Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

January 28, 2010
Cable speaks to KHTK's Mike Lamb, plans on returning as coach, says JaMarcus is "just one man on this team"

Speaking at length with a Northern California media outlet for the first time since the season ended, Tom Cable talked with KHTK 1140's Mike Lamb this evening over the telephone from Mobile, Ala., where he is scouting this weekend's Senior Bowl.

In a wide-ranging 11-minute interview that touched on everything from his mission at the game to the recent hire of Hue Jackson as offensive coordinator to where the team is in his mind at the moment, Lamb asked Cable point blank if he expected to continue on as coach.

"Absolutely," Cable said. "I don't think there was ever any question. That really, I think, was more speculation than anything else. It's never been a thought in my mind."

It should be noted, however, that the Raiders have disputed an ESPN report that said Al Davis had decided to retain Cable. The Raiders' release said no decision had been made yet and, by the way, the Raiders never said Cable was in trouble in the first place.

Got it?

Lamb also asked Cable about his conversations with Davis in the past three weeks and what he's learned from them.

"The whole time we've talked about where we're at as a football team," Cable said. "We really never have had discussions about what would or wouldn't happen (regarding a possible dismissal). It's just always been about evaluating the Oakland Raiders. I don't know that at any time he's ever said he was going to change or wasn't going to change. It's just an evaluation process that every team goes through and I think we did great diligence in terms of an organization, the coaches, and here we are, getting ready for the 2010 season and starting the scouting routine with the Senior Bowl."

Of course, the topic of JaMarcus Russell came up.

"He's just one man on this football team," Cable said. "He knows he's got to get better; we know we've got to get him better. But everyone on this team...has got to get better."

The interview can be downloaded and heard in its entirety by clicking here

January 28, 2010
Herrera: Jackson here to help whole offense, not merely to tutor Russell

Received a pleasant call from Raiders senior executive John Herrera, who was reaching out in response to today's column on new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson. Herrera wanted to "set the record straight" on the thinking that Jackson was brought in to "only" work with JaMarcus Russell.

"Hue Jackson was hired to work with the entire offense," Herrera said, "regardless of who the quarterback might be."

Reading between the lines, that means nothing is guaranteed Russell, though he will have the opportunity to compete for the starting quarterback position.

January 26, 2010
Cable speaks...

So while Tom Cable has not spoken at any length with local media, he apparently had no issue speaking with a national writer today at a Senior Bowl workout in Mobile, Ala.

Cable spoke to National Football Post about new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson.

"I think it's a good decision by the organization," Cable said. "It's someone that I'm familiar with. It's someone that I think can help us take the next step, so we're all pretty excited about it."

January 26, 2010
Jackson is new O.C, but what's it mean?

By now you've no doubt heard that Hue Jackson has left his post as the Baltimore Ravens quarterback coach to join the Raiders as their new offensive coordinator. But what does it all mean? Especially when the Raiders have yet to say whether Tom Cable is returning as coach, only to issue statements that basically say Al Davis has not made a decision yet despite ESPN's weekend report that said Davis had indeed decided to retain Cable? And, oh yes, Cable will be representing the Raiders at this weekend's Senior Bowl in JaMarcus Russell's hometown of Mobile, Ala.

Well, reading between the lines elicits the prevailing thought - that Cable is staying, has given up his play-calling duties to Jackson and has convinced Davis that he can somehow, with Jackson's help, right Russell's ship.

"I'm hired as the offensive coordinator, and I'll be the primary play-caller," Jackson told www.baltimoreravens.com. "That's my role. It's a chance to go out and assist the head coach and be the best offense we can be."

Following is the official Raiders release:

The Oakland Raiders are pleased to announce that Hue Jackson has joined The Oakland Raiders coaching staff as Offensive Coordinator. Jackson is a veteran assistant who has vast experience as an offensive coordinator both at the college and National Football League levels.
Jackson, who most recently as Baltimore's quarterbacks coach helped the Ravens advance to the postseason in 2008 and 2009, is excited about the opportunity to join the Raiders. Jackson and Coach Cable previously worked together on two college staffs - as assistants at Cal State Fullerton in 1990 and at the University of California in 1996.


January 24, 2010
One man's A.P. NFL All-Pro Awards ballot

Now that the Associated Press football awards and All-Pro teams have been announced, I thought I'd post my votes for your perusal. This was my second year voting as one of the 50 writers and broadcasters selected nationally to vote for the awards. Former Bee sportswriter Jim Jenkins bequeathed his vote to me.

The knee-jerk reaction by so many non-voters is to wait until after the Super Bowl to cast ballots. But these awards are for the regular season and should remain as such. Otherwise, you'd have an All-Pro team comprised mostly of the Super Bowl champs.

Another complaint heard this year - how could Colts QB Peyton Manning be the league MVP but not the Offensive Player of the Year, which went to Titans RB Chris Johnson? And how could Chris Johnson not receive a single MVP vote despite being a unanimous pick to the All-Pro team? Easy, "MVP" to me means exactly that - most VALUABLE. The Colts without Manning would not have been a playoff team, rather than the AFC's No. 1 seed. The Titans without Johnson and his record-breaking season? They still wouldn't have made the playoffs.

Following then, my ballot:

THE BALLOT:

The awards:

Most Valuable Player - Indianapolis Colts QB Peyton Manning
(actual winner - Manning)

Comeback Player - New England Patriots QB Tom Brady
(actual winner - Brady)

Defensive Rookie - Houston Texans LB Brian Cushing
(actual winner - Cushing)

Offensive Rookie - Minnesota Vikings WR Percy Harvin
(actual winner - Harvin)

Defensive Player - Green Bay Packers CB Charles Woodson
(actual winner - Woodson)

Offensive Player - Tennessee Titans RB Chris Johnson
(actual winner - Johnson)

Coach - Cincinnati Bengals' Marvin Lewis
(actual winner - Lewis)

OFFENSE:

WR (2) - Houston Texans' Andre Johnson, New England Patriots' Wes Welker
(actual picks - Johnson and Welker)

TE (1) - Indianapolis Colts' Dallas Clark
(actual pick - Clark)

T (2) - Denver Broncos' Ryan Clady, New Orleans Saints' Jonathan Stinchcomb
(actual picks - Clady and Cleveland's Joe Thomas)

G (2) - Minnesota Vikings' Steve Hutchinson, New Orleans Saints' Jahri Evans
(actual picks - Hutchinson and Evans)

C (1) - New York Jets' Nick Mangold
(actual pick - Mangold)

QB (1) - Indianapolis Colts' Peyton Manning
(actual pick - Manning)

RBs (2) - Tennessee Titans' Chris Johnson, Minnesota Vikings' Adrian Peterson
(actual picks - Johnson, Peterson)

FBs (1) - Baltimore Ravens' Le'Ron McClain
(actual pick - Philadelphia's Leonard Weaver)

Place Kicker (1) - Oakland Raiders' Sebastian Janikowski
(actual pick - San Diego's Nate Kaeding)

Kick Returner (1) - Cleveland Browns' Joshua Cribbs
(actual pick - Cribbs)

DEFENSE:

DE (2) - Minnesota Vikings' Jared Allen, Carolina Panthers' Julius Peppers
(actual picks - Allen and Indianapolis' Dwight Freeney)

DT (2) - Baltimore Ravens' Haloti Ngata, Arizona Cardinals' Darnell Dockett
(actual picks - Dallas' Jay Ratliff and Minnesota's Kevin Williams)

OLB (2) - Denver Broncos' Elvis Dumervil, Dallas Cowboys' DeMarcus Ware
(actual picks - Dumervil and Ware)

ILB (2) - San Francisco 49ers' Patrick Willis, Baltimore Ravens' Ray Lewis
(actual picks - Willis and Lewis)

CB (2) - Green Bay Packers' Charles Woodson; New York Jets' Darrelle Revis
(actual picks - Woodson and Revis)

S (2) - New Orleans Saints' Darren Sharper, Arizona Cardinals' Adrian Wilson
(actual picks - Sharper rand Wilson)

Punter (1) - Oakland Raiders' Shane Lechler
(actual pick - Lechler)

January 23, 2010
Cable being retained as coach, per ESPN (UPDATE!!!) Raiders deny ANY decision has been made

UPDATE!!!
The Raiders are now officially denying the ESPN report that Tom Cable is safe and will return to the sidelines as head coach next season. But that doesn't mean he's going to be fired, either.

