Raiders coach Hue Jackson set up bad karma for his team when he allowed linebacker Rolando McClain to play against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. That backfired on him when the listless Raiders got blown out by the Dolphins.
Arraignment for McClain on charges that he assaulted Richard Tapscott, held a gun to his head and fired a shot by his ear will be held on Jan. 24. The very best interpretation is that McClain put himself in a bad situation.
Jackson should have benched McClain for a game. No fine, no loss of salary, but his sitting would have shown the other players that they need to discipline themselves.
Lack of discipline has been a continual problem since Jon Gruden left, and has been the biggest reason for their lack of success.
Each year, the Raiders lead the NFL in penalties. This year, they’ve been on a pace for an NFL record, and they had another 10 for 91 yards on Sunday. Richard Seymour, who is supposed to be a team leader, got thrown out of the game for punching Richie Incognito. Afterward, Seymour apologized for his action. Big whoop-te-do. Seymour has been in the league for 11 seasons. If he hasn’t learned by now how to behave, when will he?
The loss to the Dolphins comes one week after the Raiders supposedly “played smart” in a win against the Chicago Bears. Their smart playing consisted of concentrating on the run because the Bears’ quarterback was making his first NFL start. Yeah, that really took a lot of thought. By the way, the woeful Kansas City Chiefs beat the Bears 10-3 on Sunday, so that Raiders win seems much less significant.
The Sunday loss to the Dolphins ranks with the worst in franchise history. The Dolphins, remember, started the season with seven straight losses. They’ve played better since then, but they were still 0-5 against teams with winning records before Sunday. Now, they’re 1-5 against those teams, 4-8 overall.
Quarterback Matt Moore, not exactly a household name, threw well and even ran for a touchdown. Reggie Bush, whose pro career has been a disappointment, ran for 100 yards.
Meanwhile, the Raiders’ running game disappeared. Michael Bush carried 10 times for just 18 yards. Don’t blame him. The offensive line was beaten badly, never opening up any holes for him to run through.
This was, in fact, a total collapse by the Raiders. Their offense was terrible, their defense was worse. The only player who performed was punter Shane Lechler, who had plenty of opportunities, punting eight times for a 45.5 yard average. Sebastian Janikowski never even got a chance to try a field goal. It was 34-0 before the Raiders scored two meaningless touchdowns on Carson Palmer passes in the fourth quarter.
How does a good team just collapse like this? It goes back to that lack of discipline and, in fact, I predicted a Raiders loss when I was on a Comcast SportsNet TV show Friday. When a coach won’t discipline players, there’s no hope. Can you imagine Gruden playing McClain in those circumstances?
Talent without discipline doesn’t win, so the Raiders’ streak of nonplayoff seasons will probably continue.
Raiders vs. Packers
WHEN: Sunday, 1:15 p.m.
WHERE: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wis.
TV: CBS (KPIX, Ch. 5)
RADIO: KITS (105.3 FM), KFRC (1550 AM)