Josh Freeman

Posts Tagged ‘raiders’

Ladies And Gentlemen, We Have A Bona Fide Superstar

November 06, 2012 at 12:50am by Scott   •  13 Comments »

raiders2012

Me: Wow, the Bucs’ offense is productive. I feel so full of… what’s the opposite of shame?
Mark Dominik: Pride?
Me: No, not that far from shame.
Mark Dominik: Less shame?
Me: Yeah…

So this conversation never happened and is actually just ripped off of a Simpsons episode, but it illustrates how I felt after the Raiders game. The Bucs have had four games of outstanding offensive production, which isn’t just a change from what we’ve come to expect over the last year or two — it’s pretty much completely foreign to Bucs fans for as long as the team has been around. Even offensive genius Jon Gruden didn’t have a full month of breakout offensive performances like this.

Of course, Gruden didn’t have Doug Martin. It’s a little early to crown Martin as anything other than a breath of fresh air (remember, Cadillac Williams had a pretty great rookie season, too) but from what we’re seeing so far, Martin is the whole key to this offense. Remember when everyone was saying it’s all about #5? That may have to be modified. Even without his two Pro Bowl guards grating the road for him, Martin rushed for 251 yards yesterday, and would have had more if he hadn’t taken losses on the last drive of the game to grind down the clock. He also scored four touchdowns on runs of 1, 45, 67 and 70 yards. And he added four receptions for 21 yards just to let you know he knows how to catch the ball, too. The country has Martin fever and the NFL is finally acknowledging the Bucs for something positive.

Are we seriously still referencing that terrible song?

When you have a 250+ yard runner, things might just open up in the passing game. And Josh Freeman threw for a respectable 247 yards, 2 touchdowns and no picks for a passer rating of 108.6. But honestly, his level of production isn’t as important as the decisions he made and some of the individual passes he threw. His two touchdown passes were perfect and indefensible. No one could have thrown them any better than he did. The only issue I saw with Freeman yesterday was the missed handoff to LeGarrette Blount that turned into a fumble recovered by Oakland. John Lynch blamed Blount three times but it was clearly Freeman not placing the ball correctly. Other than that, a great performance by Freeman who is probably relieved it isn’t all about him anymore.

I expected Martin to have a tough time running the ball because Jeremy Zuttah was taking over at guard, but after a couple early game problems, he was pretty solid. No one is going to release Carl Nicks at guard completely, but Zuttah held his own, especially going into the second half. If I’m not mistaken, it was Zuttah who got pushed back for the blocked field goal, and that sucks, but I’m not going to spend a lot of time bitching about it when Martin had the day he had.

The defensive line had a marked improvement and even though they didn’t get to Carson Palmer a bunch, they caused a lot of disruption. Gerald McCoy didn’t get much on the stat sheet but he was the focus of a lot of double teams. Da’Quan Bowers continued his comeback and had a sack and two tackles for loss. The real trooper was Michael Bennett who kept coming back even though the Raiders kept trying to knock him out of the game. One time he was hunched over on the field after a play and I just knew he was going to turn into a Transformer. Alas, he hobbled off the field and into the locker room where they tried to take x-rays of him but couldn’t because the x-rays can’t penetrate his titanium armor. Then he told the doctors to all go fuck themselves because he was going back to play. Which he did. Sorry, I’ve been writing this entry on and off for about 12 hours and I’m getting a little punchy. What was I talking about again?

All the linebackers were excellent yesterday, but Lavonte David was on another plane. He had 16 tackles, 2 for loss, and may have actually had a clone out there on a couple plays. The only linebacker who deserved any criticism for anything really is Adam Hayward who pretty much tackled the Raiders punter after the ball was away. I usually think roughing the kicker penalties are bullshit but that one was unmistakable. Even still, it must be nice to get a lick in on a player who is under more protection than the President.

The secondary was hot and cold yesterday, especially E.J. Biggers. Biggers gave up a big play to Darius Heyward-Bey and another one to Rod Streater and a 2-point conversion to someone whose name I didn’t bother to learn. But he also caused a fumble that went out of bounds and made an interception late in the game. Leonard Johnson looked even better against the Raiders than he did last week against the Vikings and Myron Lewis looked like a bag of asses. All the safeties were decent except for Ahmad Black who was outstanding. So basically, the two least experienced players in the secondary were the best ones.

There really isn’t a lot bad to say about this game. It was fun to watch, it showed even more improvement as a team and more than anything gave us some young stars to watch in the coming weeks. Doug Martin is every fantasy player’s wet dream right now and the Bucs are the league’s top scoring team in the last month. If you find something to really bitch about, you’re looking too hard.

And this is going to sound cliche and corny, but seriously, vote. I know most of you live in Florida and the lines there suck donkey balls and it’s a real pain in the ass, but you have to. You absolutely have to. I will not get political here, but most of us are never really called upon to serve our country. We sit here in the comfort of liberty that other people provide for us, complaining when our internet connection is too slow or Kroger is out of our particular flavor of Fritos. And for 99.9% of the time, that level of sloth is acceptable. But once every couple years, we are called upon to put pants on, stand on line for a little while and exercise the very right that those chosen few lay their balls (or tits — this isn’t a contest) on the line to defend. It really, almost literally, is the least you can do. Thank you.

Lane And Raheem Have Similar Camps

July 24, 2009 at 02:10pm by Scott   •  1 Comment »

A little bit softer now, a little bit softer now...
This isn’t a scoop or anything, just something that caught my eye. I was reading this piece on how the Raiders’ camp this year with Tom Cable will be a lot different than their camp last year under Lane Kiffin.

In training camps under Lane Kiffin, the Raiders would spread out the amount of time between practices by having double sessions at 8:30 a.m. and 7 p.m., always followed the next day by a single practice in the middle of the day.

The reasoning was the time off gave the Raiders more time off to heal, and Kiffin credited the system with keeping the team relatively healthy during training camp under his watch.

This is exactly what Raheem Morris is doing with his camp this year. Here’s their schedule (PDF) that shows alternating two-a-days and one-a-days.

Cable also got rid of the music which played during warmups under Kiffin’s watch.

As we all know, Morris is also a big fan of music during practices. Jon Gruden did that, too, but not to the degree that Morris does it. Music is ubiquitous at Morris’s practices.

All the stuff that the Raiders are getting rid of are the same things that the Bucs are now implementing for their camp. I dunno, it just struck me as interesting. Someone throw something shiny in front of me so I can move onto something else, please.

Do Not Pick Josh Freeman

April 08, 2009 at 10:22am by Scott   •  10 Comments »

Guess why Freeman is getting consoled right here.  If you said 'because he lost a fumble at the goal line', give yourself a nipple tweak because you're absolutely right.
Quarterback Josh Freeman (Kansas State) is coming to Tampa Bay for a visit next week and I’m hearing more and more buzz in the Tampa media about how Freeman is a favorite to go to the Bucs at #19. I’m not going to link to all of the articles that mention it because I’m incredibly lazy, but trust me.

In any other year Freeman would easily be a second round pick, possibly a third. Physically, he is what you want: 6-6, 250 with a huge arm. He’s also said to have a high football intelligence, but that didn’t translate into great decision-making in college. He was inconsistent, was not all that accurate with his throws, has questionable footwork and crumbled in the face of strong pass-rushers. He telegraphs his throws and hasn’t shown a consistent ability to read defenses, choosing to hold the ball and wait for a clear window instead of trusting his arm and anticipating the break.

He is being compared to JaMarcus Russell and Daunte Culpepper for his size and arm strength. This is supposed to be a good thing? Oakland cut ties with Culpepper to draft Russell, and now they brought in Jeff Garcia because maybe Russell still isn’t ready for the big time. In that way, Freeman is also a lot like Russell. He could have used an extra year in college to work on his mechanics and gain another year of experience to help slow the game down. I don’t blame him for coming out in his junior year for this quarterback-starved draft. He’ll go higher than he would have next year, that’s for sure. But in terms of value, his stock is way overinflated. At #19, I don’t want a developmental project with a big upside that may or may not ever materialize. One statistic that comes up this time of year is that underclassmen quarterbacks drafted in the first round are usually busts. Ben Roethlisberger is the big exception with Aaron Rodgers also having some success. See if you can think of another before you get to Drew Bledsoe in 1993.

For some reason, the Tribune insisted on quoting Mel Kiper in the article.

“Right now the big question is who’s going to be the heir apparent to Luke McCown? Who is Luke McCown going to be the bridge to?,” ESPN draft analyst Mek Kiper Jr. said in a previous interview.

