Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

October 31, 2009
Branch a pleasant tackling surprise

Is it really all that positive a thing when a safety is your second-leading tackler? After all, that means opponents are getting pretty far beyond the line of scrimmage if a member of your secondary is getting in on so many stops.

But things being what they are in Silver and Blackdom, the Raiders will take strong safety Tyvon Branch's 51 tackles (only middle linebacker Kirk Morrison's has more tackles in Oakland with 67) as a good thing. Besides, Branch leads all defensive backs in tackles and his total ranks 15th in the NFL, only two tackles behind Ray Lewis. No wonder, then, Branch is seen as a sure tackler.

"Tyvon, he missed a couple last week, but for the most part he's been very consistent and is playing extremely well (and) he and (Michael) Huff both have been very good in their time in there," coach Tom Cable told reporters on Friday. "Tyvon's played all year, been good at coverage, good at tackling, done a very, very good job."

So much so that his play has kept rookie Mike Mitchell out of the mix. And yet, Cable foresees a way for both Branch and Mitchell to be on the field at the same time.

"Actually, we've kind of approached that issue," Cable said, "maybe getting (Mitchell) involved in some nickel-type stuff as a linebacker."

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Despite missing two days of practice this week with flu-like symptoms and a 101-degree temperature, Bruce Gradkowski remains the back-up quarterback behind JaMarcus Russell with Charlie Frye the No. 3 signal caller.

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Injuries - WR Nick Miller (shin), RB Darren McFadden (knee), RT Cornell Green (calf), LB Ricky Brown (ankle) are all out; WR Chaz Schilens (foot) and TE Tony Stewart (chest) are doubtful; LG Robert Gallery (fibula) and DE Greg Ellis (knee) are questionable. WR Louis Murphy (hip), CB Chris Johnson (groin) and Gradkowski all practiced full.

October 29, 2009
Russell showing accountability? and other Thursday notes

JaMarcus Russell is apparently changing his tune. Four days after deflecting criticism for his poor play that led to him being pulled in the second quarter of Sunday's 38-0 embarrassment, the Raiders quarterback told reporters Thursday, "You know, there was mistakes out there."

Russell continued: "Everybody saw that. Good or bad, take that in stride and learn from it, no matter what it is, and...you go back and put the small things into details, you know, you can just learn from the mistakes..."

Showing some accountability is one way to win fans back. Performing better on the field is the surefire way to do it.

Russell also acknowledged that he has been leaning on third-string quarterback Charlie Frye. But Russell took exception to anyone questioning his attending the Golden State Warriors' season opener Wednesday night at Oracle Arena.

"What I do in my personal life is not really what's going on here," Russell said. "So now you're trying to tell me I can't go enjoy my life. Going to a basketball game... I want to go see those guys play, hey, that was just something in my off time I wanted to do. I don't think that was bad."

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Greg Ellis has been in the NFL since 1998, so naturally, the defensive end is playing special attention to the league's seeming rising awareness of head injuries.

"Yeah, it's something that has to be taken seriously, and in most cases, it needs to get to the level where they are protecting us, the players, against our own selves," Ellis told reporters. "Since we started playing football as a little kid, you're taught toughness, toughness, toughness. Some of us, if we can walk, we say, 'OK, I'm good, I'm fine.'

"My wife is getting on me all the time, 'How you feeling, Greg?' Well, I'm fine. 'No, you're not fine. Why are you doing this? There's something wrong.' But it's just a conditioned thing. So, unfortunately, when it's something that's not going to be long-term, OK, it's fine. But if it's something where you're talking about a head problem, then it needs to be supervised by somebody better than the players."

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Those that did not practice - WR Nick Miller (shin), WR Chaz Schilens (foot), RB Darren McFadden (knee), QB Bruce Gradkowski (ill), Cornell Green (calf), LB Ricky Brown (ankle) and DE Greg Ellis (knee). Ellis is the only one of the aforementioned who should play Sunday at San Diego.

Meanwhile, LG Robert Gallery (fibula) and TE Tony Stewart (chest) practiced limited.

WR Louis Murphy (hip) and CB Chris Johnson (groin) did not finish practice.

"We'll see," Cable said when asked if Murphy was a troubling problem. "Again, been sore but it got worse as we got into practice, so we stopped him."

More than a week after the Raiders trumpeted Schilens' return from his Aug. 18 broken left foot, Cable acknowledged having doubt about the wideout's availability this weekend.

"I am right now," he said. "Yep."

McFadden, however, has started a slow rehab from his knee surgery.

"He's running on a lessened load," Cable said of McFadden. "He's starting to jog, do all those things, so we should really get back to work next week with him, it looks like."

October 29, 2009
Cable looking for electricity

Coach Tom Cable has been pointing to the Raiders getting healthy as a reason for optimism of late but the only long-shelved players who have a chance to play Sunday are left guard Robert Gallery, who suffered a broken left fibula in Week 2 at Kansas City, and receiver Chaz Schilens, who broke his left foot in a non-contact training camp drill on Aug. 18.

According to Cable, Gallery participated in warm-ups and drills on Wednesda and got in a "few reps in team periods" while Schilens did not practice. Strange, considering the team announced his return last Tuesday and he was actually inactive Sunday due to soreness in the foot.

A more likely return game for the duo would be Nov. 15, after the bye, when the Raiders play host to the Kansas City Chiefs.

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The mysterious stomach bug that made its way through the Raiders locker room last week and felled rookie tight end Brandon Myers and defensive end Richard Seymour claimed another victim in backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski.

"It's like 24 hours and they're back," Cable said. "So we just have to deal with it for right now."

Gradkowski, who lives in San Francisco, had to take BART to Oakland and then cabbed it over to Alameda early Wednesday morning, what with the Bay Bridge shut down. The most popular man in Raider Nation, with JaMarcus Russell's struggles, said he was not recognized.

"Nah, just kept my hood over my head," he said.

Cable said the team is taking precautions against a more wide-spread sickness.

"The first thing is we're making sure it's not that (Swine Flu)," he said. "We're doing all the tests and everything to make sure (they) don't have those symptoms, specific to that virus. This has just been a kind of 24-hour stomach flu."

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Cable also had an interesting analogy to describe the electricity the Raiders exhibited in the Monday Night Football opener against the Chargers, the Week 2 win at Kansas City and the upset victory over Eagles and the lack of voltage in losses to the Broncos, Texans, Giants and Jets.

"'It doesn't look like you have a cattle prod up your rear,'" Cable said he told the team. "'You're not just 'zap!' It's not explosive."

Meaning?

"To me, that's making sure that we're doing it right," he said. "Eating, sleeping right, taking care of our bodies, doing all those things. We've had good effort on Sundays. But there's a difference in having good effort and playing with...electricity."

Hmmmm...Greg Ellis also hinted about some of his teammates perhaps cavorting too much during the preseason. Sensing a trend?

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Strange scene at the end of practice - rookie receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey trudging off the practice field and into the locker room carrying JaMarcus Russell's shoulder pads with his red No. 2 practice jersey on them. A little rookie hazing, perhaps?

And just to beat you to the punch, no, DHB did not drop the pads...(rim shot).

