Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

September 30, 2009
Miller re-signed, other Wednesday notes


The Raiders have re-signed kick returner Justin Miller, who was among the final cuts when Oakland got down to its 53-man roster. To make room for Miller, the Raiders placed cornerback Sam Bowie on Injured Reserve.

Miller, who joined the Raiders after being claimed off waivers from the New York Jets last November, returned two kickoffs for touchdowns in 2008.

"I think it's a good opportunity for me to come back here," Miller said. "You know what you're getting into, you know the system."

The Raiders initially kept undrafted rookie Nick Miller out of camp to return kicks but he has not played since breaking his right shin before the season opener. The kickoff return game has suffered since, with Louis Rankin and Jonathan Holland averaging just 19.3 yards. Rankin, meanwhile, was claimed by Seattle and signed to the Seahawks' practice squad.

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When receiver Chaz Schilens broke his left foot in training camp on Aug. 18, it was diagnosed as an injury that would keep him out of action for "four-to-six" weeks. Six-plus weeks later, Schilens is still trying to get on the field and active for a game.

He had a solo workout Monday and because he was still sore Wednesday, he was held out of practice.

"I think I said the other day '50-50,' you know, questionable," coach Tom Cable said of Schilens' prospects for playing at Houston on Sunday. "We're making good progress. We're not going to hurry it unless he comes through these things pain-free and all that."

In other words, don't hold your breath waiting for Schilens to suit up at Houston to give struggling JaMarcus Russell a trust-worthy target.

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Cable, on if there were any "changes" in the Napa case: "None from me, no."

Cable, on if he had any comment on the assertion from Randy Hanson's lawyer that Hanson has been in contact with the defensive backs and helping them with a laptop computer, purportedly gleaned from the Raiders: "No. No. I have no comment about any of that."

September 29, 2009
Online chat scheduled for Wednesday

NFL LIVE CHAT
Join us for "NFL Wednesdays," a live chat at 1 p.m. Wednesday with Raiders writer/columnist Paul Gutierrez. He'll field your questions, take your comments and offer some insight into the new season.

http://www.sacbee.com/live/

September 29, 2009
Gannon responds, sorta

Former Raiders quarterback-turned-broadcaster Rich Gannon has spoken out regarding the Raiders attempting to ban him from the facility for CBS' production meeting last week.

"Let me just say this," Gannon said Tuesday on his SIRIUS NFL Radio Show, "I tried to take the high road on that situation. It was unfortunate and it is what it is. I will say this: I really feel like the organization should care less about who is broadcasting the games and more about the product on the field and putting people in the stands. I think that's the bottom line. I wish, certainly, the Raiders well. But it is frustrating to watch the team right now."

The Contra Costa Times reported earlier that the Raiders' attempted barring of their 2002 league MVP was a moot point since Gannon did not arrive in the Bay Area in time to make the meetings anyway. "This was a win-win situation for us," Raiders executive John Herrera told the Times.

September 28, 2009
Hanson talks to Napa PD, report says

Just when you thought it was safe to mention Randy Hanson around Raider Nation...

The former Raiders assistant coach reportedly told the Napa Police Department on Friday that he was struck by head coach Tom Cable and suffered a broken jaw in the incident, according to NFL.com

It would be the first time since Hanson received treatment at the hospital for his injury that he had spoken to police, according to the report.

"Randy answered the detective's questions, but we have no idea whether charges will be coming," Hanson's lawyer, John McGuinn, told NFL.com. "That will strictly be determined by the police and the DA's office. We have no input. He just answered questions."

Among the more curious claims made by McGuinn - that Hanson is still receiving checks from the Raiders (well, he is still listed on the team's official Web Site, despite being barred from the facility since the incident) and that several unnamed defensive backs have sought out his counsel in game planning and procured for Hanson a laptop belonging to defensive backs assistant coach Willie Brown.

September 27, 2009
Raiders-Broncos live game blog

Checking in from a roasting Coliseum, where the Raiders are hosting their annual Fiesta Latina celebration to commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month. Just walked by an all-female marichi group outside.

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The corresponding roster move to Jonathan Holland being elevated to the Raiders 53-man roster? RB Louis Rankin was released...

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Also, will be Tweeting...follow me @paulhgutierrez

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Raiders inactives - Hiram Eugene, Robert Gallery, Paul McQuistan, Chaz Schilens, Brandon Myers, Javon Walker, Nick Miller...Charlie Frye is the 3rd QB...Walker being a healthy scratch is somewhat surprising...

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Holland's number switched from 10 to 23, purportedly so he could play some DB if needed. He will return kickoffs...

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Raiders captains - Jon Condo, Michael Huff, Darren McFadden...Denver has won the toss and defers.Raiders will receive

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Raiders go three and out, punt...

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Broncos drive to the 1-yard line, and go for it on fourth-and-goal on 1, Jordan stopped by Morrison at the 1-yard line. Raiders ball

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Two plays later, JaMarcus intercepted by former Raider DB Renaldo Hill, when DHB slipped and fell..1st and 10 Broncos at Raiders 23

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Broncos TD, Orton to Marshall, on 3rd and goal from the 2....Denver 7, Raiders 0, 2:07 to play in 1st quarter. Broncos go 23 yards in six plays.

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JaMarcus with second INT, this one by Goodman...overthrows DHB. Crowd booing loudly....Denver takes over at the Raiders 34

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Prater with a 48-yard FG as time expires on the first quarter...Broncos 10, Raiders 0

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JaMarcus booed loudly as he takes the field

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JaMarcus actually looks off a receiver, McFadden, and finds Murphy for an 18-yard pickup and a first down. Crowd cheering JaMarcus now

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SeaBass with a 48-yard field goal, with 6:37 remaining in teh half....Broncos 10, Raiders 3...a 56-yard drive in 12 plays...Russell was four for four on that drive for 36 yards

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Raiders give momentum right back as Broncos drive ball at will...Broncos have the ball at the Raiders' 3 yard line at the 2-minute warning

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Huff breaks up a pass in the end zone on 3rd down and Broncos kick a 21-yard FG, Broncos 13, Raiders 3 with 1:09 remaining in the half

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JaMarcus hits MIller for a 29-yard pickup to the Denver 43 with 2 seconds left in half. SeaBass to attempt 61-yard FG from the dirt...wait, play under review

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Miller's foot came down on line, pass incomplete....

