Can Jack Del Rio Revive the Hapless Raiders?

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I am perplexed by what has happened to the Raider Organization.  The Raiders have gone from a football dynasty, the team to beat, the team of second chances for players to the team that’s barely winning games.  The organization is the “franchise time forgot.”  I realize all organizations go through a rebuilding period but the Raiders are in more than a rebuilding phase the franchise is dying.

It is obvious there is a lack of leadership in the locker room.  The players lack discipline, basic knowledge of the game and no one wants to play for the team.  There was a time when every player in the league wanted to play for the “Silver and Black.”  It is obvious that changes need to be made in order to bring the team back to its prominence and it does not entail getting a new stadium or moving to a different city.

The owner wants a new stadium?  Why, if the team is not winning surely you don’t think fans are going to be chomping at the bit to pay the increased price in tickets.  These owners are so ridiculous with their demands for new stadiums.   Leaving Oakland would be a mistake for the franchise because that is the core fan base and they are going to support the team regardless.  The organization has been through that once and realized the team belongs in Oakland so don’t make that mistake again.  Besides, fans visit the stadium on game day, they don’t live there so there is no reason to focus on a getting a new stadium at this juncture.  The focus needs to be on rebuilding and rebranding the Raider organization.

Under the leadership of Al Davis, the Raiders were known as rebels.  His philosophy of “Just Win Baby” was built on strong leadership and a belief in giving players a second chance.  The Raiders were rebels but the organization could stand on that because at its core were some of the best players and coaches to ever play and coach the game.  John Madden never had a losing season when he was the head coach of the Raiders.  The organization has got to the find its way back to that.  Given the teams downward spiral during the years of Al Davis’ declining health and subsequent death the team has not been able to climb out of the hole that has been dug for so many years.  We all know that it’s hard to win in the NFL and it’s even harder when the team consist of subpar players, coaches and bad management.

The organization hired Jack Del Rio as the new head coach.  Can Jack Del Rio turn the team around?  He has his hands full that’s for sure.  Coach Del Rio is more of a defensive coach so it’s going to be interesting to see if he has the right offensive coordinator in Brian Musgrave who worked with Coach Del Rio in 2003 and 2004.  Based on Musgrave’s experience as a QB coach, my belief is that his skillset is better suited to be the QB coach, not the offensive coordinator.  It really doesn’t matter because the NFL owners continue to recycle coaches, which is the reason the teams continue to run the same three offensive schemes but I digress that’s for another blog.

Coach Del Rio’s tenure at Jacksonville was not spectacular.  He spent nine seasons with the Jaguars and left with a regular season record of 68–71 and a 1–2 record in two playoff appearances over his nine years.

Del Rio’s Coaching Career is as follows:

New Orleans Saints (1997–1998)

(Assistant Strength Coach) (1997)

(Linebackers Coach) (1998)

Baltimore Ravens (1999-2001)

Linebackers Coach

Carolina Panthers (2012)

Linebackers Coach

Jacksonville Jaguars (2003-2011)

Head Coach

Denver Broncos (2012 – 2014)

Defensive Coordinator and Interim Head Coach

Coach Del Rio’s mantra during his tenure with the Jaguars was “keep chopping wood.”  Hmm, he will need more than that to motivate the players because they lack the basic fundamental knowledge of football.

1RAREGRL

 

The Baby Mama Underground Economy: Shattered Lives Part II

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As promised, this is Part Two of my series on the “Underground Economy Created by Baby Mamas: Financed by Professional Athletes.”  Some of my readers may have felt that Part One was harsh and placed all of the blame on women.  Actually Part One was merely to highlight the problem and provoke professional athletes into thinking about their choices.

One problem some of these athletes have is the ability to be honest with the women they are seeing and having sex with.  They will tell several women that she is the only person he’s seeing when the truth is he is running a stable of women.  That behavior is not only reckless but it’s unfair to the women that are operating under the misguided assumption that they’re in a relationship.   This behavior is perpetuated by men who are immature, lack respect for women and themselves.  Professional athletes that go from woman to woman and get a thrill out of juggling several women are just plain STUPID.

This dishonest behavior is very unfair to the women that have been in a man’s corner before he achieved his success, has a child with him only to watch him ignore her and proceed to spread his seed all over the place because he has no self-control and lacks discipline.  When these athletes procreate several children with different women it leads to anguish and resentment from the women who truly believed they were building a future.

The people that suffer the most from this disrespectful behavior are the children.  They are born into broken relationships and in most cases to broken parents.   People that have children and are ill prepared for the responsibility that comes with it, just add more broken people to society who continue the cycle of brokenness.

