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Conversations with Uncle Al

Hello Raider fans. I am sitting here by the red phone with THE Mr Al Davis on speed dial to answer any questions that fans may have. And although it may seem like he wouldn’t be open to such things, he has agreed to field my questions and listen to my suggestions whenever I feel there is one worthy of getting a response from him. I have been making notes of Raider fan questions and concerns and will continue to do so now that the offseason has begun. This article is a log of my phone conversations with Mr Davis in which I posed some of those questions and concerns. So let’s get started. For the log purposes I will be referenced by the letter F (for Fans) and Al will be the letter A (the reason should be obvious).

Call #1
F: Hello is this Mr Davis I am speaking to?
T: No this is Amy Trask
F: Well, could you please put Al on the phone?
T: Who is this?
F: This is the Fans and Mr Davis told me I could call anytime with questions and concerns in regards to the Raiders because he pays very close attention to the Fans opinions on the state of the Raiders.
T: Oh…um… ok. That sounds like our Al! Here he is.
A: Hello?
F: Hello sir it’s me the Fans sir. It is really an honor to talk to you sir.
A: Hello? Who’s There?
F: Mr Davis can you hear me? It’s me the Fans sir.
A: Oh it’s you. What can I do for you? Make it fast I am in the middle of typing up a resignation letter.
F: What? You are resigning?
A: No not me I…Well never mind that. Times a wastin’ kid what do you got for me?
F: Well I just wanted to say that I think that we improved a lot from last year and our areas of concern start with stopping the run with DT as well as finding a good SLB, SS, DE, OT, and WR.
A: Well golly kiddo that is a lot of positions to fill. I may have to bring on another partner to pay for that. And you know I don’t like to share power with anyone.
F: Not even the coach?
A: How long have you been a fan?
F: Touche
A: Well keep your pants on kid. You know me;..Just Win Baby. I will be committing to excellence and the adding to the greatness of the Raiders.<click>
F: Al are you still there?
A: Yes
F: Oh I thought I heard a click
A: That was me stopping the recorder.
F: Ok I trust you won’t let me down. I will talk to you soon.
A: You know my door is always open. Figuratively speaking.
F: Thank you sir.

A few weeks went by and it was nearing the NFL free agency and I had many more suggestions so I gave him another call to see what he planned on doing and try to influence some of the decision making.

Call #2
A: What is it this time Fans?
F: How did you know it was me?
A: I have your ringtone set to Weird Al Yankovich’s “White and Nerdy”
F: Weird Al huh? That is rather ironic.
A: What?
F: Nothing sir. I just wanted to start off by saying nice work on re-signing Justin Fargas. He deserved to be rewarded after…
A: Who?
F: Justin Fargas?
A: <Amy get Kiffiltafish on the phone right away> Yeah…I’m glad you liked the signing. Always good to hear. Anything else?
F: I am also quite relieved to see you put the franchise tag on Nnamdi. He is a cornerstone to this team and embodies everything you want in a cover corner.
A: Ya preachin’ to the choir kid. Keep it comin’
F: Well, I am not all that pleased with the bad press regarding the rumors of you putting a resignation letter on coach Kiffin’s desk daring him to sign it. I really had hoped that this team could have a stable coaching and front office relationship this season.
A: How long have you been a fan?
F: <sigh> Touche
A: What else you got for me?
F: Well, with Free Agency starting I have a lot of suggestions that I think will make this team pretty formidable. First of all at DT: Corey Williams is out there and seems like the perfect choice to help anchor that line. What do you think?
A: What is wrong with the guys we have now?
F: Well, sir, Sapp retired and even when he was playing this team had one of the worst Dlines in football last year.
A: When you’re right you’re right. Sapp said that Tommy Kelly will be good and that is good enough for me. I was going to offer him a contract befitting an unproven player coming off of a major injury but on second thought we can’t afford to let him get on the open market. We will give him a contract that matches our desperation. Then after all the good DT on the market are gone we can grab a bust off of the scrap heap. Good thinkin, Fans!
F: Um…that was not really what I had in mind, but ok.
A: Glad you’re on board. What’s next?
F: Strong Side Linebacker is very weak so…
A: Exactly! Another Corner is JUST what we need!
F: I didn’t…
A: That is why we are trading our 2nd round pick in the upcoming draft for DeAngelo Hall.
F: But I…
A: This whole “listen to the Fans” idea is working out great! What else?
F: Um…I suppose up next would be DE. Chris Clemons was a surprise last year but he is set to be a free agent and there are couple of guys out there that could be an upgrade at the position.
A: Hmmm. I could try and keep Clemons and true there are a few guys out there that could be an upgrade…Nah let’s just wait until a player is released and grab him.
F: Are you sure that is the best idea sir?
A: Of course I do. And once it happens, you will see. You will agree with me. You always do.
F: Yeah, can’t argue there. Ok so Strong Safety needs an upgrade and I have just the guy in Gibril Wilson of the Giants.
A: Wait a minute I am not really one to grab guys from the team that just won the superbowl. They usually don’t come cheap and can be overrated.
A: Gotcha! Haha I really had you going there. Man it was hard to say that with a straight face. That sounds like a great idea kid. I lost out on overpaying for Kawika Mitchell and I don’t intend to lose out on Gibril Wilson.
F: Great choice sir! Next up is LT. Somebody like Max Starks or Flozell Adams would be nice.
A: Eh…I gotta go with another bust here. Lincoln Kennedy worked out great so why not try again. Combine that with my affinity for nabbing players from across the bay and Kwame Harris is the obvious choice here.
F: Yeah I suppose so and you can always get a guy in the lower part of the draft that would fit Cable’s system too so that could work out. Ok last but not least we need WRs badly. Jerry Porter wants out and I suppose sacrificing my bobble head and autographed 8 x 10 of him is a small price to pay to remove a cancer. Now we need to replace him and I know just the guy.
A: ok but he’s gotta be fast.
F: He is fast and he is tall and has great hands. Bernard Berrian would be perfect. He is also a local guy so you can bet he would welcome a call from you.
A: Does he have baggage?
F: He would be moving from Chicago so probably
A: No, I mean does he have a huge ego and an attitude problem like any receiver worth his salt has?
F: I don’t think so…I could check on that.
A: Don’t bother. If you have to check then that means no. I have it on good authority that Denver will be cutting ties with their problem child and recently injured receiver Javon Walker and if I throw some cheese at him- that is slang he will understand- he will jump at the chance to start and get revenge on the Broncos and that weasley coach of theirs twice a year. That is our guy.
F: What about the rest of the games? And the injury? It can’t be ALL about revenge on Denver and Shanahan.
A: How long have you been a fan?
F: <Grrrr> Touche
A: Then I will find the guy that is still available that has the fastest 40 time and sign him too. Will that make you happy?
F: It will have to won’t it?
A: Glad you are on board. These chats are much more fun than I thought they would be. Call back anytime.
F: Will do sir. Thank you for your time.

