Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

November 26, 2009
Raiders-Cowboys live Turkey Day game blog

Greetings from the gleaming new football palace known as Cowboys Stadium...this place is unreal...follow me on Twitter @paulhgutierrez

*******************************************************************************.
Being that this game is being televised nationally, expect much less play-by-play today

*******************************************************************************.

Raiders are wearing throwback "whites," Cowboys in throwback "blues" with white helmets...

*******************************************************************************.

Raiders special teams are on the field warming up and it looks like punter Shane Lechler took a few shots at the MASSIVE Hi-Def video board above the field, to no avail...

*******************************************************************************.

Hiram Eugene is fielding practice punts with Johnnie Lee Higgins while Gary Russell has joined Jonathan Holland in practicing kickoff returns...and here I thought the Raiders should have Darren McFadden return punts and Darrius Heyward-Bey should return kickoffs.

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

Linebacker Jon Alston, who's been dealing with what sounds like post-concussion syndrome, was placed on IR by the Raiders...no word yet no the corresponding roster move...check that, Slade Norris promoted from practice squad...

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

Raiders inactives: OT Khalif Barnes, WR Nick Miller, LB David Nixon, OL Erik Pears, WR Javon Walker, WR Todd Watkins, LB Slade Norris...Charlie Frye is 3rd QB...

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

Raiders captains - Zach Miller, Greg Ellis and Sebastian Janikowski...Raiders win toss, elect to receive...

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

Gary Russell is your new kickoff returner...

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

Cowboys up 3-0 on 36-yard field goal by Folk with 39 seconds to play in 1st quarter...set up by Choice's 66-yard run off direct snap. So THAT'S what the Wildcat looks like...

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

Fargas running with Cable's "good violence," 52 yards on six 1st quarter carries...time of possession after 1st quarter, OAK 7:34; DAL 7:26

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

THISCLOSE...5 plays after near Raiders INT by Branch/Scott in DAL red zone, Felix Jones scampers 46 yards for TD and 10-0 Cowboys lead, 10:48 left in half

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

Raiders don;t have to pay for Barber's 42-yard catch and run when Folk's 49-yard FGA hits the right post with 5:58 remaining in the half...

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

Gradkowski with a decidedly JaMarcus-like ending to 1st half, sacked and fumbles...Cowboys 17, Raiders 0...

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

DHB 1st career TD, 4-yard reception from Gradkowski...DAL 17, OAK 7, 7:16 to play in 3rd, DHB beats Alan Ball on corner route from slot....Raiders go 88 yards in 11 plays, taking 7:16

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

Talk about "explosive plays"...Raiders have surrendered 384 combined yards on 10 such plays...ouch

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

Ballgame....Cowboys 24, Raiders 7....Cowboys with 494 yards of total offense, 384 of those yards on 10 plays...

November 24, 2009
Alston concussed, Seymour a go, Gradkowski hears from old friends

Jon Alston is a smart guy, and not just because he's a Stanford guy. The fourth-year linebacker is listening to his body and telling the Raiders medical staff all about it. No easy task in the macho world of professional football. As such, Alston will sit out his second consecutive game Thursday with what seems to be post-concussion syndrome. He suffered a concussion in the Raiders' loss to Kansas City on Nov. 15 and was a late add to the Raiders' injury report Saturday night with what was described as "illness."

"When he showed up Saturday ill, that's when we started to figure out what's going on," coach Tom Cable said at his daily media briefing on Tuesday. "He was throwing up, (had) dizziness and things like that, so we're still looking into what's going on with that.

"For him to show up Saturday and be ill like he was and describe to us how he was feeling, that's a red flag. So you have to be wise and figure out what's going on."

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

Defensive lineman Richard Seymour (strained lower back) practiced full Thursday and Cable said he expects him to play against the Cowboys.

"What we did was a normal, what would be a Thursday practice today," Cable said. "So in terms of what was installed and input and everything, it was like a normal Thursday...he's able to get in and out of his stance and do the drills and run to the ball, so it was good."

Seymour was injured on the third play of the Cincinnati game, Cable said.

"He just got torqued in there," Cable said, "and his back locked up."

Jay Richardson essentially replaced Seymour on running downs against the Bengals with Trevor Scott coming in on passing downs.

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

Bruce Gradkowski told reporters Thursday he's heard from his old Tampa Bay Buccaneer buddies/Raider Nation enemies Jeff Garcia and Jon Gruden in the wake of his victorious debut as the Raiders starting quarterback.

"Yeah, I talk to Jeff every week, so I'm going to hear from Jeff, basically every day we talk," Gradkowski said. "And Coach Gruden also, he sent me a text. It was exciting. I told him he was doing a good job on that Monday Night Football... so it's good to know those guys are watching and keeping an eye out, and I'm just excited to be out here and be able to play."

November 24, 2009
NFL Tuesdays: Replay live chat

Missed our weekly live chat with Matt Barrows on the 49ers and Paul Gutierrez on the Raiders? Replay it here. Can't stand the 49ers? Skip down to noon to catch up with Paul!

