Darth Raider Welp, Raiders fans: I hate to say it, but I think I’m going to be retiring Oakland Raiders talk for the rest of the season. With three weeks left, and teams fighting for their playoff lives, I don’t see how a two-win team could be worth mentioning. That said, I’m going for one last dip in to the Black Hole this week. What better man to lead me in one last time than heavy metal legend Scott Kelly?
If you don’t know who Kelly is, I don’t know why you're reading Decibel. He and his band Neurosis are probably one of the main reasons this publication exists. Neurosis are one of the most influential bands in underground heavy music. The John Madden of metal, if you will. I caught up with Scott on tour with his new supergroup, Corrections House. He was still riding the high of the big Raider win over the San Francisco 49ers the day before, which Scott explains is as big a win as Raiders fans could have hoped for.
“Beating San Francisco this week was everything [for the Raiders] besides getting a chance to keep San Diego or Kansas City out of the playoffs. This could actually fuck San Francisco’s year. We’ll see how it shakes out”
I immediately jumped on Scott about Jim Harbaugh potentially taking the Raiders coaching job this offseason.
“I don’t know. I’m kind of on the fence about it, seeing how his team has declined this season. You start to wonder if what they say about him is true: that he’s got this really small window period of winning before he starts wearing people out. San Francisco looked like shit, and they shouldn’t have. They have a lot of great players. There’s no way we should have beat them yesterday, but we beat them pretty soundly. Our rookie quarterback carved them up. I’m actually still in shock over it.”
It’s so odd that the Raiders could have willed such a huge win this week when the prior week they got blown out 52-0 by the St. Louis Rams. Scott actually brought an interesting explanation for that one-sided loss to the table:
“Given the cultural situation of what was going on in St. Louis that particular week, it makes sense. I played football for seven years. I know what football is like. If you come out and you are really focused, you can kick the shit out of a team up and down the field in all facets. I do think the Rams are better than us, but they’re not 52-0 better than us.
I probed deeper about Kelly’s football history.
“It’s a really emotional game. Momentum is everything. My last two years of Pop Warner, I was on an undefeated team. We’d just go on these rolls. Sometimes we’d win big. Other times we’d be down, and something would happen: a hit, a turnover, or the other team would just start collapsing from the pressure. You’d feel the tide turn. Just as clear as I could feel music now, I learned how to feel the tide turn in a football game.”
Probing deeper into Kelly’s football upbringing, I quickly found out that he actually was born and raised in my hometown, Chicago, and gravitated towards the Oakland Raiders organically before, ironically enough, setting up shop in Oakland years later:
“I was actually a Bears fan first. And then I fell in love with the Raiders in Super Bowl 1977. I saw them. I was 10 years old, and I was like, ‘Fuck, man.’ It was like one of those weird moments, like the first time I heard Black Sabbath. Then strangely, my life led me to Oakland, which is odd.”
Multiple times, I’ve seen Scott Kelly rock an Oakland Raiders jersey on stage while performing live, which I always thought was super cool, especially since late guitarist Slayer Jeff Hanneman used to do the same.
“What it really had to do with was practicality. If you’re on tour and you’re in a van, you can rinse a jersey and dry it easily between shows. I liked that. The next logical thing was to get a Raiders jersey, because I’m a Raiders fan. Somebody else pointed out the Slayer connection somewhere down the line, which I thought was pretty cool. Hanneman always wore it with pride, like me.”
It was a blast talking to a legend like Scott Kelly, picking his brain about a sport we obviously both love, and hearing about the time he smoked weed with GWAR and Raider tight end Todd Christensen (but that’s something you’ll have to ask him when you run in to him on your own time).
Check out Corrections' House new cover of Neil Young’s “Cortez the Killer” here, and catch them on tour in the U.S. now!
Birdshit (Cindy Lauper Edition)
Philly lost to Seattle in a great matchup this past Sunday, and I noticed a few things about these great clubs.For one, Eagles coach Chip Kelly is getting bummed because he can’t get off as many plays per game as he’d like to, even though his team runs about 60 per game already. In order for a play to get snapped, the game’s refs needs to fully set and line up. Frankly, their fat asses aren’t getting to the line of scrimmage quick enough to start the play. I caught Kelly chewing out a few refs last week for not lining up quick enough.
I love the Eagles to win the division, and possibly even get the second bye behind the Packers. From there, it’s hard for me to think that they won’t get upset by a scrappy team in the playoffs. Their unique style of football is still in the incubation stages. I also question whether Foles or Sanchez is the right QB to run said offense. What about getting RG3 cheap this off-season and working him in the mix?
As for the Seahawks, their defense is booming right now. They haven’t allowed a touchdown since Nov 16, which is pretty staggering considering they’ve played the Eagles, 49ers and Cardinals in that stretch. Another thing is their quarterback is back to being the smartest player in the league again. Russell Wilson knows his defense is clicking on all cylinders now. They will subdue the other teams' offenses to the point where literally Wilson just has to not make mistakes and they will win.
For example, Wilson threw the ball away to avoid a sack upwards of a dozen times this past Sunday. Throwing the ball away to avoid a loss is one of the smartest plays a QB can make. Plus, Wilson knows how to do it with receivers in the area, so intentional grounding penalties aren’t called on him.
I made it pretty clear last week that Seattle is about to go 3-1, if not win out to close the season. Huge win for Seattle, resulting in them now owning a tiebreaker over Philly.
Cut the Fat/Return of the Mac
I don’t care what anybody says: New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan is the most overrated coordinator in the NFL. He actually has decent personnel on his defense. Yet every week they struggle. They are currently the 31st-ranked defense in the NFL. It’s also super annoying when they actually have a defensive stand and Ryan goes crazy, like his great football mind willed it. I can’t even begin to tell you how insanely horrible their defense looked in the most important game of the season this past week against Carolina, losing 41-10 (giving up 17 points in the first quarter). When Rex Ryan became a head coach five years ago, the league was looking to fast-track Rob Ryan into the head coaching mix. Not now. He will be fired at the end of this season, and be on the fast track to being a singer in a Bob Seger tribute band.
The best coordinator in football, as much as people don’t like to admit it, is New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Props to McDaniels for being run out of Denver in 2010, after trading away Jay Cutler, Tebow, and other messes. McDaniels is only 38 years old. He is maybe an offseason away from another head coaching try, and this time it’ll be permanent. I think he’ll be a great fit in San Francisco. McDaniels is going to be a MONSTER head coach one day.
Something’ Fishy This Way Cums
Did anyone notice something weird in the Rams/Redskins game this past week during the coin toss? My ex-roommate Mike Buha emailed me that Jeff Fisher sent out the six players the Rams acquired and drafted in the RG3 trade a couple years back to to take the opening coin toss. Total dick move by Fish. However, does anyone else think this is badass?
Rams: keep this guy. He’s out of his mind, and has the kind of George Costanza insanity that could lead you to greatness.
The Rams are literally one player away from being a top five team in football next year. The only problem is that one player is the hardest position to fill in all of sports. You guessed it: tailback.
Vikings Fan Kills Himself, Can’t Stand to See Blair Walsh Attempt Game-Winning Field Goal (Video NSFW)
And finally this week…
Pick of the Week
Buffalo +4 vs. Green Bay