October 27, 2009
More e-mails from Raider Nation

My first look at Russell was the bowl game against Notre Dame. While he had a sparkling day, that ND team was woefully inept and one wonders if they should have been selected for that bowl game at all. Interestingly, the other QB in that game was Brady Quinn, who performed dismally that day, went 22nd in NFL 1st round and, like Russell, is also struggling with the Browns. Given Russell's size and the fact that he probably has "good hands" and some skill running with the ball, one wonders if a move of that talent to WR or TE would make sense? SF's Arnaz Battle, an option QB at ND, was moved to WR and made a good career of it in college and NFL. On the other hand, if Russell's attitude is a problem then he's poison to the team anywhere you put him.

Dan

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You have been on the page that Jamarcus is bad but the video clip of sunday locker room just says it all. He is not mature enough to understand the situation, he is not deflecting he is being teenage defiant. Just amazing. Thats the regression. the coach in a round about way addressed the issue of maturity. They are hoping he will come but it will not be until next year.

He started getting booed and that started the regression. The hard knocks come when his teammates quit and let him get hurt.
he is being defiant to the crowd and will towards his players when someone finally says something.

Being at the games I can see the little things. Murphy reaction in Bronco game when he is open and russel throws behind him. i was thinking, wow a rookie reacting to the QB that way. Its coming.

He has started throwing people under the bus and that is the new revelation. On sunday the whole team caravaned in at 10am. He comes by himself 20 minutes later. Did he even stay at the hotel with the team?

Looking at replays of him from game he is still not stepping into throws, probably throwing with his thumb on top (no accuracy).

Rod

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Paul -- Very interesting update on the Cable Guy. Difficult to determine who is lying, but I find it almost impossible for an adult to break a jaw falling off a chair? Maybe break your tailbone, but not your jaw. So why doesn't the NFL simply ask all present to take a lie detector test instead of all this drama? The District Attorney's explanation of why it was not pursued sounded like something Barney Fife or Goober would come up with! So it will be interesting to see what action coach Hanson takes? This is certainly much more fun and interesting than watching the Raiders try to play football!!

Ralph

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I liked your article about DHB in this mornings paper. The only thing I didn't agree with is the fact u said they (raiders) could've traded down and picked him up later for cheeper. I think if that option was there for the raiders they would have. Nobody wanted that #7 pick and everyone knew that DHB would not have fell past #12-15. So idealy I would have loved the raiders to trade down and grab him along with an additional draft pick, I don't think it was possible. You can't name one team out there that was willing to trade up to the #7 spot for any player. I'm a firm believer of "take who u want" in the draft regardless of the draft spot or the pundits. But like you, I still believe there is hope for this kid.

Will

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Good morning Paul

Nice coverage of the Raiders, right or wrong I am a Raiders forever, my father and uncles started in the 60's so I must continue, yes my kids wonder when are we going o win and they get hassled at school when they were their raider shirts but hey it builds character. The reason for my email, I read this into days blogs recap, about the guy who is switching teams to the Saints ( see below) , hey could you send him my email address , I be curious to see if he wants tog et rid of his Raider collection or memorabilia for the cheap, since he switched teams, yes I know we are bad and will continue until Al is gone but what the heck, Raiders fan for even

Go RAIDERS

Keep up the good work

Salvador

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Paul, I've been a proud Raider fan since 1974. I have lived my whole life in New England (Connecticut). I have to say that our fans are turning into the negative east coast fans that I see every day, when things go wrong they trash talk the team. But when things are good they are life long fans. I have been to Oakland for 3 games in the past 6 years and the experience was awsome compared to out here. There was an intensity at the stadium that only rivaled a Yankee - Red Sox game out here. I think to pick this team back up our fans need to stay in games, and keep the sound level up. Watching the Eagle game it sounded great at times but also was flat at times as if they were just waiting for the game to slip away. I believe that the players will feed off the stadium emotion and I hope to hear the Nation Rockin through-out the whole Jets game. Raider fans need to refocus and stop the negativity, the players read this stuff. Lets try our old approach of us against the world wether we were 16-0 or 0-16 Raider fans kept trash talking everyone else in the NFL but never ourselves, how did we get to this place were at. I read all the blogs full of anger towards our Raiders, and most well deserved. It still kills me to hear, thats not us. we live and die Oakland, its like our fans are putting the curse on us. Lets get crazy again, start blaming the refs, the other coaches for cheating...the cheerleaders but lay off the team and show more support it might just change attitudes if they are reading that we are 100% behind them no matter waht. ( Ok not the cheerleaders ) Our fans were never like any other teams but we sound like we are getting there, lets not complain that the team is giving up when we are doing the same thing. I go to work every Monday morning with my Raiders shirt on win or lose, and people laugh at times but I pound my chest and let them know its a privledge to be a Raider fan we are loyal until the end, win, lose, or tie Raider til I die. Is the whole Nation with me or did I miss the memo to just give up, I personally will not trash talk my team. Wish I didnt live 3,000 miles away or I would be there screaming every Sunday. Thank god for direct tv NFL package. peace

john

October 27, 2009
Raiders chat TODAY at 12 noon (PDT)

NFL LIVE CHAT
Join us for "NFL Tuesdays," a live chat at 12 noon with Raiders writer/columnist Paul Gutierrez. He'll field your questions, take your comments and offer some insight into the season.

Let's talk about the Raiders 38-0 blowout loss to the Jets a week after the shocking upset victory over the two-touchdown favorite Eagles, JaMarcus Russell getting benched and coach Tom Cable not facing criminal charges for his alleged assault of former assistant Randy Hanson. Or, whatever you want to bring up...

Today at noon,

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

October 25, 2009
Raiders-Jets live game Blog

Checking in from the Coliseum...Jets are wearing throwback Titans uniforms that harken UCLA's road gear....Raiders are wearing "throwback" helmet logos...Chaz Schilens in INACTIVE!!!

Besides Chaz Schilens, other Raiders INACTIVES are Darren McFadden, Ricky Brown, Langston Walker, Cornell Green, Robert Gallery, Nick Miller and 3rd QB is Charlie Frye...

No sign of War Pigeon...yet...

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And while I'm at it, I am completely blown away by the criticism thrown Richard Seymour's way for saying the Raiders were going to the playoffs. Anyone who has actually listened to his radio interview this week on Two Deep Zone 1530 Homer in Cincinnati could tell that Seymour's "guarantee" was taken out of context. He was practically goaded into it. Seymour was asked, point-blank, if the Raiders were going to the playoffs. What was he supposed to say, NO?!?

Maybe he should have fallen back into the dry, cliche of "one day at a time," but then, media would have jumped on him for that. OK, off my soap box now.,..

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Follow me on Twitter - @paulhgutierrez

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Raiders captains - Todd Watkins, Zach Miller, Justin Fargas, Tyvon Branch

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Raiders win toss, elect to receive...

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Myers called for illegal block in the back on kickoff return, Raiders start on own 10...Khalif Barnes starts at right tackle...gets beat on first play, JaMarcus strip sack, Barnes called for tripping, declined, Jets recover on 4...Jets go for it on 4th and goal from 1, Thomas Jones punches it in for 7-0 lead...

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Louis Murphy with a dropped slant pass from Russell on third down...Raiders go three and out...

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Russell, throwing off back foot and with Jet in his face, throws an INT, returned to the Raiders 4...46-yard return by Jim Leonhard...Sanchez runs it in from 3 yards out...then dunks the ball over the goal post...Jets 14, Raiders 0, 4:20 to play in first quarter

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Guess what? Another Russell turnover...picked off by Revis in the end zone

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What a way for the first quarter to end - Jets with a fake punt and Weatherford takes off for a 16-yard pickup...

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Gradkowski is warming up and going over playbook...coming in for Russell?!?

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Jets drive 93 yards, score on a Greene 8-yard run. Jets 21, Raiders 0...

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Gradkowski replaces Russell, greeted with cheers and proptly leads Raiders to a three and out...


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Halftime - Jets 24, Raiders 0...

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Gradkowski takes over and leads Raiders from own 16 to Jets 29, hit on a scramble by Calvin Pace, fumbles, and Jets take over on own 34 yard line...

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Sanchez with a 35-yard TD to Clowney, who clowns Johnson for the 31-0 lead...5:28 to play in third quarter...for those of you wondering, New York Giants-Jets 75, Raiders 7...

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Methinks War Pigeon just did a fly-by...he took a look at the scoreboard, Jets 31- Raiders 0, and kept on going

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Feely misses a 38-yard field goal attempt...Jets 31, Raiders 0, 11:17 to play...

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Third-stringer Greene adds salt to wound with 33-yard TD run...Jets 38, Raiders 0, 6:30 to play...Greene has 144 yards on 19 carries...

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Raiders go for it on 4th and goal no good...this is going to be the Raiders' worst home shutout loss in franchise history...

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Ballgame....worst Raiders home loss in franchise history - Jets 38, Raiders 0

October 23, 2009
Schilens with a setback?

And now, with the Napa D.A.'s decision to not pursue criminal charges against Tom Cable, back to some football news...

Chaz Schilens' trumpeted return (the Raiders put out a press release Tuesday announcing the likeable second-year wide receiver with 15 career catches for 226 yards and two touchdowns like he was the Second Coming) seems to have hit a speed bump.

Schilens, out since Aug. 18 with a broken left foot, did not finish practice Friday.

"He got a little sore today," Cable said. "We don't know if there is anything wrong, so we'll list him as 'questionable' for the game.

"At this point, we may know something this afternoon or tomorrow, exactly what our plan will be, but a little sore today. So we shut him down."

Legit concern, or some gamesmanship subterfuge for the New York Jets' benefit? Perhaps a little bit of both. Schilens was not available for comment in the locker room on Friday.

I asked Cable if Schilens had been running with the first-team offense.

"Doing both," Cable said. "We'd used all three of them (Schilens, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Louis Murphy), just kind of mixing and matching."

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Speaking of Cable, he finally addressed publically his potential legal woes of the past two-plus months. Following, then, a transcript of his Q&A with reporters following practice Friday morning at the Raiders' Alameda compound:

Question: Your reaction to the District Attorney declining to pursue criminal charges yesterday?

Cable: OK, the whole experience was interesting to me, humbling to me. I'm obviously very thankful that the authorities did the thoroughness that they did in terms of getting the facts and all that. Other than that, really, my family and friends, really supported me through it. Never let it become a distraction because, as I mentioned many times, I just had a lot of faith. I knew what happened, and it's just amazing what happens. Like I always tell you guys, I respect what you have to do, but it certainly got made out to be more than it needed to be. But it's done, and now the focus is even moreso on the next opponent, which is the Jets.

Question: Would you consider civil litigation on your part for some of the things that were said?

Cable: For me, right now, it's just worrying about football, it really is. It has to be that way. I was very adamant the whole time that I knew what had happened and trusted the system. So for me, it was just to keep coaching and it's nice to have this behind me.

Question: Nice for the DA to go out of his way to explain everything, rather than just decline to press charges and let it go?

Cable: Absolutely. I think that all the speculation and opinion and whatever that was said, I thought the DA did a tremendous job in really laying out exactly what went down.

Question: Are you glad to not have to answer questions about it any more?

Cable: Yeah, again, as I said, I knew what was going on. I never meant any disrespect to any of you or anything like that. It's a process that has to run its course.

Question: Why did you choose not to answer questions about it instead of going in and clearing it up with law enforcement?

Cable: Well, because I felt, because if I do that, I'm getting involved. I become part of the turmoil, part of the issue, and it grows. That's not what I'm here to do. I'm here to be the Oakland Raiders football coach and get this team to win and turn it around. That needed to be my focus and I think it was. I think we handled that the right way.

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Cable seemed more relieved than vindicated but was also a tad chippy. Perhaps a shot across the bough of the U.S.S. Warren Sapp? It was Sapp who crowed long and loud on Showtime's "Inside the NFL" after the Raiders' Week 2 win at Kansas City that the Raiders come out and lay an egg after tasting some success.

So when Cable was asked about keeping the Raiders from becoming overconfident following Sunday's win over the two touchdown-favorite Philadelphia Eagles, Cable was succinct.

"You know, we talked about that," he said. "I heard it remarked by someone, I don't even remember, the Raiders are at their worst after they do something good, and to me, that's someone that really doesn't know what the hell they're talking about. I mean that, you can quote it just like I said it.

"For us, it's learning from it, how to do it again. It's not about confidence, it's the lesson that was there, and take it and use it now, and that's what the hope is for this weekend. What do we have to be confident about? We're 2-4. We have to be confident about going in, playing this opponent Sunday and trying to be 3-4."

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PSA TIME!!!

The Raiders will hold a Halloween costume contest in the Raider Rookie Zone on Sunday before the Jets game at the Coliseum.

Boys and girls, 14 years old and younger, along with a parent/guardian signature are eligible to participate.

Youngsters are encouraged to visit the Raider Rookie Zone, located inside McAfee Coliseum - between Sections 234-235 - dressed in their best Halloween costume to get a picture taken between 11:00 a.m. - 12:45 p.m. on Sunday, October 25, 2009 or otherwise submit a valid entry by mail.

Those interested in participating on the contest may download and print an application on the team's official website, www.raiders.com.

ALSO...

Just received an email telling me that while Sunday's game will be blacked out, "one way for local fans to get around this Sunday's blackout of the Raiders game is to watch NFL RedZone (Channel 427 for Comcast's digital customers)...many viewers already have this channel, and just aren't aware of it, since it only launched at the beginning of the NFL season.

Following is the official release:

The Oakland Raiders' home game against the New York Jets on Sunday, October 25th will be blacked out locally on KPIX in the Bay Area and on KOVR-13 in the Sacramento DMA because the team did not sell out the game in time. However, Comcast digital cable customers in Northern California can still watch key action from the game live on the new NFL RedZone network which is carried on Channel 427 (standard definition feed); as well as on Channel 785 (high definition feed) in select Bay Area cities and Channel 985 (high definition feed) in select Central California cities .

NFL RedZone, part of Comcast's Sports Entertainment Package (SEP), is produced by NFL Network and airs every Sunday from 10:00 a.m. (PT) through late-afternoon games, providing Comcast SEP customers with every touchdown from every game, as well as live look-ins and real-time highlights. On Sunday afternoons throughout the NFL regular season, the channel keeps fans up-to-date in real time, moving from game to game each time a team is poised to score inside the 20-yard line. The channel also has in-studio coverage to provide real-time scoring and fantasy updates to fans.

Comcast subscribers can order the Sports Entertainment Package (SEP) for $4.99/month by calling 1-800-COMCAST. SEP includes several sports channels - NFL RedZone, the NFL Network, NBA TV, MLB Network, NHL Network, ESPN Classic, CBS College Sports, Fox College Sports, Fox Soccer, Big Ten Network, Gol TV, Speed, the Tennis Channel and other networks.

