After four close wins in their first five games, the jury remained out on the Raiders as a championship-ready team.
Well, we got our answer, didn’t we?
The AFC West rival Kansas City Chiefs put on their big-boy pads and decked the Raiders with a roundhouse to the chin. Did it right in front of their fans in Oakland, too.
“We took our lumps,” coach Jack Del Rio conceded. “We were outplayed and outcoached.”
Far worse, the Raiders were out-hit and out-muscled.
In their glory days, the Raiders were mean and tough, physical and dirty. This team has little of any of that — not that it should commit dumb penalties to confirm its manhood or anything.
That was apparent when 346-pound tackle Dontari Poe caught a quick pass and steamrolled his way into the end zone. Del Rio confirmed that his players were aware of the trick play. They saw it last season. But when the Chiefs tried it again, there wasn’t a dang thing they could do about it.
We know about the problems on defense. Coordinator Ken Norton Jr. has taken some heat for them and not without reason. But one of the biggest problems is a lack of physical toughness. That also goes for the other side of the ball, which needs a Marshawn Lynch-type bruiser in the worst way.
How does a coach teach toughness? He can talk it, preach it, demand it. But unless his players have it, there’s not a whole lot he can do about it. And it’s obvious this team doesn’t have nearly enough of it.
WE WANT KAP! On Monday, Santa Clara coach Chip Kelly confirmed that Colin Kaepernick would start this weekend. Because no matter how bad Kaepernick was in his season debut, Kelly knows that he absolutely has to take the ball at least one more time.
See, the 49ers have a bye in Week 8, which means the date with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be last opportunity for Kaepernick to increase his value before the Nov. 1 trade deadline. He can become a free agent after the season, but he if does well somewhere else the rest of the season, said franchise will have the inside track to re-sign him. When you consider how many teams are in need of a veteran quarterback, even he’s worth a dice roll.
So if Balls were Kelly, it would dumb down the playbook and give Kaepernick every chance to shine. The Yuccaneers rank 20th in yards allowed in the league, so it shouldn’t be all that difficult.
AND ANOTHER THING: Anybody and everybody who has reached the big three-oh should be available.
Here’s lookin’ at you Antoine Bethea, Ahmad Brooks, Phil Dawson, Glenn Dorsey and Joe Staley.
Oh, and if lame duck general manager Trent Baalke wants to trade himself, that’s fine, too.
HEY, LOOK: LeSean McCoy just froze DeForest Buckner in his tracks, veered right and outran Antoine Bethea, Eric Reid, Rishard Robinson and Michael Wilhoite for 22 yards on third-and-20 again!
JUST ASKIN’: If a player dry humps the air two times, makes a throat-slashing gesture, then spits in the face of an opponent, is the penalty 15 yards, 30 yards, 45 yards or 60 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct?