Here is a link to my Tuesday column on how the Raiders can’t get no respect. The full text runs below:

The Raiders can’t get no respect. Ain’t that the sad truth?

A blog called NFL Nation conducted a confidential survey asking players which team they’d least like to play for. Who won – or lost? You got it. Da Raiders.

This is the actual survey prompt: “The only way I’d play for [team name] is if they doubled my salary.”

According to ESPN.com, NFL Nation asked 100 players to participate in the survey and got 82 responses. Twenty-three percent named Oakland. After that came Buffalo, Cleveland, Jacksonville and Green Bay. Green Bay? It must be the weather.

But the Raiders were the clear leader in this sad — for them — survey.

What does this survey tell us?

It says people in their industry do not believe in the Oakland Raiders. Do not believe owner Mark Davis, general manager Reggie McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen are on the right track, even though this is their third year together.

There’s good reason for this negative opinion. The team has been dreadful under this group, although, before his death, Al Davis left the Raiders talent-starved and in salary cap hell. The current triumvirate has excuses. But players don’t care about excuses. Or good intentions. And they shouldn’t.

This survey — so stark in its assessment — gives Davis scant leverage for a new stadium. Will he have to sell part interest in the team to get a new one? I’m wondering.

A big part of the Raiders’ problem — the problem perceived by a bunch of players — is, I’m sure, Allen the head coach. What has he ever done? His combined Raiders’ record is 8-24. Ugh! He may be brilliant with Xs and Os, but he comes off like a football geek who lives in his head, has almost no ability to connect with players as people, almost no ability to make players passionate about him and his program.

He is a defensive specialist who never has fielded a good defense. That could change this season. Maybe. He meddles in the offense but doesn’t seem to understand offense. He never has developed a quarterback. He has retarded quarterbacks. Last season, he and McKenzie paid big bucks for Matt Flynn who flopped with the Raiders. Flynn went back to the Packers and played well.

This season, he and McKenzie paid big bucks for Matt Schaub who already seems to be a flop, well, a semi-flop. Schaub also has a sore elbow, the same injury that rendered Flynn ineffective in Oakland. Is this déjà vu all over again or what?

There’s more, and this one is fascinating. After last season, Davis gave Tony Sparano a two-year contract.

Who is Tony Sparano and why should you even care?

Tony Sparano is listed in the Raiders media guide as assistant head coach/offensive line. Tony Sparano was on the Raiders’ coaching staff last season. He has been a football coach of one sort or another for 30 years. He was head coach of the Miami Dolphins from 2008-2011 where his record was 29-33.

That means he is a former head coach who could become a current head coach in the twinkling of an eye — if you get what I’m saying.

In 2012, he was the Jets’ offensive coordinator. That means he could bring an offensive vision to the Raiders, something Allen forgot to bring. Whether Sparano has a good offensive vision is open to discussion. One former coach told me Sparano sees the field like an offensive-line coach. That means he looks down at the ground and does not perceive the full picture. But that’s a subject for another day.

What I’m saying about Sparano is this. If Allen gets off to a bad start — the Raiders’ schedule is brutal — well, if Allen gets off to a bad start, it will be a cinch for Davis to hand him his pink slip and appoint Sparano head coach or interim head coach.

Davis already has Sparano on the premises. Davis already has Allen’s successor in the building. I don’t believe this is a coincidence. I believe Sparano is the living proof Davis has serious doubts about Allen. As he should.

FYI: Davis gave Sparano a two-year deal but gave several other assistants only one-year extensions. Davis is serious about Sparano.

What does all this mean? It means turmoil abounds in that quiet building in Alameda. “Turmoil” is so vague a descriptive. Let’s say, if he has any ability to read a situation, Allen should be scared stiff. He probably should hate Sparano, whom he must perceive as a vulture on the premises. He must wonder if McKenzie has his back. Probably not. Davis always says McKenzie is his guy. Davis never says Allen is his guy.

Speaking about the Raiders’ third preseason game, a 31-21 loss to the Packers, one former NFL coach — not the coach I referenced above — told me, “They don’t appear very well coached.”

No wonder so many players gave the Raiders a rousing vote of no confidence.

For more on the world of sports in general and the Bay Area in particular, go to the Cohn Zohn at cohn.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. You can reach Staff Columnist Lowell Cohn at lowell.cohn.pressdemocrat.com.


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  1. BigMiz82

    “Retarded quarterbacks”, wow. Not sure if a comment like that is a wise pc move at this junction in your career. Also, thst survey was taken by 82 players. 82 out of what, 1800+ players in the league including the practice squads? Hardly a fair assessment, and I don’t even like the raiders.