November 24, 2009
Mitchell working at CB, doubts LeBron's claims

Rookie safety Mike Mitchell, whose second-round selection from Ohio was derided by so many draft critics, has been taking practice reps at cornerback. And it's not that big of an adjustment for him, he said.

He was converted to safety in college, "because I was a hitter," he said.

And now, with Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James popping off that he could "be really good" as an NFL pass catcher, the thought of seeing the reigning NBA MVP coming across the middle has Mitchell smiling, while itching to lay a lick. And not just because Mitchell became a fan of James while going to school at Ohio.

"It would be cool," Mitchell said. "If he wants to do it, let him come out here and see if he can do it. It's not as easy as it looks. But obviously, he's a great athlete, a world-class athlete, gold medalist in the Olympics, so we'll see."

Mitchell, though, agreed with the likes of New Orleans tight end Jeremy Shockey and other football players who intimated James' claims were insulting.

"Yeah, that (James) could just drop in and do it, it really is (insulting) but, you know, basketball players, they do that," Mitchell said with a smile.

"Like I said," Mitchell added, "he's a great athlete, but I can't just go and be the best shooter in the NBA so I don't think he's going to be able to come in here and, I mean, he can maybe be on the practice squad, but I don't think he's going to be an elite receiver in the league his first year."

Uh-oh, if offended NFL players aren't careful, they run the risk of King James not shaking their hands. Wait, he doesn't do that after losses anyway.

November 24, 2009
Charles Woodson reflects

Former Raiders cornerback Charles Woodson was recently on "The Jim Rome Show" and was asked if things were as "wild and crazy" in Oakland when he was there to begin his NFL career.

"It's always been kind of wild and crazy," said Woodson, now in his fourth season in Green Bay after spending his first eight with the Raiders. "But when I came in, I think it was a little better under (Jon) Gruden and general manager Bruce Allen. They had pretty good control on things. And you know, we had some good players, so regardless of how wild and crazy it was, we had some players out there that could just flat out get it done. So we played through a lot of that negative stuff.

"Now, that's not the case. Now they have some good players, but it's nowhere near the talent we had when we were winning."

November 23, 2009
RAIDERS LIVE CHAT TUESDAY AT 12 NOON

RAIDERS LIVE CHAT

Join me at 12 noon Tuesday for a live chat about the Raiders. Let's talk Bruce Gradkowski, the bend-but-don't-break defense, the upcoming Turkey Day game at Dallas, or whatever suits your fancy.

Sign up now for an e-mail reminder: sacbee.com/live

November 22, 2009
Raiders-Bengals live game blog

Greetings from the Coliseum. It's Asian Heritage Day and, as such, a halftime show by area martial artists will be offered as dedication to Bruce Lee. Looking forward to that, as well as seeing if the Raiders have and, ahem, fight in them today against the Bengals....

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

No word on if the Cobra Kai dojo will make an appearance...Fear, does not exist in this dojo, does it?

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

Follow me on Twitter @paulhgutierrez

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

Raiders inactives - WR Todd Watkins, LB Jon Alston, OL Khalif Barnes, OL Erik Pears, WR Javon Walker, WR Nick Miller, DT William Joseph...Charlie Frye is 3rd QB

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

Bengals RB Cedric Benson (hip) is inactive...expect Larry Johnson to get the start.

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

Raiders place LB Ricky Brown (ankle) on IR, promote undrafted rookie David Nixon, linebacker from BYU...

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

We have a CC Sabathia sighting...

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

Looks like many Raiders fans have come to the game dressed as green seats...VERY small turnout. Looks like an exhibition game crowd.

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

Raiders captains - Justin Fargas, Tyvon Branch and Ike Ekejiuba

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

Bengals win toss, elect to receive...

*******************************************************************************************
Bengals drive 78 yards in 14 plays in 9:28, culminating in Carson Palmer's one-yard dive for a TD. Bengals 7, Raiders 0, 5:32 to play in 1st quarter

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

Raiders drive stalls at own 40 yard line, forced to punt,.

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

Bengals have outgained Raiders in yardage after one quarter, 130-13

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

Blitzing Branch strip sacks Palmer, Morrison recovers, then he fumbles, Ball finally recovered by Ellis at Cincy 34...

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

Two plays later, Gradkowski gives it back, fumbling snap from center. Bengals ball at OAK 32...12:17 to play in second quarter

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

Fantasy football geeks are LOVING Carson Palmer right about now...Cincy QB sneaks in for his 2nd TD, Bengals 14, Raiders 0, 7:12 to play in second quarter. Drive goes 68 yards in 9 plays, taking 5:05. Oh yeah, all 9 plays were RUNS!!!

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

PRETTY looking 25-yard pass from Gradkowski to Schilens down the middle of the field...so THAT'S what it looks like.,

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

Gradkowski hits Zach Miller with a 10-yard TD...Bengals 14, Raiders 7...59 seconds left in half. Raiders go 71 yards in nine plays, taking 2:58 to score theur EIGHTH TD of the season...

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

Janikowski lines up for 57-yard field goal try, misses wide right but gets another chance because Marvin Lewis called timeout...SeaBass than over-corrects, misses wide left and short as the half ends. Bengals 14, Raiders 7...

