Jack Del Rio shows his big pair on fourth down
He once took a bad football team and turned them quickly into a contender.
AC/DC once made a song about him — years before anyone knew what it was about. He’s not the most interesting man in the world, he’s Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio.
And he’s got big balls.
Another week, another few series’ that only those with extreme courage, confidence, and yes, otherworldly testicular fortitude could manage.
Don’t get it confused: this column is only profane if your vocabulary is underwhelming. But for the sake of general courtship, let us recap why Jack Del Rio is the newest grizzly bear-fighting John Wayne-type taking the NFL by storm.
The Raiders, playing in one of the toughest venues in the league, and with some new pieces no less, came back to against New Orleans to score 22 fourth-quarter points to open the season. They did it by attempting three two-point conversions, and hitting on a pair.
Yes, the Raiders got a pair. Like their head coach.
Oakland made plays late in that afternoon in the voodoo dome that could only happen with a firm shake and roll of the dice, with the conviction of a sharpshooter and lucky streak of poker player Daniel Smith, who was once dealt four of a kind, followed by pocket kings met with an all deuce flop, and then pocket aces with the nuts on the next hand.
Which happened to be two pair.
The streak of nut hands Smith was dealt that day was something only seen in video poker, and some of the stuff the Raiders have tried and accomplished in the early season, are straight out of video football. Madden ’16.
And though the Falcons rallied on a failed 4th-and-2 run from midfield by the Raiders, which was by far the biggest Del Rio balls play call of the year and among the most entertaining cases of orchitis in NFL history.
The Raiders failed on a pivotal 4th-and-2, where they lined up in a psuedo-punt formation, though they might have just put out two tight ends and two backs. Anyone who has watched the Raiders this season — two games now — knew what was coming.
There is a major question that comes with all of this: where will it end?
Will the Raiders continue to go for it on 4th and short no matter their field position? How about running a no-huddle offense on six consecutive plays, which consequently resulted in a touchdown over eight plays?
Are the Raiders good enough to pull this off every week?
It’s a little soon to have anything close to an answer.
What we do know, though, is that the Raiders are making it happen. They’re possibly the most entertaining Raiders team ever, and certainly since moving back north from the depths of California’s armpit.
Salacious, damn impressive and most importantly, putting Oakland in an excellent position to win. These are the 2016 Raiders under Jack Del Rio.
And that’s nuts in a huge way.
Jason Leskiw is SFBay’s Oakland Raiders beat writer and member of the Professional Football Writers of America. Follow @SFBay and @LeskiwSFBay on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of Raiders football.