October 22, 2009
Raiders statement, re:no criminal charges for Cable

"The Raider organization waited patiently for a comprehensive legal process to conclude and now this matter has been resolved. Our focus has been and remains on the New York Jets."

October 22, 2009
The NFL responds

Per an NFL spokesman:

"We will review the decision announced earlier today by the Napa District Attorney and the facts developed in the underlying investigation. Following that review, we will take appropriate action, if any, under our policies."


October 22, 2009
No charges for Cable; the D.A.'s explanation

The press release sent out by Napa Country District Attorney Gary Lieberstein:

Napa County District Attorney Gary Lieberstein announced this afternoon that his office has completed its review of the extensive and excellent investigation by the Napa Police Department, including police reports, medical records, interviews of several witnesses present at the time of the incident in question, as well as multiple statements by the alleged victim, Randy Hanson. District Attorney Lieberstein stated, "We have concluded that the facts and evidence developed do not warrant criminal charges be brought against Tom Cable in regards to an incident which occurred on August 5, 2009 in a hotel room at the Oakland Raiders' training camp in Napa."

In order to better appreciate the time and process involved in reviewing this matter, it is important to understand the duties of the District Attorney in determining whether or not to file criminal charges. The central job of a prosecutor is to seek justice. Prosecutors are ethically required not to prosecute cases when they believe that it is unlikely that a jury would reach a verdict of guilty beyond a reasonable doubt based on the evidence and facts known to them, and/or that it would not be in the interests of justice to bring such charges. It is the conclusion of this office, therefore, that we do not believe a jury would convict Mr. Cable of any offenses beyond a reasonable doubt.

In applying the above standards, a review of the most credible evidence and likely testimony at trial would establish that there were no blows or punches thrown at or near Randy Hanson, nor were any verbal threats made by Tom Cable towards Mr. Hanson. Based on our review, it appears that during a discussion amongst coaches and Mr. Cable regarding Mr. Hanson's future with the Oakland Raiders, Mr. Cable became angry and rushed toward Mr. Hanson. At that juncture, one of the other coaches in the room stepped in between the two and Mr. Cable bumped into him, which in turn caused that coach to bump into Mr. Hanson's chair in which he was leaning back, with his feet upon the table. As a result of the force, Mr. Hanson fell over, at which time he most likely fractured his jaw. This conclusion is supported by the statements of independent witnesses present in the room, including and especially the coach who bumped into Mr. Hanson's chair. The same witnesses did state that after Mr. Hanson was on the ground, Mr. Cable grabbed him by the shirt . The witnesses also made it clear, however, that at no time during this incident did Mr. Cable strike Mr. Hanson.

Another significant factor affecting our decision is the history of the investigation. This incident allegedly took place at approximately noon on August 5th. The incident was not reported to the police. Later that night, Mr. Hanson went to Queen of the Valley Hospital for an examination. He told them that he had been assaulted but refused to provide details and, when advised that the police would have to be notified per California law, he objected. When the police arrived, Mr. Hanson gave them very few details, refusing to give them important information such as identifying the alleged attacker. As a result of his lack of cooperation, police were unable to locate the room where this had taken place and process it for physical evidence that might have assisted in determining what happened.

Between that date and the end of September, Mr. Hanson declined to be interviewed by police. Again, this postponement in the investigation contributed to the delay in our decision making process. When he did finally come in for an interview, he did so in the presence of his attorney and, for example, refused to explain why he had previously refused the Napa Police Department's previous attempts to obtain a statement from him. His attorney objected to the question as being privileged. After further discussion, Mr. Hanson basically said he was there because the police asked him and his attorney advised him to do so. The interview he gave was inconsistent with the original short statement he made, leaving out significant facts such as what was taking place prior to Mr. Cable moving towards him.

Subsequently, Mr. Hanson provided an interview to a reporter detailing more facts than he had given to the officer, some of which were inconsistent with previous statements.

A follow-up interview with Mr. Hanson yesterday afternoon failed to clear up the significant inconsistencies in his prior statements.

It should be further noted that within the past week and a half, Mr. Hanson showed up unannounced at the police department and made a statement to the effect that since the Raiders had not given him what he asked for, he would now fully cooperate with the prosecution.

All of these facts and more would be before a jury including the history, the inconsistent statements, and the lack of any evidence from the room in the event that criminal charges would have been filed. Furthermore, felonious assault requires that the assault be willful. The evidence is overwhelming that Mr. Cable did not intend to inflict the injury suffered.

In announcing his office's decision, District Attorney Lieberstein emphasized that while this case has gained significant attention in the national sports media, it is similar to any other potential criminal case in that it involves serious allegations that, if filed and proven, would have a significant effect on many lives.

Lieberstein concluded that, "our duty is to do the right thing for the right reasons. Under the facts and circumstances of this case, it would be a miscarriage of justice to pursue criminal charges and we will not ask our citizens to give up their valuable time for jury duty, nor will we allow our criminal justice system to be compromised."

October 22, 2009
Cable addresses pending Napa D.A. decision

Tom Cable addressed the media following today's practice at the Raiders' Alameda compound and was hit with questions regarding the pending Napa District Attorney's filing decision, expected to come at about 3:30 p.m. Following, then, a transcript of the related questions aimed at Cable, and his responses to them:

Do you know what's going to come out of Napa?
"I actually have no idea. I just, coming off the field, I was just told that there's something this afternoon, so I am unaware of anything. Again, I don't have any comment."

Have you been contacted by the league at all?
"I don't have any comment."

Look forward to resolution?
"Absolutely. Absolutely. That's the one thing I will comment on."

Will you comment after the D.A's announcement?
"We'll deal with that when the time comes."

Can we expect that we'll be chatting with you one way or the other later in the afternoon?
"No, I wouldn't expect that. I've got the Jets; I've got to get ready for that."

Are you worried about the D.A.'s decision?
"Nope. I trust in what's right."

How difficult has this legal situation been for you?
"Again, I have not (been distracted). I coach this team; that's my job and I've really been focused on it. That fact that I' believe in what's right, that's really all I can say. I trust it."

There a Plan B should something happen?
"No. Plan B is get through today, now that I've heard about it. And Plan B is to go win on Sunday."

Sense any distraction among the players?
"I don't believe so, you know? Again, we haven't talked about a lot because it's not an issue that they need to be concerned with. Their issue is, you know, getting better as a football team and we've kept that as the focal point."

October 22, 2009
Cable update - DA to speak at 3:30 PDT

According to an email from Addie Harrold, Supervising Legal Secretary of the Napa County District Attorney's Office, D.A. Gary Lieberstein will give a statement on the Tom Cable matter and answer questions in front of his office at 3:30.

October 22, 2009
D-Day for Cable in Hanson complaint

Napa County District Attorney Gary Lieberstein's latest hot line greeting, recorded about 15 minutes ago at 10:15 a.m., announced he would put out a press release today "after about 2 or 3 p.m., announcing our filing decision in regard to the case involving Oakland Raiders coach Tom Cable."

October 21, 2009
Routt speaks on Hanson lawyer claim

Randy Hanson's lawyer John McGuinn recently claimed that some of the Raiders defensive backs had been in contact with his client via computer to help them gameplan. If true, it would seem to be a serious breach of etiquette, considering Hanson is considered persona non grata around the Alameda complex after his claims that coach Tom Cable assaulted him during training camp and the ensuing investigation into possible criminal charges.