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

SeaBass opens second half scoring with 52-yard field goal...Bengals 14, Raiders 10, 9:59 to play in third quarter. Drive included nifty 7-yard sideline reception by DHB, though he did almost drop the ball.

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

Raiders DL Richard Seymour (back) will not return. Was injured on first drive of the game.

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

Bengals have the ball at the 1 on third and goal before a blitzing Stanford Routt sacks Carson Palmer for an 18-yard loss.

Then a bad snap and Shayne Graham misses a 37-yard field-goal attempt.

Raiders take over ball at their own 27 with 5:05 to play in third quarter. Bengals 14, Raiders 10

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

Michael Bush fumbles, Geathers returns to the 13...Raiders defense holds and Bengals get a 25-yard field goal. Bengals 17, Raiders 10...3:29 to play in third quarter.

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

Bengals FB Jeremi Johnson fumbles at Raiders 15, recovered by Desmond Bryant...Bengals 17, Raiders 10, 11:31 to play

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

Raiders drive to midfield but stall. Crowd BOOS Raiders' decision to punt from own 47 on 4th and 1 with 7:47 to play, trailing by a touchdown and extra-point

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

Greg Ellis with a HUGE sack of Palmer at the 3-yard line...Bengals punt, Raiders take over at Bengals' 43. 6:08 to play...

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

Gradkowski BLASTED by Fanene on first play, resultant wobbly pass intercepted by Joseph at Bengals' 22. Raiders challenge but looks like a clean pick. 6:01 to play

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

Sorry, y'all, had Internet issues and then went down on the field for the last 2 minutes and then had to come up and pound out three stories...

As I'm sure you're aware, the Raiders pulled it out...

Trailing 17-10, the Raiders took over on their own 20 with 2:12 to play. Gradkowski drove the Raiders down field in 99 seconds and 11 plays. The big plays were a 4th and 10 conversion, when he hit Chaz Shilens for a 16-yard pickup, and then the 29-yard TD pass the Louis Murphy. The rookie receiver caught the ball at the 1 and then was able to break the goal line for the tying score with 33 seconds to play.

On the ensuing kickoff, rookie Brandon Myers stripped Bengals returner Andre Caldwell of the ball and recovered on the 17. Four plays later, and with 12 seconds to play, Sebastian Janikowski split the uprights for the 20-17 lead.

The game ended when Nnamdi Asomugha intercepted Carson Palmer's Hail Mary pass at the 7...


November 20, 2009
Ellis expects to play, Fargas loses bet to Stanford Routt because, well, his name is Stanford

Veteran defensive end Greg Ellis, who underwent minor surgeries to both a shoulder and a knee during the bye week and sat out last week's loss to Kansas City, expects to start against Cincinnati.

"I'm a team guy," Ellis said in a chipper Raiders locker room on Friday. "I feel like I want to do something to help us get a win here. So I push. Coaches, they don't have to push me and say, 'Come on Greg, give it a shot.' That's not my thing. That's pretty much where I'm at.

"I'm not 100 percent, but my intention this week is to go ahead and play. Just as a competitor you want to get out there and try to help get a win. That's what I want to do."

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

Coach Tom Cable said benched quarterback JaMarcus Russell, who has been nowhere to be found during media access periods this week, did not take any first-team snaps this week.

"He took the normal backup quarterback reps," Cable said, "which is two or three per period."

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

I asked Justin Fargas how he was handling the 55 points Stanford put down on his USC Trojans last week. After a deep breath and insisting he was over it, he acknowledged he had paid off his two locker room bets.

Two? Well there's Cardinal product Jon Alston. And...?!?

"Stanford" Routt," Fargas sighed, pointing over at the defensive back's locker. "Because his name is Stanford."

Rimshot, please.

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

Cable said underachieving kick returners Johnnie Lee Higgins (punts) and Jonathan Holland (kickoffs) have kept their jobs.

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

Receivers Javon Walker (hamstring) and Nick Miller (shin) and linebackers Ricky Brown (ankle) did not practice and are all out for the game. LB Ike Ekejiuba (ankle) was limited and is questionable for the game.

November 19, 2009
Another home game, another blackout

Apparently, the Raiders' decision to bench JaMarcus Russell for Bruce Gradkowski did not fire up Gradkowski's fans enought to sell out the Coliseum by today's 1:15 p.m. deadline.

As such, the Raiders-Bengals game will be blacked out locally. It is the fifth straight black out this season after the Monday Night Football opener against teh Chargers sold out in time to be televised.

For those keeping count, that makes 74 blackouts in 118 home games since the Raiders returned from Los Angeles in 1995.

November 18, 2009
'Ski named starter, Raiders re-up through '13, Ocho Cinco "loves" the ball

As you've no doubt heard by now, JaMarcus Russell has been benched in favor of Bruce Gradkowski...for the foreseeable future.

With Tom Cable pulling Russell from consecutive home games, I was all for Russell being benched this weekend against Cincinnati. Especially since it's a home game and the crowd would no doubt jump down Russell's throat on his first incomplete pass.