In a statement to The Associated Press, senior executive John Herrera said, "We've never made any statement that the head coach would not be back, that has been media speculation from the beginning. We've consistently stated that we're going through an evaluation process to determine the direction that the organization needs to go. The process is ongoing and has not reached a conclusion."

Get it? Got it? Good...

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

ESPN is reporting that Tom Cable is being retained as coach and will fulfill his two-year contract.

Of course, the Raiders are not confirming anything and senior executive John Herrera issued a semi-denial, telling the cable network that no decision on Cable's future had been reached by Al Davis.

If the report is true, and Cable is returning, it's the right move from a pure football standpoint and for continuity sake. It will just be interesting, though, to see what duties Cable was stripped of and how his relationship with JaMarcus Russell has been affected.

January 22, 2010
Raiders re-hire Waufle as D-line coach

UPDATE

The Raiders have indeed announced the return of Mike Waufle to the fold to coach the defensive line. Following is the official release:

"The Oakland Raiders are pleased to announce that Mike Waufle will rejoin the Raiders as the Defensive Line Coach. Mike has an outstanding record of success as a defensive line coach and has participated in Super Bowls with the Raiders and Giants. New York's Super Bowl victory over New England featured dominating defensive line play. Mike is thrilled with the opportunity to rejoin the Raiders. He and Coach Cable spent six years together at the University of California where they enjoyed working together."

Hmmmmm, did you catch that Tom Cable reference at the end? Why mention their previous working relationship if it would not matter in the near future? A clue perhaps? Stay tuned...

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

Perhaps the worst secret of the week was confirmed by the Raiders on Friday - that Baltimore Ravens quarterback coach Hue Jackson has indeed been in Alameda interviewing with the team.

But despite the reports coming out of Baltimore Friday morning - that Jackson was interviewing for a head coaching job still purportedly held by Tom Cable - the Raiders told the Oakland Trib's Jerry Mac that Jackson was interviewing to be the team's new offensive coordinator.

Cable handled play-calling duties last season and acknowledged that he stretched himself too thin at times. Perhaps Jackson will come in to work under Cable, should Cable be retained. Cable, though, told CSN Bay Area that he had not met with Jackson.

As strange as that may sound, really, it's no big deal. Al Davis has no issues in hiring assistants under head coaches so not much should be read into that, if anything at all.

And as Day 19 of Cable Watch '10 endured, ESPN reported that the Raiders hired former defensive line coach Mike Waufle, late of the New York Giants, to replace Dwaine Board, though the team has made no announcements. Waufle was part of the Gruden Regime in his first Tour of Duty with the Raiders, coaching the D-line from 1998-2003. His highlight with the Giants - helping engineer New York's Super Bowl upset of the then-undefeated New England Patriots two years ago.

Meanwhile, the Chronicle had special teams assistant Aaron Pelch and quality control coaches Bert Leone and Rich Scangarello being retained, while the Trib had their contracts not being renewed.

January 20, 2010
Fassel denies interview with Raiders

Jim Fassel has denied interviewing with the Raiders, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle. Fassel spoke with radio host Gary Williams on SIRIUS XM's "The First Word."

A transcript of the conversation:

Gary Williams: "The whole Oakland Raider thing right now, your name has been mentioned. Explain to people how this works. Does your agent's phone ring? Does your agent immediately reach out when an opening happens? What's the process like for guys who want jobs at your level in the NFL?"

Jim Fassel: "Well, Gary, there's all different approaches. Everybody takes a different approach. I've said for a while I'm not out pursuing jobs. I like what I'm doing. I mean, I really enjoy what I'm doing. I'm taking the approach that if somebody wants to talk to me, if they're interested in me, then they know how to get a hold of me. And I've talked to my agent about that. If something came along that was really exciting and it looked like it was going to be a good situation and all that then I'd be interested in talking to them. Other than that, I'm in a situation right now where I really enjoy what I'm doing. So if a team wants to talk to me - and I get calls from colleges and different things throughout the years and decide whether I want to do this or do that. But right now this is exciting for me. They named all the head coaches. We're the general manager and the head coach and running our own franchises. I've just enjoyed it. So I have not been out telling [my agent] start trying to find out if I can get in on this job or that job. If somebody's interested and they think I fit the bill of what they're looking for then we can talk."

Williams: "The Tom Cable thing, there's a lot of vagaries around this. Has there been anybody who has reached out to you regarding that position potentially?"

Fassel: "No. Because, I mean, Tom Cable's the coach. He is the coach there and that'll answer part of the question you asked me before. I think if a coach is in place you don't start calling somebody and seeing if the job is open or not. Tom Cable is the coach. My son happens to be the special teams coordinator for the Raiders and they played very well this year. They set an NFL record, an all-time record, of net punt [yards] and gross punt [yards] this year. So I follow the Raiders pretty closely because my son is coaching there and I coached there at one time. But, no, I'm not lobbying for any job. I'm not lobbying for the Raider job. I have never in my life rooted for a coach to be let go so there's an opening. I never have. I'm in the same fraternity. I just got my nose to the grindstone. I'm down here in Vegas working on getting situated down here and that's where I am. Nobody's reached out to me."

January 20, 2010
Date set for Ice Cube's Raiders documentary

We have a date for Ice Cube's documentary on the connection between the rise of gangsta rap and the arrival of the Raiders to Los Angeles. It will debut on May 4 as part of ESPN's "30 for 30" series.

Following is the official release:

Straight Outta L.A. (Ice Cube) - May 4, 8 p.m.
In 1982, Raiders owner Al Davis beat the NFL in court and moved his team from Oakland to Los Angeles. With a squad as colorful as its owner, the Raiders captivated a large numbers of black and Hispanic fans in L.A. at a time when gang warfare, immigration and the real estate boom were rapidly changing the city. The L.A. Raiders morphed into a worldwide brand as the team's colors, swagger and anti-establishment ethos became linked with "Gangsta Rap" and the hip-hop scene that was permeating South Central Los Angeles. Rapper-turned-filmmaker Ice Cube was not only witness to this revolution, he was also a part of it. As a member of the controversial rap group N.W.A, Ice Cube helped make the silver and black culturally significant to a new generation and demographic. Still a die-hard Raiders fan, Cube will explore the unlikely marriage between the NFL's rebel franchise and America's glamour city, and show how pro football's outlaw team became the toast of La La Land.

January 19, 2010
Al Davis interviews Fassel and Trestman?

Al Davis' thirst for championships is nothing new. It's just that the Raiders have not won a Super Bowl since the 1983 season. No matter, Davis is apparently impressed by the bling of the titles recently claimed by Jim Fassel and Marc Trestman.

