Two of the Raiders' newcomers insist all is well in Silver and Blackdom, even as reports continue to surface of Tom Cable's impending arrest, JaMarcus Russell skipping meetings, Cable's play-calling being questioned by players and the team sitting at 1-3 a quarter of the way through what already threatens to be a lost season.
"It's too early in the season to panic," insisted defensive end Richard Seymour, who is used to Super Bowl charges than the circus that often comes to visit Alameda.
Khalif Barnes, meanwhile, had a long thought on what he's seen here, while challenging the organization as a whole, it seems.
"Being a professional and being in this league for a while now - I'm still young, I've only played four years - but you catch on to stuff and you know how stuff kind of works," Barnes told me. "Whenever there's adversity, and things aren't going your way and your back's up against the wall, and everybody's out to get you and against you, the one thing, I think, a coward would do (is) turn his head, tuck his tail, and kind of walk off. A strong man, you kind of find out what a man is made of when he goes through his hardest hours, when his team goes through its hardest hours, darkest hours. So I think those kind of moments really define a person and let's you know what a person is made of. Let's you know who you want exactly on your team - are guys going to fold in the tent, throw it away already? It's already a quarter of the way (through the season) and there's 12 more games left. Anybody on this team who thought we were done and finished, probably shouldn't be here. You have reporters and beat writers, they have their job. News guys have their job; that's their job is to report what's going on. You can't get mad at them for doing their job and you can't worry about them doing it. What you've got to do is worry about the guys inside this building. If you're worried about everything else like that, you're not going to get it done on Sunday. You have to worry about what you're doing that week, get it done and know the adversity is coming - it's going to be there. I've gone through it; I'm going through it now, other guys are going through it now. But what you do in that darkest hour is what defines you. When you come out that tunnel, man, it's a good feeling. That's how I look at it."
Barnes, who is working at both right and left tackle but has yet to make his Raiders debut after suffering a broken left ankle in training camp, said the negativity floating around Raiderland can be a galvanizing force.
"Yeah, who cares?" Barnes said. "Who cares what they're saying about anything going on right now? You're 1-3 right now in the first quarter (of they season)? That's cool. That's not where we wanted to be. But you know what? That's what it is. You can't go back, take the San Diego game, none of them games back. What you do now, is you go put your head on like a man and you go forward and you take care of New York and then take care of the rest. But it has to start Wednesday...can't play Sunday today."