    August 25th, 2014 11:45 pm

  2. Streetglide

    No they aren’t well coached. They haven’t been for years. But the team is closer to San Francisco than the Niners in many ways.

    Back in the ’60s, south of Market meant rendering plants, auto dismantlers, coffee roasters, all sorts of blue-collar folks. The docks actually worked, Gays lived around Polk Street, the Beatniks in North Beach, Hippies in the Haight and “Frisco” was on the back of the Hells Angels. The Chronicle was actually worth reading … yes three-dot journalism. I’d go over to Kezar after smoking a joint on Hippie Hill and watch the game through a doorway I knew about. The cheap seats were like 10 bucks.

    The Santa Clara 49ers have zero connection to that era. They might as well be playing on Mars. The Raiders have their goofy fans but at least they feel like an NFL team, unlike the Niners who feel like Google on steroids.

    The new stadium down there is a disaster, the team feels like polyester and both the NFL Network and ESPN avoid saying anything good, bad or indifferent about the Niners because the organization is downright creepy.

    At least the Raiders are what they have always been, your basic trainwreck that once in a while surprises you.

    August 26th, 2014 7:21 am

  3. Dennis

    “I believe Sparano is the living proof Davis has serious doubts about Allen.”

    Seems to me that given Sparano’s track record Davis should have serious doubts about him too.

    I would fire everybody and start over. That would be the most intriguing part of the Raiders season.

    August 26th, 2014 8:36 am

  4. Mark M

    This plan B coaching switch, built in coup of a plan is an interesting twist and an odd way to manage a team. If Lowell sees it, the players certainly can as well which isn’t exactly the world’s great motivational strategy.

    But I’m trying to figure out how much that would really matter when the team continues to miss on players….The two Matts at QB, Hayden…. no real difference makers. Losing FAs whom choose to sign elsewhere. Mack looks good but that was a gift pick, as close to a sure thing as possible. The lack of talent sits squarely on Reggie’s shoulders at this point.

    This team is an embarrassment to it’s own legacy. Throw in the stadium mess, and their obvious desire to move elsewhere, and I consider them a complete joke at the moment.

    August 26th, 2014 9:40 am

  5. Johnc

    Sparano, the lurking “vulture on the premises” does not seem to be a viable coaching alternative to Allen if he has a myopic view of running the offense from a ground game perspective.
    I agree with Dennis that they should fire everyone and start over.

    August 26th, 2014 11:02 am

  6. Marco

    Hey Lowell,

    Apparently, Harbaugh thinks you’re the greatest. if you haven’t heard, he spoke glowingly of you this morning on Murph and Mac. He really sounded sincere… which is saying a lot.

    I thought that was pretty cool of him.

    On the Raider subject, move to LA and hire a top notch head coach. Gruden perhaps?

    August 26th, 2014 11:36 am

  7. B-Rad


    bleacherreport.com – AUG 8, 2014 – Raiders #29

    espn.go.com……….- MAY 13, 2014= Raiders #31

    sportingnews.com – AUG 19, 2014 – Raiders #32

    cbssports.com…… – JUL 22, 2014 – Raiders #32


    vegas.com………… – AUG 20, 2014 – Raiders #31……200/1

    etc, etc, etc.

    You could have, and maybe did, write this article 10 years ago and
    recycle it every year or two with some different names in there.

    Interested in seeing Terrelle Pryor play in a couple days against
    the Raiders.

    August 26th, 2014 12:33 pm

  8. chris

    Phil Simms during the Raiders Packers telecast said the team looked much improved and like a real NFL team. Wins and Losses in preseason mean nothing. Fire everyone and start over? They already did that a few years ago and have a bunch of new players this year that need time to develop, so there’s no way Allen will be fired during the short 16 game season.

    August 26th, 2014 12:45 pm

  9. Streetglide

    Jim H appreciates people who really do their job, probably the reason he treats both Lowell and Grant so well. He obviously doesn’t like brown noses.

    August 26th, 2014 2:59 pm

  10. k.g.

    Streetglide, I totally 100% agree with your comment @ 7:21am. Take KPIX for instant, are they the “hype mouth pieces” for the 49ers are what?! Poor Lawrence Karnow can’t even mention his favorite team the Oakland Raiders, due to the fact that the lead anchors, and sports anchors are overwhelmingly over hyping Levi’s Stadium, the 49ers, and Santa Clara every four minutes. Its like the Raiders don’t even exists, and I am not a 49er, or Raiders fan, but sheesh give it a rest already. Btw, I stopped supporting the 49ers when our current ownership abandoned SF.