Adrian Peterson is a prime example of what happens when a broken man, meets broken women, lacks self-control and adds more broken people to the world.  According to reports, he has seven children with seven different baby mamas and they are all over the place.  He met his wife, (Ashley Peterson) at the University of Oklahoma while they were in school together.  They have a son so one can only surmise that she was of the belief that they were in a relationship, while he running around being a sperm donor.  Ashley is the example of the girlfriend operating in the dark.  I have to ask this question:  Why did she remain in a relationship with him after he cheated continuously?  Now, I would have split so fast his head would still be spinning but I digress.

On another point, he disciplined his 4 year old son with one of his baby mamas while the child was visiting him.  He whipped the child with a switch and when the child returned to the mother she eventually filed a police report against him for child abuse.  His response has been that this is the form of punishment he grew up with, which is not an excuse when it comes to a 4 year who was standing in front of the television and did not move fast enough when told to do so.  Part of Peterson’s anguish could be due to the fact that he has to pay large sums of money in child support so it’s possible while he was whipping the child his anger with the mother overflowed and it was heaped on the child.  This type of child abuse is all too common and that’s why these men need to think before throwing caution to the wind.

Who is parenting all of the illegitimate children?  Do these men expect the child support to parent the children?  Newsflash, money does not parent children, it never has and it never will.  The situation is even more precarious when the woman had the baby for the money because the child is merely a means to an end.

What is truly sad about these situations is that a majority of these athletes worked very hard to overcome poverty, single parent homes, abuse, neglect etc. but they are more than willing to allow their own children to suffer the same fate.  It wasn’t okay when it was done to them and it should not be okay for their own children.

Professional athletes have been blessed with millions of dollars, as well as, the opportunity to have excellent earning potential both on and off the field but they go through life as if the money will always be there.  Professional athletes get Nike, Gatorade and a host of other merchandise contracts and television commercials, yet a number of them still end up in financial ruin by the time they’re out of the league.  Their arrogance allows them to believe that the money will always be there so they don’t care where their children end up.  Well, most of these children end up living shattered lives just like their parents.

Case in point, Terrell Owens was on national television crying because he never knew his father as a child and the man is married to the neighbor and lives across the street from the house Terrell grew up in.  I have to digress for one moment: Terrell’s mother was only 16 or 17 when she got pregnant by the neighbor who was thirty-something at the time.  This man should have been arrested and the key to the jail thrown away.

Back to Terrell:  Terrell Owens has four baby mamas, he squandered approximately $80M and most of the baby mamas will not allow him to see his children, which I cry foul about because as long as he had money it was all good.   This is why professional athletes need to be very careful about the women they have sex with and ultimately impregnate because a few minutes of pleasure can cause a lifetime of pain.  Let me put something into perspective with respect to TO’s $80M.  Actually, approximately ½ of that was paid out in state and federal taxes (i.e. $40M), another 15 or 20% went to the agent, lawyer, accountant (i.e. $8,000,000) and now he is left with approximately $32M for himself and child support for his four baby mamas.  As a reminder, child support is awarded based on the income of the person so he was paying large sums of money.   In addition to paying child support he had to live but instead of living so that he could sustain himself and his children once he was no longer in the league, he probably did the same thing most professional athletes do, which is live extravagant lifestyles and have the wrong management team.  They blow large sums of money on restaurants, nightclubs etc.  If you’re going to buy a restaurant, buy a McDonalds, Subway or something to that effect where you are pretty much guaranteed to live off the residual income, if you manage it properly.  That means educating yourself on how to run a business.

It amazes me when I see professional athletes hosting camps with children and talking about how much they enjoying being around children, really?  They are walking contradictions in my book.  How are they building up children they don’t know and can’t or want take the time to get to know their own biological children?  That is just a smile for the camera routine so that people can believe the hype that they’re community oriented.

Save that nonsense because your true character or the lack thereof will ultimately be revealed.

1RAREGRL

 

 

Aaron Hernandez: What Went Wrong?

Aaron Hernandez set several state records in high school. Above, his yearbook photo from Central Bristol High School.

Aaron Hernandez was born and raised in Bristol, Connecticut.  I have to admit that my heart is heavy that this young man threw away the opportunity of a lifetime because he could not leave the “hood” lifestyle behind.  He was the epitome of a student athlete when he was in high school.  He was an honor student in addition to being a standout athlete.  His parents were divorced by the time Aaron was nine years old but his father remained active in Aaron and his older brother DJ’s lives.  He kept them focused on school and sports.