Cornerback Stanford Routt was asked about the report on Wednesday.

"No, I don't know anything about us meeting together as a defensive back group," Routt said.

Told the report was about correspondence via computer, Routt blanched.

"I don't know anything about that."

Routt was then told the attorney said the defensive backs reached out to Hanson.

"His attorney?" Routt said. "I don't know anything about that. I can tell you that ever since training camp I have had a phone conversation with him or two, but as far as players calling him, asking him for this tip or that tip or whatever you want to call it, not that I know of. I've had a conversation with him or two. I didn't know it was illegal."

It's not against the law of the land, though it would probably be frowned upon in Silver and Blackdom. In any event, Routt said his contact with Hanson had been more of a personal nature.

"He's been my third down coach for the past, ever since the '06 season, and I know he's helped me out a lot in the nickel and playing in the slot, with my improvement and awareness in the slot, so I'm always going to have a good relationship with him, you know what I mean?" Routt said. "I remember, we were playing the Broncos or Chargers, he may send me a text message saying, `Hey, watch out for this play, they like to do it.'

"I don't really let what happened (allegedly between Cable and Hanson) get to me. I don't take sides on anything like that."

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Earlier I had asked Routt how the team was able to keep Cable's potential legal woes from becoming a distraction.

"The way I look at it is, it didn't happen on the field, so it doesn't even matter," Routt said. "We only worry about what happens in between those white lines. Anything else that goes on, that's it, I don't have any control over it, none of the players do. Hell, none of the coaches really have control over it, it doesn't matter, so we'll just worry about what we can control. I know that's something I try to take to heart."

I also asked defensive end Jay Richardson for his take on why the Raiders were able to ignore it.

"You know what's crazy about that? You would think that would have been a bigger issue, just considering the allegations," Richardson said. "You would think that would be like a bigger thing. But it hasn't been at all. No one's talked about it. He hasn't talked about it. We haven't talked about it.

"Like, we heard about it in camp and it was kind of like, 'Huh? All right, well, let's see what happens today.' It's just, I don't know, even me, I was like, I'm kind of surprised that that's not that big.

"But listen, we've got so much on our plate this year, and we've got enough to worry about right now and we've got New York coming in here and we got kind of a monkey off our back getting that win against a good team and I think that helped with our confidence as a team and self-validation. But all that stuff aside, we got bigger fish to fry."

So it's not an issue in here at all, really?

"Surprisingly nothing," Richardson said. "No. None at all."

Pretty amazing it's not in issue, considering the circus is it in news rooms and in cyberspace, right?

"It isn't (an issue). I mean, that speaks to our locker room and our leaders in here," Richardson said. "We've got a lot of good experienced guys who know how to help keep this ship, so to speak, going in the right direction so we don't really worry about that, man. It will play itself out, I'm sure."

October 20, 2009
Antonio Pierce now gives the Raiders props

New York Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce said Tuesday on SIRIUS NFL Radio that he was "surprised my quotes became bulletin board material" for the Raiders last week. What may have been a bigger shock, however, was the Raiders' 13-9 upset of the Philadelphia Eagles, especially after the way the Giants dominated the Raiders in the Meadowlands the week before, 44-7.

"You know, again, I meant no disrespect by what I said last week," Pierce said. "It was just my opinion of how I felt the game was going. But I was shocked to see how the Raiders went out there and played a very good Eagles team who we know very well. And, you know what, that's how it is in the National Football League, any given Sunday any team can go out there and play well.

"They got motivated by whatever. If it was my comments, you know, I'm happy because they beat the Eagles. But, you know what, they went out there and they played well and they got a win and it's good for the franchise."

The previous week, Pierce raised hackles when he compared the Giants beating up on the Raiders to a "scrimmage."

"I don't like knocking teams, but right now [the Raiders] are struggling," Pierce said at the time. "We were playing that game the other day and honestly if felt like a scrimmage. It felt like a practice. It felt like we were going against our offense or something like that, like the tempo, I mean, as far as there was no vibe of a one-two, or trying, or effort from the Raiders at all from a defensive standpoint against their offense. We are getting three and outs and you don't hear nobody like, 'Hey, let's go,' trying to pick the guys up, rallying them up, getting guys fired up. There was nothing. It was quiet. A guy gets sacked or somebody gets beat, they just get up. No yelling.

"It was shocking to be out there in that game and get that kind of feeling. The good thing I think about our team and what happened in that game, we went out there and handled business regardless. We didn't take our game down to that level and we kept it up to the level that we want to be playing at, a championship level. It's sad because I grew up a Raiders fan living in Los Angeles, but that organization right now, they need somebody to pick them up."

The quotes were highlighted and hung with great care around the Raiders locker room. And after beating the Eagles, Raiders defensive lineman Richard Seymour was asked if the quotes served as inspiration.

"Ah, I could care less about Pierce," Seymour said. "They got what the deserved today anyway."

Meaning, the Giants losing at New Orleans, 48-27.

October 20, 2009
A sampling of emails to yours truly


Interesting...when the Raiders lose, and lose bad, my voicemail at work and my email inbox are both jammed with fans' complaints. When they win, and win impressively, as they did Sunday against the Eagles, not so much...

Here then, are some emails I've received for your viewing pleasure (I've stricken the e-mail addresses for their privacy). Any of these strike a nerve?!?

- "epicenter of one of Rush Limbaugh's many hot-button, race-related observations. (Remember? "The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well." Does the media push for Barack Obama? Please identify the many other race related observations, if you can?

After reading this line, it's obvious you lack credibility and objectivity. You are another mindless sheep.

- Ron

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-That was a great analysis, Paul. I couldn't agree with you more.
The only thing you didn't say (which of course you couldn't) was that he doesn't seem to be all that bright. Coming from LSU should be a clue. He just seems so unperturbed by his screw-ups. Like he doesn't get it - or doesn't care...
Too bad we couldn't get a quarterback from Harvard or Stanford.

-Pat

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-Hello Paul,

I read your piece from 10 months ago concerning a Super Bowl "what if" between the Raiders & 49ers in 1983.Just a few thoughts.I don't know what makes the 49ers think they could've stopped Marcus Allen when they didn't stop Billy Simms of the 9-7 Detroit Lions that year in the divisional playoffs.The 49ers advanced against Washington ONLY because Eddie Murray missed a 43 yd FG attempt.The 49ers would not have advanced to the Super Bowl in 1981 had Eric Wright not caught Cowboy WR Drew Pearson by the pads in the closing seconds of the NFC Title game,either.They were actually outgained by the Bengals in the Super Bowl but Cincinnati committed enough 1st half mistakes in that game to lose to a high school team. They were a strong up & coming team but certainly not dominating.I also can't for a second buy the notion that losing to Washington in the '83 Title game somehow spurred them on to become Team of the 80's.It doesn't hold up.While they did go 15-1 in 1984 & defeat the Dolphins in the Super Bowl, they TANKED in the playoffs in 1985, '86, & '87.No one who saw them get defeated 49-3 by Phil Simms & the Giants in '86 would have looked at the 49ers with awe or as a dominating team.According to many 49ers themselves their best team was in 1987 but they were taken down by the 8-7 Vikings at Candlestick, 36-24.The 49ers did not necessarily look overpowering even in 1988 when they benefitted from NFL tiebreaker rules & got to the playoffs with a 10-6 record even though the Giants & Saints finished with identical marks but failed to qualify for post season play.Conversely, the Niners were MUCH more dominating in 1989 & 1990 when they finished a combined 32-3(including post season).They also played in an era where every NFC team won the Super Bowl except for 2 yrs in 1980 & 1983.In the 1970's, by contrast, the AFC was clearly the superior conference except for 2 seasons when the Cowboys won the Super Bowl.The 1980's AFC was exceedingly weak, despite all the talk of Elway & Marino coming about the teams in the AFC just were not as strong.Still, I think the 49ers vs Raiders in '83 would have been an interesting matchup, especially because Plunkett played in San Francisco & Flores vs Walsh & Plunkett vs Montana would've been good.Though not a Raider fan at all, I find it unfortunate that Plunkett doesn't get a lot of respect for 2 Super Bowls & what he went through on less talented teams in the 1970's.Staubach vs. Stabler in the 70's would've been one of the best ever matchups, though.Anyway, I enjoyed your article.