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Halftime, Broncos 13, Raiders 3

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Broncos carve up Raiders run defense to open second half, going 80 yards in 8 plays in 4:03...culminating with Moreno's 7-yard TD dive. DEN 20, OAK 3, with 10:57 to play in third quarter. Seymour flagged during drive for pulling Clady's hair...

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More boos come raining down on JaMarcus when he takes a sack on 3rd and 10

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Mitchell recovers Buckhalter fumble...Raiders ball at the Denver 16 yard line

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McFadden fumbles at Denver 6....Broncos ball. Cable challenges...
Brian Dawkins recovered McFadden's fumble but was out of bounds when ball popped loose, was inbounds to pick up the fumble...play reviewed...refs say Dawkins re-established himself in bounds with both feet and thus, could recover the ball...

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end of 3rd quarter...DEN 20, OAK 3...Broncos have ball at Raiders' 27-yard line, 2nd and 5...Raiders cannot stop the run

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Prater with a 24-yard field goal with 11:57 to play...Broncos 23, Raiders 3...and it's not even that close.

Did the Raiders peak in Week 1?!?

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How dominant have teh Broncos been? They just punted...FOR THE FIRST TIME...with 8:22 to play...


September 26, 2009
Gannon vs. Davis, your thoughts?

Just when you thought all was calm in Silver and Blackdom comes this - former Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon, in town to work as CBS' color commentator for Sunday's game against Denver, was banned from team headquarters for a production meeting for, well, conduct unbecoming a Raider. The team later reportedly relented.

As first reported by David White of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Raiders have had enough of Gannon's critical comments of the team since he joined the media following his retirement after the 2004 season. Raiders executive John Herrera unloaded on the 2002 NFL MVP.

Some of Herrera's juiciest quotes: "After affording him the opportunity to establish a career here, he has since gone on to attack us in a way that's totally unacceptable."

And then there was this: "He seems to be a guy who can't get over the fact that he played the worst Super Bowl game in the history of the game and he wants to blame everybody but himself...I guess it's our fault he threw five interceptions."

Ouch.

Following then are links to stories on the latest Raiders blood feud.

Blanco's story

The Associated Press follow up

Jerry Mac's Blog

Kawakami's point

My take? I see both sides, actually. I see how the Raiders, Al Davis specifically, what with his brand of loyalty, would feel betrayed by Gannon and want to wash his hands of a guy that was a reclamation project when he came to Oakland in 1999.

But I also see how the Raiders benefitted from Gannon's career revival in the East Bay, a stint that included three straight playoff appearances and the team's first Super Bowl appearance in 19 years.

I also wonder why the Raiders, Al Davis specifically, would worry about something as trivial as a petty feud with a former player and let it interfere with an otherwise positive start to the season. Then I remember how Davis basically sacrificed last year just to build a case against Lane Kiffin when he should have fired him in the offseason, when Kiffin was sniffing around for new jobs after one year as a head coach. At any level.

But I digress. What happens when Warren Sapp shows up? He's popped off far more than Gannon.

So what are your feelings on the purported Gannon-Davis Feud and how the Raiders have handled it?

September 25, 2009
Holland promoted from practice squad, Friday notes

Jonathan Holland, who was converted from wide receiver to defensive back after the first game of the regular season, was promoted from the practice squad and will return kickoffs Sunday against Denver.

"I've been doing kick returns for a long time - high school, all through college so I'm very familiar with it," said Holland, a seventh-round draft choice out of Louisiana Tech in 2007.

His only NFL experience returning kickoffs, though, came last season at Seattle in the exhibition finale. Holland returned two kicks for 71 yards, with a long return of 43 yards.

"I'm familiar with it," he said.

What Holland is not all that familiar with, however, are the nuances of playing cornerback, which he'd have to do in a pinch against the Broncos. He last played defense as a freshman at La. Tech. But with safety Hiram Eugene listed as DOUBTFUL with a lower leg strain, the Raiders needed another DB, even one as green as Holland.

"I feel really good about it," Holland said. "I have a great tutor in Nnamdi Asomugha, Michael Huff, those guys take their job very seriously and I sit back and watch what they do, listen to the coaches make the defensive calls and I've just got to be there to make the plays."

Said coach Tom Cable: "He's ready because he would line up at corner and play that. Based on what we do, there's not a lot to it really when you're playing man coverage."

Cable did not announce a corresponding roster move but running back Louis Rankin, who has returned six kickoffs for 108 yards with a long of 23 yards, would be a logical choice to be sent down to the practice squad.

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Johnnie Lee Higgins (sprained right shoulder) is listed as PROBABLE and the Raiders expect him to return punts. Those listed as OUT were left guard Robert Gallery and receivers Chaz Schilens and Nick Miller.

Defensive end Richard Seymour did not practice Friday but, as Cable said, he was "just resting his legs. No issue there."

September 25, 2009
Sactown blackout explanation

Still confused as to why Sacramento is blacked out from the Raiders' game Sunday against the Denver Broncos, even though Sac Town's city limits are more than the 75-mile radius from the Oakland Coliseum?

So was I, until I emailed NFL spokesman Greg Aiello on your behalf Friday afternoon.

"Any television station's signal that penetrates a 75-mile radius around the stadium is blacked out if the game is not sold out 72 hours in advance (or by the deadline if it is extended)," Aiello told me in an email. "That has been the longstanding procedure."

Meaning, because Sacramento's CBS affiliate, KOVR Channel 13, has a signal that reaches within 75 miles of the Coliseum, that affiliate is blacked out on such an occasion.

By the way, this is the first time since 2003 a Raiders home game against the Broncos has been blacked out.

September 24, 2009
Sunday's game blacked out, and other Thursday notes


Want to see the Raiders play for first place in the AFC West against the Denver Broncos on Sunday? Buy a ticket.

The game was not a sellout by Thursday's 1 p.m. deadline and thus, will be blacked out. It will be the seventh blackout in 26 home games since the Raiders took over ticket sales from the county's old Oakland Football Marketing Association in 2006. Prior to that, the Raiders had sold out just 25 of 88 regular season games since returning to the East Bay from Los Angeles in 1995.

Raiders coach Tom Cable was surprised when informed by reporters after practice that the game was not a sellout. No matter, he said.

