*Pre-editor post (forgive any typos)
I watched back/studied all the Nick Mullens plays/throws in this re-watch, and only watched just a few other plays. I skipped the rest of the game, mostly. I saw the first half+ live. There is no reason to watch this in detail or try to take a ton from it…it was maybe the lowest point I’ve seen an NFL team/head coach hit in my decade of studying this.
It’s one thing for a team to be bad or lose…but this was one of the worst defensive performances in the history of football. Guys in the wrong spot, receivers left wide open all over, defenders faked on every basic play action. A practice squad QB got a surprise/short week start for San Francisco and totally squashed the Raiders. Jon Gruden officially lost his football team this night, if he hadn’t before…but more ‘impressively’ he lost his entire career, credibility, and future as well. All in one night.
You take the Khalil Mack trade, which was a disaster + all the other stupid moves he made with the roster (Martavis Bryant, et al.) + terrible coaching/product on a solo night game (and most of the season)…the media was going to hit him with both barrels. But what was worse, the topper, was his ‘interview’ with Howie Long that was teased…and I’m sure you’ve seen it.
To me, what Jon Gruden did in that Howie Long interview was his Howard Dean moment (https://youtu.be/RwkNnMrsx7Q). Howard Dean was thought to be the Democratic Presidential nominee for sure, early on, in 2004 but then had that moment on national TV -- and basically it was between frightening and disingenuous and desperate…and ridiculous. His campaign never recovered. I think it was a little unfair what happened to Howard Dean, and I say that as not-a-fan. However, this Gruden moment – this is what lying to your face looks like: https://youtu.be/xfEmO4eIjnI
There is not one person that follows or works in football that believes one word of that.
It was so bad that the mere clip from this making the rounds has been a hot topic for ridicule of Gruden…even from the most tepid a commentators. Here’s the thing – Gruden was purposefully lying, like a politician…and he even sucks at lying (as bad as he sucks at coaching QBs or entire teams)! No one believes this nonsense from him. It is the undoing of his career in one 0:22 second soundbite. It was his Howard Dean moment – Dean was pretty unlike-able to begin with; he just looked a little unhinged/not ‘camera friendly’ from the get-go. The scream moment was the proverbial ‘straw’ that broke everything, including the camel’s back. Gruden was already on the ropes with fans, players, analysts…and now this indefensible bold face lie to try to con everyone, the same night his team played the worst football game in recent history. No one is coming to Oakland to play for the ‘Silver and Black’, no more than they do to play for Cleveland – the only reason they come to these places is because you overpay them to…or you draft them and hold them hostage. If I’m the #1 pick prospect for 2019, like Ed Oliver/Houston or whomever – I consider telling Oakland straight up, "I’m not playing for you."
Oakland has become the Cleveland Browns West Coast branch.
No one is ever going to trust Gruden again…except dopey inherited wealth Mark Davis (owner) is stuck in year one of a 10-year/$100M guaranteed deal. The full details of his deal, like Gruden himself, are sketchy. Not sure how much is guaranteed. I’m sure a good chunk of it.
Gruden could have all 32 draft #1 picks in 2019 and he’d still screw this up. There’s almost no recovering from this. He’d have to win the division next year or the year after…if he makes it that far still employed. The Raiders are moving to Las Vegas, and Gruden is the face of the franchise – it’s his pictures on all the billboards. He’s on all those tire commercials, etc. – those companies have to pull ads because Gruden is now seen as a joke – and all the players and agents see it too.
This is a disaster of epic proportion…and continues to prove my assertion that NFL teams are the worst run businesses you’ll ever see in the private/public sector.
As far as the game goes, you only care about Nick Mullens and I’ll get into that first.
I would say, as a Mullens preview, my very first thought re-watching this was -- that SF starting Mullens next week makes their opponent the single best bet of our lifetime because of the Mullens hysteria to come. And then I saw the next opponent was the Giants and I paused…but probably still a best bet against Mullens.
Oakland will lose out and get the #1 pick, and they will get rocked every week on defense…with erratic offense.
