You can lose a lot of momentum during the bye week.
Just ask the Oakland Raiders.
Raiders players admitted on Wednesday afternoon that the bye week took a little something away from them. Most players conferred that they were a little jealous that the Baltimore Ravens had committed 21 penalties on Sunday, stealing the Raiders thunder. Or that the Minnesota Vikings made the Raiders bye week look like a week at Disney compared to their sex-cruise. Or what about Kyle Orton (picture)? Was it that long ago that Kenny Stabler was a drunken quarterback lout in a bar? When a Raiders bye week meant that somebody is going to jail?
Where are the Raiders that we used to know? They are just a mediocre football team instead of the bad boys of the NFL they used to be.
"I remember when I was the guy that would walk out of jail, drunk off my ass and smoking cigars," quarterback Kerry Collins said. "But do you want to know what I did during the bye week? I went to (expletive) Ikea. I was putting together a (expletive) dresser."
Raiders legends of the past are too ashamed to associate with this new breed of Raiders who embrace losing over losing brain cells during late night binges. Even go-to guys such as kicker Sebastian Janikowski has not been busted for trying to pass of ecstasy pills or the date-rape drug in a long time. And you can see the affect it has had on its game. Janikowski has missed four field goal attempts this season.
Guys like Collins believe that is no coincidence.
"You could always count on Sebastian showing up for a game, eyes as big as saucers, a rapid heart beat, and sweaty palms," Collins said. "And he would not miss a kick. Now he is at home by 11 p.m. and he sucks."
Many had hoped that an infusion of malcontents such as Randy Moss would have a positive influence on the team, but no such luck. Moss seems content to catch his one touchdown a game and not care about anything else. Not only has Moss stayed out of jail, he has not even called out his quarterback publicly for his inability to get him the football. Moss leaves the Vikings and they become bigger bad boys.
Even Warren Sapp has mellowed. A local high school coach made eye contact with Sapp recently and the bully defensive tackle did not try to get him thrown out of the practice facility.
What in the name of the Tooze is going on here?
The only Raiders spending time in jail these days are former Raiders such as Barrett Robbins. It should come as no surprise that the club has not spent any days in first place since 2003. It is a sad day for the Raiders when your most prototypical Raider is a former kicker, such as Cole Ford.
"It comes to a point where you have to question those guys making personnel decisions," one player said. "It has been how many years and we still have not replaced a guy like Daryl Russell. You cannot lose character guys such as Russell, Robbins, and Ford, guys who exemplified what the Raiders stood for and still expect to be the Raiders."