Based on my research Aaron dissented into a downward spiral after the untimely death of his father.  His father died after a routine hernia operation when Aaron was 16 years old.  One of the first questions I asked when this story first broke, was what was going on with the mother after the father died?  Why wasn’t the mother more of a factor in this young man’s life?  I realize that an untimely death can either make families stronger or destroy them.  To my surprise the mother had been involved in an illegal gambling organization since Aaron was sixth grade and ultimately married an ex-con, really?  Albeit she did not marry the criminal until Aaron had gone away to college the damage had been done.  No one knows to what extent Aaron was exposed to his mother’s criminal activity during his childhood but I have to believe it had an impact on him and losing his father only made him more susceptible to drifting towards the bad side of the tracks.

Prior to leaving for college, he was hanging out with a criminal element and displaying bad behavior.  The mother should have gotten this young man into therapy to help him deal with the untimely loss of his father who was only 49 when he died.  Instead of focusing on her children she marries an ex-con in 2010, who ended up in prison for attacking her with a knife.   Clearly she has some issues and was incapable of helping this young man deal with is demons.  The father was the driving force in his son’s life and without him he became lost.  However, his older brother, who is only two years older than Aaron thrived and is an assistant coach at the University of Iowa.

The father was a good athlete and attended UConn as did the older son.  I am a firm believer that genetics plays a strong role in the development of children so it’s possible Aaron’s genetic makeup was predisposed to be more like the mother and become involved in criminal behavior.   He is linked to other murders and a number of incidents in addition to gang affiliations that have not been substantiated.

He is destined to live his life in prison and will die there.  He is 25 years old and has a young daughter with his finance Shayanna Jenkins, who will never know her father beyond the walls of a prison.  He has gone down the road of so many other professional football players before him.

Does the violence of this sport contribute to the behavior of young men that are already predisposed to criminal activity?

 

1RAREGRL

Is Vernon Davis A Team Player?

I was disappointed last year when Vernon Davis held out and did not attend the first series of OTAs to start the 2014 season.  His lackluster performance in 2014 proved by not participating in the OTAs he had lost a step.  I was reminded that he has exhibited selfish behavior in the past.  His behavior was so bad that Coach Singletary did not think he was coachable at one point.

It was exhibited again last season during the Rams game when he ran the wrong route and interfered with a touchdown pass that was clearly meant for McDonald.  His selfishness cost the team a touchdown and when Boldin commented about what he did, he did not own that he was wrong.  Instead, he got in Boldin’s face.  A mature man would have apologized and acknowledged what he did cost the team a touchdown.  Instead he sat down on the bench as if he had not just cost the team a touchdown.  This behavior is exactly what Coach Singletary was referring to when he said you can’t coach a player that does not put the team before himself.

He did not show up for the first half of OTAs in 2014, he cost the team a touchdown and he was ineffective last season.  In 2014 he played in 14 games, had 26 receptions that accounted for 245 total yards for the season.  Clearly, he was not a factor in the offense last year.

Hopefully, he did some additional work during this offseason to improve his game.  It is customary during the offseason for players to work on their craft.  In addition to working on his skills, I hope he made an adjustment to his attitude.  That said, the fact that he is present at the beginning of OTAs this season is a start but whether he is a true team player still remains to be seen.  He said the reason he’s attending the OTAs is because he wants to get better.

Does he want to get better or is he afraid he will be fired given all the changes that have taken place?

1RAREGRl

49ers Organized Team Activities (i.e. OTAs) – Media Sit Down

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The 49ers have started the offseason OTAs.  It is a new beginning for the team under new leadership that will hopefully translate to success.  I watched a media sit down with Coach Tomsula, Colin Kaepernick, Vernon Davis and Antoine Bethea and I must admit I was impressed with Coach Tomsula’s energy and comments about the atmosphere in the 49er locker room.  At one point, the media was bombarding Kap with questions about his offseason workout with Kurt Warner and it was obvious Coach Tomsula felt the questions were going overboard and he stepped in and ended the assault.  Coach Tomsula said “Kap was not broken, he took the time to make something good, better.”  Coach Tomsula pointed out that no one had the kind of season last year they wanted but the goal is to move forward and work on the upcoming season.

That is good to hear because given how the team has been dismantled by Jed York and Trent Baalke they will have an uphill battle in the upcoming season.  I can appreciate that Kap took the time to work on his craft but I don’t want him to get caught up in what people are saying he should be doing as a QB and that includes Kurt Warner.  As a reminder, the biggest problem with the 49ers last year was the front office and injuries.

