Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

October 15, 2008
D. Hall does his thing whether you like it or not

ALAMEDA - Many have questioned and bemoaned the style of cornerback DeAngelo Hall likes to play.

He's not a full-time press cornerback. He gives a cushion and when that happens, there's a better chance of giving up short catches, which has happened.

It's the way Hall has always played and he's not going to overhaul his style.

"They like to press, press, press here," Hall said. "I'm a guy that likes to see the ball."

Hall admits you can be burned that way by a double move if you're caught staring into the backfield too long. But it's also the way that he intercepted 17 passes and went to two Pro Bowls in fours seasons in Atlanta.

"You've got to give a little," Hall said of his adjustment to playing for the Raiders.

Head coach Tom Cable doesn't take issue with how Hall plays. Without a pass rush, he's more prone to give up catches because the quarterback isn't forced into bad decisions.

Cable was in Atlanta with Hall in 2006, his second Pro Bowl season.

"The passing game is all timing and when a guy can hit his drop, whether it's his third step, his fifth step, his seventh, whatever, and hitch and be comfortable back there, a lot of bad things happen to you in terms of pass coverage," Cable said. "And it doesn't allow you to be as creative, it doesn't allow you to maybe express yourself in the way DeAngelo would like to. I've been around him and seen what he can do. I definitely think consistency with disruption has got to become who we are."

Five games into the Michael Huff at free safety experiment, the Raiders are already looking at possibly replacing Huff with Hiram Eugene.

This wasn't supposed to be an experiment. Free safety was supposed to be the move that allowed Huff to flourish into a star.

But that hasn't happened yet. Can't blame Stuart Schweigert this time, Raider fans.

"We're going to create some competition for Michael," Cable said. "We're going to create some competition and give Hiram Eugene an opportunity to go out and press him a little bit, and see if we can't bring the best out of either one of those guys.

Huff wasn't in the locker room to ask about the situation.

Playing free safety in the Raiders' scheme is a tough job. Making a one-on-one tackle near the line is a lot easier than being 20-yards deep and trying to figure out the proper angle to take.

And it doesn't help when there are lapses in pass coverage like when Devery Henderson runs right by Huff, as he did on Sunday, for a long catch.

Eugene didn't exactly look like Ed Reed when he replaced Schweigert last season. He missed tackles, too and didn't look like an upgrade.

But he hadn't played much defense until last season, spending most of his time as a special teams player after two years on the practice squad.

He started five games in 2007 and had a good training camp.

"Starting and getting a lot of reps toward the end of the season last year kind of helped me out in feeling my way, as far as fitting on the ball on the run and my ball skills in the back," Eugene said. "It helped me out a lot."

He added he learned what to work on after some of the mistakes he made, too.

"My main thing was angling, taking the angles on the tackles and bringing the guy down in the open field," Eugene said. "That's what I tried to improve on the most because I know that was my pet peeve."

Now that's not the first time someone's said that about a Raiders free safety in recent years.

Maybe this all makes Huff better. We shall see...

Michael Bush admitted hearing rumors the Raiders wanted to trade him bothered him.

"As a young guy you've got to look at it like a business," Bush said. "For a minute I got thinking maybe the didn't want me here."

The Raiders or his agent never told Bush anything about being dealt to San Diego, which was reported on Tuesday.

Bush said the talk could be a good thing.

Maybe he's looking good and teams want him because they see the Raiders have Justin Fargas and Darren McFadden.

Bush said he's happy to be a Raider and wasn't looking to be dealt, even though the assumption would be if a team traded for him, it planned to use him.

*Cable and McFadden have seen the "Wildcat" offense Miami has run with success.

McFadden's offensive coordinator at Arkansas, David Lee, is the Dolphins' quarterbacks coach and has taught Miami running back Ronnie Brown how to operate like McFadden did at quarterback for the Razorbacks.

"When I was looking at it, I know where it was started," McFadden said. "So it's something you look at, you wish you were healthy so you can go out there and do the same thing."

Expect to see McFadden doing more now that his toe his healthy. He practiced on a Wednesday for the first time since prior to the Kansas City game Week 2.

"There are some tremendous similarities between what they're doing at Miami and what we've been trying to do," Cable said.

*Raiders from the team's three Super Bowl championship teams are being flown in by Al Davis to take part in a dinner to honor Gene Upshaw this Saturday.

Those players will attend Sunday's game.

*DE Derrick Burgess (triceps) did not practice. CB Nnamdi Asomugha (elbow) and LB Isaiah Ekejiuba (shoulder) were limited, but are expected to play on Sunday against the New York Jets.

On a side note, Asomugha showed another reason why he is an elite player.

He keeps a notebook with tidbits on himself with grades. He is usually hard on himself, but gave himself an "A-" for the Saints game.

If more players examined themselves in that manner, there would be more accountability.

Or there might be some delusion with players having bad games finding every reason to make an excuse for why their bad game wasn't their fault and why they deserve an 'A."

--Jason Jones

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About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

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