So Al made a considerable amount of noise in the Free Agneny but there were still a few need areas on the team that I could see being filled through the draft. Again I had hundreds of scenarios running through my head of directions we could go and/or should go in the draft so I tried to pare it down and not overwhelm him.

Call #3
A: Hey there Jerky. Long time no talk. I was wondering if you would be calling to talk about the draft.
F: Yeah I have just been sitting back and observing the flurry of activity and didn’t want to call before you were done.
A: Yes I really broke the bank didn’t I? But I think I have sufficiently brought this team back to greatness don’t you?
F: I am not sure I would go that far just yet but some of the signings were quite nice. I see William Joseph and Kalimba Edwards were the “off the scrap heap” guys you were telling me about.
A: Yeah those are the guys.
F: So who are you looking to draft sir?
A: Well my first choice is Howie’s boy and I have been talking to the Rams about a trade up the #2 spot because I am afraid they are thinking of taking him but they are not biting.
F: What if he isn’t available?
A: Well I am trying to get someone to trade down with me but no one is willing to pay the asking price.
F: What is the asking price?
A: Well it differs per team but it is usually something like Their 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, next years 1st, their first born child and a Starbucks gift card.
F: That seems a bit steep
A: Well it is that or we take McFadden and he runs really fast.
F: Yes he does but…
A: Fast, fast, fast
F: Is that all s–
F: Ok I get it. What about the rest of the draft? We don’t have any picks in the 2nd or 3rd so are you going to try and make a deal to move back into those rounds? Perhaps Fabian Washington could get you a 3rd rounder or low 2nd rounder?
A: Well I am hoping the guy we want is available and we will take him in the 4th.
F: Oh so you think there might be a good sleeper Dlineman?
A: Nope
F: OH it’s an OT that would work perfect in the zone?
A: Negative
F: ….It’s a corner isn’t it?
A: Maybe
F: He’s really fast isn’t he?
A: Kinda
F: <sigh> Why am I not surprised?
A: How Long–
F: “–have you been a fan”, I know. Can we get at least one guy in this draft at either DT, DE or OT?
A: Ok I will see what I can do.
F: Thank you sir. I will talk to you later. I need to go get drunk.
A: Remember son…
F: I know; “don’t drink and drive”
A: No no no not that. Remember: Pride and Poise
F: Yes sir. Goodbye sir.

I only hope my conversations with the big guy help clear up some of the mystery behind the offseason moves and the draft.
I would like to thank all of the fans whose questions and concerns I could present to the boss. And most of all I would like to thank Mr Al Davis for agreeing to give me his valuable time to speak about the state of the Raiders. It is nice to know we all make a difference and our opinions are what make this team what it is. Let’s hear it for the Raider Nation!