Yes, I suck. I admit this. However, no one enjoyed being more wrong about the 2012 NFL season than I did. I thoroughly treasured last year, not caring that two of my early preseason picks turned out to be dead, stinking wrong.
However, it seems that while I was blissfully enjoying the Colts rebuilding efforts in Indianapolis, an employee of the Oakland Raiders was quietly seething about his team's direction.
In a fascinating article, written by the oftentimes elitist and arrogant Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports, we catch a glimpse of how things are going inside the front office of the Oakland Raiders. As some of you may know, Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie is in a stand-off with his quarterback, Caron Palmer, over money.
However, that isn't the portion of Silver's article that I personally found interesting. It was this part:
As Oakland heads into coach Dennis Allen's second season, Palmer isn't the only one unimpressed by the team's direction. A document comparing the Raiders' rebuilding efforts to those of the Indianapolis Colts — one originating from a frustrated employee inside the team's Alameda training facility, and obtained by Y! Sports — did not reflect favorably upon McKenzie and Allen.
Among the cited similarities between the two organizations heading into the 2012 season: Each team hired a first-time general manager and a first-time head coach who had previously been a defensive coordinator. Each had to contend with severe salary-cap issues and more "dead money" than any of their other NFL counterparts. Both started quarterbacks picked first overall (Oakland's Palmer in 2003, Indy's Andrew Luck in 2012) who were learning a new offensive system. And both replaced their starting cornerbacks and center from the previous season, lacked a 1,000-yard rusher in 2012 and featured rosters devoid of any of their first-round selections from the 2004-08 drafts.
Whereas the Colts, with Arians filling in for the ailing Chuck Pagano for much of the season, rebounded from a 2-14 campaign in 2011 to finish 11-5 and make the playoffs, Oakland lost 12 games after having gone 8-8 the previous year.
Silver then went on to list several of McKenzie's rather dubious moves since he took over as general manager in 2012. You might recall that McKenzie's name was attached to the then-vacant general manager position in Indianapolis early last year. This was before owner Jim Irsay hired former Eagles director of player personnel Ryan Grigson. McKenzie, viewed as a rising star by many after spending years working in the Green Bay front office, took the job in Oakland and eventually hired former Broncos defensive coordinator Dennis Allen as his head coach.
If you care for my 2 cents on this Raiders-Colts front office comparison - which seems to have gotten several Raiders fans unnecessarily angry at Mike Silver on Twitter - I don't think the document obtained by Yahoo! Sports provides an objective comparison. Yes, Pagano and Allen are former defensive coaches. Yes, both teams lacked a 1,000-yard rushers in 2012. Both also lacked quality players drafted from 2004-2008. However, the Raiders had Carson Palmer (33) as their starting quarterback last season while the Colts had Andrew Luck (23). Luck at 23 is better than Palmer at any age.
Indianapolis also had ten draft picks in 2012, with four of them in the top three rounds. All four of those picks were dedicated to offensive players.
Indianapolis also had substantial holdover talent from previous seasons. These were veterans like Dwight Freeney, Reggie Wayne, and Robert Mathis; players drafted prior to 2004 and who had been to and won playoff games and a Super Bowl in 2007.
Meanwhile, McKenzie and his staff were still having to deal with the roster imperfections left over from the Al Davis regime. They also had no first or second round picks in 2012, a result of the Carson Palmer trade, which was concluded well before McKenzie and company arrived.
So, in fairness to Oakland, I don't think a comparison with Indianapolis makes sense. Maybe this "frustrated" employee needs to get another job or something. By no means has McKenzie earned any stars for his work since he took over, but the franchise he walked into was (and still apparently is) a disaster.