I concur with Anquan Boldin in that Kap needs to drown out the noise from people and just be himself.  Kap is an amazing QB and the noise around him using his athleticism is just stupid and it is people refusing to let go of the “pocket passer” QB mentality.

The NFL is drafting QBs from colleges where the offensive schemes are being built around the more athletic QB.  The problem with NFL owners is they continue to recycle the same coaches who continue to run the same offensive schemes and refuse to move forward and develop offensive plays around the new more athletic QB.  Hopefully, Geep will build the offense around Kap and change the game!!!

Kap, as well as, every member on the team will be learning new offensive/defensive plays so it made no sense to bombard him with questions about his offseason workout and what it means for the team.  Some of the questions to Coach Tomsula were about his interaction with the players, which is strictly prohibited at this time.  I am constantly amazed by some of the questions when the answers are obvious.

How about asking Coach Tomsula, how difficult will the transition be for him from Defensive Coordinator to head coach?  How about asking him, what he believes will be his biggest challenge in his new role?

Are these reporters just asking questions for the sake of asking a question? Do they bother to educate themselves on the sport?

How is an athlete supposed to take them seriously when they ask questions that require a crystal ball?  Kap was asked, if he plans to workout next offseason with Kurt Warner, really?

If you are interested knowing the schedule of OTAs for all NFL teams go to: http://espn.go.com/blog/nflnation/post/_/id/165635/2015-nfl-minicamp-and-ota-schedules

1RAREGRL

The Baby Mama Underground Economy: Financed by Professional Athletes

This blog will be a three part series.  Hopefully, it will be seen and read by  professional athletes and help curtail the “baby mama” cycle.  All professional athletes run the risk of having a “baby mama” but black professional athletes appear to be more prone to get caught in the snare so my articles will be focused on trying to help black athletes recognize the signs and avoid swimming with sharks.  This first blog is to merely highlight the problem.

There have been a number of books written for women on how to select the right man and how to be in a relationship.  In addition to books, there are mothers, fathers, grandmothers and girlfriends talking to women about “how to get a man.”  When I say “get a man,” I’m referring to becoming a baby mama, going to court and being awarded large sums of tax free child support.  These women have a plan and they are executing it flawlessly.  Their ultimate goal is not to work but to be able to shop, travel and buy designer clothes at will.   The “Baby Mamas” have created an underground economy that is not being taught in college or business school.  Black professional athletes are financing this underground economy because they continue to be careless or trust that the woman is “taking care of it.”  She’s taking care of it alright.

Unfortunately, there is not enough material out there to help black professional athletes migrate through the landmines and booby traps being laid by women who are only interested in a payday.  Of course, they can’t have conversations with men in their peer group because the conversation is not about protecting themselves from becoming a father too soon.  Instead, these buddy conversations are men conversing about being the “hunter” but what they have not realized is that they are being captured by the “game.”

I was listening to Charles Barkley a couple of months ago express his annoyance with “analytics.”  He stated:  “First of all I’ve always believed analytics was crap.”  “The NBA is about talent. All these guys who run these organizations who talk about analytics, they have one thing in common: they’re a bunch of guys who have never played the game, and they never got the girls in high school, and they just want to get in the game.”

When Barkley said these guys are the ones that never got the “girls in high school” it solidified all that is wrong with the thought process of some professional black athletes.  Why is it always about “getting the girl”?  A lot of these “nerds” are the men with the high paying jobs and making the decisions that affect professional black athletes.  It is time to retrain the thought process of professional black athletes so they can stop falling victim to these predatory women and become the leaders in the organizations and are in a position to make decisions that affect their futures.

The problem is systemic across all of the professional sports.  Unfortunately, there is no one out there educating black athletes about the pitfalls of fathering children out of wedlock.  A lot of these women are predators and preying on professional black athletes.  We can write about how men should use condoms all day long but until someone breaks down the problem in a manner that will opens their eyes they will continue to have illegitimate children and end up in financial ruin when they’re no longer playing professionally.

Let’s talk about Rae Carruth.  Here is young man that decided to use murder as a method of birth control.  He was very smart academically but had no common sense.  He got his high school girlfriend pregnant and was not happy.  He knew he did not want any more children but continued to have unprotected sex and impregnated two more women.  Baby mama number two had an abortion because he threatened to kill her and he hired a hit man to kill baby mama number three.  All of this could have been avoided if he had just had a vasectomy.