    Today was the most awesome day ever for me as a back in the day 49er fan, that respects the teams history, legacy & tradition in San Francisco, and at Candlestick. I took a tour of the Stick, and even though it is not the best stadium on the planet, it was where my hero’s played football every Sunday, “The Glory Days 49ers.” The 49ers Lore, & History is in the Stadium, and that can not be disputed.

    I overheard one guy saying that the vibe at the new stadium is totally different than at the Stick, due to the limited tailgating. The young lady who did the tour was so awesome, someone asked her was she going to go down to Levi’s when the Stick was torn down…She gave an odd look, and her reply was, “they do’t want me down there,” and we all know who the “we” is…

    San Franciscans do not have a team in the City anymore, we are a team in “name only” now, we are a major City and we have no team…Its disgusting.

    No Pro Sports Venue is located at such a great distance from it namesake City as Levi’s is, that includes the MLB, NBA, NHL, and the NFL. And no other team is located 1 block away from the 10th largest City (SJ) in the U.S.A, and maintains the City located 44 miles away name?!

    August 26th, 2014 10:49 pm

  11. Marco


    While I feel your pain, SF has no one to blame but themselves. Give the Yorks some credit for keeping the 49ers in the Bay Area when they conceivably could have moved to LA. See Al Davis / Raiders.

    Let’s see, Hunters Point vs Silicon Valley…hmmm??

    August 27th, 2014 11:10 am

  12. Streetglide

    I’ll take Hunters Point because I’m not prejudiced…

    August 27th, 2014 12:10 pm

  13. Marco

    I was speaking to the foul weather and toxic waste at HP. Your immature attempt to paint me as a racist is misguided and idiotic.

    The only hate being spewed here is coming from you, Streetglide. You don’t know anything about me.

    August 27th, 2014 4:35 pm

  14. k.g.

    That fact of the matter is that the Yorks were offered 3 choices for a venue. They could have continued at Candlestick Point, Hunters Point, and Brisbane was also offered…

    With all due respect Marco, the peeps from the South Bay, and Dennis O’Donnell from KPIX can continue to scapegoat San Francisco, Candlestick, and Gavin Newsom. But the truth of the matter is that Dr. York, and his family wanted San Francisco’s taxpayers to “pay” to built their stadium, that was NOT going to fly in SF. The City wanted the 49ers to build their stadium like the SF Giants did, with private funding.

    Dr. York went one better, he had been talking to the local pols in Santa Clara since 2004, specifically Kevin Moore former City Council Member, when Willie Brown was Mayor, the same Mayor who won the Stadium measure in SF. The facts are that Dr. York by 2004 had found a City, Santa Clara, that was willing to put their taxpayers on the hook to pay for their stadium, and the rest is History…

    All I’m saying is that the 49ers should have never been relocated 44 miles away! Which was promised by ownership would be better…Its not! And the stadium itself is pedestrian at best, and the 5 time Super Bowl Champs deserved much, much better, imvho.

    August 27th, 2014 11:28 pm

  15. k.g.

    One last item, the Yorks, and the NFL was “never” going to allow the 49ers to relocate to LA, that was a ruse to intimidate the voters in Santa Clara to come through on the vote. For the Yorks it was the South Bay, or bust, but in the mean while they have single handedly destroyed the history of what the 49ers were in San Francisco.

    August 27th, 2014 11:34 pm

  16. Streetglide

    Hi Marco. Hope you are feeling better… ;- )

    August 28th, 2014 10:17 am

  17. Dennis


    You do realize that Candlestick, the Oakland Coliseum, and Oakland Arena are all owned by the taxpayers and leased out to the different franchises, right? So why blame York for seeking a similar situation someplace else, if SF wasn’t willing to do it? What you are saying doesn’t make any sense.

    The NFL is a “for profit” business and acts accordingly. It seems like you are suggesting that the 49ers should stay in SF regardless of the cost primarily because of their history? Businesses don’t last long operating like that even if they do have a long history, say like General Motors.

    August 28th, 2014 10:58 am

  18. k.g.

    @ Dennis….I agree with you. San Franciscans Still were not going to pay to build Millionaires a stadium!!! I also agree that if your stadium is located one block from the 10th largest City in the U.S., San Jose, you should probably “change” your name from the former City….San Francisco?!

    As for the current ownership, buddy I’m not the “only” one who feels that way about them. All of SF holds them accountable, just like they hold Newsom accountable…SMH.

    August 30th, 2014 12:23 am

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