Column: The AB Circus, O-Line Horror, & Hard Knocks Ep. 2

With Helmetgate finished, can AB fit in with his new team?

Scott Gulbransen
August 13, 2019 - 9:39 am

In what could have been one of the biggest overreactions in recent sports journalism history, Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown’s grievance with the NFL over its new helmet requirements ended in a rather mellow way on Monday.

Brown, who was appealing the league’s new standards for on-the-field headwear, saw his grievance with the league denied, ending “Helmetgate.”

Brown, for his part, quickly responded and moved on.

So why was this story such a “thing” through the weekend? Why were rumors of Brown stating he’d rather retire than change helmets?

It’s simple: most of the media don’t like Brown. He’s not exactly media friendly and my sisters and brothers in the Fourth Estate have ways of punishing those who make doing their job more difficult. Brown’s reputation with the media is as bad as you can get.

When Ray Fittipaldo from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette joined Silver and Black Today right after the Raiders acquired Brown, he told us the media would not like dealing with Brown. Many call him a “diva,” or worse. This explains why many are quick to jump on any negative news because, well, we can get you, AB.

This led to the overreaction we saw from both national and Pittsburgh media with Brown’s helmet issues. In fact, some of those same media members have openly declared they’re waiting with bated breath for the marriage between Brown and the Raiders to fall apart. They want it to happen and are openly rooting for it to happen.

It was all smoke and mirrors. Brown may not be the most media friendly player in the NFL, but he’s not retiring, and he did what he thought was best for him and his career. He followed league protocol (i.e., he followed the rules) and his request was denied.

Yet with some folks, he’ll never be treated fairly or objectively.

Sounds like the perfect guy to wear the silver and black.

OL – Oh no!

There is huge trouble brewing on this much improved Raiders team and that is right up front on offense – the offensive line.

Last week’s news that right guard Gabe Jackson was lost to a knee injury for six weeks was terrible news for the rebuilding Raiders. Already thin up front due to trade and the suspension to left guard Richie Incognito, the team is said to be scouring the waiver wire and talking trade to find another body up front.

At the time, general manager Mike Mayock traded Kelechi Osemele to the Jets, many in Raider Nation cringed. With first-round draft pick Kolton Miller still working to live up to the expectations of a lineman drafted that high in 2018, and third-rounder Brandon Parker a long way from being a regular starter, the one area the Raiders had little margin for error was up front.

Not to mention this is the group that must keep franchise quarterback Derek Carr upright, healthy, and clean.

With their brutal schedule, and lots of news bodies, watch how this develops.

Hard Knocks is Back

Tonight, the second episode of HBO’s Hard Knocks will air at 7 p.m. PT. Last week’s episode was watched by nearly 1 million viewers, making it the second-most watched premier episode of the series’ run.

As we discussed on our show this week, rookie safety Jonathan Abram was the big star from Week 1. His bravado and aloofness, at times, made for great television.

What was missing last week, and we hope isn’t this time around, was a more in-depth exploration of Antonio Brown and rookie running back Josh Jacobs. Look for more on them and the continuation of the Abram story.

Don’t forget to catch Las Vegas’ ONLY all-Raiders sports show Sunday’s from 8-10AM on CBS Sports 1140 and streaming on the RADIO.COM app.