Whats worse: Losing 38-0 or having the opposing quarterback eating hot dogs on the sidelines during the blowout?Two years ago, the Jets rolled into Oakland and laid a beatdown on the Raiders. New York posted two 100-yard rushers in Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene en route to a total of 316 yards on the ground.But it was after the game where things really became embarrassing. CBS cameras caught then-rookie Mark Sanchez eating a hot dog during the blowout. It was a moment Sanchez apologized for but the image was burned on that Oakland team.Two years later, Mark Sanchez has two AFC Championship appearances under his belt and is improving. The Jets offense still boasts a strong running game and now the Jets signal caller can chuck it too, with wideouts Santonio Holmes, Plaxico Burress and Dustin Keller all threats.Its true that the Raiders offense isnt as pathetic as it was in 2009. Through two games, they are averaging 29.0 points per game. They can run and throw as well. But the Jets defense is considerably better than either Denver or Buffalo. Rex Ryans crew will be the first major test for Oaklands improved offense.Meanwhile, Oakland is fourth in the NFL in rushing after two games. Best case scenario is beating the Jets at their own game and running the ball down their collective throats this Sunday. At the very least, hopefully they can keep the hot dogs off the sideline.
NaVorro Bowman’s employment odyssey lasted three days, and he didn’t have to get his mailing address changed.
The one-year, $3 million deal he reportedly signed with Oakland Monday came after a fairly quiet weekend for all parties. It was an easy choice for him, since there is minimal disruption, and an easy choice for Oakland, which needs all the defensive expertise it can get and has players that Bowman’s diminishing speed cannot expose.
In other words, everyone ends up happy . . . unless Bowman suddenly improves to the point where John Lynch has some ‘splainin’ to do.
The Raiders and 49ers have often shared players, thus belying their often overblown rivalry. The convenience was too . . . well, convenient, and will not be in evidence once Las Vegas becomes an NFL city.
And lord known the Raiders need some new voices in a room that has seemingly gone stale as expectations start to brown into disappointment. Bowman brings an effervescence borne of deep playoff runs, without being too loud a voice in a room that needs to develop more permanent leadership.
As to how much any of this translates into improved defensive play, or just a better vibe coming from Oaktown, well, put it this way.
If Bowman can stanch that level of bleeding, he shouldn’t be playing, he should be an EMT.
But at least he won’t end his career with a sour meeting with the people who run his original team, and that must count for something.
ALAMEDA – Former 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman visited with the Raiders on Monday, with other team meetings left on the schedule.
He isn’t going to take them.
The former All-Pro inside linebacker agreed on terms of a one-year, $3 million contract with the Raiders, according to multiple reports. The Dallas Cowboys website first reported the agreement. He had a meeting with the Cowboys lined up for Tuesday.
Bowman fills a huge need in the Raiders defense. They need experience and depth on the inside. Bowman certainly provides that. Recent play suggests he isn’t the top-flight player of recent years, seeming slowed by past injuries to his knee and Achilles’ tendon.
He hasn’t forgotten how to tackle or play the run or make pre-snap reads. The Raiders need help in all those areas. They have been playing with rookie Marquel Lee and second-year pro Cory James in the base defense. Both guys are dealing with injuries, making this move even more valuable.
The Raiders are operating on a short week, but Bowman’s healthy and obviously in great shape, making it possible Bowman could play the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night. Head coach Jack Del Rio could address that topic during his afternoon press conference.
The Raiders also need help on passing downs, though it’s uncertain how much Bowman can help there. James and undrafted rookie Nicholas Morrow have manned the sub package on the inside. Another undrafted rookie, Xavier Woodson-Luster, filled in for James during Sunday’s loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.
Bowman’s experience and the Raiders’ other options may lead him to be a three-down linebacker on this team. Time will tell on that front.
According to Pro Football Focus, Bowman has allowed 11 receptions for 113 yards and a touchdown on 13 targets this season. Bowman was lost coverage snaps to other 49ers in Week 5 and was set to lose more time to rookie Reuben Foster, a disappointment that expedited his release from the 49ers.
Bowman is a four-time All-Pro and three-time Pro Bowler, and a winner of the 2013 Dick Butkus Award.
The Raiders should get on-field leadership on the interior and a motivated player determined to prove he remains an impact player despite being cut by a 49ers team he served since 2010.
The Raiders are mired in a four-game losing streak and are looking for a boost on both sides of the ball. Bowman should help a defense that hasn’t been half bad recently, but has lacked a presence at inside linebacker.