I think Luke should just change his name. People hear “McCown” and immediately think stopgap or backup. Jesus, McCown is going to be 28 when the season starts. He could legitimately play for the Bucs for six or seven years before you would have to start thinking about who the heir apparent is going to be. HE HASN’T OPENED UP A SEASON AS A STARTER YET and Kiper is already looking to replace him? McCown is just as good an athlete as Freeman is — maybe even a better overall athlete. I’m not sure who would win in a long ball competition, but I know McCown can throw it as far as it needs to go, and he’s had some NFL experience to build on. It’s a mistake to dismiss him so quickly. God, I really hope he gets a chance to start and win some games. I’ll pull every single derogatory quote I can find about McCown and demand that the authors post retractions and admit that they’re jackasses.

If this were some quarterback-rich draft that only comes along once every 20 years, then you could make the argument that you could get a great value for a quarterback and would be stupid to pass one up regardless of who you’ve already got on your roster. For the nine-millionth time, this isn’t one of those drafts.

REAR ENTRIES: Musical Football Players

April 06, 2009 at 01:26pm by Scott   •  2 Comments »

I think the clicky will overflow the text to the right, and I have decided that I don't care.

GARCIA TO THE RAIDERS: The Tampa Tribune reported it as a possibility, but I can confirm that it’s a done deal and Jeff Garcia has landed with Oakland. So now they have one quarterback afraid to throw it short and another afraid to throw it long. Anyway, at least it gives us an encore presentation of his wife. I blew out the last remaining Carmella shots when the Bucs confirmed that they didn’t want Garcia back, so this is definitely a repeat, but I’ll go out on a limb and say that you don’t care.

JUNE TO THE TEXANS: Houston signed Cato June to a one-year deal, making him only the second of the big five that were purged in February. It’s a salary of $1-million, a $500,000 signing bonus and incentives for another $500,000.

PETER KING CAN DIE NOW: Peter King offered up his mumblings on where he thinks dog-murdering, bankrupt felon Michael Vick will end up. Hey, guess why I’m bringing it up.

I think I’m dying to know who’s going to try to sign Mike Vick when the Falcons release him. Two teams come to mind: Oakland and Tampa Bay. The Bucs are longshots, but I don’t think new GM Mark Dominick is afraid of him.

It’s not a matter of fear, dickweed. Why would anyone want him at all? Take all the legal shit out of it. He was never that good of a quarterback to begin with; he’s got a career rating of 75.7 and completion percentage of 53.8%, he’s been out of the game for two full seasons, and he lied to the faces of his owner and the commissioner. There is no way the Bucs invite that kind of circus into their locker room. No way. King acknowledged the Bucs are longshots, but there’s no chance they even pick up the phone on that one. If the commissioner makes the terrible mistake of re-instating Vick, his only hope is Oakland.

The Best Defensive Move In Tampa Yesterday

December 30, 2008 at 01:18am by Scott   •  1 Comment »

Yeah, that rubber fist isn't used for cheering.
From a Raiders fan who attended the Oakland/Tampa Bay game at Raymond James yesterday:

The game went without incident up until the first score of the game by the Raiders. I stood in celebration, and before the extra point was even kicked, I was being led away by stadium personnel. Once out of the stands, I was placed in handcuffs, although I was not resisting the stadium personnel’s requests, or read my rights and placed under arrest. I was lead to a single person holding cell where my possessions were removed, and I was subjected to a full body frisking. After being detained for roughly 30 minutes, I was released outside of the stadium, and informed that I could not return to the stadium.

And then he stabbed twelve Bucs fans on the way to his car.

I’m just glad the Text to Tattle system in the stadium is finally paying off. It’s a pretty safe bet that if you see a Raiders fan in your home stadium, a crime is about to be committed. I’m actually pissed they released him into the wild of Tampa. You watch, in ten years this guy will be shouting “Go Raiders!” from his execution chamber for something he did in Tampa. Like this guy. Fuck you, Oakland.

None And Done

December 29, 2008 at 02:20am by Scott   •  7 Comments »

Worth a thousand words.
I’ve been thinking for a few hours about what is really wrong with this Buccaneers team. What is it that makes a 9-3 team drop its last four games in a row and lose a playoff spot that they had really only had to have ten wins to clinch? I’ve gone back and looked at the game summaries for the season and came to the conclusion that this was never a playoff team. Instead of being a team that got screwed out of a couple games like Dallas and Denver, they actually were the beneficiaries of victories against Chicago and Kansas City that they probably should have dropped. And then as the season wore on, injuries mounted and linemen started getting sore, the team’s true colors came out and they shit themselves. This team was never good enough to get to the playoffs.