"This is a team that's going to get better and better, and that'll take care of itself," Cable said. "People will be wanting to get in that stadium...this Sunday. And as we get better and improve, they'll be there. They'll be there."

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Cable also ruled out of the game left guard Robert Gallery (broken left fibula), safety Hiram Eugene (lower right leg strain) and wide receivers Chaz Schilens and (broken left foot) and Nick Miller (broken right shin).

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With Eugene out, former No. 7 overall pick Michael Huff and his team-leading three interceptions returns to the starting lineup at free safety. Huff had been the fifth DB in the Raiders' nickel defense packages.

"He'll just play more...but we'll have a plan in terms of backing it up in terms of Tyvon (Branch) and Mike Mitchell, perhaps John Bowie," Cable said. "So, we'll have a plan with more guys."

Huff was asked Wednesday if new defensive coordinator John Marshall brought a different scheme with him.

"It's been the same scheme since I've been here...single high," Huff said. "The scheme is pretty much the same. Marshall has more confidence in me to let me go out there to make plays and take charge. I think Cable did the same thing."

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Cable also said punt returner/receiver Johnnie Lee Higgins (shoulder sprain) and running back Justin Fargas are on pace to play against the Broncos.

September 23, 2009
Pears at LG; McFadden to return punts?

With left guard Robert Gallery out for at least a month with a broken left leg, coach Tom Cable said Erik Pears, who signed with the Raiders as a free agent in March, would start at left guard against Denver on Sunday.

Pears has started 26 of the 32 NFL games in which he's appeared - 10 at left tackle for the Broncos in 2006, 16 at right tackle for the Broncos in 2007.

"He's played all four spots, though, through his career," Cable said. "(He) has not played center."

Almost. After signing with the Broncos in 2005 as an undrafted free agent out of Colorado State, Pears made seven starts at guard for the Cologne Centurions of NFL Europe.

When Gallery left Sunday's game at the 2-minute warning, center Chris Morris slid over to left guard and Samson Satele came in at center. With Pears coming in now, Satele returns to the bench.

"One move rather than two is the way I felt," Cable said. "That was the deciding factor."

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How's this for some gamesmanship?

With Johnnie Lee Higgins and his sprained shoulder out in Kansas City, the Raiders' punt return game bordered on the ridiculous with Hiram Eugene and Javon Walker attempting to fair catch balls.

This week against Denver?

"My feeling is (Johnny is) going to go," Cable. "If he didn't go, I think that Darren (McFadden) would go back and fair catch everything."

September 21, 2009
Gallery out four-to-six weeks

As expected, Robert Gallery's broken fibula in his left leg required surgery and the left guard underwent the procedure Monday morning, coach Tom Cable said in his weekly media conference. Gallery, who injured himself late in the Raiders' 13-10 win at Kansas City and came out of the game at the 2-minute warning, is expected to miss four to six weeks and the injury was described as being similar to what fellow lineman Khalif Barnes suffered in the first week of training camp.

When Gallery left the game, starting center Chris Morris slid over to left guard and Samson Satele came in at center. Cable said there was a "good chance" of sticking to that lineup.

"But I want to sit down and really think that through this evening and tomorrow and make a good call, because I don't think it's something where in that situation that's who you have dress so you have to put that in there and go that way," Cable said. "We've got to look at it like the plan to fix the next month where we can be productive that way. That may be the right way to do it. I just want to make sure as I look at the big picture."

Other possibilities at guard would include Barnes, Erik Pears and Paul McQuistan.

"You've got a number of options there," Cable said. "I think it's really important that we (not) hurry into something, or assume that (since) we did it that way, let's just do it again. That (Morris/Satele) looks like the best move, but I want to make sure because this has to be more than just a week or two issue."

September 20, 2009
Raiders-Chiefs live game blog

Settling in at Arrowhead Stadium after walking through a maze of Middle American tailgaters and the smoky haze of BBQ pits...follow me on Twitter @paulhgutierrez

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Reports floating that Matt Cassel will start at QB for the Chiefs after missing the season opener with a knee injury

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INACTIVES
Raiders - Johnnie Lee Higgins, Justin Fargas, Khalif Barnes, Paul McQuistan, Chaz Shilens, Brandon Myers, Nick MIller. Charlie Frye is the third quarterback.

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Raiders captains - Richard Seymour, Tony Stewart and Zach Miller

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Raiders go 3 and out; Chiefs get a first down and then punt. Hiram Eugene, who has not returned punts since at least junior college, waves for fair catch before ball reaches its apex. Raiders ball, 1st and 10 at own 24 yard line, 12:31 of 1st quarter

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JaMarcus Russell is 0 for his first 4 passing, badly missing open receivers

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Chiefs drive 74 yards on 17 plays in 9:25, ending with 23-yard field goal by Ryan Succop, 3-0 Chiefs with 2:01 to play in 1st quarter

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At the end of the 1st quarter, Raiders have -2 yards of offense in first quarter, Russell is 0-for-5 passing and looks more than shaky

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Raiders go 58 yards in 12 plays in 6:49, culminating in 49-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski field goal. With 4:45 remaining in first half, Raiders 3, Chiefs 3


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Included in the drive, Russell completes his first pass, a seven-yard reception by Louis Murphy on a 3rd-and-4; and Darrius Heyward-Bey catches first pass as a pro, an impressive 18-yard pick-up across the middle of the field one play later.

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Halftime, Raiders 3, Chiefs 3...after some clock mismanagement by Chiefs before the half

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Not a good half for JaMarcus Russell, who was just three of 12 passing for 42 yards and should have had an interception returned for a touchdown by Brandon Flowers...Kansas City's Matt Cassel, making his Chiefs regular season debut, was 11 of 20 for 75 yards. Both QBs were missing targets BADLY...

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Halftime team stats - First downs, Raiders (3), Chiefs (13); total net yards, Raiders (61), Chiefs (183); Time of possession, Raiders (10:56), Chiefs (19:04)


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SECOND HALF BEGINS

Michael Huff with an interception of Cassel's throw to Sean Ryan, Huff jumps in front of ball and returns it 10 yards

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SeaBass with 54-yard field goal at 8:33 of 3rd quarter. Raiders 6, Chiefs 3. Russell still missing open receivers.

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Chiefs allow ball to roll into end zone when could have downed it inside the one...Hiram Euegene not even trying to return punts

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Raiders offense is giving their defense no time to rest. Seems like a recipe for disaster, or, for the defense to crack...Russell should have been picked off again, throwing ball blindly into triple coverage in middle of field and, strangely, Zach Miller should have caught the wounded duck.

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start of 4th quarter and Raiders, despite being outgained in yardage 313-77, lead the game, 6-3. Chiefs have ball on Raiders' 26-yard line, though, and Raiders defense, which has been on the field for 29 minutes, 36 seconds, looks spent...

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Michael Huff showing he was worth the No. 7 overall pick in the draft...IN 2006!!! Second interception for the heretofore underachiever

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JaMarcus is 3 for 16 passing for 42 yards and has missed eight consecutive passes...not good. Not good at all

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Nnamdi Asomugha just driven off the field in cart with 9:21 to play...no idea what injury is


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Stanford Routt in at CB for Asomugha. 7:01 to play, Chiefs have ball at own 28 yard line...Hiram Eugene back on sidelines.

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Nnamdi jogging back to sidelines...TV says dehydrated. He was driking a bottle of liquid on his way out


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Before Nnamdi can get back on field, Cassel hits Bowe for 29-yard TD...using Routt in the process

And the Raiders answer. WOW...McFadden runs it in from 5 yards out and maybe bails out JaMarcus...Raiders 13, Chiefs 10...1:07 to play

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Wow. Michael Huff breaks up 4th down pass and Raiders take over on downs. JaMarcus sits on ball...Raiders win, 13-10. Time to head to the locker room. Type at ya later...PG

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post-game update....Raiders LG Robert Gallery has a broken left fibula...

September 16, 2009
Miller has fractured shin; Walker to return punts?

Undrafted rookie Nick Miller made the team primarily for his kick-returning skills but was inactive for the opener for what was described as shin splints. Turns out the 5-foot-9, 180-pound Southern Utah product has a stress fracture in his right shin that will keep him sidelined for 4 to 6 weeks.

"I actually thought my ankle was broken," Miller said Wednesday. "It's kind of the top of my ankle, it's real low. So it felt like it was actually broken. And once we got the bone scan, it showed itself."

So with Johnnie Lee Higgins questionable for the Kansas City game on Sunday with a shoulder sprain, the Raiders are working safety Hiram Eugene and receiver Javon Walker as potential punt returners.

Thing is, Eugene looked completely out of his element in attempting to field punts - one went through his arms and another he called a fair catch on bounced away from him - and Walker was inactive for the season opener, still recovering from his mysterious knee surgery on foreign soil (Comcast analyst Bill Romanowski said the procedure was in Israel).

Then there's this - though coach Tom Cable said Walker returned punts early in his career, he has never performed in that role. As a rookie in 2002 with Green Bay, Walker did return 35 kickoffs for 769 yards.

Cable did say, however, that Walker would be activated for the Chiefs game and see time at receiver. That should help quarterback JaMarcus Russell with another dependable target.

September 15, 2009
Postgame Blog

Yes, there were many positives that came out of the game, but the two glaring weaknesses were the Raiders inability to stop a no-huddle offense - I'll never understand why teams go into a "prevent" defense; all they ever seem to do is "prevent" you from winning - and JaMarcus Russell missing receivers...by a lot.

The Raiders' defense had limited the Chargers' oft-explosive offense to a mere 152 yards through three quarters. Then Philip Rivers carved the Raiders up for 166 yards on their final two drives.

Russell, meanwhile, finished with a passer rating of 47.6, completing 12 of 30 passes for 208 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. But if you take away his 57-yard TD bomb to rookie receiver Louis Murphy, Russell was just 11 of 29 for 149 yards.

"We left a lot of plays out there and we let some things get away from us," Russell said. "But the best thing to do about that is we have a short week coming up and Kansas City will be on our mind."

The positives? The recently acquired Richard Seymour made a huge difference, what with two sacks and six tackles.

"I like what I see, I really do," Seymour said. "I think the guys fought hard and left it all out on the field. I'm encouraged by what I see from the guys but we have to get better as a team and hang together."

Plus, the Raiders took this loss hard.

Confused? Let Tom Cable explain.

"Very hurt, very disappointed," Cable said in describing the Raiders locker room. "And that is a good thing, because I have been a Raider since 2007 and I feel like that is the first time in the locker room after a loss where it really got in your gut. And that is a good thing. It sounds funny but that is the way you are supposed to feel about this game so I am proud of them. Very proud of my team."

And this from Chargers tight end Antonio Gates: "Yeah, they aren't the same team. They have guys that want to win and play hard. I'll tell you what - it was a battle. They always say this is a game of inches, and a few plays changed the game today. They played their hearts out."

September 14, 2009
Explaining Murphy's overturned TD

From the moment the referees overturned Louis Murphy's second-quarter touchdown, you just knew those lost four points - Sebastian Janikowski instead kicked a 37-yard field goal - would come back to haunt the Raiders.

Chargers 24, Raiders 20.

So go ahead, Raider Nation, scream about being on the other end of a hose job - again. You have a shoulder to cry on here. Because even while it turns out the ruling was correct by the, ahem, law of the land, it doesn't seem fair or right. It's certainly not in the spirit of the game.

Kinda like the Tuck Rule, which launched a dynasty in New England and hastened the Raiders' six-year plunge into the abyss a year later.


Here's how AOL Fanhouse explains the rule.

And here's a transcript of pool reporter Steve Corkran's discussion with referee Carl Cheffer, whose crew overturned the TD.

Cheffers: OK, so what's the question?
Corkran: We just want the ruling on why you decided to look at the play at the end of half on when you called touchdown for Louis Murphy, then you said that you wanted to review it, and then it got overturned. What was the ruling on that?

Cheffers: OK, great, let me just grab the (rule) book here, and I'm going to read you what the book says. We had a situation where the receiver caught the pass in the air and as he is coming down to the ground, he is actually going to the ground. That's a defined term in our rule book, a player, a receiver who is going to the ground. The rule book says, if a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass, with or without contact by opponent - so that can be on his own; In this case, he got hit by an opponent - he must maintain control of the ball after he touches the ground, whether in the field of play or in the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete. That wasn't the case. What we ruled, what we saw in replay, was that he was going to the ground, as he came down the ball came loose, he lost control of the ball, the ball skidded along the ground, he eventually completely lost control of the ball. So, by rule, by what we saw in review, it's an incomplete pass.