Granted, Fassel just won the inaugural UFL title with the Las Vegas Locos and Trestman led the Montreal Alouettes to the CFL championship, but their hardware shines just like a Vince Lombardi Trophy, no?

Well, according to The San Francisco Chronicle's David White, Fassel and Trestman have interviewed for the job purportedly still held by Tom Cable. Confused? Imagine how Cable feels.

Fassel has a reputation for developing quarterbacks - he was the Raiders' QB coach in 1995 and, with a rejuvenated Kerry Collins, took the New York Giants to Super Bowl XXXV- and Trestman was the Raiders' QB coach during their 2002 Super Bowl season. And we all kow the elephant in the room is JaMarcus Russell's regression under center.

Maybe Trestman could be the offensive coordinator/playcaller that Cable so desperately needs? Then again, why would he go from being a head coach, albeit in Canada, to someone's assistant?

Two other names, according to Blanco, on Davis' list are Kevin Gilbride and Winston Moss.

Meanwhile, ESPN reported the Raiders requested and received permission to interview Baltimore Ravens QB coach Hue Jackson. For what, exactly, is anyone's guess.

Then there was NFL.com reporting that recent New York Giants defensive line coach Mike Waufle will interview for a similar position in Oakland. Dwaine Board is the current D-line coach while Waufle coached the Raiders' D-line from 1998 through 2003.

Just another, ahem, quiet day in Silver and Blackdom...

January 19, 2010
Condo to join Lechler, Asomugha at Pro Bowl

Raiders long snapper Jon Condo has been added to the AFC Pro Bowl roster as a "need" player for the NFL's All-Star game on Jan. 31 in South Florida, meaning someone got hurt or begged out, or both.

No matter, Condo will join cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and a familiar foot in punter Shane Lechler, giving the Raiders three Pro Bowlers for the first time since their Super Bowl season of 2002. Not bad for a 5-11 outfit.

Plus, tight end Zach Miller and defensive lineman Richard Seymour might get calls as alternates. Because the NFL moved the date of the Pro Bowl to the week before the Super Bowl, at the game's site, Pro Bowlers playing in the title game will not appear in said Pro Bowl.

That means the chances for Seymour and Miller, a second alternate who'd need someone else tapping out, hinge upon Indianapolis beating the New York Jets in the AFC championship game Sunday as Colts defensive ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis would be out, as would tight end Dallas Clark.

And by the way, after his three misses in the Chargers' 17-14 loss to the Jets last weekend, San Diego place kicker Nate Kaeding should vacate his spot for Sebastian Janikowski. Alas, SeaBass was not even named an alternate...

January 19, 2010
Seymour likes it in Oakland, really...

Tom Cable may not know what his future holds, but by the sound of it, one of his players seems to have a handle on his prospects.

Richard Seymour told WEEI radio in Boston that he enjoyed his time with the Raiders this season, has talked with Al Davis about re-signing in Oakland because he loves the "challenge" and would not return to New England.


"I am in a unique situation where obviously I played out my contact and I have done my time there," Seymour said. "I talked with Mr. Davis before I left and he said he would be getting in touch with my agent to try and work a deal out. How that works out, you know it's the business; it's always give and take on both sides as far as contract negotiations.

"I would like to re-sign out in Oakland because I think when you can become a foundation piece and help turn an organization around, I mean that's a challenge to me," he added. "That's something where I am willing to take on that responsibility and that challenge. You know, help being part of the beginning with some good guys that really can make a difference.

"I mean, I really enjoy putting on that silver and black. As a player, you know, a lot of the guys I have talked to in the league say, 'Oh, man, the uniforms and the mystique of the Raiders,' you know, just being a nasty, hard-hitting team. As a defender that's something that I really enjoy. Will it happen, I don't know? I really don't know, but if they came up to me with a deal and said, 'Hey, this is what we are trying to do and you will be a foundation piece,' I don't have a problem signing back with Oakland."

January 19, 2010
All hail King JaMarcus

No doubt JaMarcus Russell is dangerously close to being fitted for Ryan Leaf's jester hat as the NFL's biggest QB Bust. Soon, though, the embattled former No. 1 overall draft pick who was twice pulled from games this season before being benched for good will wear a monarch's crown.

Russell will be crowned King Elexis I on Feb. 14 in his native Mobile, Ala., by the Mobile Area Mardi Gras Association.jamarcus-russell-mardi-gras1jpg

No, I'm not making this up. In fact, well, judge for yourself and click here to read the full story.

January 14, 2010
Cable has left the building...still employed?


Tom Cable has left the building. Whether he still works at the Raiders' Alameda compound is anyone's guess because the embattled coach simply waved at assembled media and did not stop for comment. This after meeting with owner Al Davis late in the afternoon.

A Raiders official said no announcement would be coming this evening. So with senior executive John Herrera saying earlier in the day that Cable and Davis were indeed meeting and could get together again Friday, it would seem the door remains open for Cable to retain his job.

For at least another day. Because the longer this draws out, the more likely it seems Cable could emerge employed. Confused?

The longest Davis has waited to fire a coach after a season finale is the 16-day stretch Joe Bugel twisted in the wind in 1997. Cable is on Day 11.

Mike White and Bill Callahan were sent packing two days after their respective seasons ended. Norv Turner got it three days later and Art Shell was jettisoned four days later.

January 14, 2010
Readers reach out


A few emails that have trickled in from Raider Nation...last names deleted, for privacy sake...PG

******************************************************************
Paul,
Glenn Dickey has often written about how much Al Davis hates to admit that he's made a mistake. Thus, he'll hang onto a bust player long after everyone including the waterboy knows the guy should be mowing the grass, not playing on it. Fans with long memories will recall the likes of Charles Philyaw, Monte Jackson, Marc Wilson, James Jett, and Matt Stinchcomb. JaMarcus Russell and Darrius Heyward-Bey are going to be the latest busts that Davis will be reluctant to cut loose.

Sources inside the Raiders say that Davis was especially infuriated when Tom Cable publicly said that the Raiders would have been a playoff team but for Russell's dismal play. That only highlighted the obvious - Davis drafted Russell over Lane Kiffin's objections, Davis gave him a $30 million signing bonus, and Davis demanded that he keep playing long after it was obvious that Russell didn't deserve to play. Not only did he play terribly but he didn't work hard to fix his errors.

At this point, it's a matter of Davis' ego vs what's best for the Raiders. If Davis dumps Russell, he's admitting that he was wrong to draft Russell in the first place. Russell will go down as the biggest draft bust in history - even worse than Ryan Leaf. And if he keeps Cable and dumps Russell, he'd be instilling a sense of power and authority into Cable among the players - something Davis hates to do. He wants a puppet coach. It would seem that Cable stopped being the perfect puppet - probably when he realized that he'd eventually become the scapegoat for the lousy seasons anyway and if he wanted to salvage his personal pride and professional reputation, he'd have to break from Davis.

Why has Davis delayed in firing Cable? Dickey noted in his book "Just Win Baby" that Davis had frequently refused to tell coaches whether they'd been rehired until long after the season ended. That would reduce their employment options for the next season since other teams wanted to fill positions as soon as possible. But if Davis learned that a coach was sending out feelers, he'd fire that coach. Davis' notion was that this kept coaches from going to other teams and revealing Raider secrets. He's delusional enough to think that other teams care what secrets lie in Raider HQ. If anything, opposing teams would want to know what not to do!

-Tom

Tom, my sentiments exactly...PG

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

Paul,
With another long season over, I thought I would send you a note of thanks for your Raider coverage. Good, bad or really bad, they are my football team. I still get excited on game day, though the losing is hard to take.

