Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

October 2, 2009
Raiders head for Houston


The Raiders' team transports are pulling out of their Alameda compound and we are being entertained by an energized chanting/singing member of the 66th Mob Fan Club who is regaling the Raiders with song.

But onto the business at hand...

Receiver Chaz Shilens did "just a little bit of drill work" in Friday's practice, according to coach Tom Cable. "Not much more than that." Pressed if Schilens' left foot had healed enough that he could play against Houston, Cable said, "Doubtful."

Among the other injuries: Johnnie Lee Higgins (shoulder), Luke Lawton (hamstring), Greg Ellis (shoulder), Hiram Eugene (leg), Jonathan Holland (elbow), Michael Huff (ribs and quad) and Mike Mitchell (ankle) are all probable; Nick Miller (shin) and Robert Gallery (fibula) are out.

Should Eugene play, he would resume his starting free safety position, meaning Huff would come off the bench and play mostly as the fifth defensive back in nickel defenses.


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Last week, Cable lamented a poor Friday practice as a reason for the Raiders poor game on Sunday against Denver. So how did this Friday's practice go?

"Much different," Cable said. "It's the way it's supposed to be today...I think the focus, the attention to detail was sharp on both sides of the ball, the kicking game."

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Cable, on how important it is to have a good showing to put last week's debacle behind: "Last week's behind us already. It's just important to prepare the way we have this week and then put it together on Sunday. The amount of work we do between now, the end of Friday practice, and Sunday is still ultra-important. I think we're learning that. I think we've done a good job of that this week."

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First-year defensive coordinator John Marshall also spoke briefly to reporters.

Marshall on the Raiders run defense melting down against Denver (215 yards) after two decent efforts against San Diego (77) and Kansas City (173): "Well, we didn't get off blocks and they ran a couple of plays in there that we didn't react to early on and they started doing pretty well with them. Bu...we didn't get off blocks and we didn't tackle well. But we didn't miss a lot of tackles. We weren't physical enough going after people, driving them back and being physical enough. It's that simple."

Marshall on if a shoddy run defense and poor tackling are results of desire and/or being tired from being on the field so much: "Well, for me, run defense and tackling is kind of the same category - it's 98 percent toughness and desire. Toughness (and) attitude. You've got to go after their...fannies, you know?...That's what run defense is, you know? You've just got to play hard, play tough..."

Marshall on what challenges Houston's potentially explosive offense with QB Matt Schaub, WR Andre Johnson and RB Steve Slaton: "They're a good offense...a lot of weapons. They've got an excellent offensive line - it's not the biggest - but for what they do, they really do a good job of getting up...on the second level, which probably doesn't mean anything to you guys, but that makes it tough on us. Skill people, they've got all kinds of skill people. The thing is, you look at their offense and they haven't gotten the running game going yet. But, if you look at them, every week they've improved the running game. They got 111 yards last week and that back can run like crazy. So, they've got a heck of an offense. They really do."


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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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