Corkran: So, this has nothing to do with him having to - he got both feet down - it has nothing to do with that, it has nothing to do with making a football move? It's just what you said there?
Cheffers: Yeah, he was up, I think if I remember, (on) one foot, he was getting contacted prior to his second foot coming down. By definition in our rule book, he's going to the ground and has to maintain possession of the ball throughout the entire act of the catch. And in this case, he lost possession and the ball hit the ground. Therefore, it's incomplete.

Corkran: It was pretty clear-cut?
Cheffers: Pretty clear-cut.

Corkran: Carl, thank you for your time.
Cheffers: My pleasure.

September 14, 2009
Raiders-Chargers live game blog

Raiders captains - Robert Gallery, Greg Ellis, Shane Lechler

Raiders inactives - Justin Fargas, Khalif Barnes, Paul McQuistan, Chaz Schilens, Brandon Myers, Javon Walker, Nick Miller.

3rd QB - Charlie Frye

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Raiders driving, Russell rolls out, stares at Louis Murphy the whole time, Jammer picks him off. Kills what had been a very nice opening drive. Chargers ball, at the Raiders' 29

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Chargers go 3 and out. Punt, Raiders ball at their own 16, 9:23 to go in first quarter,

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Seymour started on interior of Raiders d-line...

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Raiders go 84 yards in 10 plays, capped by 4-yard TD run by Michael Bush...SeaBass PAT makes it 7-0, Raiders, with 3:13 to play in 1st quarter

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Sproles nearly takes ensuing kickoff to the house, 66 yards later, Ike Ekejiuba tackles him at the Raiders' 33 yard line

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Ellis forces an LT fumble and Huff recovers at Raiders 9-yard line...14 seconds to play in 1st quarter

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Russell hits Miller for an 18-yard gain over the middle, 1st and 10 at own 45

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McFadden stripped of ball as goes through line, Chargers recover...Gallery down.

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Rivers hits Gates for 24 yards to the 1 on 3rd and 12, LT runs it in one play later...7-7 with 4:45 left in half. Chargers go 45 yards in seven plays following the turnover

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Gallery not in game, Satele at center, Morris moves to left guard...Gallery out wiith back injury, return questionable. Raiders ball at own 24-yard line with 4:40 until the half

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Lechler with a booming 55-yard punt, -3-yard return from Sproles...Chargers 1st and 10 at own 13-yard line, 3:36 to play in half

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2 minute warning, Raiders have ball at 50 after JR hits Murphy for 11...first completion to a wide receiver so far

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Raiders with ball on SD 19 yard line...take third and final TO, 3rd and 5, 50 seconds to
go

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JR to Murphy, who seemed to have a left calf cramp earlier, with 19-yard TD...wait, under review

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wow..tuck rule, anyone...play overturned. Refs say Murphy lost possession of ball on way down and is incomplete. Really? Looked clean here

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Kaeding with 47-yard FG as time expires..10-10 at the half

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About to shut down the "cyber" to concentrate on the "fiber"...deadline is in 90 minutes...but before that, Raiders dominated teh first half on stats - total yards, 216-74, third-down efficiency, 75% to 25%,, but tied at 10-10...

September 12, 2009
Seymour on his way, per Boston Herald

Richard Seymour is apparently on his way to Oakland today, according to the Boston Herald. The five-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman plans on wearing No. 92 and playing in Monday night's opener against the Chargers. "I'll be the guy on top of the quarterback," he told the Herald.

Of course, Seymour, 29, must take and pass a physical.

September 11, 2009
Seymour reports stranger by the hour

This thing has taken on a life of its own.

In the space of a few hours, it's been reported that Richard Seymour has been handed a five-day letter, meaning he has to show up for work with the Raiders or risk being suspended for the season without pay; that he and the Raiders have come to an agreement that does not involve a contract extension or a promise that they will not slap him with a "franchise" tag so he will be in Oakland as soon as Saturday morning, in time to play for the Raiders in Monday night's opener; and that that the players' union has filed a grievance on his behalf.

Of course the Raiders have no comment. Keep score for yourself here.

September 11, 2009
Still no Seymour, Friday updates

The Boston Herald has reported that Richard Seymour, who is still a no-show in Alameda, was indeed served with a five-day letter by the Raiders Thursday night, meaning he has until Tuesday to report to the Raiders or face a season-long suspension without pay from Oakland.

Asked if he knew anything about the report, Cable said, "Again, I don't know that. I've been so focused on this (opening ) game and getting this team ready to play."

Cable was also asked if there were any new developments on the Seymour front.

"Not that I'm aware of," he said.

And while several players have acknowledged that they have taken a hurry-up-and-wait approach to Seymour reporting Cable said he has not had to talk to the team to quell any distractions Seymour's refusal may have spawned.

"Until we have some facts on what is or isn't going to happen, I've really felt like it's not an issue until we have something concrete that we know will happen," Cable said. "So, with that in mind, it's just been business as usual in terms of getting this team ready to play. I think that's the right approach. I think we all are hoping that he's going to show up. But the bottom line is that until we have something one way or the other, we have to stay the course with San Diego.

"Our focus on Monday night (is) the opponent. Whatever happens between now and then or in the middle, we'll deal with it as it comes."

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Running back Justin Fargas, who has not practiced since the 49ers exhibition due to a strained hamstring, was again limited in practice Friday and would seem a longshot to play against the Chargers. Newly anointed starter Darren McFadden and Michael Bush should pick up the slack.

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The Raiders were granted an extension by the NFL, until 7:15 p.m. Saturday, to sell out Monday night's game to avoid a television blackout. Teams generally have until 72 hours before kickoff but with this week's Labor Day holiday, the Raiders applied for and were granted the stay.

September 10, 2009
McFadden named starting running back

The Raiders practiced under the lights at the Coliseum Thursday night to better simulate the conditions for Monday night's season opener against San Diego. No better way to imitate said conditions than by running out your starting lineups. As such, Darren McFadden has been named the starting running back by coach Tom Cable. The reasoning?

"I just think for everything that he is in terms of being multiple, running the football, catching the football," Cable said. "He's shown a high level of consistency all through camp and certainly brings some explosiveness like we're trying to build with this offense."