But I'm not sold on Gradkowski getting the gig ahead of Charlie Frye, nor on the move being indefinite, so to speak. And I address that in tomorrow's column.

Perhaps the biggest "news" item to come out of Cable's announcement of the switch following practice Wednesday, though, was the coach basically saying the decision was his...and his alone...when asked if he had to convince Al Davis to greenlight the switch.

"No, no, he left this up to me; this is my decision," Cable said. "We talked about it and he supported it."

So then Cable was asked if having that type of autonomy helps his situation.

"Well, I think it's important," Cable said. "At the same time, as we all know, it's important to include (Davis) in everything so he knows what's going on with this football team."

As such, I asked Cable if he agonized over the decision, or if it was an easy call to make.

"It was an easy decision because I feel the responsibility for this football team to give them the best chance to succeed," Cable said.

So was Frye, in the mix?

"Sure he was," Cable said. "I think you have to look at the whole picture in order to make the right choice."

Of course, Cable said he still sees Russell as the future of the team.

"That's my hope," he said. "This is in no way giving up on the guy. This is just trying to jumpstart this team and really break it down and make a decision based on what gives us the best chance to win."

Russell is No. 2 on the depth chart and Frye is No. 3.

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

Speaking of the future, the Raiders and the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum Authority announced Wednesday they have reached a "tentative agreement to extend the term of the Raiders' lease" at the Coliseum through the 2013 season.

"We enjoy a productive working relationship with the City, the County and the Joint Powers Authority and we enjoy collaborating with them on many issues," Raiders Chief Executive Amy Trask said in a release. "Both Supervisor Haggerty and Councilmember De La Fuente have discussed some exciting concepts with us - exciting for the Raiders, the Raider Nation, the community and the region - and we look forward to further pursuing these ideas."

So that should quash the idea of the Raiders returning to Los Angeles...at least for a few days.

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

Darrius Heyward-Bey finally re-emerged after his drop inside the 10-yard line led to a game-clinching interception Sunday against Kansas City. The rookie with the rep for the dropsies said he is "conscious" of his pass-catching fundamentals.

"I mean, that play exactly, fundamentals went out the window," DHB said. "You know, that's me being a rookie, getting so excited. Everything I've been working on since Day 1 went out the window. And that's something that I know, so that's something that I can improve on. And everything I work on in practice needs to carry over into the games."

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

In an "unrelated" note, Bengals receiver Chad Ocho Cinco told Bay Area reporters in a Wednesday morning conference call that "sure hands" are born, not taught.

"It's natural man. It's natural," he said. "You have some people who are just natural pass catchers and everything is smooth. Then you see some receivers and they sort of fight with the ball, it's a struggle. Or you have some who always catch with their chest. I'm just natural.

"I lovethe ball. If you ever watch me play, I make love to the ball when it comes in."

OK...

"You can't be in the NFL and try to work on it now because it's too late," Ocho Cinco added to a room full of guffaws and chuckles.

"I'm not trying to be funny, guys," he said. "Come on now, seriously. When you get to this point this is not the point where you need to be coached. This is the point where you need to get better at your craft but you should already come in with a foundation already set. You should be ready to play.

"You can't come into the NFL as a receiver, be in the NFL and then they have to teach you how to play receiver. Because you're missing the boat, you're going to miss the ship if you don't know how to play receiver before you get here. You're going to miss the ship already."

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

Ocho Cinco also had a message for cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha: "Somebody tell Nnamdi, don't forget to relay this message, the message is, 'I love you but you've got to kiss the baby.'"

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

And lastly, because we can't get enough Ocho Cinco, here are his thoughts on the Raiders: "Dude, watching the Raiders on f...... defense, that front line is awesome, the corners are awesome. I can't for the life of me understand how they are not winning. I don't get it. I don't get it. Because what I see on film, the record does not show. Because they look a lot better than their record shows so I'm not understanding what's going on."

Join the club, Ocho Cinco. Join the club.

November 17, 2009
Frye knows the Bengals, and they know him

While everyone in Raider Nation wrings their hands over who should start at quarterback Sunday against Cincinnati, I'm of the mind that Charlie Frye should get the shot. Why? Well, after being embarrassed and pulled from consecutive home games, JaMarcus Russell's head is spinning (I've said that while he should not have been pulled against the Chiefs, he needs to sit for at least a game now having been benched). And Bruce Gradkowski, while a nice guy, is not the answer either. Plus, he has a (cough, cough) strained hamstring,

So, the line for the Frye Guy Bandwagon starts on the right. There are reasons for pause, however.

In three career starts against the Bengals, Frye, who began his career in Cleveland, is just 0-3. Per pro-football-reference,com, he's completed 54 of 86 passes (62.8%) for 568 yards with a touchdown pass and two rushing scores. But he's also thrown seven interceptions against the Bengals.

So, who do you want to start against Cincinnati this weekend?

November 17, 2009
Replay: Live chat with Paul Gutierrez

Paul Gutierrez fielded questions from sacbee users in a live chat today, discussing the ongoing quarterback situation and other hot topics. Replay it here.

You can join next week's live chat at noon on Tuesday.