-Nick

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-What a mess! Too bad you have to cover them. Can't be any fun for you unless you "revel in the agony of others"(Don Imus).

The other day, Mike Golic said "Don't expect the Raiders to get any better while Al's still in charge". This is no new news to anyone, but he's right. From top to bottom, the Raiders are awful!

The coaching is awful. I thought Tollner or Knapp would help Russell. Both are offensive "guru's" of some sort. Cable is an offensive line coach and that's definitely the worst part of the team. The defense after 2 good showings in SD and KC has fallen apart. Apparently they know that they aren't getting any help from the offense.

The really sad part of this is......there's no quick fix. Look at the schedule and it makes things look even more bleak. They may not win another game.

-John

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- Dear Paul,
Here's how you can do a favor for the Oakland Raiders and Florida State University's rapidly deteriorating football program.
JaMarcus Russell was a decent college quarterback under the tutelage of LSU Offensive Coordinator Jimbo Fisher.
Jimbo Fisher is now Florida State University's "head coach in waiting," pending the hoped-for retirement of Bobby Bowden, who turns 80 next month.
If the Raiders ditched the pugilistic Tom Cable and made Jimbo Fisher a tempting offer, maybe it would either (a) hasten Bowden's retirement, or (b) revive JaMarcus Russell's "career," if it hasn't been irreversibly ruined by now.
Maybe you could whisper this suggestion into Al Davis's hearing aid if you get the chance.

-Bob

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-I have been a Raiders fan my whole life - watched in the late 70's early 80's 90's - 2000's but I am done. The team this year except for the Monday night loss to San Diego has been unwatchable. My son is just turning three and halfway through the game on Sunday I changed the channel and never went back - then after watching New Orleans play the Jets I went upstairs got on the computer and ordered New Orleans gear - a hat and shirt to get my collection going - I will not waste any more time and effort on this joke of a team - and I do not want my son growing up watching those losers and feeling sad every Sunday - like I used to when they would lose - if you can get this email to somebody at the Raiders I would appreciate it - thanks

BTW - Al - let go of the team and let some real football minds come in and fix the franchise - thanks

-Louis

**************************

-Ok,
We should have kept Kiffen, things were looking up. That was our first mistake. Our second was putting trust into Cable to turn the ship around.
Oh well that's old news now. Now we have to brave the rest of this season and wait till 2010.
Wish list:
Head Coach: John Gruden, Mike Holmgren or Cower.
New Quarterback coach- Anyone with experience
Wide Receiver Coach- Calling Tim Brown
The Draft: 1st round Offensive Line, 2nd rd Strong Fullback-Blocking back or Quarterback
Free Agency: Wide receivers- Maybe Braylon Edwards and a strong possession receiver ,Offensive line, QB- Billy Volek anyone?
Trade- Good Bye to Fargas
If the Raiders address most of this, they have a chance to shine. Its not rocket science. There is talent on this team, they just need the opportunity to show it.

- John

**************************

- Hi Paul,

Thanks for your article on Garcia.

I found it pretty funny, because you write like a stupid white man, trapped inside the body of a weak Latino.

Do you like Garcia because of his last name or do you have a problem with Russell?

Thanks,
Joell

October 19, 2009
No real update in Wrangle in Wine Country

Just called, for the second time today, the hotline set up by Napa District Attorney Gary Lieberstein to get an update on the Tom Cable-Randy Hanson matter.

Here's what Lieberstein said: "I do not anticipate any decisions coming out of this office in the next, at least, couple days. I would urge you to check back again probably later in the week, Wednesday afternoon, Thursday, in that time frame. Don't have a specific time frame, per se, we're just going to continue to review and take whatever time that we believe is necessary to reach the appropriate and just decision. When that decision is reached, we'll have the line updated as well as issue a press release and we'll give you details on how to access the press release. At this time, nothing further to report. Thank you for your call and continued interest in the matter."

October 19, 2009
Schilens on his way back?

Relief may be on the way for JaMarcus Russell as his favorite target in training camp, second-year receiver Chaz Schillens, appears to be a full go for this coming weekend's game against the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets.

Asked what Schilens has that the Raiders rookie receivers, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Louis Murphy, are lacking, coach Tom Cable said, "confidence" exudes from Schilens, who suffered a broken left foot on Aug. 18.

"I think he knows he can go out and change a game," Cable said. "I think he knows he can go out and make a play and catch a touchdown. He went through that same process himself a year ago and at the end, got over those hurdles. Obviously prior to him breaking his foot this year he was well on his way to putting himself in position to have a lot of success. So I would say it's confidence."

When Schilens was injured, on a non-contact drill, it was initially listed as a four-to-six week injury. We are in the ninth week. Cable said Schilens has been brought back slowly by design and spoke about why he felt Schilens was ready this week.

"Well, the work obviously in practice, the fact that we've given it ample time, a week more than first thought and how he feels, to be quite honest with you," Cable said. "He worked out both Friday and then Saturday, ran Sunday morning, yesterday morning, and has had no issues. He's excited, we're excited, and obviously he'll add to our offense."


****************************************************

The return of Schilens could spell the end for Javon Walker, what with the trade deadline Tuesday. But Cable was not biting.

"I haven't even thought about that," Cable said. "Have not thought about that. We'll (think about trades) here obviously here in the next 48 hours. In terms of being done with him, no, I wouldn't go there. He had some opportunities yesterday and wasn't able to get into it like he had hoped he would."

And this from KHTK's Jodi Bacon - Walker has been active for just two games this season - Kansas City and Philadelphia. The Raiders won both games. Coincidence?!?

October 19, 2009
Raiders live chat re-scheduled for TUESDAYS, 1-2 p.m.

NFL LIVE CHAT
Join us for "NFL Tuesdays," a live chat at 1 p.m. with Raiders writer/columnist Paul Gutierrez. He'll field your questions, take your comments and offer some insight into the season.
Let's talk about the Raiders upset win over the two-touchdown favorite Eagles, the Raiders' suddenly blitz-happy defense and the seemingly awakening offense.

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

October 18, 2009
Raiders-Eagles live game Blog

Checking in from the Coliseum....it's Filipino Heritage Day!!!...follow me on Twitter @paulhgutierrez

QBs and receivers have taken the field for warm-ups...there's Javon Walker...but no Chaz Schilens.

