Latest posts by Rikki-Tikki-Deadly (see all)
- Your “The Sun Rises on the Factory” Saturday Morning Open Thread – February 16, 2019
- Request Line: Duets – February 15, 2019
- Request Line: Coffee is for Closers – February 8, 2019
INT. RAIDERS TRAINING CAMP CABIN 14 – NIGHT.
A pair of dark forms are supposed to be asleep in a set of bunks.
AMARI COOPER: [softly] Derek?
DEREK CARR: …
AMARI: [louder] Hey, Derek?
DEREK: [grumbles] Mmm.
AMARI: You awake?
DEREK: [groggily] I am now. What’s the matter? Did you have another nightmare about Aqib Talib [carrying a gun onto the field like in The Last Boy Scout and randomly shooting at opposing players, fans, and even his own teammates]?
AMARI: No, just couldn’t sleep. Too excited. Do you think we’re gonna score a lot of touchdowns this year?
DEREK: I will. But not you.
AMARI: Shut up! I’m serious.
DEREK: I’m serious too! You’re open on practically every single play, but you gotta stop dropping balls. The girls from Camp Katadhin were laughing at you last practice! And you gotta start keeping your feet in bounds. You need to be more like [second year free agent acquisition Michael] Crabtree. He catches everything. Gets his feet down, too.
AMARI: Yeah. Crabs is pretty great.
DEREK: [second-year third-round draft pick] Clive [Wolford] has pretty good hands too. [He had a slow start but a strong finish down the stretch last year and] if he can make more progress on his blocking he’s going to be a good all-purpose weapon. And I can’t wait to start using [fifth round draft pick out of Texas Tech] DeAndre [Washington] in space. He’s got some nice moves and should complement Lat[avius Murray, who was second in rushing yardage in the AFC last year but wore down later in the season under the workload of the third-most carries in the league]s really well. [Clutch play specialist Seth Roberts is pretty firmly entrenched in the slot receiver spot, and Andre Holmes’ leaping and blocking abilities should secure him a roster spot.] But yeah. We’re gonna score a lot of touchdowns this year.
AMARI: If the line stays healthy, you’re going to have all day to find me.
DEREK: That’s true.
AMARI: I hope [high-priced offseason acquisition] Kelechi [Osemele] doesn’t murder anyone.
DEREK: I hope so to, but…he might. [It looks like Gabe Jackson has made the switch to right guard without too many hiccups, and as long as center Rodney Hudson can stay healthy we’ll have arguably the best interior line in the NFL. After missing last year due to a torn Achilles tendon, right tackle Menelik Watson has won his position battle and is looking poised to hold down the right side of the line. The only weak point – and I use the word “weak” in a relative sense – is veteran left tackle Donald Penn, who started out strong last season but didn’t finish as well as he’d started.]
AMARI: I hope [Offensive Coordinator Bill] Musgrave doesn’t rein us in. Is he really as conservative as everyone says he is?
DEREK: No. All the [feeble-minded] fans [who idiotically insist that Musgrave called multiple tight end screens to Lee Smith] think that he is, but he’s really not. Now that he’s familiar with all our capabilities, and now that I’ve got a good handle on the playbook, you’ll see things opening up a lot more. And I’ll be able to call more audibles at the line.
AMARI: Like on that play when you got intercepted by [first round draft pick safety] Karl Joseph?
DEREK: Shut up! He jumped, like, a hundred feet high to get it.
AMARI: He looks pretty good so far. I can’t wait to see him actually hit somebody. The other guys look good too. I’ve learned a lot by going up against [former Chiefs standout corner] Sean [Smith].
DEREK: Yeah, it’s been tough to get the ball past [Washington Slurs castoff David] Amerson [who tied for the league lead in passes defensed last year]. He had a really good camp but he didn’t look so sharp against the Cardinals; I sure hope he’s worth what they paid him [when they signed him to a 4-year, $33 million contract with $18 million guaranteed].
AMARI: You think we’re gonna get money like that someday?
DEREK: Next year for me, baby.
AMARI: I hate having to wait an extra year to get paid.
DEREK: Plus an extra one on top of that since you went in the first round.
AMARI: First rounders rule, second rounders [and also Trent Green] drool!
DEREK: Kujo did look pretty good in camp [. They’re not rushing him back, but I certainly don’t think Reggie will regret taking him in the first round. With just two years under his belt, Khalil Mack has already established himself as one of the top defensive talents in the league, and as he refines his pass rushing moves even more, he’s basically going to be unstoppable. I mean, remember when he sacked Brock Osweiler FIVE TIMES in one game? That was so fucking awesome. And he’s going to get to do it again this year, but in MEXICO! Poor Brock is going to get murdered on the field, and then he’s going to have to go stand on the sideline while those degenerates hurl bottles of piss at him. There’s going to be no escape! It’s going to be, without question, the worst day of his life. If second-year defensive lineman Mario Edwards Jr. or second-round pick Jihad Ward can collapse the pocket, Mack and former Seahawk Bruce Irvin will have a field day running down opposing quarterbacks.]
AMARI: Is Mario gonna be okay?
DEREK: Sure, he’ll be fine [after he recovers from a hip strain that could keep him out for the first two weeks of the regular season. Middle linebacker Ben Heeney has been the only other significant player to suffer a preseason injury, and he looks like he won’t miss much time at all].
AMARI: Do you think [undrafted free agent linebacker] Sunshine [Cowser] is going to make the roster?
DEREK: I’d be surprised if he didn’t. He looked incredibly polished against the Cardinals; he showed some really good technique.
DEREK: [The most exciting part about our upcoming season is continuity. It’s our second year with this coaching staff, it’s my second year playing with you and Crabtree, it’s Latavius Murray’s second season as the primary back, Ken Norton Jr. has had time to really figure out how to use everyone to their abilities on defense…there’s so much potential.] For the first time in forever other teams are going to be poaching people off our practice squad instead of the other way around.
AMARI: I hope they keep Janikowski around for one more season. And I’m glad they signed [punter] Marquette [King] to a deal. He’s funny! [giggles]
DEREK: He sure is. And if he keeps punting the way he has been he’ll turn into a weapon the same way that Ray Guy was.
A long silence follows.
AMARI: Hey Derek?
AMARI: What position do you think Jesus would play?
DEREK: Running back, for sure.
AMARI: Why’s that?
DEREK: Amari Cooper. A.C. Wide Receiver. Derek Carr. D.C. Quarterback. Jesus Christ. J.C. Running back.
AMARI: Oh yeah. Well, good night Derek. I bet we’re gonna go 12-4 this year.
DEREK: 11-5. The AFC West is still one of the toughest divisions in football. 10-6 at least.
Another brief silence.
AMARI: Hey Derek?
AMARI: Do you think they’re gonna let us have bug juice tomorrow? One last time?
DEREK: For sure. It’s all about the kool-aid this year.