Finger-pointing or accountability?

September 21, 2011, 4:53 pm
Share This Post

In describing Buffalo's game-winning play Sunday, in which receiver David Nelson was so wide open in the middle of the end zone Ozzie, Harriet, Ricky and the mop-haired band Nelson could have joined the party, several Raiders players voiced their displeasure with how it went down.

Still, it was more along the lines of finger-pointing than throwing named teammates under a Silver & Black bus.

Said defensive tackle Tommy Kelly: "For a guy to score on the last play of the game wide open, c'mon, man. Do your job. That's what the man pays you for, do your job. If you got that guy, follow him to the bathroom."

Added cornerback Chris Johnson: "Basically, trying to do somebody elses job. Youve got to be on the same page. It was a blown coverage. (Bills quarterback Ryan) Fitzpatrick knew where he wanted to go, so it was an easy pitch and catch."

And this, from cornerback Stanford Routt: "I know you guys in the media, you all try to criticize or chastise a certain individual back there for getting beat on a play, but I dont think were lacking in confidence at all."

Then, the age-old conspiracy theories surfaced. That the refs decided to start throwing flags at the Raiders at the most inopportune times in the second half. Hey, it's not paranoia if they're out to get you, right?

Said Kelly: "Some reason, the refs started throwing the flags on any time we get a close, anything close on our side. I'm like, 'C'mon, man, you gotta let them play at some point. You're letting the other dude do the same thing on the other side and you ain't throwing no flag.' How many pass interference (penalties) we have? There was a lot of them. C'mon, man."

And when it appeared as though the replay officials were taking another look at the final play of the game, the Hail Mary pass that receiver Denarius Moore got his hands on, very few, if any Raiders actually thought the initial call of interception would be overturned in Oakland's favor and ruled a touchdown.

Said defensive tackle Richard Seymour: "We're the Raiders. Really? You think we're going to get that?"

Added receiver Chaz Schilens: "(The ref) didnt even know what to call, so obviously theres something more there than whatever they saw."

And another gem from Kelly: "Man, we the Raiders. We ain't going to get that call. I mean, (shoot), if we were probably the Patriots of the Bears or the Falcons or somebody, they probably would reverse it. But, they ain't going to reverse that call for us'cause we're the Raiders. We ain't going to get that call. You know we ain't fixing to get that call. It ain't going to happen."

Rookie coach Hue Jackson heard, read and saw it all. And he was not pleased. He said he addressed the blame game in a team meeting on Monday.

"I believe that is done," Jackson said. "There is no more frustration. There will be nothing addressed at a teammate anymore. Let me make that very clear. There will be no more addressing players, names, positions, any of that, as long as I'm the head coach here because here's the deal: all that crap about, well this guy, that guy, you've got to look in the mirror first as a football player. Last time I checked, I'm the head coach of this team, they're the players. Ain't nobody else going to be commenting on no other position. If they want to comment about themselves, they're more than welcome to, but we're done. That is over. Over. Those days are done."

Fair enough, but what about the conspiracy theory that, fact or fiction, has become legend in the Raiders locker room?

"Hear me clearly," Jackson said. "I've heard all of that. Listen, listen. That's over with. We're not dealing with that anymore. That's all crap in my opinion. Forget what the Raiders have done in the past and this official and that official and this, that and the other. We lost. Make more plays. Get them stopped on defense. Score on offense. Do what you need to do on special teams and win the game. Thats not what we did. So this has nothing to do with an official, has nothing to do with a call, has nothing to do with nothing. This has to do with a group of men finishing a football game that they had an opportunity to win, and they didn't do it. So it's like anybody else.

"You start looking for other things. Everybody self-checks everybody else's stuff before you check your own. So what we're going to do from here on in is check our own from here on in. We ain't going to get into the officiating game, we're not going to get into this guy, that guy, that position, that position. What we're going to do, this is coach Jackson's football team and this is the way he wants it done. We're going to work, and we're going to get better and when we become the team that we want to become, we won't be having these conversations."

So what do you think -- is there truth in what the Raiders players are saying? Or are they simply whining? Can they forget all about it, like Jackson says? Maybe there's a happy medium in there somewhere? What are your thoughts?