I am a season ticket holder, though I only went down for 4 games this year. I have been a fan since October, 1966, when the Raiders were chasing the Chiefs for the division title. The Raiders had a great 21 year run, from the '66 season through the '86 season. Those were fun times, with lots of great teams and players. Since that point, the only good stretch was the 3 year run from 2000-02.

Anyway, though I have not always agreed with your articles and nearly sent a note a time or two, I did appreciate your work this season. Thank you.

-Pat

Pat, appreciate the kind words...PG

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russell over cable?
don't be surprised if you see both back next season

-Motif

Motif, you're right. I'd be more shocked than anything. But hey, anything's possible in Silver and Blackdom, right?...PG

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

Hi Paul, if Al does keep Russell over Cable, he will have a fan revolt bigger than his pocketbook. The stands are already half empty and I have boycotted this garbage since the 2003 season. So, the fans will play hardball(no season ticket holders)and hope Al takes his garbage to Tokyo, Japan or some deserted island with Jabust at quarterback and we the fans don't have to see it.

-John

John, I sometimes wonder if lagging attendance enters into Al's mind...PG

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Paul,

Hope you had a Merry X-Mas and have a Happy New Year. Just a note to let you know as you have probably seen, not all of your readers are opposed to you personally. I dislike reading a lot of the comments from some of your readers that, to me at least, are more personal than about football. While I have no problem with people attacking you about football observations it seems too many are directed at you personally. I basically posted the same thing to your post about Frye returning to Cleveland. I have pointed out that your column is provoking as it should be since we have the blogs to express ourselves. Anyway, just to wish you Happy Holidays and hopefully we'll see you next football season. As I also posted, please quit feeling sorry for Russell! As a long time Raider fan he has used up his goodwill and it's time for him to go.

Again, Happy Holidays and thanks,
Okie

Okie, appreciate you taking the time to reach out with an email...same to you and yours...PG

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

Loved your piece on Losman. As a Raider fan I have a Christmas wish that Jamarcus Russell read it. Oh wait, that would be a Christmas miracle.
-vdirkes

Vdirkes, to quote Tiny Tim, God Bless Us, every one...PG

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January 14, 2010
Tim Brown sounds off on Gannon's SIRIUS show

As Al Davis meets with Tom Cable to let him in on his coaching future, Hall of Fame finalist Tim Brown was a guest on Rich Gannon's SIRIUS Blitz radio show. Brown spoke on a variety of Raiders topics, said he's not surprised JaMarcus Russell has struggled, calling him a "sandlot" quarterback, and again, offered his help and advice to the organization that drafted him in 1988.

Brown was asked by co-host Adam Schein what advice he would give Davis on how to fix the Raiders.

"I think it's pretty simple, man," Brown said. "I think he really just needs a football guy in there to help him out. The one thing I tell people about Al Davis, there's no doubt - and Rich, I'm sure, can vouch for this - Al Davis knows football. It's not a matter of him not knowing football. I can remember even going back to my rookie year sitting at the Super Bowl with him in the booth, the great game when the 49ers came back and beat the Bengals, and he called that last drive play by play. And he kept asking me, 'What do you think Timma,' he calls me Timma, 'What do you think on this play, Timma?' And I would say, 'Slant to Jerry Rice.' [He'd say,] 'No, they're going to throw it to Roger Craig.' Boom. And he went all the way down the field doing that. That really convinced me that this guy knows football for sure.' I think now what is happening is you have guys in the locker room that just don't get it. They don't understand. And certainly, the way the thing ended. I leave sort of unexpectedly. Jerry Rice wants out. Rich gets hurt. Jerry Porter wants out. Charles Woodson wanted out. You had a lot of guys trying to get out of the organization or leaving the organization unexpectedly. And that's hard to do anytime you have veteran football players who have been great for the organization. When they get out like that, when they leave unexpectedly, it can be a very difficult thing to recover from. And I just don't think they have recovered. They don't have great veteran leadership and I think it's very safe to say that. It's a team that is talented but they just don't have the leadership, I believe, to take them to the next level."

Brown also offered his opinions on a variety of other topics.

Brown on JaMarcus Russell: "When you look at JaMarcus, you know, the Raiders sort of called me unofficially before they drafted him and they asked me what did I think? And I told them then that I didn't think this guy was a player. I thought it would take three to four years before he developed because I was at that LSU-Notre Dame game and I watched this guy intently warming up and throwing balls before the game and during the game and what I saw was not an NFL quarterback. It was a sandlot player, a guy who can go back there, pat the ball five times and then throw it with that velocity he has in his arm. But, Rich, you know better than me, you don't have five pats in the NFL. You've got about a pat and a half and then somebody's about to take your head off. And when he tried to throw the ball on time it came out like a rocket. So I thought it would take significant time for this guy to develop how to drop back and throw the ball, a catchable ball that a receiver could maneuver and go on with. So I'm not surprised what has happened with him. You throw in the fact that, from what I hear, he doesn't have the great work ethic that every quarterback has to have, that's going to equal failure in the NFL any day of the week."

Brown on Darrius Heyward-Bey: "When it comes to Heyward-Bey, I've seen Al do this several times. He had Sam Graddy, he had Alexander Wright, James Jett turned out to be a decent player for them, played 10 years and made some incredible plays, and I'm sure Al sees Heyward-Bey as being a guy who can do the same things. The only problem, what happened was they didn't have a guy who was 'the guy' at the receiver position. If they would have had that then they could have hid him a little more and gave him a time to get right. But being that they didn't have that in place already, all the focus was on him and then all the other receivers that came out this year, you know, you have [Michael] Crabtree coming in very late and dwarfing Heyward-Bey's numbers by so many. I think it just made it look like an even worse pick than everybody thought it was already. So I think this kid will develop into something. Obviously he has some talent but he really had some problems catching the ball. Watching him on television I think he really had some perception problems picking up the ball and until they get that straightened out I think it's going to be long, long career for him."

Brown, on wanting to help and work with the Raiders young receiving corps: "I would love to do it and I've said that. I've reached out to them and said, 'Hey, give me a couple days with this guy and I can give you a real assessment of where he is and we go from there.' I'm on my way right now to work with a couple of young college guys, [Kansas WR] Dez Brisco and [Brandon] LaFell out of LSU. I would love to be able to pass on what God blessed me with to these younger guys but sometimes it's a lot more difficult than we think it is."

Brown was asked by Schein what the Raiders' reaction has been when he says he wants to help.

"Well, you know, everybody says ok but the phone never rings," Brown said. "I'm never going to step on anybody's toes. I'll throw the offer out there and I'm not asking to get paid for it or anything. I just don't like, my name is so synonymous with the Raiders, that to hear people week in and week out dogging this organization, it's very hurtful to me. It's something that I have to deal with. So I have a vested interest in seeing this thing get turned around."

January 12, 2010
Cable still twisting in the wind

As Tom Cable continues to twist in the breeze - the cold Autumn Wind, if you will - rumors continue to swirl about who his replacement will be as the head coach of the Raiders.

Of course, Al Davis has to actually fire Cable for there to be an opening. But, as I wrote last week, it seems fairly certain that Davis will choose to let Cable go while keeping JaMarcus Russell in the fold.

According to various reports, Monday's planned meeting between Cable and Davis never happened and was pushed back to today. Alas, more reports have surfaced that Davis did not arrive at the team's Alameda facility until about 4 p.m., with still no word.

Just your typical offseason Raiders drama, no?