And I don’t care what any analyst says about Monte Kiffin announcing his intentions last month. That was not what caused the defense to meltdown. Any player that allows something like that to affect his play doesn’t deserve to be on the team. This is professional football. Really, were their minds so distracted by the idea of playing without Kiffin next year that they couldn’t concentrate on the last month of the season? Were they depressed and couldn’t muster the energy to tackle properly? These aren’t teenage goth girls. Give these players at least the credit that they can accept a change in coaching personnel and not forget how to play the game. I believe the timing of the announcement and the breakdown is coincidental.

Okay, onto the game. I predicted earlier today that Antonio Bryant would have a big day. I kind of assumed that Jeff Garcia would play better than he has been. I was wrong. Bryant was wide open several times during the game and Garcia either overthrew him or didn’t see him or did see him but chose to throw elsewhere. When Jon Gruden goes back to review this tape, he’s going to tell Bruce Allen to go out and find him a new veteran quarterback. A taller one; one that can see the entire fucking field.

I already noted my disappointment for Cadillac Williams and the knee injury he suffered as he was having one of the best games of his career. If anything caused the Bucs to lose focus, it was Williams’s injury. Williams was rushing for 6.5 YPC and was the game’s leading receiver, something you never would have thought last year. I don’t know if he spent part of his rehab time in front of a JUGS machine, but he caught everything thrown his way. That’s one of the most tragic aspects of this — he was actually on his way to being better than he was as a rookie.

Warrick Dunn has had a fine season and has been much more involved than he signed up for. But if Dunn comes back next season, it’s going to be as a very specific role player. His age plus the beatings he has taken throughout his career have added up and he’s simply not effective enough late in the season. After Williams went down, Gruden should have put Clifton Smith in behind center. He’s a playmaker and a rookie and can take some pounding from the defensive line. If Smith has his fumbling under control, he should be paired with Earnest Graham for that power/speed mix that is a staple of the most successful teams lately.

B.J. Askew‘s stuffing on third-and-one was all on Davin Joseph. He missed his block, plain and simple. I’m not really a fan of those up-back quick handoffs anyway because you’re basically playing 9-on-11 by taking your halfback and quarterback out of the play when the defense knows it can sell out to stop the run. But it’s even worse when it’s 8-on-11.

Hey, at least the offensive line had its best game in a long time. It started off kind of slow with the run-blocking, but picked up nicely in the second and third quarters. And Garcia’s protection was really very good for most of the day. Rich Gannon hit it right on the head when he said that Garcia scrambles around too much and he needs to trust his protection. Haven’t we been saying that for months now?

Specifically, Jeff Faine had an exemplary day. For a big dude, he gets downfield in a hurry. He knows when to take his protection to the next level and is really aggressive in making those later blocks.

So, how do you rate Michael Clayton‘s last game as a Buccaneer? A huge catch and run for a touchdown, but also a couple of catchable (but tough) balls dropped. It was pretty much more of the same thing that we’ve seen for years now. I really thought in 2005 that he would be the guy to build the new offense around. “Simms to Clayton — TOUCHDOWN! That’s their 100th connection for a score.” is what Al Michaels was going to say sometime in 2012. Oh well. It’s been nice, Michael. Whaddya think? Cincinnati?

Again, this game was not Antonio Bryant’s fault. Sign Antonio Bryant tomorrow, please. And consult him when interviewing quarterbacks. Seriously. He has to be frustrated with getting consistent separation and not getting thrown to. He needs to have chemistry off the bat with the new guy. I’m not saying to sign whoever he says, but you have to at least make sure he’s seen tape and feels good about the guy.

I also think Ike Hilliard spends another year in pewter.

Despite dropping another catchable ball, Jerramy Stevens needs to be re-signed and coached up. He had a pretty quiet day, but he’s a big, physical presence that can be a killer in the endzone. Alex Smith should be relegated to backup duty and rotate John Gilmore and Stevens depending on the situation.

The defensive line was abysmal. They started off stuffing the run pretty nicely, but that didn’t last long. Michael Bush had 177 yards rushing and everybody knew the Raiders were going to run the ball. I certainly did. Inability to stop the run plus no pass run equals a loss. Add in poor tackling in the fourth quarter and it turns into an embarrassment.