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Raiders Inactives - RB Darren McFadden, FB Luke Lawton, LB Ricky Brown, OL Langston Walker, OL Cornell Green, OL Robert Gallery, WR Chaz Schilens, WR Nick Miller...

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When does a 4-to-6 week injury last more than 8 weeks? When it involves Chaz Schilens' broken left foot...

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Interestingly enough, the Raiders have three active QBs today...Russell, Gradkowski and Frye.

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Michael Vick is the Eagles' backup QB today...though I've seen more Randall Cunningham jerseys floating about the Coliseum. By the way, Randall should be in the Hall of Fame, alongside Raider slights Tom Flores and Jim Plunkett.

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Raiders captains - Zach Miller, Jon Alston, Kirk Morrison...Raiders win coin toss, elect to receive.

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Shocker...Raiders go three and out and DHB drops a slant pass...BIGGER WOW....Raiders blitz on 3rd and 8 and Trevor Scott comes up with a sack...Thomas Howard was also in the mix

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Guess what? Another 3 and out for the Raiders, and the crowd boos...Russell sacked for a 10-yard loss on first down

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Trevor Scott must think Donovan McNabb is Brett Favre...Scott with his second sack of McNabb on third down...

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Russell's high pass to Louis Murphy off Murphy's hands and picked off by Samuel. Eagles ball at the Oakland 29 yard line...

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Eagles left tackle Jason Peters helped off the field...

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David Akers misses a 43-yard field-goal attempt, wide left...

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While the Raiders offense was busy working on another 3 and out series, Nnamdi Asomugha is being worked on behind teh bench by trainers...appear to be working on his right eye...

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Akers with 45-yard field goal...big play is 51-yard bomb from McNabb to DeSean Jackson, who shows Raiders receivers how to catch a pass...

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Raiders answer with 86-yard TD pass from Russell to Zach Miller...Louis Murphy with two key blocks on the pseudo-slant play...

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Routt picks off McNabb, takes it to the house!!! FLAG. PI on Routt, Cable goes nuts, gets a 15-yard penalty for his troubles

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End of 1st quarter..Raiders 7, Eagles 3...Eagles ball on the Raiders' 43-yard line, 2nd and 10

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Raiders defense impressive and blitzing with aplomb...Raiders take over on own 13 yard line...Javon Walker in for DHB...for one play.

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Raiders offense impressive as well...picks up four straight first downs, including a sweet razzle-dazzle spin move by JaMarcus on a 12-yard run and Murphy gets Asante Samuel to react and gets a penalty out of it...SeaBass with 29-yard field goal...Raiders 10, Eagles 3, 7:50 to play in second quarter

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Raiders with their third sack on third down...this time by Richard Seymour to knock Eagles out of field-goal range

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Russell getting greedy, looking for Miller in double-coverage over the middle, picked off by Quintin Mikell...returns it 16 yards to Oakland 40-yard line...

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Eagles imploding, but still get a 43-yard field goal with six seconds to go in half...Raiders, 10, Eagles 6

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It's halftime!!! Raiders are cheered as they come off the field....Ron Mexico, not so much. To quote Snoop Doggy Dogg, 'Dog catcher's 'bout to getcha!!!"

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Raiders just MIGHT get 200 yards of total offense today...they have 198 at halftime after four straight games of sub-200 yards...

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Eagles take second half kickoff, drive down field, until Akers misses a 47-yard field goal, wide right...his second miss of the game...Raiders take over on own 37-yard line

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End of the 3rd quarter and while Raiders are winning, 10-6, and outplaying the Eagles...they need another score, badly...just have a bad feeling that disappointment is around the corner if they don't add a TD, and soon...Raiders ball at their own 41, 3rd and 2 to start the final quarter...

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SeaBass with a 46-yard field goal...Raiders 13, Eagles 6...Cable blows up at Russell after Russell throws a ball away and Russell looks none too pleased by criticism...10:25 to play...

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Raiders pick up their sixth sack of McNabb, and knock at least six Eagles out of the game...reminiscent of the Chargers game

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OAK D bends, but does not break...46-yard field goal by Akers makes it Raiders 13, Eagles 9, with 6:06 to play...they're playin ball, ya'll

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Eagles take over at own 20 with 3:42 to play...now at midfield

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McNabb scrambles to 44, nice tackle by Huff...4th and 6. T.O. with 2:21 to play. Iggles have to go for it...game on the line here, right?...McNabb bounces pass infront of Jackson....Raiders ball 2:14 to play

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Russell to Russell for a 12-yard pickup...1st down. 1:55 to play

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Russell kneeling on ball now...1:01 to play

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BALLGAME...Raiders 13, Eagles 9...


October 14, 2009
Raiders online chat today at 1 p.m.

NFL LIVE CHAT
Join us for "NFL Wednesdays," a live chat at 1 p.m. today 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/

October 11, 2009
JaMarcus admits to being fined...for being overweight

JaMarcus Russell denied Thursday Boomer Esiason's report that he had been fined for "missing meetings." Sunday, Dan Dierdorf said on the CBS broadcast that the fine was for being overweight.

So I asked him after the game which was accurate and if, in fact, he had been fined for being overweight. Russell had a sheepish smile.

"That was sort of the first day we came to practice," Russell said. "Yeah, so, that's over with."

October 11, 2009
Raiders-Giants live game blog

Checking in from the Meadowlands...did not run into Tony Soprano, but did see a couple of near skirmishes between Giants fans and parking lot attendants. "You want me to call a twoopah?" One attendant said to an unruly fan through his Joisey accent, referring to a state trooper...

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Giants QB Eli Manning, a gametime decision with a sore right heel, was on the field warming up and throwing passes.

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Raiders inactives - RB Darren McFadden, FB Oren O'Neal, RT Cornell Green, LG Robert Gallery, WR Chaz Schilens, WR Javon Walker, WR Nick Miller...Charlie Frye is the 3rd QB...

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Raiders captains - Tommy Kelly, Justin Fargas, Sebastian Janikowski...Giants win coin flip, choose to receive

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Eli Manning starts at QB for the Giants...

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Giants drive 77 yards in 14 plays, culminating with a 1-yard TD run by Ahmad Bradshaw on fourth and goal. Drive took 8:03. OUCH. Giants 7, Raiders 0...

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And the rout is on....Bradshaw runs in untouched from 17-yards out...Giants 14, Raiders 0. Raiders have run three offensive plays.

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Raiders can't even stop the Giants on a 3rd and 23...55-yard pickup on a screen pass from Manning to Bradshaw. Raiders LB Ricky Brown helped off. Looks like a left knee. End of 1st quarter and Raiders have run six plays on offense...

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First play of second quarter, Manning to Manningham for a 30-yard TD. Manningham beats both Johnson and Eugene. Giants go 94 yards in 5 plays in 94 seconds. Embarrassing...

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Ricky Brown has a left ankle injury, in for X-Rays, Return is questionable...Now left tackle Mario Henderson, a lone bright spot this season, is down. Face down on the turf

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Khalif Barnes in at left tackle but it doesn;t matter. Not when a blitzing Terrell Thomas strips JaMarcus and Justin Tuck recovers at the 13-yard line. Three plays later, Manning hits Nicks for a 9-yard TD pass. 28-0. And Raiders have run 9 offensive plays. NINE!!!