But that has not stopped some from speculating on potential successors as NFL.com has suggested Green Bay assistant Winston Moss, a Raiders linebacker from 1991-94, as a candidate.

Since his season finale media conference last Monday, Cable has purportedly been doing the busy work that comes after the last game, such as player evaluations.

January 7, 2010
Gannon rebuffed, rescinds offer of help

That'll teach Rich Gannon to reach out to the Raiders...

The former Raiders quarterback and 2002 NFL MVP has rescinded his offer to help the franchise and quarterback JaMarcus Russell after getting rebuffed - badly - by the Raiders on his SIRIUS NFL radio show this morning.

Asked by co-host Adam Schein if he had heard back from Al Davis after his public offer was made Wednesday, Gannon said he had not.

"You know, it's amazing, you try just to reach out to somebody and say something, that maybe you can help a young guy, and you get criticized for it," said Gannon, who was banned from the team's Alameda facility in September. "I'm not looking for work. I have plenty of jobs that keep me busy.

"People think I'm looking for a job. I've been offered jobs to get into coaching and to get into management. I have no interest in doing it. I just was really looking at a young guy that's really struggled and just thought that I could reach out to help him out. Listen, I'm not all the king's horses and I'm not all the king's men. I can't put Humpty Dumpty together again. I can't do that. But I was just looking to figure out a way to go out there and share with them some of the things that helped me as a player and prepare and get myself ready not only for the season but for games each week. I've done it with Aaron Rodgers and I've done it with quarterbacks in Tampa and Minnesota. But, hey, trust me, I won't make that call again."

From the Raiders' perspective, they have been tweaked at the level and volume of criticism Gannon has lobbed their way since becoming a member of the media.

Wednesday, Raiders senior executive John Herrera told The Oakland Trib's Jerry Mac that Gannon was the one "that needs the help" in a fascinating harangue.

"When (Gannon) goes on a radio show offering Mr. Davis help, Tom Cable help, the Raiders help, maybe it's Rich that needs the help," Herrera said. "What does Rich Gannon think he has to offer that Paul Hackett can't contribute, when he himself said Paul Hackett is the best quarterbacks coach that he ever had?"

And so it goes...

January 6, 2010
Gannon reaches out to Raiders, seriously

Some 15 weeks after the Raiders attempted to ban him from their Alameda facility, Rich Gannon has taken what can be perceived as A) the high road or B) imbibed in a publicity stunt.

The 2002 NFL MVP-turned-broadcaster today on his SIRIUS NFL Radio show told his audience that he has reached out to Al Davis in an offer to help the foundering franchise "in any way (Gannon) can." Talk about things that make you go, hmmmmmmmmm.

"I did something yesterday that I can't believe even I did," Gannon said on his show. "I picked up the phone and I reached out to Al Davis. So I called Mr. Davis, I have not spoken with him yet, but I'm happy to help out in any way I can. I'd love to help JaMarcus Russell if he wants help. I'd love to help Tom Cable and that organization. It's important. Listen, seven straight seasons where they've lost 11 or more games? Something's not right."

The Raiders took offense to Gannon's oft-critical view of the franchise. Raiders senior executive John Herrera shredded Gannon at the time.

"He's repeatedly said that they should just blow up the building and start all over again," Herrera said in September. "He hasn't done that once or twice, but has done that repeatedly. He continually attacks the owner, he continually attacks the organization in every way that he can. After listening to all of that for the last several years, why would you want him in your building when all he does is attack the organization that made his career?"

League rules would not allow the ban, though Gannon reportedly did not attend the production meetings in question before the Raiders game against Denver on Sept. 27.

"Rich Gannon had been a journeyman quarterback in the NFL for years, and we gave him the opportunity of a lifetime to be our starting quarterback," Herrera said at the time. "We're the only team that ever afforded him that opportunity.

"He was one of the least popular players with his teammates that we ever had here and he still can't seem to get over the fact that he played the worst game in Super Bowl history."

The ball is in Al's court, now...

January 6, 2010
Brady "tucks away" Comeback Player of the Year Award

As you've no doubt heard by now, New England Patriots quarterback, and Tuck Rule, ahem, hero, Tom Brady was named the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year today by the Associated Press in a close vote by a nationwide panel of 50 sportswriters and broadcasters who cover the NFL. Brady received 19 votes, while Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Carnell "Cadillac" Williams had 14 votes.

As one of the few who has the privilege of voting for the NFL awards, I cast my ballot for Brady, though I thought long and hard about siding with Williams.

Both came back from career-threatening knee injuries but in the end, Brady playing the most important position in the game and throwing for 4,398 yards with 28 touchdowns while leading the Patriots back to the playoffs - Spygate or no Spygate - swung my vote.

As an aside, Raider Nation, don't you think the award should be named after Jim Plunkett?!?

January 6, 2010
Harvin named offensive ROY, where's DHB?

Think the Raiders couldn't have used Minnesota Vikings receiver Percy Harvin this season? The Florida product was named today as the NFL's offensive rookie of the year by the Associated Press in a runaway vote by a nationwide panel of 50 sportswriters and broadcasters who cover the NFL.

Harvin, the No. 22 pick of the draft and the fourth receiver selected - after the Raiders' Darrius Heyward-Bey, the 49ers' Michael Crabtree and Philadelphia's Jeremy Maclin, also returned kickoffs for the Vikings and received 41 votes.

Baltimore Ravens tackle Michael Oher, whose heart-tugging story is playing on movie screens across the country in "The Blind Side," was second, with six votes.

Privileged enough to have a vote, I went with Harvin, though I thought briefly about going with Oher and even New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, what with his "leading" the Jets to the playoffs.

Alas, Harvin's stats - 60 receptions for 790 yards with six TDs, 15 rushes for 135 yards, 42 kickoff returns for 1,156 yards and two scores, including a 101-yarder, and setting Minnesota's single-season franchise record for all-purpose yardage with 2,081 - were too loud to ignore.

As far as the Raiders' offensive rookies were concerned - DHB, the shocking No. 7 overall pick, finished 27th among ROOKIE receivers with nine catches. He also had 124 yards with one touchdown and did not play after Thanksgiving, thanks to a sprained foot. Fourth-rounder Louis Murphy, a college teammate of Harvin, had more of an impact with 34 catches for 521 yards with four TDs.

January 6, 2010
Yours truly on "Chronicle Live" tonight

Yours truly will be a panelist on "Chronicle Live" tonight, following the Warriors game. Should air after 9 p.m. on CSN Bay Area.

With host Greg Papa, who is also the Voice of the Raiders, and San Francisco Chronicle Raiders beat writer David White on the show, there's sure to be a lot of Silver and Black talk.

Anyone seen JaMarcus in Las Vegas?

January 5, 2010
JaMarcus in Sin City after skipping final team meeting?

JaMarcus Russell may have just given Tom Cable the ace up his sleeve to keep his job as head coach and force Al Davis to choose him over the purported franchise quarterback.

As first reported by Contra Costa Times columnist Cam Inman this afternoon, Russell has checked into the Maloofs' Palms Hotel and Casino a day after skipping the Raiders' final team meeting and further angering teammates with his obtuse ways.

If true, it just shows - again - that Russell prefers to party than to pontificate a lost season. Yes, I know the season is over. And yes, I get it that Russell's absence was "excused" due to "personal reasons," according to Cable in his Monday presser. But this just sends all the wrong messages. As I wrote this week, Davis should cut Russell and keep Cable. And as I add now, Cable should have his play-calling duties stripped and hire an offensive coordinator. And Davis should hire a General Manager. But I digress...

