Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

March 3, 2009
Cable to speak Wednesday

Raiders head coach Tom Cable will speak on the Marquis Cooper situation tomorrow at team headquarters at 11 a.m.

In case you missed it, here is the team's latest statement.

"We continue to hold out hope that Marquis Cooper, Will Bleakley and Corey
Smith will be located and rescued.

"However, with the Coast Guard's decision to cease search and rescue efforts,
we are faced with the reality that this mission may not turn out the way that we all

"Again, the Raiders would like to express our deep appreciation to all involved in
the search and rescue efforts.

"We also wish to express gratitude to everyone around the world who has offered
their support. We ask everyone to continue to remember these men and their
families in their thoughts and prayers."

*I must admit it's a bit odd to be writing about Cooper right along with free agency news. And I'm told the busy day the Raiders had hosting and signing players wasn't a distraction from the news about Cooper.

But here's a quick take on the signings:

Cooper Carlisle: Jake Grove's departure made bringing Carlisle back a must. While the Raiders have a replacement for the 2009 season in John Wade, there is no obvious replacement for Carlisle on the roster.

Carlisle is one of Cable's more trusted linemen because of his experience in the zone-blocking scheme. Carlisle's struggles usually come against big, powerful types in pass protection. But he's generally solid as a run blocker.

Isaiah Ekejiuba: He's the final core special teams player that needed to be re-signed. The Raiders special teams were among the best in the NFL last season and Ekejiuba was a Pro Bowl alternate as a special teamer.

Tony Stewart: Backup tight end will at least be familiar to the coaching staff. Wasn't much of a factor in the passing game last season and used a lot as a blocker and special teams player.

Erik Pears: The kind of offensive tackle the Raiders were expected to find in free agency. Pears had been a starter before last season in Denver, so he's familiar with zone blocking. And he's not a big-money pickup, which is typical of zone blockers. Chances are any other offensive linemen the Raiders sign will be players you've never heard of.

--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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