November 17, 2009
LIVE CHAT TODAY AT 11 A.M.


Join us for "NFL Tuesdays," a live chat at 11 a.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' 2-7 record, JaMarcus Russell being pulled from his second consecutive home game, who the starting quarterback should be, coach Tom Cable's future with the team. Or, whatever you want to chat about...

Today at 11 a.m.,

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

November 16, 2009
Who's the starting QB? Who knows...

Ready for a full-blown QB Controversy, Raider Nation? And you thought Jeff Garcia walking out on the eve of the season would have spared the Raiders such a distraction.

Turns out Tom Cable pulling JaMarcus Russell for the second consecutive home game on Sunday and replacing him with Bruce Gradkowski set the stage. And when Cable said he would not announce who his starter against Cincinnati would be until Wednesday, well, you're just waiting with baited breath now, aren't you?

What makes this all the more intriguing is Gradkowski showing up Monday with a (cough, cough) strained hamstring. Strange, Gradkowski did not mention his injury when speaking with reporters Monday morning.

In any event, Cable also sounded high on third-stringer Charlie Frye. And Cable said the decision on the Raiders' starting QB was his, and his alone. Wonder what Al Davis thinks of that.

Cable said he was unaware of Russell's contract - the No. 1 overall pick of the 2007 draft is guaranteed $32 million - so that should not be a factor in his decision, which will come after he meets with the quarterbacks and assorted coaches. So what will be the determining factor?

"It will be focused on winning, period," Cable said. "(Who) gives us the best chance to win."

Stay tuned...

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

Veteran defensive end Greg Ellis, who underwent bye-week surgeries to both a shoulder and a knee, did not play Sunday as a "gametime decision," Cable said. Rookie Matt Shaughnessy started in his place.

"Played outstanding," Cable said of Shaughnessy. "I have said this before, but every week he just gets better and better and better. Defended the run extremely well, one sack and a couple other hurries. The guy just gets better. He is coached really well. His coach has raised his level and he comes to work every day and he is learning from Richard [Seymour] and Greg [Ellis]. Those guys have been good in terms of teaching him and he is a good football player."

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

Gradkowski, on how knowing if he's the starter early in the week helps his preparation: "Yeah, I mean, it's tough, but I think it's easier if you're the guy during (the) week and you've got a whole week to prepare and the whole team knows that. So that's the difference, but in another sense, you've always got to be ready, whenever it may be. That's just the kind of the way I prepare and nothing's ever easy so you've got to be prepared for whatever."

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

The Raiders have held a roster spot for injured kick returner Nick Miller all season. And with Jonathan Holland and Johnnie Lee Higgins having less-than-thrilling showings, you'd hope and think the undrafted rookie was healed from his broken right shin. But there was Miller on Sunday, limping around the sidelines with his right foot still in a huge walking boot.

"Again, that's still on-going," Cable said. "Yeah, he's out."

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

This should also be decision week on linebacker Ricky Brown and his badly sprained ankle. That is, whether to end his season by putting him on the IR or if he's expected back. He last played on Oct. 11 at the New York Giants.

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

Center Samson Satele showed his nimble feet when asked if there was a difference between Russell and Gradkowski.

"I don't know," he said. "That's for the coaches to (decide)...I felt like they did the same thing to me, but I don't know who did it better. If you're asking who did it better, I'm not sure. I did not watch the film yet so I can't answer that."

Asked if he had a preference, Satele shrugged.

"No," he said. "I have nothing. That is (a decision) for Cable to make, or whoever up there."

Satele did, however, say he would support whichever QB is starting on Sunday.

"It is my job to protect the quarterback so whoever is starting, whoever is playing, I am down with," he said.

Diplomacy from an O-lineman? It doesn't get any better than that.

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

And finally: how do the Raiders address their woeful 2 for 16 third-down conversion rate?

"Throw and catch," Cable said, matter-of-factly. "We do it all the time. We spend a crazy amount of time on third down. It's just simply, throwing and catching. The protection was really, really good yesterday. There were two sacks. Both of them could have been avoidable. It was work in the pocket, and there were two other hurries the entire. That's unheard of in this league. So, a great job by those guys up front. It showed getting Cornell (Green) and getting Robert (Gallery) back."

November 16, 2009
RAIDERS LIVE CHAT TUESDAY AT 11 A.M.

RAIDERS LIVE CHAT

Join The Bee's Paul Gutierrez at 11 a.m. Tuesday for a live chat about the Raiders. Sign up now for an e-mail reminder.

sacbee.com/live

November 15, 2009
Raiders-Chiefs live game Blog...

Greetings from the Coliseum. It's Native American Heritage Day and the Raiders are celebrating by playing host to the Kansas City Chiefs, who are dressed as their former AFL selves, the Dallas Texans...

Follow me on Twitter - @paulhgutierrez

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

Raiders inactives, per a Raiders Tweet - WR Todd Watkins, LB Ricky Brown, OT Khalif Barnes, OT Erik Pears, WR Javon Walker, WR Nick Miller, DE Greg Ellis. Charlie Frye is the 3rd QB...