The 2-6 record 49ers might find a 3rd win but that’s it as their schedule Weeks 13-17 is brutal.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Basically, my re-watch was going back and watching every one of Nick Mullens’ (16-22 for 262 yards, 3 TDs/0 INTs) throws.
Note: I dismissed Mullens going into this game and, thus, thought the Raiders-DST was a play off it. Yikes.
My takeaway on the re-watch is similar to the live watch. He’s a lesser Nathan Peterman…and Peterman is capable in stretches too. Not DeShone Kizer bad…but eventually Mullens will break ‘bad’.
Everything Mullens did first drive was simple…simple play calls, simple timing throws, and with the luxury that Jon Gruden has constructed a defense with no pass rush at all. The Raiders are worst in the league in sacks. The first drive/TD in this game was guys wide open on the most basic of plays.
The second drive/TD featured an ill-advised wobbler between 4-5 defenders that landed perfect. A floated roll-out pass that Mullens tossed 5+ yards over the receiver’s head and almost into the arms of a safety way behind the play. Right before his short, 2nd TD pass Mullens threw a pass to a receiver who had 2-3 defenders in front of him and a DB jumped to make the easy pick and botched it.
After the first two TD drives, Mullens hit Richie James for a simple slant and James then ran it for 53 yards. The George Kittle miracle play was the worst decision to throw a football of 2018…but I went past defenders somehow and Kittle stuck his arm out and grabbed it with one hand and took off running for 71 yards…the defenders didn’t think he’d catch it. I don’t think Kittle thought he’d catch it. The James catch and run and the Kittle catch and run accounted for half of Mullens yards passing for the game.
Mullens was filled with flaws and does not have the arm to make sideline throws if his feet aren’t perfectly set and driving the throw like a baseball player…he just got away with everything. Fortunately, the Raiders linebackers and safeties looked like they had never played football before and left areas of field and receivers wide open…and with absolutely no pressure Mullens made his pre-determined throws.
When that SF line posts for Week 10 hosting NYG, I’ll be ready to pounce…except the Giants may have all the (lack of) emotion the Raiders did/do.
Sometimes QBs get lucky with their predetermined throws, sometimes they’re Nathan Peterman bad on them. Mullens had the good luck game here with the perfect (non)opponent.
Week 13 the Raiders play KC. I’m worried Patrick Mahomes might only play half a game…hopefully, he’ll have 7 TD passes by halftime.
-- Raheem Mostert is done for the year and the 49ers have yet to react at RB on the roster. So, I assume rookie Jeff Wilson or grab-from-Cleveland’s-cuts Matt Dayes gets elevated…probably Wilson. It matters not, both are not good.
Right now, Matt Breida (12-44-0, 1-3-0/1) is a nice ‘buy low’ as the only RB of note they have, and Alfred Morris (7-13-0) still gets some touches and would be in line to start if Breida goes down (and seems to have been hurt in-game most of the last few games).
-- For as bad as the entire Raiders team played, there was at least one guy really giving full effort – Doug Martin (11-49-0, 1-20-0/2).
Gruden will reward that…and really has no other choices at RB. Martin is a solid RB hand to have in the hole, potentially. He’ll get work, but not a ton of upside for FF scoring.
-- Because Jon Gruden is destroying his team through veteran favoritism…Brandon LaFell (3-20-0/3) is now the #1 WR on this team, somehow.
Jordy Nelson (2-16-0/3) is dead.
Jared Cook (2-20-0/2) is a random event.
Derek Carr will probably start playing for his future, so we’ll see if that means what I think – a bunch of safe passes, get the ball out quick but no turnovers. More Sam Bradford/Eli Manning style coming.
Jalen Richard is probably the best Raider to own for the dump passes against prevent defenses.
Regardless…there will be low passing TDs, and the other team with the ball a lot…so little fantasy hope for any of these guys besides one week spasms.
Snap Counts of Interest:
40 = Goodwin
37 = Garcon
23 = Richie James
12 = Bourne
11 = Pettis
26 = D Martin
22 = Richard
10 = D Washington
15 = Jason Cabinda
13 = Karl Joseph
09 = Bruce Irvin