At least one of Russell's teammates was fed up enough with Russell's absence to not-so-subtly point it out to reporters Monday in the locker room. And if you believe the other, thus far uncorroborated rumors, it's just the latest in a long line of stories floating around showing off Russell's "I've-got-$30-million-reasons-why-I-don't-have-to-work-as-hard-as-you" stance.

Cable could take that into his scheduled meeting with Davis next week. He wouldn't even need an overhead projector to show the chasm developing between Russell and his teammates, and that Cable was right to bench Russell, whom Davis has said will be "great." Then again, it would also prove Lane Kiffin was correct about Russell.

Unfortunately for Russell, what happens in Vegas, gets Blogged about in Silver and Blackdom. Stay tuned...

January 4, 2010
Raiders players have Cable's back

The players that were milling about the Raiders locker room on Monday most definitely had Tom Cable's back. A sampling of their responses.

QB Bruce Gradkowski, on if Cable deserves another year: "I definitely think Tom deserves another year. Coach Cable has done a great job this year. To be a head coach and come in this league and only get one year and one shot, it's tough. The good football teams in this league, their coaches have been there for a while with the same players and got to work together. It's not only hard on the coaching staff but it's hard on the players to continually learn new systems, have new coaches. If we come back with the same coaches, we'll have the same systems, guys will be more comfortable going into next season, so it's all about consistency. That's one thing we'll focus on this offseason, is being more consistent next year. I'm very positive about that going into the offseason, and it makes me excited."

LG Robert Gallery, on if Cable deserves another year: "Definitely. I think you ask anybody in this locker room that really cares about the right things, they all want him back. We'll see what happens, it's not our decision, but we definitely want him back because he's getting this thing going the right way."

Gallery, on if Cable changed the culture: "Definitely. I think everybody that matters is pulling for him and believes in him and what he's doing and that's what we need around here. Obviously there's changes that need to be made, and we hope he's here and he makes those changes."

Gallery, on fans thinking 'players always say that': "I think you know when people are giving the company line and I think you know when people are serious and say it from the heart and I think guys truly believe in him. I do. I know the majority of the guys in here, the guys that matter, want him back and know he's trying to do the right thing."

Gallery, on if any players will go to Al Davis to plead Cable's case: "You know, that's up to him. I don't know, I can speak for myself, I don't know if other guys have talked to him. I haven't talked to him, but I think he knows how we feel. But he's the owner, he'll make the decision and that's kind of the deal, but I'm pretty sure he knows how we feel about it."

Gallery, on what Cable has done for his career: "He's really got it...to where I want it to be. Besides the injuries this year, last year and this year, got back to playing a the caliber that I wanted to be and it was kind of short-lived this year, but you know, he made it fun again and got me back to the way I was in college."

Gallery, on the setback it would be to start over with another coach: "Yeah, it's not easy, just personally I don't think that's how you get to build a winning program. You can't have a new guy every year. You've got to get familiar with a guy and know what's going on, and I think we have that right now. We'll see what happens. I'm going on as though he's going to be the head coach until I hear differently."

TE Zach Miller on if Cable deserves to be back: "I think he does. I think most guys on the team really like him as a coach. I've only heard rumors. I don't want to speculate."

Miller, on if Cable has changed the culture in the locker room: "I think so. I think guys play hard for him. All year I think guys kind of rallied around him and played hard for him and put all our effort on the field for him. I think that's something that's good."

January 4, 2010
Cable still employed, for now...

Tom Cable is still employed...for at least the day. Then again, Al Davis rarely, if ever, fires a coach so soon after the season finale. What is clear is this, though, at least from my vantage point - either Cable or quarterback JaMarcus Russell has to go.

And while no one in the Raiders' locker room is about to come out and say it, you get the sense the players would side with the coach. Crazy, huh? Especially in a league driven by players, and not coaches.

But Russell not showing up for the team's morning season exit did not sit well with some in the locker room, even if the purported franchise quarterback's absence was excused by Cable.

A transcript, then, from Monday's final postgame media conference of the season:

CABLE: "Just to follow up yesterday, two guys who got nicked in the game - Charlie Frye is undergoing an MRI right now. Seemed to be a lower back strain and about the same this morning as it was yesterday after the game, pretty sore and tight. And then Darren McFadden got a pretty good stinger in the shoulder but did come back in and went back out and came back in, so, we'll just make sure he's O.K. there.

"In regards to yesterday's game, really, what I said after the game, really hit it on the head. I mean, we had a great opportunity, tremendous effort, didn't get it done in the second half, when we had a real chance, I think it was 14-13, kind of grabbed momentum and then gave it up. Too many rushing yards with their offense, obviously, and, you know, but a game you walk away from feeling like you had a chance to win but you just didn't get it done."

QUESTION: Do you immediately dive into player evaluations now?
ANSWER: "Yup. Yup. We'll start on that probably this afternoon and that will be the next deal, spend a few days doing that. And then we'll take a few days to kind of relax and refresh."

Q: What is the checkout process, meet as a group?
A: "Yeah. We met as a team, and then physicals for everyone, exit physicals, and information where everybody will be, that sort of thing, and then team meeting and then we're done. This afternoon, the coaching staff will start on the evaluation."

Q: What was the message to the team?
A: "Well, you know, it was kind of a follow-up to yesterday. The next step for this organization is to not just compete and be in them, but now to win them and get over the hump. The next step, I think, is the biggest one, and that's what I tried to explain to them - that there has to be an individual standard set and then one that will combine as a team to set our own standard next fall. But that's going to be the most difficult one. And it takes a greater commitment and it takes a little more work and giving of yourself a little bit more and just focus on that. Next year, there can only be one goal, and that's to be a playoff team. Not to win and all that, it's to clear up all this inconsistency and those sort of things and become a playoff team."

Q: How do you get guys to work harder?
A: "I think whenever you end the year like you did and you're 5-11, albeit very competitive and all that, not winning enough, I think that's all you need, you know? At the end of the day, it still comes down to winning and that still has to be the greatest motivator, is success."

Q: Is this a playoff team with some tweaks here and there, or do you need to bring in a lot of guys?
A: "I think when you get done evaluating it, have a better chance to answer that. But certainly there will always be change. You've got to make the team better and look at every area, every aspect of it, all positions, both sides of the ball, kicking game, whole deal, and really, have some real honest evaluation. Don't window-dress it. It's got to be very black and white."

Q: Was everybody at that full team meeting this morning who you expected to be there?
A: "Yes."

Q: JaMarcus Russell there?
A: "Uh, he was not. But I knew he wasn't going to be there."

Q: Why not?
A: "Because he was excused."

Q: For, personal reason?
A: "Same reason Richard Seymour was - personal issues."

Q: Who do you want to be your QB next year?
A: "Well, again, that's coming down really to the evaluation process, you know. Getting all that done and saying who you're going to have on your team and build this team with and then, I think, once you get through that part of it, which will be free agency, the draft, then it's time to really put your team together, in terms of who's going to play where and what."

Q: Did you know when you were hired to coach this team that it would take more than one year to get it going?
A: "Yeah, I think I said that, even, in the beginning, that there would be a process to go through to get there. Certainly we hoped we could do it right away. But we're much better and much closer but we're not near close enough."

Q: With poor rushing game and so many QB sacks, how much of a disappointment was the O-Line play?
A: "Well, I think on both sides of the ball. You're asking specifically about the offense but I think on both sides we have to get better. There's no question. And the good teams in this league, really, they're bui;t on the line of scrimmage. And the cohesiveness it takes, whether it be on offense or defense, is extreme. And I didn't think we had enough of that on either side this year."