With Ellis out, rookie Matt Shaughnessy should get the start at left defensive end...

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

Chaz Shilens takes the field in uniform for warm ups...

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

ESPN now says Cable may not face discipline

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

Raiders captains - Robert Gallery, Michael Huff, Shane Lechler....Raiders win toss and FOOLISHLY decide to receive. DEFER, I SAW. DEFER!!!!!

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

Um, never mind...Raiders up 7-0...

Schilens starts at WR, along with DHB with Bush in the backfield. After Russell hits Schilens with a 6-yard pick up, Bush rumbles for 60 yards to KC 4 yard line. Two plays later, Fargas dives in for the score.

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

It's the first time the Raiders have scored a TD on an opening drive since last Dec. 21, against Houston.

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

Chris Johnson beat deep by Chris Chambers on 50-yard pass by Cassel but strips ball away for an INT...Raiders ball at own 33, 11:33 to play in 1st quarter. Raiders blitzed on play.

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

And the WIldcat makes an appearance...Run DMC runs for 2 yards, hands off to JLH for 3 more...meow.

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

Raiders have since punted twice...

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

KC's Mr. Irrelevant, kicker Ryan Succop, the last player selected in the NFL Draft, out of South Carolina, convertys a 50-yard field goal. OAK 7, KC 3, 4:49 remaining in first quarter.

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

Raiders' Jon Condo recovers fumbled punt at KC 37...

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

SeaBass answers Mr. Irrelevant with 50-yard field goal...Jano's 13th make in 13 attempts this season, 20 in a row dating to 08. OAK 10, KC 3, 2:10 to play in 1st quarter...

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

Rookie safety Mike Mitchell re-emerges from locker room, does some light running behind Raiders bench. Looks like a tight hammy?!? He had hamstring issues thorughout camp.

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

Jamal Charles with a 44-yard TD run...ON 4TH AND 1!!!!!!!
OAK 10, KC 10...12:25 to play in 2nd quarter.
Per, Jerry Mac, that was Chiefs' first rushing TD in 39 QUARTERS!!!!

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

DHB is fast, but bomb from Russell goes through his arms near the goal line. Had to wait half a step for ball. DId I mention DHB was fast?

Then, Murphy goes deep for 50-plus yard pickup, but Gallery called for tripping. Then Russell sacked. Lechler then punts the ball 55 yards.

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

Chiefs go 67 yards on seven plays in 2:52, culminating with Mr. Irrelevant's 25-yard field goal. KC 13, OAK 10, 6:48 to play in second quarter...

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

Lechler's showing off now...his last four punts have gone, 57, 55, 55 and 52 yards...

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

Halftime of a neary unwatchable game between two horrific offensive teams...KC 13, Oakland 10

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

KC snaps a combined 0 for 18 futility streak on third-down conversions but Mr. Irrelevant misses 52-yard field goal on opening drive of 2nd half...wide left. Raiders ball at own 43 yard line.

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

And Sea Bass's streak is done...misses a 46-yard Field goal attempt, wide left...first miss in 21 tries dating to Nov. 16 last year, at Miami

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

Holy Rolleresque fumble nets Chiefs a 35-yard gain, they go for it on 4th and 1 at OAK13 and Huff picks off Cassel...out of bounds. OAK ball, 3:22 to play in third quarter


Looks like JaMarcus being pulled after more WAY off-mark throws. Gradkowski warming up. Chiefs ball at Oakland 47, 2:18 to play in 3rd quarter of game KC leads, 13-10

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

Yup, JaMarcus is not happy with being pulled for second time in as many home games. Had to be "comforted" by McFadden and Fargas.

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

Mr. Irrelevant's 31-yard field goal with 6:17 left gives KC a 16-10 lead

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

Raiders take over at own 22 yard line, 6:11 to play....

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

Three and out...and Chiefs are trying to run out the clock. Brutal. Just. Brutal.

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

Raiders have the ball at their own 20, 1:53 to play...

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

Game ended when Gradkowski's pass to DHB at the Chiefs' 10-yard line bounded off DHB's chest and into the waiting arms of KC Safety Mike Brown. Raiders would ohave had ball inside the 10 with 30 seconds to play and a full complement of downs...

Chiefs 16, Raiders 10...


DHB was nowhere to be found in postgame locker room...not a good move by the rookie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 12, 2009
Raiders blacked out again, Russell reflects...kinda

Time to break out that trusty "blacked out" note again, what with Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs not selling out by today's 1:05 p.m. deadline.

It will be the fourth straight Raiders home game to be blacked out locally this season after Oakland needed an extension to sell out the Monday Night Football season opener against the Chargers and broadcast it here.

In 2006, when the Raiders took over their own ticket sales, 2007 and 2008, the Raiders sold out six of eight home games in each of those seasons.

But from 1995, when they returned from a 13-year sojourn to Los Angeles, through 2005, 63 of 88 home games were blacked out.

So, for those of you keeping score, this will be the 73rd blackout in 117 home games since the Raiders came home.

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

So what did JaMarcus Russell do over the bye?

