Dec 16, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Devon Wylie (19) escapes the tackle by Oakland Raiders linebacker Keenan Clayton (57) during the fourth quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Oakland Raiders defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 15-0. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Chiefs’ Opponents: Taking One For The Team, Part 3

Well, well, well. It looks as if our tour through the AFC West has caught the attention of at least some of our adversaries. Our friends at Predominantly Orange are onto our little spy mission. If you want a good laugh, check out the article and comments about Arrowhead Addicts raiding their site.

This week, we’re on the last tour stop as we turn to our most hated rival, the Oakland Raiders and their Fansided.com site, Just Blog Baby. I love this site – good writing, good fans – but most importantly, I love it for its name: an homage to legendary Raiders owner Al Davis. Davis has, arguably, been as good to the Chiefs as to the Raiders, given his history of poor player personnel decisions, best summarized in Joel Corry’s illuminating piece. Here’s a quick summary:

Trade Disasters

  • 2004: Traded the seventh overall pick in the first round in 2005 to the Minnesota Vikings for wide receiver Randy Moss, who stayed all of two seasons.
  • 2008: Traded a second round pick in 2008 and a fifth rounder in 2009 to the Atlanta Falcons for cornerback DeAngelo Hall. Hall lasted eight games with the Raiders.
  • 2009: Traded a first round pick in 2011 to the New England Patriots for defensive end Richard Seymour. Seymour has given the Raiders four very good seasons, but now the Raiders are reportedly trying to void his contract and Seymour is shopping around for another team.
  • 2010: Traded a third round pick in 2010 to the Cleveland Browns for Kamerion Wimbley. Wimbley lasted just two years.
  • 2010: Traded for quarterback Jason Campbell from the Redskins for a 2012 fourth round pick. Campbell lasted two years as well.
  • 2012: Traded for quarterback Carson Palmer for a first rounder in 2012 and a second rounder in 2013. Palmer lasted a year-and-a-half, traded to the Arizona Cardinals earlier this year.

The players that other teams got with those draft picks were:

  • 2005: Troy Williamson, WR, Minnesota Vikings, first round
  • 2008: Curtis Lofton, LB, Atlanta Falcons, second round
  • 2009: William Middleton, DB, Atlanta Falcons, fifth round
  • 2011: first: Nate Solder, OT, New England Patriots, first round
  • 2010: Colt McCoy, Cleveland Browns, third round
  • 2012: Kirk Cousins, QB, Redskins, fourth round
  • 2012: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Cincinnati Bengals, first round
  • 2012: Devon Still, DT, Cincinnati Bengals, second round

Lofton, Solder, Cousins and Kirkpatrick alone make these deals painful for the Raiders, particularly if you consider whom the Raiders could have drafted based on need for those draft slots.

To make matters worse, here are the past seven, first round draft picks for the Raiders:

  • 2007: Jamarcus Russell, first overall pick
  • 2008: 4, Darren McFadden, fourth overall pick
  • 2009: 7, Darrius Heyward-Bey, seventh overall pick
  • 2010: 8, Rolando McClain, eighth overall pick
  • 2011: none
  • 2012: none
  • 2013: DJ Hayden, CB

Just McFadden and Hayden are on the team now.

But here’s the thing: despite this Commitment to Mediocrity, something very worrisome is happening with the Raiders. That’s why this week’s post was the most difficult one for me to write. Here are my key takeaways from my week in the Black Hole:

Acknowledging the problem is always the first step: Just Blog Baby’s writers have a critique, and a strong one too. Here’s one sample:

The Oakland Raiders have spent the last decade as a joke. From Chris Berman to Daniel Tosh its all laughs when the silver and black are being talked about. Even so-called NFL experts have bought into the idea that the Raiders are a toilet bowl team. NFL.com’s Elliot Harrison ranks the Oakland Raiders at number 31 on his power ranking’s list. That is right Raider Nation. Only able to out contend the Jacksonville Jaguars. Between Jamarcus Russell and Al’s antique projector the Raiders don’t exactly look professional.