I really thought that the defensive line rotation with Jimmy Wilkerson and Ryan Sims and Greg White along with the starters would keep the line fresh and tackling well. But everyone just looked… tired. Listless. Is it possible that all these guys have small tanks and they’re all getting gassed by the fourth quarter? Or is it the scheme that’s keeping them from getting adequate pressure and penetration and they’re frustrated and sloppy by the end of the game? I’ve got to go with the latter. We’ve seen all these guys make plays at one time or another. Raheem Morris may want to consider making the defensive line his priority for the offseason — specifically, the coaching.

Would Derrick Brooks come back in 2009 as a part-time linebacker to help in the transition between defensive regimes? Because if not, this may need to be his last season. He’s had a decent year, but has been hurt and slow in the latter part and completely whiffed on a couple plays. Like, for instance, the long Michael Bush run. He didn’t come back after that play, but I’m not sure if it was because he was hurt or because he was benched.

This was Cato June‘s best game this year. That’s a sadder statement than you think.

You may think I’m going to start sucking Sabby Piscitelli‘s dick after his interception and long (and impressive) return. But the fact is that it was a very poorly thrown ball by JaMarcus Russell and Piscitelli was expected to make that pick. Still, good job, Sabby.

I never thought that Gruden was going to kick the 50-yard field goal on fourth-and-four. Matt Bryant is not reliable from that distance and he certainly shouldn’t have punted. He showed faith in his offense and was let down. The actual play call could have been better, but I don’t know if that should be pinned on Gruden or Garcia. Whatever. But the decision to go for it was the right one.

You know what else hurt the Bucs? Field position. Who knew Shane Lechler was going to be such a weapon? Oh, right, Gruden did. He’s the one who drafted him in Oakland. Between Lechler and Johnnie Lee Higgins, the Bucs were put in awful field position for most of the day.

Look, this team had a ten point lead in the fourth quarter. And in every game this month, they’ve either had a lead or been tied in the fourth. The Bucs have had offensive issues, but this entire month has been about the defense giving up big plays in the running game in the fourth quarter. It’s not a lack of effort and it’s not that Gruden has somehow just now lost the locker room. This is being physically overpowered.

Still, it is at least partially the head coach’s responsibility to get his team “up” for big games or to put the assistant coaches in place to do it. Gruden won’t be fired, but he’ll be in the hot seat yet again going into 2009.

Philadelphia bent over and gang-raped Dallas 44-6. You can argue that the Eagles might not have played that hard if they knew they were out of the playoffs, but that wouldn’t have made Dallas any better. Even if Philadelphia only gave 25% effort had the Bucs won, they still could have beaten the Cowboys. The playoffs were there for the Bucs to take. As I said, I don’t think the Bucs would have gone anywhere in the playoffs because this was not a team built for the long haul. In some ways, maybe it’s better that they lost out and avoided the embarrassment of (another) nationally televised pantsing.

We’ll have plenty of time to discuss what to do and who to get in the offseason. But the problems are evident and the solutions seem obvious. But for now, Go Titans.

Ha Ha You Suck DeAngelo Hall

November 05, 2008 at 10:52am by Scott   •  2 Comments »

Son of a bitch, how does Superman do it?
According to rumor mongerererer Adam Schefter, the Raiders are likely to waive DeAngelo Hall soon. As early as today.

Oakland is planning to waive him now so as to avoid paying Hall the $16 million worth of injury-guaranteed bonuses in his contract. It is too much of a risk for a Raiders team that still needs to do more rebuilding.

Al Davis values cover cornerbacks almost as much as he values the fresh orphan blood he uses to keep himself so spry and energetic, so if Hall isn’t performing well enough to stick with the Raidahs, you know he’s sucking.

His stats aren’t godawful, though. He’s got 48 tackles, four passes defensed, half a sack and three picks in eight games. Just for the sake of comparison, Phillip Buchanon has 28 tackles, five passes defensed, no sacks and one pick in nine games. That tackle number for Hall really sticks out. He’s almost on pace for a 100 tackle season. That’s more than a lot of linebackers get. I haven’t been watching Oakland games, so I don’t really know, but either Hall is getting burned on a lot of passes thrown his way that he has to make up for by tackling, or he’s just really good in run support. And considering that his counterpart, Nnamdi Asomugha, has only 21 tackles, three passes defensed and no interceptions, I think we can safely say that other teams are avoiding Asomugha and picking on Hall. And for the most part, it’s working.