"Just sit back and think about the things we've been through, good and bad, learn from it, and make it go out this time and be better than what it was," he told reporters today.

But what about watching film?

"Actually, we watched film one day out of three, to be honest," he said. "Other than that, tried to get away from it for a second and think about it. Coming back, that it's going to have be - more grind than what it was the first half to become what we want."

Russell was also asked if it helped to get a mental break from the game.

"I think it does," he said. "I think it does, because the way things were going, not accordingly, so any time you get a chance to reflect on other things besides that, when you come back, it's fresh in your mind."

Got it? Good...

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

Coach Tom Cable's tongue just had to be firmly in cheek when he answered the question on what he wanted out of Russell in the second half of the season.

"Throw 20 touchdowns and not turn it over anymore and be about 66-67 percent completion," Cable said. "I think that'd be pretty good."

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

Cable also said he is optimistic that defensive end Greg Ellis, who's coming off bye-week surgeries to both a shoulder and a knee, could play Sunday.

"We'll see here tomorrow morning," Cable said.

And if Ellis cannot go, Cable is fine with rookie Matt Shaughnessy stepping in.

"The fact that Matt Shaughnessy has played like he has certainly makes that a true statement," Cable said. "You'd like to have (Ellis) at full speed, but if he's not able to go...we're OK in that manner. If he can go but if it's limited play, then we're OK because of our depth."

November 11, 2009
Band back together, and other Thursday notes

They're getting the band back together...or somesuch.

As expected, offensive starters Robert Gallery (left guard), Cornell Green (right tackle), Darren McFadden (running back) and Chaz Schilens (wide receiver) all practiced full on Wednesday.

Raiders coach Tom Cable dismissed the notion that having all three running backs available at the same time as having all three receivers could be a dangerous problem to have.

"You can do both," Cable said. "You can fit in the toughness inside of that explosiveness. The whole key is getting that explosiveness going. From there, once you get that started, the rest of it can fall into place."

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

Cable also acknowledged he is contemplating starting three receivers - probably Schilens, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Louis Murphy - Sunday against the Chiefs.

"I think it just depends on the personnel that you're going to use to attack them," Cable said. "That's probably why I'm not going to answer that question, just because there's some things you want to do."

In his last four games, Murphy has caught only one pass from JaMarcus Russell.

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

The Chiefs, meanwhile, will be without Raiders antagonist Larry Johnson, the disgraced running back who had rumbled for 938 yards in 10 career games against Oakland with 12 total touchdowns.

"Well, they still have good runners," Cable said of the Chiefs. "It's not like they're going to change their system or their scheme. The runner they got is a good player. Larry was a very good player. So, it impacts it to some degree. But in this business, it's the next man up."

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

And today's oh-yeah-news-nugget, courtesy of Cable - defensive end Greg Ellis had his shoulder "scoped" over the bye in addition to his knee. Good to know.

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

Then there was this - the Raiders had left-footed free-agent punter Ricky Schmitt booming balls after practice to Johnnie Lee Higgins. Probably to get the Raiders returner ready for Kansas City's left-footed punter Dustin Colquitt.

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

And finally, the Raiders would allow media "football-questions only, no non-football questions" of Cable. So, no Cable thoughts today on if the NFL has contacted him. It's been reported the league wants him to undergo an "evaluation" in the wake of the Randy Hanson affair.

November 10, 2009
NFL LIVE CHAT TODAY AT NOON!!!


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' 2-6 record at the season's midway point, their being as healthy as they've been all season, their upcoming game against Kansas City, coach Tom Cable now being accused of being violent by two women from his past on the heels of his 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/

November 9, 2009
Raiders emerge from bye week "healthiest" they've been all season...and other Monday notes

Back from a week of "mandatory" vacation, just in time for the Raiders to return from their bye week...

The 2-6 Raiders returned to practice at their Alameda facility Monday, "the healthiest this football team has been (all season)...no question, particularly on offense," coach Tom Cable told reporters.

Cable expects left guard Robert Gallery (broken fibula), right tackle Cornell Green (calf strain), running back Darren McFadden (knee) and receiver Chaz Schilens (broken foot) to all suit up and play against Kansas City on Sunday at the Coliseum.

"It was very good today, very good," Cable said of Monday's welcome-back practice. "In terms of having them all back, and into sync, and the energy in the huddle and all those things, it was good to have them back."

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

The Raiders also welcomed back another familiar face in defensive tackle William Joseph, who was re-signed to give the defensive line some much-needed depth. Offensive lineman Paul McQuistan was cut in the corresponding roster move.

"We've gotten through this whole time with just three inside (defensive) players," Cable said, "and felt like the second half we needed a fourth."

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

Schilens, meanwhile, has been down this road before...a couple of weeks ago. That's when the Raiders put out a press release trumpeting the second-year receiver's return from the broken left foot he suffered in a non-contact training camp drill on Aug. 18. But there was too much pain in the foot and the "four-to-six week" injury is one day shy of 12 weeks old.

Still, he's pretty sure he'll be on the field against the Chiefs on Sunday, even if there's some residual pain.

"Yeah, it's not 100 percent like I'd like it to be," Schilens said, "but I've just got to work through it."