McFadden is the "Flash" element of the Raiders' three-headed rushing attack of Flash, Dash (Justin Fargas) and Smash (Michael Bush). So while getting the starting nod is nice, it's not like McFadden is a one-man show.

"Yeah it's probably not your typical deal where he's going to go 25 times, something like that," Cable said. "But he'll get the bulk of (the carries) for sure."

September 10, 2009
No sign of Seymour; but DT William Joseph is back

Still no sign of Richard Seymour in the Raiders' locker room but defensive tackle William Joseph, who was cut to make room for the five-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman, is back. He said he re-signed with Oakland on Thursday morning.

"I'm ready to roll," Joseph said early Thursday evening, following a walk-through practice at the team's Alameda compound but before the team's under-the-lights practoce at the Coliseum.

"The day they let me go, they released me, coach (Tom) Cable said, 'Don't go nowhere.' I was just around, sticking around, seeing what was going to happen...sitting around the hotel, just chillin', watching UM (University of Miami) play."

Joseph, 30, said he would have no trouble getting back into the flow of things after being released on Sunday.

"No problem," he said. "I pretty much know the game plan and stuff like that. Everything will smooth now."

The Raiders had no comment on a corresponding roster move. Cable is scheduled to speak to the media after practice tonight, at about 9:15.

September 10, 2009
L.T. thinks Seymour could help Raiders

While Raider Nation waits in joyful hope of Richard Seymour reporting to Alameda, the San Diego Chargers are taking an indifferent approach to a possible opponent. Granted, the Chargers have beaten the Raiders 11 straight times, but in separate conference calls with Bay Area reporters Thursday afternoon, running back LaDainian Tomlinson and coach Norv Turner admitted Seymour could be a factor on the defensive line against them on Monday night...IF he shows up and practices tonight.

"Yeah, I think so," Tomlinson said. "He's a pro, for one, and he knows how to play football and he knows how to turn it on, when it's time to turn it on, and I think he can absolutely have an effect on the game."

Turner was more guarded.

"He's an outstanding football player," Turner said. "We always get these questions when we're involved with a guy - Larry English, when he was holding out for a short period of time. A guy that's that good a football player, I think you find a spot and whether that be as an end pass rushing, on third down, whatever those things might be. But certainly, it's hard to fit a guy in and get him going in this little period of time."

September 10, 2009
Seymour Trade a Blockbuster (if/when he reports)?

With the Richard Seymour Trade still out there in the ether and the five-time Pro Bowler still refusing to report to the Raiders - profootballtalk.com has posted a couple of stories reporting that the defensive lineman may face a signing bonus forfeiture and, as of Wednesday night, was still in his Massachusetts home - I wrote a story on five of the biggest "blockbuster" trades in Raiders history.

The principal trades I looked at and rated either as "Silver and Black" or "Silver and Blechhh" had the Raiders acquiring Willie Brown, Dan Pastorini, Mike Haynes, Eric Dickerson and Randy Moss. Think of any others?

September 9, 2009
Seymour promised deal by Pats?

No new news: Richard Seymour has yet to report to the Raiders after Sunday's trade sent the three-time Super Bowl champion and five-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman from New England to Oakland for the Raiders' first-round pick in 2011.

New news (maybe): Pro Football Talk is reporting that Seymour, entering the last year of a contract that pays him a reported $3.7 million, is bent at the Patriots not simply for trading him to the Raiders, but because he expected New England to re-sign him to a lucrative deal. Instead, he was shipped to the West Coast.

The Patriots lie, cheat and steal?!? Spygate, anyone...

September 7, 2009
Seymour trade hits a snag?

Uh-oh. Appears the Richard Seymour-to-the-Raiders trade for a first-round pick in the 2011 draft has hit a snag, which is why the five-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman is not yet in Alameda.

"We have attempted to make a deal," Cable told reporters following practice Monday at the team's Alameda compound. "There are some issues still between him and the Patriots that are being worked out...hoping that that will get resolved as quickly as possible. We know that the player wants to be here but we have really no control over those issues. So that's really all I'm going to talk about it for now."

Cable was then asked if he had talked personally with Seymour, who is expected to shore up the Raiders' putrid run defense.

"I have talked to him," Cable said.

And he wants to be in Oakland?

"Yes," Cable answered.

Asked if there was a deadline that Seymour needed to be in Alameda to play in the Monday Night Football opener against the San Diego Chargers, Cable said, "Just as soon as possible. That's really the only way to answer that right now."

With Seymour, who turns 30 on Oct. 6, in the final year of a contract due to pay him $3.7 million this season, it would seem Seymour wants some sort of sign-and-trade extension from the Patriots before reporting to the Raiders.

The Patriots, though, are unaware of any issue they supposedly have with Seymour, per Associated Press.

September 6, 2009
Raiders acquire Pats' DL Richard Seymour

What has been rumored all morning was confirmed by the New England Patriots on their Web Site, though not by the Raiders. That is, the Raiders have acquired five-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Richard Seymour, 29, in exchange for Oakland's first-round draft choice in 2011 (http://www.patriots.com/news/index.cfm?ac=pressreleasesdetail&pid=38731&pcid=47)

http://www.sacbee.com/830/story/2164105.html


September 5, 2009
Garcia among 22 cut by Raiders

The 22 roster cuts have been made and announced by coach Tom Cable and while I'm not all that surprised that Jeff Garcia is gone, that doesn't mean I fully agree with it. As I wrote from Day 1, the only way JaMarcus Russell would thrive under Garcia's purported mentorship was if both quarterbacks accepted their roles - Russell as dutiful padawan, Garcia as wise Jedi.

Seems neither fully embraced it, no matter how Cable tried to spin it that Bruce Gradkowski and Charlie Frye outplayed Garcia in the preseason. Still, Russell is in need of motivation and Garcia nipping at his heels served just that purpose. Even if it was becoming a bit of a distraction. Now, the fear is that Russell will get complacent. Stay tuned.

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Following then are the 21 other players who were also sent packing on Saturday - S Jerome Boyd, DB Darrick Brown, DE Greyson Gunheim, WR Jonathan Holland, OL James Marten, LB David Nixon, LB Slade Norris, LB Chris O'Neill, FB Marcel Reece, RB Gary Russell, P/K Ricky Schmitt, TE Darrell Strong, OL Mark Wilson, DT Ryan Boschetti, LB Morlon Greenwood, CB Justin Miller, DT Terdell Sands and T Seth Wand.

