Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

August 30, 2009
The day after

Coach Tom Cable liked to downplay on-field skirmishes between his players during training camp, often saying of the fisticuffs with a wry smile, "Boys will be boys."

So were they just boys being boys the night before Saturday's 45-7 shellacking by New Orleans, not fighting but partying too much with the shackles of curfew broken thanks to camp in Napa ending two nights earlier? Veteran defensive end Greg Ellis intimated as much after the game.

Cable was asked if he knew anything about it in his conference call with beat writers early Sunday evening.

"You know, I don't," Cable said. "The one thing I can talk about - we talked about it as we broke camp - the one thing as a coach that you're always leery of is breaking camp is because then they get home, they don't have the curfew, don't have those kind of things, and so as grown men we've got to handle those distractions. And be able to take care of our bodies and stay focused on what we're trying to do."

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Ready for your bad news, good news story, Raiders fans?

The bad news is, Cable said the Raiders reverted to poor form against the Saints. The good news? At least the Raiders realize it.

"Really, we looked like we have in the past - poor tackling, misaligned, missing some easy reads in terms of protection," Cable said. "Just really some fundamental issues that have kind of been our issue in the past, and felt like we were getting away from it, and it showed up again.

"At some point, the accountability factor has to really come in, and that's all of us...coaches, players alike. To me, it's a great lesson if you treat it that way. If you want to hem and haw, cry in your beer...then you'll have issues past this. But if you face it, and you deal with it the right way and come clean with it in all areas, you can move forward. And that's the way I'm going to approach it...the sky is not falling. It just looks really gray right now, and it's supposed to after you get your tail kicked like that and you really play poorly."

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Cable is not worried that rookie receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, the No. 7 overall pick of the draft, has caught only two passes in three exhibition games and had only three balls thrown his way against the Saints.

"Well, you know, it's already happening," Cable said. "I said this would happen earlier. (Defenses are) already starting to lean towards him in coverage so it's going to help everyone else and obviously that's why those other guys were getting the opportunities they were getting."

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With the emergence of undrafted Ivy League rookie defensive tackle Desmond Bryant from Harvard, Terdell Sands not playing against the Saints and cut days looming - 80-man rosters must be down to 75 players by Tuesday, the final 53-man roster is due on Saturday, it would appear as though Sands' days in Oakland are numbered. Right?

"It's too early for all that," Cable said, before explaining why Sands did not get on the field. "It's just where we were at in terms of rotation. (I) didn't expect to play the first group as long as we did in the second half. But (we) had to, and based on the rotation and the way it all worked out, just ran out of time."

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Cable also defended another high-priced defensive tackle in Tommy Kelly.

"We actually have had two pretty good games out of him, the last two," Cable said of Kelly. "So it would not be fair for anyone to really question or devalue what he's done in the last two weeks. Is it perfect yet...? No. It was better (against the 49ers), then it was better this game in terms of getting his body down and holding off double teams. They've really not been able to run at his side, if you look at it."

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No new news on the status of cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha's chip fracture in his left wrist, or on the stinger suffered by safety Rashad Baker.

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Now at their Alameda headquarters, the Raiders practice Monday and Tuesday at 10:45 a.m., and hold a 10:15 a.m. walkthrough Wednesday before flying to Seattle, where they face the Seahawks Thursday night at 7 in their final exhibition game.

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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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