Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

September 2, 2010
Raiders-Seahawks exhibition post-game Blog: Raiders 27, Seahawks 24

Sitting here in the Coliseum press box, watchin the grounds crew convert the chewed-up field back into a baseball park for the A's.

A few notes and observations off the Raiders' exhibition finale...

Sorry for the lack of updates in the third and fourth quarter, but with the late start and a looming deadline, I had to write for the paper.

Coach Tom Cable gave the Raiders a "B-plus" for their play in going 3-1 in the preseason.

"There's a couple things I'm disappointed in," he said. "Our coverage teams. There's no way that's acceptable. Two returns for touchdowns in the preseason, up until tonight I wasn't really worried having much concern with penalties, I felt our discipline was moving in the right direction.

"But there's a lot of good things. I think we've developed a passing game. I think we've developed a mindset of team defense. We tackled better tonight than we had, really in the previous three weeks. So there's a lot of positive things. I like where we're at. We'll get a little bit healthier here as we get ready to start the regular season and we'll go for it."

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The Travis Goethel mini-mystery was solved, kinda, as his name was on the lips of almost everyone in the press box during the game because we could not spot him on the sidelines.

Cable confirmed he was not in the stadium but said he was still on the team. Asked if he could explain the situation, Cable said, "There's an injury issue, but we'll talk about all that when we talk next week."

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Darrius Heyward-Bey had the catch of the night, a beautiful 34-yard pickup down the right sideline in the first quarter in which he was completely outstretched and caught the ball with his hands.

So I asked him if he could have made that catch last season.

"In my dreams," he said with a laugh.

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Jason Campbell watched in his civies and offered up a few thoughts on the game.

"I like the way the guys played tonight," he said. "A lot of the starters weren't in there, but at the same time you're talking about if guys get hurt and guys can't play, those are going to be the guys stepping up in there. It's always good to see the team win. It doesn't matter if it's a preseason game or regular season game. Winning is an attitude and winning is something that can become contagious."

Campbell was also asked if he would be ready to go in the season opener on Sept. 12, what with the neck "stinger" and sore right wrist suffered Saturday against the 49ers.

"Right now I can't talk about the injuries or anything," he said. "But come the Tennessee game, I'll be ready."

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Michael Bennett might have solidified his spot on the roster with 92 yards rushing on 25 carries, especially with Michael Bush out with his surgicallly-repaired left thumb. He also likes having four capable running backs with Bush out.

"To see such a guy like that go down, he's been through a lot," Bennett said of Bush. "When he's in there, he's a hell of a player, so, hopefully, everything heals right for him and he can come back because he's what they call the bell cow.

"He's a big, strong, physical back and he's a very good athlete. So, hopefully things go well. But to have four of us to be able to go out there and pick up if somebody else is down is definitely key in this league because it's a week-to-week league and you never know what can happen on every given Sunday."

Bennett also spoke of the qualities each guy brings.

"To go from Bush, the big, strong, powerful back...from Darren (McFadden), the lean, fast back who can play receiver, you can put that guy anywhere, and he's going to light it up," he said. "Myself, I call myself a wise, old veteran. Me and Rock (Cartwright), we have our own unique styles that help the offense. We're a good mix of four backs, so, hopefully everything works out for us. We'll have a great backfield."

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Second-year safety Mike Mitchell, who had teh hit of the game in lighting up Justin Forsett, is taking a pragmatic approach to Saturday's cuts.

"We have had a tough competition at safety and they have some tough decisions to make," Mitchell said. "I am just hoping I can make the team.

"We're all ready. We know what's at stake. We want to go into Tennessee and prove a point. Send a great message: We're here, we're going to stop the run and we're going to tackle and beat you up. That's where this defense is headed. We have big, big linebackers and a big front seven that's going to put a lot of pressure..."

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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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