Last week, our former President dropped by to lead us in collecting some songs about hope. I thought it would be a nice, happy, uplifting way to bring Request Line and DFO Radio to a close as the regular season begins. But then Saturday happened. So now instead of joining in the fun, I feel like I’m on the outside looking in. Welcome to Hopelessville, Rikki. Population: You.
One of the most frustrating things about Mack leaving is that I’ll never get to see how good he truly could have been. How many times did I see Khalil Mack humiliate an offensive tackle with a ridiculous move, only to arrive at the quarterback to find the ball had already been released since the secondary couldn’t cover anyone for more than two seconds at a time? Oakland tied for the third-least pass interference penalties in the entire NFL last season. They tied for fourth-least in defensive holding. Didn’t have anything to do with discipline – it’s because the defensive backs were never anywhere near opposing teams’ receivers. The Raiders were DEAD LAST in total interceptions. 27 teams had at least twice as many. Under new defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, the pass defense actually looked considerably more competent during preseason, with players actually ending up in the same vicinity of the people they were supposed to be covering when the ball was thrown. Which only makes the loss of Mack even more depressing – I’ll never get to see what he can do with a competent secondary. Or I guess I will, but he’ll be wearing a different uniform when he does it.
Something I saw during the last couple of days that lifted my spirits in a very marginal way was that even during J.J. Watt’s prime, when he was a complete monster in every possible way and the offense had to account for him with at least two and sometimes even three players on every single down, the Texans (link for those who are unfamiliar) were still completely meh. I’ve seen it argued – and found myself easily convinced – that you simply cannot expend so much of a franchise’s resources on a single defensive player when you don’t have a quarterback on a rookie deal. And two first-round picks is the most ever surrendered for a defensive player. But still…if the Raiders have a lousy season, or even a mediocre one, this will completely break the spirit of the fans in Oakland who were looking for something to ease the pain of losing the franchise to Las Vegas. As well as yours truly.
Anyhow, here’s a collection of songs about hope. Give it a listen, and please enjoy these last few fleeting days of optimism with me before the season begins and our dogshit franchises show their true colors. Pick of the week goes to nomonkeyfun in honor of his grandmother, with honorable mentions to Low Commander of the Super Soldiers, for keeping hope alive, and to TWBS, who’s filled with more hope than anyone else I know. Here’s your Spotify link. DFO Radio will see you on the other side of the season.