Players waived with injury settlements were DBs Michael Hawkins and Rashad Baker and C John Wade.

Sands is a big name as well, both literally and figuratively, given the four-year, $17-million contract he signed in 2007. And it doesn't reflect so well on your scouting department when you cut a fourth-round draft pick in Norris. Especially not when you've already cut a sixth-rounder in Stryker Sulak...before training camp began.

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As far as my predictions for the 53-man roster went, I correctly picked 16 of the 22 players cut, missing on QB Bruce Gradkowski, FB Luke Lawton, RB Louis Rankin, WR Todd Watkins, DT William Joseph and LB Sam Williams. Still, I'll take a half-credit for writing, "Then again, I wouldn't be shocked if Garcia was the odd man out. Just sayin'"

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More questions? Then just peep the transcript of coach Tom Cable's conference call with Bay Area media, explaining the organization's decisions on cut day:

Q: What was the thinking on cutting Garcia?
Cable: I think first and foremost, we are committed to JaMarcus Russell as our starter. I think that when you look at the preseason, and practices in camp, and the games, that we played, all four of the games, three of the four which Bruce and Charlie played, and they probably were the most productive in terms of scoring points and moving the football team. I think that the fact that whether or not he's comfortable in his role as a backup, it is what it is. JaMarcus is our guy and those other two guys did a great job in terms of performing on game night.

Q: Did Garcia ask to be released?
Cable: There was some talk about whether or not, how he would fit and all that, but for right now, the best way for me to approach it was the fact that that those two guys played so well and we're committed to JaMarcus.

Q: Did his missing time with that strained calf hurt?
Cable: I don't know that, it's hard to say. It's unfortunate that he had to miss any time, but how that affected him, only he would know that.

Q: What affect will this have on JaMarcus since now there's no one to push him?
Cable: I don't think so. I think both guys in the room with him now, Bruce and Charlie, bring a lot to the table in regards to JaMarcus. I think his relationship with the two of them is strong. I think that they understand that they have to be there and push him every day just like Jeff would if he was here, but he's not going to be, and so you just move forward. For JaMarcus Russell to think he was anointed or something like that would be ridiculous. I don't think he's that way.

Q: Why Louis Rankin over Gary Russell?
Cable: I just think, again, it came down to production. That was a tough call, no question. Gary Russell is a fine football player, as is Rankin. I think with the release of Justin Miller, needing depth at the kickoff return spot as probably part of the difference. But certainly, Louis Rankin, he's been pretty solid the whole way through, his improvement, as a blocker, I think is what put him on this football team.

Q: You have seven wide receivers because Chaz Schilens won't be available in the opener?
Cable: That had something to do with it, just making sure that we continue on the right path with that group, and not having Chad, having six going into that game, we'll probably only dress four, maybe five, so you just want to make sure you've got the right numbers.

Q: There a chance there will be someone different on this roster tomorrow?
Cable: I don't know that yet. We'll listen to anybody that's willing to talk right now, certainly. We'll that all the way up to the deadline, but whether or not it will be different tomorrow, it would be hard to tell you at this point.

Q: Is Rankin's ankle injury from the Seattle exhibition an issue?
Cable: A slight ankle sprain but if we practiced yesterday he could have practiced so no not really

Q: Tough to cut a fourth-round draft pick? What happened with Slade Norris?
Cable: Just overall development and his ability to make the transition from being a guy rushing the passer with one hand down to standing up and playing it enough. Although he did some of it in college it just didn't feel like it came along quick enough. So we'll see what it means.

Q Terdell Sands, lack of ability or Desmond Bryant coming on?
Cable: Oh I think both, I think both. There's no question, both.

Q: Wade and Baker stinger injuries pretty serious?
Cable: They both would be out for an extended period of time as of right now. I don't know exactly how much time but I know it's a long period of time and so we need to put this team together now with who's available.

Q: Who's the No. 2 quarterback?
Cable: You know I think that's yet to be decided. I think those guys both as this thing kind of played itself out they really were equals. That's really kind of the approach to it now. We'll have to make a decision when we get to game day.

Q: How can you determine that since JaMarcus will get all the snaps now?
Cable: We'll do that as we go. That's just something for another day.

Q: What are your thoughts of rookie DE Matt Shaughnessy and his return from injury?
Cable: I think leading up to the foot injury, Shaughnessy did nothing but get better every day, kind of like Bryant did. We know we have a really good young player there. Then he comes back and even though he's really just coming off the injury, did nothing but get better each day he was practicing and I think he showed up big time on Thursday.

Q: Did Sam Williams' ability to play as a middle linebacker help him make the cut, as well as his special teams play?
Cable: I think he did show we've got some versatility there now. But primarily, the role was to be on special teams and give us a backup linebacker.

Q: Why will you practice Sunday, just to get your 53-man roster together?
Cable: No it's just the fact that we're playing a Monday night so the week is a little different in terms of the practice schedule and all that.

Q: Who's your starting center?
Cable: Right now it'll be Chris Morris.

Q: How did that come about?
Cable: I think that, you know it, it probably came to him that he's going to have to take his game to another level. I think he did that and he did that consistently. I think that...you know about offensive line play, consistency is what wins. It doesn't have to be pretty. It doesn't have to be the biggest or the baddest. You have to be consistently good and I think Chris has done that.

Q: Who are your starting linebackers?
Cable: I'll get into all that when we get closer.

Q: Has John Bowie stepped up his play lately?
Cable: I think really John stepped his game up. He did give up the big play the other night but he made a bunch of plays on the field, tackled well. Again the guy just played himself onto the football team. That's what it really came down to.

Q: Did you overlook Nick Miller's punt-return fumble at the 49ers because he can be a playmaker?
Cable: Naw, I don't think you ever overlook a turnover. I think understand a lot of those happen with a guy like Nick who is pressing so down hard to make too many big plays or make a big play every time he touches it. He'll learn rather quickly that you just let the game come to you.

Q: How did Jerome Boyd come up short?
Cable: I just think that the drafting of Mike Mitchell in the second round and Tyvon Branch, Hiram Eugene and Michael Huff, that's a good group of safeties. Just wasn't able to break into that group.

Q: What's the progress on Mike Mitchell's strained hamstring?
Cable: Good.

