With the Oakland Raiders on HBO’s Hard Knocks this season, any and everything associated with the team and its players generates buzz amongst sports media. The mishaps reported between episode 1 and 2 have Raiders Fans excited for more.
This season Hard Knocks is the perfect hype leading up to the season opener on Monday, Sept. 9th against the Denver Broncos at the Black Hole in Oakland.
This week’s episode began with a team meeting, in which head coach Jon Gruden immediately captured the attention of his players (and the audience) by dropping a couple of F-bombs. He also exclaimed that he wants ‘better execution and etiquette in practice’. He then hypes up the players by telling them to “Pick it up!” and stick their foot up somebodies [expletive].
As a Raiders fan for over 25 years, the pirate theme is one that resonates with all of us. Much like pirates, Raiders fans have often attempted to justify a horrible ending season with a curse of some kind, or misfortune.
From quarterback curses to tuck-rules, you can imagine my reaction when I learned The Oakland Raiders were chosen to be featured on season 14 of Hard Knocks.
Let’s just all admit it. The minute we saw that John Gruden had been paid an insane amount of money to become the head coach of the Oakland Raiders, we knew we were in for a wild ride. While his first season didn’t live up to the hype, it has been nothing but Must See TV ever since the season ended.
Let us quickly recap.
First, the disaster that was the 2018 season. With a record of 4-12, Gruden’s first season as head coach was underwhelming to say the least. In a year where the AFC West was a stand out division, the Raiders were the bottom dwellers. The tone of the season was set very early with the trade of linebacker Khalil Mack to Chicago, then later in the season the trade of wide receiver Amari Cooper to Dallas. Gruden didn’t hide the fact he was completely overhauling the team and managed to get some great draft capital in the process. While fans weren’t happy, the value received was fantastic.
Despite the win in Cincinnati, the Steelers still end up missing the playoffs for the first time since 2013.
First, we start the year with running back Le’Veon Bell holding out for a long-term deal instead of a franchise tag. While most felt that it was going to come together at some point, it didn’t.
But no one benefited from Bell’s absence more than RB James Conner. Conner finished the season with almost 1,000 yards rushing and 500 yards passing and had 13 touchdowns. He stepped into the RB role and made it his own. Could Bell be changing the way that holdouts go? Is there anything wrong with betting on yourself? Should you think of your team?
It was an emotional day, to say the least for the Pittsburgh fans. Still coming to grips with the shooting at the Pittsburgh Synagogue, Steelers fans filled up the stadium for a game against division foe Cleveland Browns.
Coming off of the bye, and a come from behind win against the Bengals, the Steelers were looking to pick up where they left off. That was the thought anyway. The Steeler defense was a little bit sleepy in the first few possessions. The Browns were able to pretty much do what they wanted on the opening drive, but it stalled and had to kick a field goal.
A couple of series later, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw an interception. Thankfully it wasn’t a pick six, but yeah, it was a slow start. Finally, Roethlisberger was able to connect with wide receiver Antonio Brown and get the scoring party started. Sort of.
On a game that the Steelers “had” to have in this early season, they didn’t disappoint. While the Falcons have been rather lackluster this season, the Steelers have been inconsistent. What looked like would be a very tight game, turned into a pretty commanding win for the Steelers.
Wide receiver Antonio Brown was his usual self and had 6 catches for 101 yards. Brown also had 2 touchdowns. Running back James Conner also had himself a game. He was running, he was catching, and he was scoring!
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger did have an interception at the end of the half to keep the game interesting. However, they scored a touchdown on their next three possessions coming out of halftime which pretty much sealed the deal against the Falcons.
Before I get into the write-up, let me just introduce this. Yes, you know me as a Lions fan. However, the Steelers needed some love, so I went ahead and decided that I would pick them up and write about them as well.
It’s been fun learning about this team. I know plenty of Steeler fans, a lot of my family are Steelers fans, so it’s good to branch out a bit. I’ll do it like my Pride Report articles. I’ll have the person who was the Steel Deal (did something well) and who was Not the Deal (who didn’t do something well). So, here we go! (See what I did there?)
The Pittsburgh Steelers had to go on the road to face the red-hot Buccaneers and the even hotter quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. This was looking to be quite the task. The winless Pittsburgh Steelers have had quite a drama-filled off-season and season so far. From running back Le’Veon Bell’s holdout to wide receiver Antonio Brown’s absence from practice earlier in the week, it’s been eventful. Could the Steelers come in and pull off the win?
I’ve come to realize that you either LOVE the Steelers or you hate them like a paper cut. I don’t think I’ve seen any in-between when it comes to the Black and Yellow. I got the opportunity to ask 5 questions of a person who loves the Steelers and an all-around good kid, my friend from Washington University of St. Louis, Safety Langston Laramore-Josey.
Do you think this is quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s last year?I don’t think this is Ben’s last year because of how upset he was with the Steelers drafting Mason Rudolph. I don’t think he’ll retire until they draft a quarterback he approves of.
The Jacksonville Jaguars, a hard-luck team for a decade, are readying for round two in Pittsburgh. On their last outing, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger turned the ball over five times. The final score was 30-9. Can they do it, again? Be the upset winner in these playoffs?
Steelers fans will be quick to point out that the interceptions were flukes, and despite the Jags getting the ball back so many times, they didn’t put up many points. They’ll say the game was close until the second half. Finally, they’ll say that minus an 80 yard bust out touchdown, running backLeonard Fournette was kept under 100 yards.
The fantasy football league playoffs are looming ever closer. Currently, I stand at 4th place in three leagues and 7th in the other two. I have some work to do. On a high note, at least one of my five teams has been the top point scorer in it’s league most weeks.
As a reminder to new readers, I am going strictly by the projected points each week. If a player has higher stats than the other, in they go to my week’s lineup. The grades after my original draft were all B or higher.