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Sports

Heinz-sight: Off course

By From page A8 | September 04, 2013

Jerry Heinzer

By no means a culinary risk-taker, saurkraut snuck onto the menu last week to compliment the main course.

Cabbage, in any of its forms, isn’t compatible to my dietary well-being but several hours later awaiting the start of the Raiders’ final preseason game, all was quiet on the home front.

The evening’s aim was to get a read on where Oakland stood heading into the upcoming NFL season and  several series in I was sick to my stomach.

What the heck are the Raiders trying to do?

Are they rebuilding? Are they changing the culture?

Oakland’s dynamics should have changed right after the 2004 Super Bowl debacle but here they are, over a decade later, stuck in reverse. Dare I say it … about the team I’ve pulled for since I was a youngster … that they’re probably the worst team in the NFL right now with few signs of getting better.

Their first-team offense looked weak and the defense (poor tackling/worse pass coverage) was pathetic. You don’t have to be an offensive genius to know a 5-yard pass on third and 8 won’t cut it. Nor a defensive whiz to realize playing 8 yards off the ball on third and 5 yields too much ground.

Simple math right?

More like nuclear physics to the Silver and Black whose coach looks as engaged as shredded cabbage.

Where’s the fire? Where’s the intensity? Where’s Jon Gruden?

Where’s any semblance of intelligent play?

Injuries aside, Oakland’s nonchalant approach to the preseason does not bode well. The Raiders’ don’t-give-a-rip attitude and don’t-want-to-show-too-much style spells defeat which then carries over to the regular season.

How did they go 1 and 3?

Beyond frustrated with Oakland, I’m contemplating my football weekends starting with the preps on Friday and ending with Saturday’s college lineups. At least I know those groups play their hearts out — something I can’t say for the Raiders.

Right now, Oakland has to win me back … literally. Those three hours I invest each Sunday and the emotions involved are probably best spent elsewhere.

But good for Raider Nation fans who purchased Charles Woodson jerseys years ago because he’s back with the team and they’re relevant again.

Just finished the left-over sauerkraut and feeling queasy. Was it from that or writing this column?

Jerry Heinzer

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