Here come the excuses,,but I like the line in the first paragraph
Miami Gardens, Fla. -- Jack Nicholson, in one of his classic roles, walked into the crowded waiting room of his psychiatrist's office, surveyed the pathetic group of emotional desperados, and asked them, "What if this is as good as it gets?"
The Raiders' locker room had a similar vibe Sunday after their 35-13 beat-down at the hands of the Miami Dolphins.
The season is young, but it's getting old fast for the Raiders, who are 0-2 after losing to one of the league's presumed doormats.
But let's step back for a moment and look at the big picture. The Raiders haven't been a winning football team for the last nine seasons, but this is the season of change.
New team owner, a general manager, new coach, new scouts, new approach. It wasn't a housecleaning, it was a house bombing.
The philosophical question of the day, then, is: What are we seeing on the field now? Is it the growing pains of a new beginning, or just an old Raiders plot with new actors?
I asked longtime defensive tackle Richard Seymour what he might say to fans, to give them hope that this isn't the same-old, same-old.
"Not a whole lot, based on that performance," Seymour said, glumly.
Sometimes coaches and players grope for silver linings. Not Sunday, when the Raiders got beaten 28-3 in the second half.
"It's just embarrassing, man, it's just very embarrassing," moaned nose tackle Tommy Kelly, and yes, he actually moaned. "I mean, man, that team is, oh, my God ..."
Kelly checked himself in mid-thought, remembering the NFL code that you don't denigrate a team that just kicked your fanny. He changed course, saying, "but you take your hats off to them, they got the job done, they did what they supposed to do."
They weren't supposed to run over the Raiders like a bus squishing squirrels on the turnpike, though. Reggie Bush wasn't supposed to run for 172 yards, including touchdown adventures of 23 and 65 yards.
Seymour said of Bush during the week, "He can take it to the house from anywhere on the field, so we've got to get hats on him."
Hello! On Bush's 23-yard jaunt in the third quarter, which (with the PAT) put the Dolphins ahead 14-10, he broke through the grasp of four Raiders who, one by one, had decent shots at him. It's not surprising that Bush can slip a tackle, that's how he won a Heisman Trophy. But four busted tackles on one play, against NFL defenders?
"I guess we left our tackling in the locker room, too," Kelly said.
One major change in the Raiders this season is defensive philosophy. They gently and respectfully put Al Davis' dictates - man defense, no blitzing - on a shelf, and moved into the 21st century.
Thus modernized, the Raiders weren't supposed to get lit up by a rookie quarterback and a running back whose career has been a disappointment.
The Raiders held Bush to 34 yards in the first half, on 11 rushes. Bottled him up. Second half, the Dolphins ran for 190 yards.
"We just didn't tackle well, and that's what it came down to," Seymour said. Bush "broke a lot of tackles and if we just make those plays, it's a much different game."
The Raiders said the Dolphins didn't make changes at halftime. However, the Dolphins did run Bush more from the I formation in the second half. When a team flips the switch at halftime as the Dolphins did, people point to coaching - adjustments made by one team and adjustments not adjusted to by the other.
Raiders coach Dennis Allen offered no insights in that regard, saying only, "We've got to coach better, we've got to play better."
Basically, then, the Raiders' big picture is still fuzzy. It's surely too early to call the Big Makeover a failure and start pining for a new coach and general manager. But just being new and enthusiastic, as Allen and Reggie McKenzie are, counts for little.
Kelly did offer a ray of hope.
"This is different to me," Kelly said, "because I think we're better than we were in the past. I think we're a whole lot better than we were in the past when we went 2-and-14, or 4-and-12. I think we got a way-better team than that.
"I think we got more talent. I think we got better younger players, you know what I'm saying? But at the end of the day, you gotta get the job done on Sunday. And right now we ain't."
Kelly isn't the type who easily shrugs off any loss, but this one seemed particularly hard for him to stomach.
"Man, it's just embarrassing, man, just disgracing, man. I know we better."
Better is still out there, the hope and belief that the new people will turn the Raiders around. Otherwise, this could be another bad hair decade.