Being a parent is not easy and there is no way for a man to parent children that are scattered all over the country with different women.  The sad thing is you will hear some people say, he’s making money so he can afford to pay for them.  Actually, that is very short lived and child support payments are based on the players income, which can be very costly.  Albeit the child support is not taxable for the baby mama, the athlete has to pay Uncle Sam, managers, lawyers and live so guess who is getting the short end of the stick when you have a bunch of baby mamas?  The money does not last forever because most of these men have no one teaching them how to budget and invest their money.

Set forth below is a list of some of the professional black athletes with babies with different women.  It’s possible the number has changed because the list is based on what I was able to find.

Chad Johnson has 4 children and 4 baby mamas with a 5th child on the way with a different woman.

Royce White has 5 children and 5 baby mamas

Larry Johnson has 5 children and 4 baby mamas

Ray Lewis has 6 children and 4 baby mamas

Kenny Anderson 7 children and 5 baby mamas

Dwight Howard 8 or 9 children and 8 or 9 baby mamas

Bennie Blades 6 kids and 6 baby mamas

Shawn Kemp 7 kids and 6 baby mamas

Warren Sapp 5 kids and 4 baby mamas

When you see shows like “Basketball Wives,” which is an oxymoron because most of the women are “baby mamas” not wives.  My stomach turns when I hear these women talking about their businesses.  Their businesses were financed by the child support being paid by to them by black athletes.  In cases where these women have started a business, is the child support being reduced?  It should be, if it’s not.

What is sad about this scenario is that the women are not being taught to know their self worth.  They believe the only way to have something is to “lay a baby” on a man.  My father believed his daughters should work and be able to take care of themselves and this is no longer being taught.   It is all about immediate gratification at all cost and it’s the children born into these broken situations that suffer as a result of these schemes.

Shaking My Head  — Part II Next Week

1RAREGRL

 

Michael Sam: Invited to the first veteran NFL Scouting Combine, why?

As a lot of you know from reading my blog, I am not a fan of the NFL Scouting Combine.  I am even less of a fan of the “veteran” NFL scouting combine.  That said, why was Michael Sam invited to participate?  He is not a veteran player.  He was drafted by the Rams and promptly released.  He has never played a single season in the NFL nor did he last on the Dallas Cowboys practice squad.

Michael Sam has made the comment that he is not in the NFL because he is gay.  I don’t agree with that.  It is my belief that he is not in the NFL because he does not have the skills.  He is quick to point out that he was the SEC Defensive Player of the Year.  Well, my research shows that he was the Co-Defensive Player of the Year.  He shared that honor with C.J. Mosley of Alabama who currently plays for the Baltimore Ravens.

One thing to remember, each conference names a “Defensive Player” of the year.  During the year Michael Sam was named Co-Defensive Player of the year for the SEC in 2013, Will Sutton was named the Defensive Player of the year for the Pac 12 and Chris Borland was named the Defensive Player of the year for the Big Ten.  Will Sutton, plays for the Chicago Bears and Chris Borland played for the San Francisco 49ers until just recently.  By the way, Borland was a standout defensive lineman for the 49ers his freshman year.

Michael Sam should not have shouted to the world that he is gay. Who cares?  Why was that announcement so important for him and the media?  All it did for Michael Sam was put off the evitable.  The evitable is that he is not good enough to play in the NFL.  The announcement took the focus off of his skillset and placed it on his sexual orientation, which is not something players focus on when they’re trying to get drafted and eventually be retained by a team.  Michael Sam only has himself to blame, not the media, the NFL or anyone else.  He is a big cry baby and needs to own the fact that he did not prepare for life after football.

Michael Sam is not the first gay football player and he will not be the last.  That said, the other gay players are focused on their careers, not their sexual orientation.  Give me a break, heterosexual players do not announce their sexual orientation.  Whether a man is straight or gay should not be the focal point for a player in any professional sport.  The primary focus should be on whether the person has what it takes to play the game.  When a player reaches the NFL, they are playing with the elite of the elite and no one has time to coddle someone focused on their sexual orientation.

I believe he was invited to participate in the Combine so that people could see that there is no conspiracy to keep him out of the NFL.  He does not have what it takes.  Had the media not taken the story and blown it out of proportion he would have been a distant memory. Instead, fans, owners and the like have had to listen to months of how he is not in the NFL because of his sexual orientation.  Alas, the truth is revealed and as everyone has known, he does not have what it takes.  It is unfortunate that he had to humiliate himself by participating in the “dog and pony show” that is the NFL combine.

1RAREGRL