It’s not just the writers however. The Raiders have a new philosophy, and it’s based in acknowledging the mistakes of the past. It’s clear as day that the Raiders aren’t going to be competing for a division title this year, but they are moving quickly away from their horrendous past.

There’s a new sheriff in town, and his name is Reggie: New General Manager Reggie McKenzie has been a master of personnel decisions since being hired last year from the Green Bay Packers. He promptly fired disastrous head coach Hue Jackson and brought in Dennis Allen. In this year’s draft, McKenzie traded down from the third overall pick and may have found up to four new starters this year in cornerback D.J. Hayden, second round right tackle Menelick Watson, third round linebacker Sio Moore and double sixth round tight ends Nick Kasa and Mychal Rivera. McKenzie also picked up quarterback Tyler Wilson from Arkansas, who may be the starter of the future for the Raiders. Suffice it to say that McKenzie knows what he’s doing.

Goats or heroes: The Raiders have at least two players who can be the injured goat or the hero this year: running back Darren McFadden and wide receiver and returner Jacoby Ford. Both are coming off of injuries from 2012. The Chiefs know both players well. In his rookie year in 2010, Ford racked up 148 yards on six catches against the Chiefs, with a 94-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. McFadden scored his first professional touchdown against the Chiefs and has a career 4.4 yards per carry average against Kansas City. If both are back, they will offer much needed tools to new quarterback Matt Flynn. If one or both continue their injured ways, the Raiders will have two big holes in their offense. Ford in particular is enough of a concern that the Raiders picked up returner Joshua Cribbs in free agency.

Veteran Leadership: Along with McKenzie’s rash of new, young players, he’s added smart veteran leadership in defensive back Charles Woodson, Cribbs, Flynn and punter Chris Kluwe. All are stand-up guys who know how to win. McKenzie wants tone-setters in the locker room to change the culture from the Raiders of past. He’s got a solid core to build around.

Offensive line gaps: Perhaps the biggest gap to exploit this year will be the Raiders’ offensive line, which may be the difference maker in the Chiefs’ series with Oakland this year. Just Blog Baby provides a great status update:

[Left tackle] Jared Veldheer…is without a doubt the leader of this unit. Veldheer will only continue to get better as seen by his weight room progress in the off-season. Stefen Wisnewski looks to reprise his starting role at center. He has proved to be a very capable starter, and alongside Veldheer will be an anchor in Oakland for years to come. Rookie Menelik Watson will be relied on to start in 2013. His raw potential will be like clay for Dennis Allen to sculpt. The kid shows the potential to one day outplay the number one overall pick, Eric Fisher. His play will determine whether Oakland’s offense will be good or great. With Watson as an anchor at the right tackle position, the two guard spots remain open for competition. Tony Bergstrom and Lucas Nix look to take over for the older generation of guards. Said generation being Khalif Barnes and Mike Brisiel. Any of these four players could find themselves starting.

In classic Raider fashion, the hubris comes through, which is always their ultimate undoing – Menelik Watson will be better than our own Eric Fisher?!!! It gets worse though. Veldheer started his career at center and is fairly new to left tackle. He and Watson will have trouble against Tamba Hali and Justin Houston. Even bigger gaps are in the guard position, which our defensive line of Dontari Poe, Tyson Jackson and DeVito should be able to take exploit play after play. Matt Flynn is going to running for his life against our more aggressive defensive front.

In summary Addicts, the Chiefs match up well against the Raiders this year, particularly in the match-up of our defensive line and linebackers versus their front five. But McKenzie has our perennial foes moving in the fight direction, which doesn’t bode well for the future. Addicts, what do you think – can we sweep the Raiders this year?!!!

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  • Chowder

    Yep!

  • Jason Seibel

    Miles, I have really enjoyed this series of articles! I don’t know how many hours of eyeball washing and watching Trent Green tape you’ll have to do to wash the taste of those other teams out of your mouth, but you’re a good man for doing it. Your articles were well thought out and dissected the Chiefs’ opponents without resorting to straight “trash talk.” Well done, my friend!

