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Now that the bye week has gone bye, it is time to resume the season that has been unfolding since mid-September. It has not been a pleasant season for the followers of the Silver and Black as the Raiders have been on the losing end for 75% of their games so far, and their offense that was supposed to deliver fireworks, has been a fat dud.

The bye week provided a respite from the mounting losses, as well as the continuing ineptitude of the offense. It was a week where the Raiders simply could not lose, and JaMarcus Russell could not make any mistakes. It was a time for the Raiders to get their players healthy and to get back to basics, to see what they can salvage out of the second half of the season.

Head Coach Tom Cable spent most of the first half of the season under scrutiny for his alleged assault of Randy Hanson during training camp. Once that went away, the heat was turned up by accusations of domestic violence rising from his past, making him probably the most talked about head coach who doesn’t work for Daniel Snyder. With the National Organization for Women calling for his suspension whilst the investigation is ongoing, this story is going to be lingering through the last eight games until Al Davis breaks out his overhead projector to announce his replacement after the season.

All-world punter Shane Lechler is chasing history this season. He is looking to break the record for highest gross punting average that was set by Hall of Famer Slingin’ Sammy Baugh. With the Raiders penchant for three and outs in bad field position, Lechler has a good shot at catching the NFL legend. “Sammy passed away this year so it’s one of those deals where it’s funny because I looked it up when I first got in the league and I’m still chasing him. I’d have thought somewhere in there I would have caught him but those numbers are huge. The year he averaged 51.4 was 38 punts that year. I remember looking that up.”

JaMarcus Russell has fallen out of favor with the Raider Nation. However, he seems to still have the support of Al Davis.If he can’t put it together in the next eight games, then it would not be a surprise to see the Raiders bring in a quarterback this offseason. That makes this half season incredibly important to his future in Oakland.

Look for these plot-lines and many others in forthcoming episodes of As the Shield Turns.