quarters.

Yes, there are times when such “soft” coverage works by allowing minimal gains in the middle of the field as the clock runs.

But when the ballcarriers are not only allowed to get through the line of scrimmage, which the Raiders had dominated to that point, but break away for impressive gains and then also get out of bounds to stop the clock, that’s when prevent defenses are cursed, not acclaimed.

Or, as former longtime linebacker Bill Romanowski said on “Raiders Press Conference Live” on Tuesday: “I’ve been in those scenarios a lot … in my career, and there are times when it really works, and there are times when it doesn’t work.  Last night, it didn’t work.”

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.  If the Chiefs stay back on defense against the Ravens, Joe Flacco doesn’t hit Mark Clayton for a 31-yard touchdown.  But if you don’t go after the offense you’ll never make anything happen.

If it were up to me, I’d much rather keep pressure on the offense then sit back and give up yardage underneath on every play.  A team is much more likely to get momentum by picking up easy first downs then constantly struggling to move the ball.

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