Q: Good as in...
Cable: Good enough to practice.

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Follow me on Twitter @paulhgutierrez

September 5, 2009
One man's guess at the Raiders' 53-man roster

Final 53-man man rosters are due in the NFL offices today, meaning the Raiders need to cut 22 players. Here then, after a preseason of observation, deduction and pure gut feeling, is one man's guess at the Raiders' Final 53. Feel free to chime in, agree or mock.

*-projected starter

QUARTERBACKS - 3
They're here - *JaMarcus Russell, Jeff Garcia, Charlie Frye

They're gone - Bruce Gradkowski

The thinking - Frye has the better resume and has looked far superior in practice. But something tells me that Gradkowski's history with quarterbacks coach Paul Hackett might sway things in his favor. Then again, I wouldn't be shocked if Garcia was the odd man out. Just sayin'.

RUNNING BACKS - 5
They're here - *Darren McFadden, Justin Fargas, Michael Bush, Oren O'Neal, Gary Russell

They're gone - Luke Lawton, Louis Rankin, Marcel Reese

The thinking - Fargas' trade value could alter the thinking here while Russell played his way into a roster spot in the preseason finale at Seattle. Rankin injuring himself against the Seahawks makes it an easy call, as does his being eligible for the practice squad.

OFFENSIVE LINE - 9
They're here - *LT Mario Henderson, *LG Robert Gallery, *C Samson Satele, *RG Cooper Carlisle, *RT Cornell Green, Khalif Barnes, Chris Morris, Erik Pears, Paul McQuistan.

They're gone - James Marten, John Wade, Seth Wand, Mark Wilson

The thinking - Barnes and Pears were brought in to challenge for starting positions and Morris started at center in Seattle. The line has been below average this preseason so don't be surprised if the Raiders pick up someone else's castoff, particularly if he has zone-blocking experience.

TIGHT ENDS - 3
They're here - *Zach Miller, Tony Stewart, Brandon Myers

They're gone - Darrell Strong

The thinking - Miller is a star in the making, Stewart is a special teams standout and Myers is a sixth-round draft pick whose pass-catching ability has been a pleasant surprise. Talk about your no-brainers. Sorry, Strong.

WIDE RECEIVERS - 6
They're here - *Darrius Heyward-Bey, *Louis Murphy, Javon Walker, Chaz Shilens, Johnnie Lee Higgins, Nick Miller

They're gone - Todd Watkins, Jonathan Holland

The thinking - The diminutive Miller might have sealed his fate with his game-costing fumble on a punt return against the 49ers but he came on string in the third and fourth exhibition games. He can be a fan favorite and his ability to return kicks gives him the edge.

DEFENSIVE LINE - 8
They're here - *LE Greg Ellis, *LT Gerard Warren, *RT Tommy Kelly, *RE Trevor Scott, Jay Richardson, Desmond Bryant, Matt Shaughnessy, Ryan Boschetti

They're gone - Terdell Sands, Greyson Gunheim, William Joseph

The thinking - While the undrafted, Ivy League-educated Bryant is the biggest surprise, Sands and his $1.9 million roster bonus is the biggest disappointment. There are reports the Raiders are in the hunt for former Chiefs DT Alfonso Boone to shore up the run defense.

LINEBACKERS - 6
They're here - *WLB Thomas Howard, *MLB Kirk Morrison, *SLB Ricky Brown, Jon Alston, Isaiah Ekejiuba, Slade Norris

They're gone - Sam Williams, Morlon Greenwood, David Nixon, Chris O'Neill

The thinking - This is a tough one. Williams has been a special teams stud for what seems like forever and is a favorite of Al Davis. But in a numbers crunch, Ekejiuba is younger and more versatile and Norris is a fourth-round draft pick.

CORNERBACKS - 5
They're here - *Nnamdi Asomugha, *Chris Johnson, Stanford Routt, John Bowie, Justin Miller

They're gone - Michael Hawkins, Darrick Brown

The thinking - Miller had a tough game at Seattle and could be on the block, particularly if the Raiders decide to go with only four corners and make up for it on the D-line. The emergence of Nick Miller as a kick returner could also make Miller expendable. Stay tuned.

SAFETIES - 5
They're here - *SS Tyvon Branch, *FS Hiram Eugene, Michael Huff, Mike Mitchell, Rashad Baker

They're gone - Jerome Boyd

The thinking - The only real drama here is if the Raiders go with just four pure safeties, putting the future of Huff, a former No. 7 overall draft pick, in peril. Everyone is still waiting to see hamstrung second-round pick Mitchell put a hit on someone.

SPECIAL TEAMS - 3
They're here - PK Sebastian Janikowski, P Shane Lechler, LS Jon Condo

They're gone - P Ricky Schmitt

The thinking - The ultimate no brainer. Schmitt had a wonderful opportunity to audition for other teams, or even the budding UFL, with Lechler out with a strained groin.

September 2, 2009
Wednesday's get-away day notes from Alameda

Following Wednesday's walkthrough practice at the team's Alameda compound, coach Tom Cable said the starters would indeed start Thursday night's exhibition finale at Seattle.

"After what we went through last week, you want to get the bad taste out of your mouth and put it to bed and learn from it, and I think we have learned from it," Cable said of the 45-7 thrashing endured at the hands of the New Orleans Saints. "So we'll go out tomorrow night and just address the game just as we normally would, and go out and try to be right on both sides of the ball and get those guys out of the game."

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Cable also said there were "oh, eight spots" to be contested prior to Saturday's deadline to have the 53-man roster turned in.

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Darren McFadden will get his second start of the preseason at running back and Michael Bush will join him in the backfield for the first two drives at most, Cable said. Then, expect a steady diet of Louis Rankin and Gary Russell. Justin Fargas, who started the preseason opener against Dallas, is out with a strained hamstring. Cable, though, said he should be ready for the regular season opener on Sept. 14.

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Rookie safety Mike Mitchell, who has yet to play in an exhibition because of a hamstring injury, is progressing to the point where Cable expects to see him on the field next week.

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Offensive tackle Khalif Barnes is out of his cast and walking boot and his broken left ankle is "progressing very well," Cable said. "He's pain free. You just want to get him back going where he can pound on it. At that position it takes a lot of pounding, and then we'll get to Week 2 or 3 and see when he's ready to go."



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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