ALAMEDA -- Today's conference calls had an interesting start.
The call with Buffalo coach Dick Jauron was supposed to be a national call. But when you were finally connected to the call, there was no coach. Instead there was an earful of political talk radio with someone afraid of what would happen if John McCain were to "drop dead" and Sarah Palin had to be to be the president.
After that foray into politics that even left Jauron laughing, the conference calls took place with Jauron and Buffalo QB Trent Edwards.
That meant it was time to get an update on former Raider offensive lineman Langston Walker, who many out here accused me of being a Cal "homer" for saying he wasn't horrible as a Raider and that he took an unfair amount of criticism.
Walker signed with Buffalo as a free agent before the 2007 season.
Walker is doing just fine in Buffalo.
"We're really happy to have Langston and we really did like him when he entered the free agent market," Jauron said. "We did a lot of film study on him and thought he had a very good feet, a very good feel for the game, and then we did some research on the guy, really liked the guy, a very smart guy, likes to play, outstanding teammate. He's been a real good find for us, a real good get, really in free agency, and he fits in with our group very well."
Walker has endeared himself with his quarterback, too. He filled in well at left tackle while Jason Peters was holding out of training camp.
And Walker's sense of humor always made him fun to be around in Oakland.
Here's Edwards on Walker:
"He's just a fun guy to be around. He's obviously one of our best offensive linemen that we have around here right now and he plays big for us in big situations. He's a physically big person. And sometimes, too, what we were talking about earlier, our different sizes of the guys, there's sometimes where Langston will block the right defensive end and we'll have Roscoe Parrish on a post route or Texas route over Langston and you can't even see Roscoe behind him because Langston's so big. But he's fun to have in the huddle, fun to have in the locker room, he's a great teammate. And it's just fun to have another bay area guy to talk Stanford-Cal rivalry. I made him wear a Stanford sweatshirt all after the big game, all week that was probably three sizes to small for him. I did that to him last year when Stanford beat Cal."
More from the conference calls:
*Jauron on facing the Raiders' running game:
"On tape they look like a very talented football team. They're well put together, well conceived, well coached. They did a really nice job last week. As you pointed out, when you rush the ball for 300 yards against somebody in our league, that's pretty good, that's a great accomplishment, so we've definitely got our work cut out for us and that's our league, every since week is a terrific challenge."
*Edwards on how to deal with Raiders CB Nnamdi Asomugha in the passing game.
"Nnamdi can't cover everyone out there so we have four guys other than the guy being covered by Nnamdi to get the ball to."
*Jauron on what adding Marcus Stroud does for the the Bills' defensive line:
I think, No. 1, and probably the most obvious thing, is made us bigger. We're bigger, we're probably a little more physical than we were a year ago. The guy is an established player. There wasn't any doubt how he was going to play. We'd studied a lot of tape on him. A terrific guy for us in terms of leadership, in the locker room, on the field, he's a real pro. And he had a track record. It wasn't one of those things you had to doubt or hoped he did it, because you'd seen a lot of tape when he'd done it. That's what he's brought to us."
*Edwards on being too careful as a young quarterback:
"Well what happens when there's a deep throw and a chance to take the ball down the field and you're passing up an opportunity to make a play when you're being told not to turn the ball over? There's a fine line you have to walk at this position to know when to check the ball down and when to take chances too. But it's kind of an instinctual thing that you have to have. It's going to happen and when it's there you've got to know when to take your shot and when not to. A coach can tell you not to turn the ball over but you have to be able to take your shots or you're not going to put points on the board."
Yes, Lane Kiffin is still the coach around here. Those around these parts that can't wait to see Kiffin fired have to love Jauron calling the team "well coached."