    • Jim Harper

      I would echo that thought. Well done Miles. I do think the rebuild in Oakland will take several years to come to fruition. I suspect that McFadden’s injuries are going to be his ultimate downfall. Tyler Wilson will be a project and I have never been sold on Flynn. Watson becoming better than Fisher? Now that is a laugher!

      • KCMikeG

        Flynn had a couple good games in contests that were over with one of the best offenses in the league. None of that is going on in Chokeland. With that OL Flynn will have to run for his life all season – if he lasts that long.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Karma09293 John Guyer

    Yes!!!

  • ArrowFan

    I have also enjoyed this series. You will need to do it again during camp and then during the season as well leading up to our games against them. Think of yourself as a sacrifice for us all.

    • Miles Yi

      OK but I may need some of you Addicts in KC to ship me some Bryant’s to get me through two more rounds of enemy camp!!!

  • ArrowFan

    The reaction of the Dumbver fans is only an indication they are not that secure in their dominance of the AFC West.

  • Michael Shaw

    Should be able to, but then I never thought the Faiders would have a better record than us LAST year!!!!

  • steve james

    Can they sweep the raiders? Yes! Will they sweep the Raiders? History tells me no. This rivalry always get them fired up and they always bring it when they play the Chiefs. I think it will be close but it would not surprise me at all if they beat us at home as they have done too often in the last few years.

    • KCMikeG

      That will end this year. There will be NO MORE faider wins in our house!

  • chiefdeorty

    This would be the year. I do think they are moving in the right direction but they are the faiders and who knows for sure but I think we will win the west!

  • berttheclock

    Excellent breakdown, Miles, but, as to Veldheer, he was rated at the 11th best LT in March by Bleacher and Albert was rated at 13. Remember, Pioli selected Asamoah one pick ahead of Veldheer. At that time, Albert could have been moved to guard. In addition, Pioli left Denarius Moore for Oakland. Moore caught an over 60 yard TD against the Chiefs. He has had his moments, but, he still shows some of those take off moments he had at Tennessee, which dropped him into the 5th round. Oh, and that 5th round was the infamous one for Pioli, where he took both Stanzi and Gabe Miller and left Moore on the board for the Raiders and one Richard Sherman on board for the Seahawks. I understand Mr Sherman has shown somewhat of an ability to play in the NFL.
    But, the moves by Al Davis has left with Reggie McKenzie really having to scramble, both to get the cap down and find new players for his depleted team. It looks as though he has strengthened his defensive secondary, but, his big pass rushers are gone and, as you have noted, there is still a great deal of work to be done with the offensive line. Of course, tears for them are really a’flowin from my Red and Gold eyes. Yes, indeed, may the Chiefs decimate the Raiders in every future game they play. Such a “Pity”, eh?

  • berttheclock

    Yeah, that is a little bit of hubris from Blog Baby about Watson, but, remember, prior to the draft scouts and pundits were all over the map concerning him. Some had him rated in the Top 15, whereas, others had him as a mid to late first rounder or even second rounder, while, some had him as low as a 4th to 5th rounder. There was one word commonly used for him. That dreaded “Potential” word. So, who really knows? Will he be another “Steal of the draft” or reach?

  • Jim Harper

    History may tell Steve James that there will not be a sweep, but I disagree. Never before has there been such disparity between these two teams. This is the Chief’s year to not only sweep, but embarress them in the process.

  • STEVE

    STOP WORRYING ABOUT OTHER TEAMS MAKE ONLY THE CHIEFS THE TOPIC

    • steve james

      I can’t say I agree with your enthusiasm although I see your point. I think it is good to keep some perspective on things. I like peeking into the other teams in the AFC west, gives you a better handle on making predictions for the year. You have to win the division first.

  • KCMikeG

    Nice work Miles.
    “alongside Veldheer will be an anchor in Oakland for years to come. Rookie Menelik Watson will be relied on to start in 2013. His raw potential will be like clay for Dennis Allen to sculpt. The kid shows the potential to one day outplay the number one overall pick, Eric Fisher.”
    BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Miles Yi

      Of all the research I did for this series, Michael, that line – about Watson outplaying Fisher – was my all time favorite!