Schilens knows there are certain expectations placed on him by Cable.

"I guess he expects me to do well," Schilens said. "I have to go out there and do my job, just like everyone else has to go out there and do their job. I think if we have a good week of practice and prepare - we know what Kansas City does, we play them twice a year - we'll go out there and play well."

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

Cable said he was "surprised" the Chiefs cut running back Larry Johnson. But that doesn't mean the Raiders are interested in his services.

"We're fine with who we have," Cable said.

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

And despite reports swirling that the NFL is going to make Cable submit to some sort of "evaluation" in light of the Randy Hanson assault allegations, but not, specifically, due to last week's ESPN report that Cable hit a former wife as well as an ex-girlfriend, Cable said Monday he has not been contacted by the league since last speaking to reporters on Wednesday.

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

The injury report: WR Chaz Schilens (foot), LG Robert Gallery (fibula) and DT Gerard Warren (ribs) practiced full; RB Darren McFadden (knee), RT Cornell Green (calf), TE Tony Stewart (chest) and CB Chris Johnson (groin) practiced limited; KR Nick Miller (shin), LB Ricky Brown (ankle), DE Greg Ellis (knee) and DT Tommy Kelly (personal issue) did not practice; and LB Slade Norris tweaked a hamstring in practice.

Kelly is expected back Tuesday, Cable said.

November 9, 2009
LIVE CHAT on TUESDAY

LIVE CHAT
Join us for our weekly NFL chat at 11 a.m. Tuesday. Matt Barrows, The Bee's 49ers beat writer, will kick things off at 11 a.m., followed by Paul Gutierrez on the Raiders at noon. Sign up now for an e-mail reminder.
sacbee.com/live

November 2, 2009
Blog going dark for a week...and the Raiders react to Cablegate II

A thousand, a million apologies for the lack of Blog updates and Tweets on Twitter yesterday...my connection at Qualcomm was so slow it made logging on near impossible.

In any event, just wanted to give you a heads up that this is my week for "mandatory" vacation, per corporate, and as such, the Blog will be dark until next Monday.

Until then...

PG

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

And while I'm logged on, the Raiders have released a pair of statements regarding the allegations of past physical abuse by Tom Cable on a pair of women from his past, and one on ESPN, which reported the story Sunday morning. Enjoy...and type at ya next week.

"Over the last few days, we learned of the allegations made against Coach Cable and we are, of course, aware of his response thereto. In conjunction with the League office, we will undertake a serious evaluation of this matter.
We wish to be clear that we do not in any way condone or accept actions such as those alleged.
There have been occasions on which we have dismissed Raider employees for having engaged in inappropriate conduct. For reasons of privacy, we kept the basis for those dismissals confidential. We endured public opprobrium for the dismissals, all the while knowing our basis for them was appropriate
."

And, the Raiders' ESPN release:

"ESPN's role in this matter must be carefully examined. ESPN routinely disseminates falsehoods about the Raiders. During the last year, ESPN (working with someone who was in this organization) engaged in a calculated effort to distort the truth about the Raiders, utilizing lies and innuendo."

November 1, 2009
Raiders-Chargers live game blog...

Greetings from the "Q"...a gorgeous day as the Raiders attempt to snap a 12-game losing streak to the Bolts, though there is a dark cloud hanging over Silver and Blackdom. This after this morning's ESPN report that coach Tom Cable has been physically abusive to two women from his past, especially on the heels of his being accused of assault by former assistant Randy Hanson.

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

The list of Raiders inactives - WR Chaz Schilens, LG Robert Gallery, RB Darren McFadden, LB Ricky Brown, OT Langston Walker, RT Cornell Green, WR Nick Miller...Charlie Frye is the 3rd QB

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

Just saw a sign that read: "Define 'Bust'? Two words JaMarcus Russell" Here in SD, two such words that come to mind are "Ryan" and "Leaf"

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

follow me on TWITTER - @paulhgutierrez

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

Raiders captains - Justin Fargas, Nnamdi Asomugha, Sam Williams...Raiders win the toss and elect to receive...DEFER!!!!! I think they shoudl DEFER!!!!

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

And, an interception from JaMarcus Russell, a 53-yard bomb from Rivers to Floyd and a 6-yard Wildcat TD run by LT...Chargers 7, Raiders 0...11:13 to play in first quarter.

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

Having massive Internet problems...only thing more annoying might be Shane Merriman's celebration of EVERY tackle...

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

Impressive...Raiders get the ball back on a Chris Johnson INT and run the ball down the Chargers' throat, going 27 yards on 7 plays - 6 runs with a mid-field screen to Bush - with Fargas pounding it in from 3 yards out...Raiders 7, Chargers 7...13:40 to play in second quarter....

November 1, 2009
Cable accused of being abusive to women

A pair of women from Tom Cable's past have come forward to claim that the Raiders coach was physically abusive to them. ESPN's Outside the Lines aired a 6-minute report this morning on the allegations and Cable, through the lawyer, has addressed the report.

Following are links to the ESPN story, and the Associated Press story



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.

Raiders stories on sacbee.com

October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31