Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

November 13, 2009
Cable plays coy with lineup, Walker asks for release, and more Friday nuggets

With four offensive starters returning to the fold for Sunday's game, including two skill position guys in running back Darren McFadden and wide receiver Chaz Schilens, coach Tom Cable was predictably tight-lipped when asked about his starters. Particularly how he'd use Run DMC and "The Savior" Schilens against the Chiefs.

"I just think for this game, coming out of the bye, it's better to wait until we start the game," a coy Cable told reporters.

Of course, this pseudo-game of cloak and dagger is amplified because the Raiders are facing a division foe, one that has won six straight games at the Coliseum.

"Absolutely," Cable said. And when asked who would start at receiver, Cable said, "Again, that's kind of a follow-up to what (was) just said. We'll see on Sunday, how we're going to start it and what we're going to do, package-wise."

Then here's a prediction: the Raiders will start a three-receiver set - Schilens and rookies Darrius Heyward-Bey and Louis Murphy with tight end Zach Miller and one running back. Yes, that would be McFadden. Just to see how the Chiefs' 3-4 defense responds.

"It's like a new beginning for us," McFadden said. "We're starting zero and zero in the second half. You want to go out there and play your hardest."

Does he think he'll start, though, after missing four games following arthroscopic knee surgery?

"I don't know," he said. "It's a process you have to go through. You don't go to the bottom and jump right back to the top. You've got to go out there and work for it. Right now I'm just working myself back in."

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Greg Ellis, 34, and coming off bye-week arthroscopic surgery to both a shoulder and a knee, "did probably about 40 to 50 percent of the work" in practice Friday and will be "questionable" for the game, Cable said.

"Probably will be a game time decision," Cable added.

"It was good. Didn't want to push it too much right away, so let's see how he responds today and how he does tomorrow."

His fellow defensive end, Richard Seymour, would not commit to Ellis playing.

"I don't know," Seymour said. "You'll have to ask Greg that one. I know (No.) 92 will be there. I can't say who else is going to be there."

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Spygate notwithstanding, Seymour is used to stability and winning, not losing and constant coaching controversies. So how is the former New England Patriot handling being 2-6 and Cable being in the news for all the wrong reasons of late?

"Well, I mean, I'm fine," Seymour said through a smile that turned into a laugh. "I'm fine. I can play in any situation. I mean it really don't matter. I...enjoy the game and I enjoy playing football. So it doesn't matter, really, the surroundings. I can go play anywhere."

Not exactly a resounding endorsement from a soon-to-be free agent. But Raider Nation will take it...for now.

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For the first time this season, Cable's envisioned opening-game offensive line of LT Mario Henderson, LG Robert Gallery, C Samson Satele, RG Cooper Carlisle and RT Cornell Green will start a game and be on the field together.

That can only help matters, right? Of course, in training camp I thought Khalif Barnes would supplant Henderson on the left side.

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According to the Contra Costa Times, seldom-if-ever-used veteran receiver Javon Walker requested his release from the Raiders.

Shouldn't be a shock. He has proclaimed himself healthy as a horse since undergoing an experimental knee surgery in Israel this offseason and yet, the Raiders have treated him as though he were instead ready for the glue factory.

After the Raiders' loss in San Diego two weeks ago, Walker was joking at his locker, wondering why no reporters wanted to interview him.

Strange, with quarterback JaMarcus Russell's early-season troubles and lack of trust in his rookie pass catchers, you would have thought Walker could have helped Russell in his development.

Walker has now been diagnosed with a hamstring injury, purportedly suffered in practice on Thursday, and is out against the Chiefs.

Cable said he "respects" Walker's frustrations and the way he's not turned his situation into another sideshow in the Raiders' latest circus.

"Things like this reflect your character, how you handle these things and he's handled it the right way," Cable said. "But I think with the talent and the numbers we have, it is what it is."

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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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