The Raiders are the luckiest staff within the NFL.
And, sure, it begins with Antonio Brown, and it goes again to “Laborious Knocks,” so let’s have a look.
First, memo to self: By no means get able the place the Raiders want you good luck.
After Monday evening’s spectacular season-opening win over the Broncos, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr and head coach Jon Gruden each spoke kindly of Brown, who was lower by the staff two days earlier after going all Lemony Snicket on the Raiders — in different phrases, inflicting a collection of unlucky occasions.
Carr heaped kindness and compliments on Brown, and Gruden mentioned, “We want him the very best.”
The subsequent day, the information hit that Brown had been named in a lawsuit, his former coach accusing him of a number of incidents of sexual assault.
The Raiders dodged a nuclear bomb. If Brown was a serious annoyance with helmet, foot and dedication points, think about piling this newest information on the highest of that steaming pile.
For the report, Gruden and Carr have moved on, at warp velocity. At Wednesday’s information conferences, each declined to touch upon Brown and the newest ugly wrinkle to his story.
After I requested Gruden whether or not the Raiders knew something about Brown’s authorized state of affairs once they launched him, the coach mentioned he wouldn’t be answering any Brown questions, including, “So that you wish to ask about him, you possibly can name his employer.”
That might be the New England Patriots, who’re most likely busy lawyering up. On the information convention of head coach Invoice Belichick on Wednesday, his most expansive reply to a string of Antonio Brown questions was “no.”
After Monday’s recreation, Gruden mentioned of all of the Brown discuss, “I imply, my God, I assumed there was somebody smashing my temple on the facet of the top. Recover from it, man, it’s over.”
I’ll refer Gruden to Yogi Berra on that one. It’s by no means over ’til it’s over. A part of the deal if you signal a participant like Brown is that you simply settle for that he’ll do fascinating stuff that can pique public and media curiosity, and it received’t essentially finish when he strikes on down the highway. So recover from us not getting over it, Jon.
Apart from, on Gruden’s outdated TV present the place he tough-guy grilled faculty quarterbacks one-on-one, I don’t keep in mind a child QB ever saying, “What was I considering on that play? I used to be excited about my time period paper. Look, that play didn’t work. My God, man, recover from it.”
However again to the luck angle. The Brown experiment blowing up gave the Raiders added focus for his or her first recreation. They knew they needed to come out of the gate with their pants on hearth — or proceed to wallow within the Brown saga, going through questions on how they let Coldfoot the Clown disrupt their preparation.
Brown’s parting, a stunning present, left the Raiders a tighter bunch, decided to indicate the world, and Brown, they’re too huge to be derailed by one unfastened buffoon.
Additionally luck: the schedule. No less than Recreation 1. The Broncos aren’t excellent. The Raiders have been prepared and properly ready, and Denver allowed them to show it. If any quarterback/head coach combo within the league wanted a fast repute rehab, it was Carr/Gruden, and so they responded superbly.
Even a tech glitch labored properly for the Raiders through the recreation. Carr’s helmet radio fritzed out on just a few events, apparently jammed by the nearness of ESPN’s spider cam.
“Yeah, I blame ESPN for all my issues,” Gruden cracked. “We undoubtedly had some issues.”
When the Gruden-to-Carr transmissions received lower, the 2 needed to improvise, utilizing impromptu hand indicators. Not a very good state of affairs, Carr mentioned, “nevertheless it exhibits that our degree of communication, he can simply sort of hand-signal me one thing and I do know, primarily based on who’s within the recreation, I do know what play he desires, and that’s one thing we couldn’t do final yr. So it was good for us, and it exhibits our development collectively.
“Once more, his offense is tough to grasp, it’s onerous to get down, however when you get it down and may talk at that degree, it’s good for the entire staff.”
That is about luck, nevertheless it’s additionally about how the Raiders have responded, turning what might need been unhealthy luck to their favor. They overcame or rose above.
Even “Laborious Knocks” turned out to be fortunate. The Raiders didn’t need the annoyance, nevertheless it might need labored to their benefit. The TV highlight on Brown’s antics most likely expedited his departure, and it confirmed the general public clearly what a strolling (or limping), team-torpedoing windbag Brown is.
Right here’s a fast cost-accounting of the Brown Period: The Raiders misplaced two mid-round picks, saved themselves $30 million to $50 million in wage and bonuses, escaped from beneath the Brown cloud — and what worth are you able to placed on such an academic expertise?
Now the Raiders get fortunate once more. They host Kansas Metropolis on Sunday. The Chiefs can embarrass you, but when the Raiders play a aggressive recreation towards the league’s most harmful staff, that will probably be a giant step towards solidifying their credentials as a bona fide soccer membership.
It could make everybody overlook what’s-his-name.
Scott Ostler is a San Francisco Chronicle columnist. Electronic mail: [email protected] Twitter: @scottostler