Q: Still sold on the zone-blocking scheme?
A: "You know, really, when you look at it, the teams that are leading the league are still predominately zone blocking teams. So I'm not sure it's the scheme that's the issue, it's how are we teaching it, how are we playing it. Those kinds of things to me are more of an issue."

Q: Did this team underachieve, overachieve or play to expecations?
A: "I think there are some times I felt like it underachieved. There's some times I think we played to our potential. And then learning how to win, I think that's the next step, and I think we've learned the little things it takes to ensure that you win. When you have it 14-13, make another play. Just keep playing, make another play. That would have been the difference yesterday."

Q: Have you done enough to retain your job for next year?
A: "It's not up to me."

Q: Do you feel you have?
A: "Yes, definitely."

Q: Anticipate a formal meeting with Al Davis?
"We have talked this morning, and we'll talk again next week."

Q: Monday?
A: "Sometime next week."

Q: Did he give you any reassurance?
A: "No, it's not about that right now. Right now it's about getting this team evaluated."

Q: Feel like you and Al were on the same page regarding the QB situation?
A: "I do, because his words to me were, 'You're the coach. Make the decision.'"

Q: Was the play of the offense over the final seven weeks a bright spot and offer promise?
A: "Yeah, there's no question."

Q: Scoring was still an issue, though.
A: "We were at nine points a game before, and it went to 16-something in the last seven weeks."

Q: What did you learn this year?
A: "Ha-ha! A lot. Really. What a great experience. I learned be careful about trying to do too much. I'll put that at the top of the list. Be careful about trying to do too much as the head coach. You gotta do a lot. You gotta have your hand on everything. But I think I've always been one to just roll 'em up and go at it, whatever needs to be done, get in and get it done. I think that's why you have the coaches you have and the staff you have and those kind of things. So I'd say that'd be at the top of my list."

Q: Of all your roles, which would you like to keep next year?
A: "I think first thing is to get through this week, evaluating the players. And I'm gonna do that next. That's kind of second on my list. I don't think it's time to answer that question, but it will be soon."

Q: Did you overextend at times?
A; "Yeah, I think you can sometimes do so much that you're not good at the things you should be, you know?"

Q: Are you open to having someone else call the plays?
A: "Oh, yeah. At the end of the day I'll do what's best, for sure. For sure."

Q: Did you tell Al you wanted to stay?
A: "Umm. We don't have conversations like that. Right now, there's a process every team's going through that's not in the playoffs, and that's really to evaluate where you're at, who you are, right now at the end of this thing. And then, from those evaluations and from those discussions, you make some decisions."

Q: Does Al Davis share your optimism about this team?
A: "Well, I hope so. But again, we don't have those types of conversations. So when you're in the locker room and you're on the field every day, I think your thought, your approach to it is very real, 'cause you see it. You see it for what it is."

Q: What was the nature of today's meeting with Al?
A; "Yeah, just to plan the evaluation, and discuss what we'll talk next week, and we'll go from there."

Q: Richard Seymour a guy you'd like to have back next season?
A; "I hope so. Again, that's part of these next few days and evaluating this whole thing. But he certainly did a lot of good things since he's come here."

Q: Decision to focus on passing game in camp hurt the running game?
A: "That's one of the things on my list to look back on. It certainly could have. I think at the time it was the right thing to do. Even though there were struggles early, it certainly kind of worked itself out to where we improved that area."

Q: Should you have changed QBs earlier?
A: "It's not time to do all that right now. What it is is let's evaluate our players and see where we can make our team better. And then we have to do those kind of things, we have to answer that kind of question."

Q: Gradkowski one of the surprises?
A: "I think so. He and Charlie both did a nice job when they were given the opportunity. They were prepared and all that, so yeah."

Q: Expect open QB competition?
A: "Again, I haven't even thought about all of that."

Q: Young receivers, you like what you see?
A: I'm excited about that group, for Chaz (Schilens) and Louis (Murphy). And we'll get Darrius (Heyward-Bey) back and get him through the first-year blues, if you will, and get him relaxed and calmed down and continue to develop the group. You can throw Brandon Myers in there. I think that's someone in the future that's going to help us with Zach (Miller). There's a nice core there, a nice nucleus to grow with."

Q: How will building the roster for next year be affected by the threat of a lack of a CBA?
A: "I think it's going to have an affect on all that. I think every team is going to go through the same ups and downs with it. That's why to me it's so important that the evaluation you do in the next few days I think has to be very, very critical and has to be very detailed. You have to really get some bottom line things answered."

Q: See the billboards and the fans' campaign for a General Manager and are you in favor of it?
A: "You know what? I really haven't. I was told about it and that's about all I know about it. I don't have any feeling on that."

Q: But are you in favor of it?
A: "I think right now let's see where this team is and again that's part of how do you get us better."

Q: What does it mean to have the players' support?
A: "It means that they trust you and you give them everything you've got, and they know that, that you try to give them a chance to succeed and that you respect them and care about them. That's really what it means. Again, I made a point a little bit ago, when you spend all that time with them, be it weight room, locker room, on the field, camp, on and on and on, it either is a good fit for a coach and the players or it's not. We try to do it right and we certainly are learning to play for each other and grind for each other the way you're supposed to. Now let's get to winning football games."

Q: Why the lack of production from Darren McFadden, injuries?
A: "If you're going to put your hand on one thing, it'd probably be it. Yesterday, he's in, he's out, he's in, he's out, with a stinger. That happens a number of times. I think again he'll be fine. I think we've got good runners there. To me it's more a product of getting more success early so you can grow your confidence and you can become the sort of explosive team you want to be because then it makes weapons like Darren that much more special. You can do these things with him and be as creative as you want to."

Q: Thoughts on Sebastian Janikowski and his recent accomplishments, 61-yard field goal, 1,000 career points?
A: "Well, it's tremendous. You think about scoring 1,000 points and you can argue all day about him being the Pro Bowl kicker in the AFC. He's done it since 2000 certainly since I've been here a very high level of consistency. Just a lot of positive for Sebastian and what he's done in his career. He's not very old so he's got a long life left as a kicker in this league. Hopefully we'll get something worked out with him and he'll be a Raider."

Q: How often do you think about your job status?
A: "I don't because all I know is I have a contract right now. Whether or not that's honored is not up to me. I'm a ball coach. I'm a damned good football coach so things will work out. They always do."

Q: How much have you learned to ride through storms here?
A: "Tshh. I'm the master. Any of you got problems, just call me. Believe me. I can help you with your alternator and those kinds of things, your travel plans. But seriously, I think you asked me what I've learned. I think that's the next biggest thing I've learned is everything I was raised to be and understand and believe in got me through the year. I think it justified a lot of things for me but it also taught me some things about just how strong you really have to be. Not for yourself, it's for the people around you, whether it's your coaches, your team, your family, whatever that is. I think that's No. 2. Don't try to do too much and No. 2 , really realize what you're capable of but also understand just how tough you have to be to get through it."

Q: Outside stuff behind you?
A: "Well, I hope so. I have no control over any of that. I know the truth, we all know the truth, it was proven and so you got to move forward."

Q: You seemed to have changed the culture here.
A: "Well, I said that from the very beginning. I said one of the things that would really have to happen for us to get back to being a team that would have a chance to make a run at the playoffs and have success was you had to change the attitude and you had to change the mentality and the defeatist attitude that gets in the locker room when you struggle for a long time. The thing I'm most pleased about from the season is the fact that our talk now is about we can and we will. It's not 'Oh well, this happened, here we go again,' that kind of BS. It's we can and we will. I think that's really a big deal."