Since the trade deadline has passed, any player regardless of tenure has to pass through waivers if they are released. This means that some other team could put a waiver claim in on him and get him for only the guaranteed money left on his contract. The question is, does Hall suck bad enough that some team in need of a corner won’t claim him even though Oakland has already picked up the tab for his signing bonus? Is he so much of a locker room cancer that even the Raiders think he’s not worth the trouble? Hmm… that’s a tough one.

Could Monte Have Been A Raider?

October 01, 2008 at 08:19pm by Scott   •  5 Comments »

I find your lack of faith disturbing.
Al Davis took a break from lumbering around slowly and scaring Abbott and Costello to have a press conference/character assassination about his reasons for firing Lane Kiffin. During his tirade and in between diaper changes, he happen to let fly that Monte Kiffin really wanted to be a Raider.

“Monte told me that he wanted to come here…even though he is under contract with Tampa,” Davis said at his news conference Tuesday.

Davis said he the Raiders did not want to tamper, so he called Buccaneeers general manager Bruce Allen but ended up talking about Lane, “even though Monte wanted to leave.”

Today, Monte did not deny those claims. Or really say anything at all.

“It was a long day and I really don’t want to go there and all due respect to you guys and you guys have been great in this matter,” Monte Kiffin said.

I dunno. It sounds plausible. What dad wouldn’t want to work with his son during the final leg of his career? I know when I get to be Monte’s age, I’d like to think one of my sons would take over shaking down Js and keeping the hos in line while I kept the books or something. ** cue Cat’s in the Cradle ** But Al Davis is batshit crazy and can we really believe anything he says that doesn’t have to do with Jell-O? My guess is that the truth is somewhere in between. Monte probably mentioned it in passing, and who can blame him?

Gene Upshaw Is Pancaking Linebackers In Heaven Now

August 21, 2008 at 09:16am by Scott   •  No Comments »

Gene Upshaw died today of pancreatic cancer. He was 63 years old. I have some experience with relatives that had pancreatic cancer and it’s unpleasant. My sympathies go out to his family.

This is going to throw the NFL Players Union into a week or two of chaos as they try to find Upshaw’s successor as executive director. Upshaw refused to begin the process of naming a successor because he said it would distract from the task of getting a new CBA completed. The NFLPA’s executive committee is made up of current players (led by Kevin Mawae), so none of them are eligible to take his spot right now. Upshaw had been executive director since 1983.

As sad as it is that it happened this way, the union is going to benefit from a fresher perspective from its leader, whoever it is. Upshaw seemed to lose his objectivity later in his career and it was to the detriment of his constituents. Don’t get me wrong; he did a lot for the players. Unrestricted free agency after four years, a 60% piece of just about all money taken in, huge contracts, excellent benefits (while playing) — all giant steps forward. But it was time for a change. I won’t enumerate the reasons why here. You can look back at previous posts and get an assful of my opinion there. But, again, it’s a shame that the change had to happen under these circumstances.

Ok, enough of that. Let’s remember Gene Upshaw the kick ass player. Upshaw was one of the most dominant guards on one of the most dominant teams in the 1970s. He played in three Super Bowls and won two of them. He was a member of the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time team. He went to seven Pro Bowls and was selected All-Pro 11 times. He played in 217 games altogether. His play earned him a bust in the Hall of Fame.

The Raiders in those days were generally known as a loose association of thugs and castoffs from other teams (no, really!) who were just spending time playing football in between prison sentences. Upshaw was often cited as the man who held these guys together, provided direction and discipline from within the playing ranks, and willed them into playing together as a great team. Somehow, Upshaw embraced the role of Raider renegade while still maintaining respectability and acting like a professional. Like most offensive linemen, Upshaw didn’t get the press that guys like Kenny Stabler, Fred Biletnikoff, or Jack Tatum got. But any of them will tell you that Upshaw was the glue (or Stickum, as it were) that held the team together. Moreso than John Madden, moreso than even Al Davis. Those are the qualities that led to his successful second career, and that’s the way I’ll remember him.

Take a wild guess which decade this picture was taken in.  Go ahead, give it a try.