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The way things are going, Cable should turn himself into the Napa PD at the half, that way he doesn't have to endure this any longer

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WOW. Raiders actually force a punt...with 7:18 to play in second quarter

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A Raiders highlight...they recover a fumbled punt at the Giants' 15 yard line...

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Fargas fumbles at the 5, recovered by Brown, but Fargas ruled down, progress stopped. One play later, Michael Bush rumbles in for TD...28-7, Giants

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With 2:18 to play in half, Carr replaces Manning, the third No. 1 overall pick to play in this game. Maybe he can warn JaMarcus about being a bust...Manning's stats - 8 of 10 passing for 173 yards and 2 TDs

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another JaMarcus sack fumble, followed by a 25-yard Tynes FG...Giants 31, Raiders 7...and Carr almost has as many passing yards as JaMarcus...

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Two seconds remaining in half, and JaMarcus is looking for his helmet on the sidelines before going in...

AND, it's HALFTIME!!!

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Half stats - total net yards - Giants 340, Raiders 68; net passing yards - Giants 211, Raiders 25; net rushing yards - Giants 129, Raiders 43....Eli Manning with a PERFECT passer rating of 158.3.

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JaMarcus with his THIRD lost fumble....I don't know, maybe it's time to see what Gradkowski can do?

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Tynes' 37-yard field goal makes it Giants 44, Raiders 7, with 11:38 to play...

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Ballgame....Giants 44, Raiders 7

October 11, 2009
Hanson speaks out...on the record

No word yet on if Tom Cable was summoned this weekend to see Commissioner Roger Goodell for his role in the Wrangle in Wine Country. But Randy Hanson is talking. On the record. Finally. The former Raiders assistant made his first public comments to Yahoo! Sports about how he purportedly suffered a broken jaw at the hands of Cable.

"From my blindside, Tom Cable threw me from my chair and into a piece of furniture that a lamp sat upon," Hanson told Yahoo! Sports. "He was screaming, 'I'll f----- kill you! I'll f----- kill you!' And I have no reason to believe he wouldn't have killed me if they hadn't pulled him away.

"If my head would've hit a different way, I might be dead right now."

Cable has not spoken about the alleged incident and has maintained that he'll be fine once the legal process plays itself out. The Napa Police Department has finished its investigation and turned it over to the Napa District Attorney's office.

October 8, 2009
Russell refutes Boomer's report

JaMarcus Russell today refuted Boomer Esiason's weekend report that the Raiders quarterback had been fined by the team for missing meetings.

"Not at all," Russell told reporters this morning when asked if he had indeed been fined.

Asked if he was aware of Esiason's comments, Russell, making his first media appearance of the week, shrugged.

"Actually I haven't heard it," he said. "That's a first for me. I don't really play into that and I don't have any truth to missing a lot of meetings because I'm the guy that needs to be in there and know what it takes for the guys around, so I don't really play into all of that."

Russell was also asked if it hurt him to have such purportedly erroneous reports floating around.

"People have their own opinion and decide to say whatever it is they want," Russell said. "That's those guys. I don't really have anything to say about it. People do their thing and you can't stop it. You can't stop what a person says about you. The only thing you can do if you know it's not true is use it to make yourself better. So I don't really play into all that."

Earlier in the week, coach Tom Cable was asked about the report and offered a non-denial denial.

"I'm not going to talk about our internal stuff that way," Cable said Monday.

But here's something sure to get Russell's growing legion of critics in a tizzy: the 33rd-ranked QB in the 32-team NFL (yes, Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson have enough attempts in Cleveland to both be ranked) STILL won't fully own his 42.2 passer rating, or his league-worst 39.8 percent passing efficiency (the next lowest percentage is Marc Bulger's 51.5%).

"As far as decision-making, I really haven't made any bad decisions," Russell said told Cable called his game Sunday at Houston his best effort of the season. "I know where to go with the ball. It's just a matter of executing and wanting to get there.

"You never know what's the cause of us being off together. It's a team effort. If we can't meet up at the end of the stick, that's sometimes where you see the ball thrown away, or the ball thrown short or wide, or a guy sometimes might not be in the right spot. It's all of us. It's things that we can fix. That's what we continue to do each and every week when we come out here every day to practice."

October 7, 2009
Seymour, Barnes speak out

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."

October 7, 2009
Raiders online chat today at 1 p.m.

NFL LIVE CHAT
Join us for "NFL Wednesdays," a live chat at 1 p.m. today 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/

October 2, 2009
Garcia rips Raiders

All of you sitting in joyful hope of the suddenly available Jeff Garcia being re-signed to replace a struggling JaMarcus Russell can exhale now. Garcia all but lowered the boom on the Raiders as a franchise and Russell as a starter on a Fox Sports Radio interview on Friday.

Garcia, 39, and a four-time Pro Bowler, essentially said Russell was not ready, physically or mentally, to carry the weight of the franchise and said many players were simply collecting paychecks from the team.

Following is the transcript:

Would you return back to Oakland to be the starting qb:

"I just felt like for what I went in for both from a contract standpoint and the situation as far as I was concerned...I have no problem going into a situation and helping a young guy out and really trying to help the team out overall more so than anything. I just feel like it's an unfortunate situation when the entire work ethic and the entire goal of the team is really put upon one guy's shoulder who really isn't maybe ready for that situation or ready to take on that sort of responsibility. And I'm not saying JaMarcus can never be that guy. It's just right now he's still young, he has a lot of growth that needs to take place within himself from a mental standpoint and a physical standpoint. Yeah, the guy's extremely talented...When you put him on the field in a one-on-one workout session he'll make every throw for you, but when it comes down to making things happen in the heat of the battle and rallying the troops around you and making a case for the team, that's where maybe things aren't where they need to be. Right now that team is going through those growing pains. And I think I could have helped in a lot of ways had I still been there and had I had that opportunity to step on the field and lead the team and really show what it takes from a standpoint of leadership and work ethic and knowledge of the game. But the way things were working out and with the contract that I had signed, I didn't feel like it was the right situation for me to be there anymore."

You thought it was so difficult Jeff that you'd rather do nothing then be there, was it that bad in Oakland?

"It was to a point where I felt like guys who walked through those doors that just were there to collect a check and not really interested in putting everything that they had withing themselves on to the football field. And that was the frustrating thing for me to see. There were a lot of good young guys in that locker room who really want to do whatever it takes to win, but unfortunately it's not everybody. In order to compete at this level in this game, everybody needs to be on board, everybody needs to be on the same page, everybody needs to really be accountable and be able to look at each other and have responsibility within themselves that they're going to bring the best that they can have to bring...Not just on Sunday, but every single day during the work week and when you're not seeing that and maybe it's because how things have been for a number of years now out there and they just don't see the hope... I was the guy who was trying to bring in a fresh outlook and a fresh new start. I was trying to really be that type of guy that could help motivate my teammates and help create a certain attitude, a certain mentality and it was just tough to break through to everbody and that's where I found it to be more discouraging than encouraging. And for me at this point of my career, being 39 years old, as much as it meant so much to me to return back home and be close to the family and friends and play for a team that I grew up wathcing as a kid...To see the reality of the situation and realize what I may be up against staying here for the entire year. It hurt me, it broke my hurt to do that to step up, but I just felt like it was something I really didn't want to put myself through anymore."

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.


************************************************


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."

************************************************

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."

************************************************

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."




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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