Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

September 10, 2010
Bush practices, remains "game-time decision" and other Friday-before-opener nuggets

Michael Bush and his surgically-repaired left thumb practiced "limited" today and remains a "game-time decision," according to coach Tom Cable.

Still, not many observers are holding their breath in hopes of the running back playing in Sunday's opener at Tennessee.

Plus, defensive tackle Desmond Bryant (elbow) is also a game-time decision.

"They've improved a ton from yesterday to today," coach Tom Cable told reporters following Friday's morning practice, "and if we can get that kind of improvement, then we've got a shot. So we'll wait until Sunday morning, make that decision then."

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While Bush and Bryant were listed as "questionable" on the injury report, receiver Chaz Schilens (knee), linebacker Travis Goethel (back) and cornerback Walter McFadden (hamstring) are all "out" against the Titans.

No surprises there.

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New kick and punt returner Yamon Figurs, on how he balances the desire to get a good 10-12 yard return versus risking it by trying to break a long one: "Just let it come to you. That's what you do. Get over the 10 yards and then let everything else happen itself. We've got a great special teams of blockers and all the guys out there. It's basically my job to get the 10 yards and then let everything else come to me."

Said special teams coordinator John Fassel: "I was with (Figurs) his rookie season in Baltimore...he's a light, fast guy, and if he gets a crease then he's somebody that has the speed that can score for you. So that's exciting. I think that's what he can bring for us as a dual punt returner and kickoff returner. And then he's got his things he's got to work on, but to me as a cover team, you've got to be a little bit concerned about his ability because of the speed."

And rookie burner Jacoby Ford continues to wait in the wings.

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Defensive tackle Richard Seymour spoke with WGFX in Nashville and talked about JaMarcus Russell, the differences between playing in the 3-4 defense versus the 4-3 and what new QB Jason Campbell has meant to the Raiders.

On Russell: "I think it's very unfortunate. I think obviously if he could change a few things, I think he would. I think it's definitely been an unfortunate situation as talented a guy as he is. Talent only gets you so far in this league. I think he understands that now and he's willing to put in the work to turn things around. I know personally, just from being around him, he's a really good guy...I think he's always been that talented guy that maybe didn't have to work as hard in high school or in college because he was always better than everybody. At the quarterback position, being around guys like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning and seeing those guys put in the work, and even Jason Campbell now, it's a level that the quarterback has to be a coach on the field. He was still developing into that player, into that guy. But, that didn't happen fast enough for the organization."

On the 3-4 vs. the 4-3: "As a defensive lineman, you want to pride yourself as the type of player that can play in any system. Whether it's the 3-4, the 4-3, you want to say, 'Hey, I'm a guy that can stay on the field versus the run, versus the pass, short-yardage situation, long-yardage passing situation.'

"You don't have the opportunity to make as many big plays in the 3-4 defense. Because in the 4-3, you penetrate, get up the field, be more disruptive. In the 3-4 defense, you are still knocking the guys back, but it's a situation where the linebackers are really making more plays in the defense. You need to be a team guy to do it. I did that eight years in New England. If you look the success that we had, it wasn't about one guy. It was about the total team success. For me personally, I'll give up some personal success if it can put some rings on your finger."

On Campbell's effect: "It's really been good. Last year, teams were able to just run the clock out - some guys in the second quarter, going into halftime. Offensively, I think we have definitely made some strides and I think Jason's been a leader for us and we are going to need that. I always feel that our best defense is keeping the offense on the field and continue to sustain drives."

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The Titans are wearing their home whites Sunday, meaning the Raiders will be in black in the heat and humidity of Nashville. A little gamesmanship by Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher, perhaps?

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I will be on CSN Bay Area's "Chronicle Live show today at 5 p.m. No doubt there will be some Raiders talk. But with Greg Papa on the team plane with the Raiders, Dave Benz will be the host. Other Raider-affiliated guests include CSN California analysts Bill Romanowski and Tony Bruno.

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For timelier updates, follow me on Twitter @PaulHGutierrez

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About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

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