Q: Can Luke Lawton be around the team during his suspension?
A: "No, if I understand the rules, really, it's a suspension. You're out, you're away and all that."

Q: Honest mistake on Luke's part?
A: "I don't really know. Coaches are not part of that deal."

Q: Who was a pleasant surprise?
A: "Sure there was. I mentioned our safety play, to me Michael Huff really became a big-time guy, a guy who you can count on, a guy who can make plays, was solid from beginning to end. Tyvon Branch just seemed to get better every week. Matt Shaughnessy, better and better every week. Trevor Scott. The play of Nnamdi. The thing I'm most, and I don't know how many of you really know this, but to me Nnamdi became a much better player because of how he became a much better leader and how he became more solid in those aspects off the field. I'm really proud of Nnam just because of who I think he is become. He's becoming complete. He's become not just a guy respected because he plays great. I think because he's doing the right things all the time and I think that's pretty impressive, how he works, what he puts into it, those things. So valuable because young guys see that, Mike Mitchell sees that and that's what you want him to see. Mike Mitchell's a guy I think in the last six weeks has really come alive and can really help us. Desmond Bryant, another one, I really think that kid's got a big big upside. Richard has already been talked about. Trevor Scott, talked about. Offensively, I think Zach had a fine, fine year. The young tight end Brandon Myers I think is going to be a very good player in this league. The receivers was talked about, they're coming along. I'd like to as I said get Darrius maybe a little more confident and settle down a little bit, don't feel like you've got to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders, just play. Samson Satele had some really good moments and I think there's really something there to build on in terms of stability at that spot. In the backfield, those three guys, albeit up and down, a lot of time the situation dictating what we could or couldn't do, pretty solid for us."

Q: Thought on Mario Henderson in his first year at left tackle?
A: "I think, like a lot of guys on this team, there were some really good moments, some times when you're really excited about him and then there's some times where he's got to improve. There's some things, he'll be the first to tell you, there's some things he has to get better at and improve on."

Q: Assuming you return, keeping the staff?
A: "Well I hope so. This is a group of good teachers. One thing about them, they've always gone out and I think the response of the players kind of proves that this staff has given these players the opportunity to have success at what they're doing."

Q: Did Paul Hackett's or Ted Tollner's job change with the changing of quarterbacks?
A: "Not really. No. O.K.? Thank you all."

January 3, 2010
Raiders-Ravens in-game Blog: 4th quarter, Ravens 21, Raiders 13

Willis McGahee takes advantage of the Russell pick and goes in from a yard out...Ravens 21, Raiders 13...13:16 to play.

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JaMarcus giveth, JaMarcus taketh away...loses fumble when hit in the pocket at the Ravens' 23-yard line...9:42 to play

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Cundiff misses a 51-yard field goal attempt, so Raiders take over at their own 41-yard line...3:43 to play. Ravens 21, raiders 13. This should be it.

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Nice false start penalty on Cornell to start the drive...not

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GOt to head down...to field. Elevatros are down. Ravens have ball with 2:49 to play at their own 10-yard line

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Ravens run out the clock. Ballgame, Ravens 21, Raiders 13. And who survives the wrath of Al Davis - Tom Cable or JaMarcus Russell?

January 3, 2010
Raiders-Ravens in-game Blog: 3rd quarter, Ravens 14, Raiders 13

@NFLprguy TWEETS: "In case u were wondering, we finished season w/ just 8.6% of games blacked out in local market. Projections were 10 to 20%. Great fans "

Raiders, meanwhile, were blacked out 7 of 8 times...

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Raiders force a three and out and with Frye hobbled by back and ankle injuries, JaMarcus Russell enters the game. And Raiders have teh ball at their own 10 yard line....

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Russell takes Raiders to 41-yard line, big play a 19-yard completion to Chaz Schilens before forced to punt. Lechler booms a 59-yarder, rasing his average to 51.1 yards. Record is 51.4, by Sammy Baugh in 1940.

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After a Ravens punt, a steady Russell leads the Raiders to the Baltimore 21, where Sebastian Janikowski boots a 39-yard field goal...his 1,000th point of his career....Ravens 14, Raiders 13, 4:06 to play in third quarter.

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Raiders defense locked in now...force another three and out...

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AND, the first JaMarcus turnover of the day, picked off trying to hit Zach Miller across the middle, by Dannell Ellerbe, who returns it to the Raiders 22-yard line. A McGahee run to the 16 a play later, and that's teh end of teh third quarter.


January 3, 2010
Raiders-Ravens in-game Blog: 2nd quarter, Ravens 14, Raiders 10

Frye takes a shot at McFadden in end zone but Run DMC comes down out of bounds. One play later, SeaBass drills a 37-yard field goal. Ravens 7, Raiders 3...14:49 to play in 2nd quarter.

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Both of the Raiders timeouts thus far have been because they only have had 10 guys on the field on defense...

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Ravens drive to Raiders' 48 but stall, Seymour batting down Flacco's 3rd and 15 pass at the line of scrimmage. Ravens punt and JLH's fair catch at the 18 sets up the Raiders with 9:09 to play in the second quarter.

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Raiders again get to midfield and stall. Lechler's punt bounces at the 1 and comes back to the 5, hurting his average, which now sits at 51.0.

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wow...McGahee pops a 77-yard TD run, pushing Hiram Eugene down at the 50 with an open palm/stiff arm to the facemask...ouch. Ravens 14, Raiders 3, 3:54 to play in the half.

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Umm...Frye looks hurt, and guess who's warming up - yup, your favorite QB - JaMarcus Russell...but Frye putting his helmet back on.

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Frye re-enters waering a flak jacket but doesn't look so hot...can he last the game?!?

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He can last this drive...with the crowd starting to chant "Char-ley, Char-ley, Char-ley," he leads the Raiders 79 yards in eight plays, culminating with a pretty 12-yard TD pass on an even prettier catch by Zach Miller at the back of the end zone. Frye was pounded mercilessly on the drive and had to be picked up numerous times during the drive.

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Ravens return ensuing kickoff to the Raiders' 43-yard line and get to the 15 but when Flacco attempts a 3rd down pass after passing the line of scrimmage, the ball is moved back five yards. Cundiff then shanks a 37-yard field-goal attempt, wide right, as time expires.

HALFTIME - Ravens 14, Raiders 10


January 3, 2010
Raiders-Ravens in-game Blog: 1st quarter, Ravens 7, Raiders 0

Raiders pick up two first downs before staloling at midfield. No worry. Shane Lechler comes on and punts the ball out of the end zone for a 54-yard punt. Sammy Baugh's 69-year-old record is still in reach...

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Raiders force a Ravens punt, thanks in part to a Trevor Scott sack, his seventh of the season.

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Raiders go three and out and Lechler's punt goes 52 yards. His season average remains 51.1 yards. Baugh's record is 51.4.

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Ravens go 74 yards in eight plays, taking 3:18, culminating with two-yard TD run by Willis McGahee. Ravens 7, Raiders 0...3:47 to play in 1st quarter.

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Raiders are driving, sitting at the Ravens' 19-yard line on 3rd and 6 as the quarter ends. Big play is a16-yard pass from a scrambling Frye to Johnnie Lee Higgins, after catch initially called a drop. Raiders win challenge.

January 3, 2010
Raiders-Ravens pre-game Blog

Greetings from the sunny Coliseum. LOTS o' empty green seats, or lots o' fans dressed as green seats...

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NIce season, DHB. The rookie receiver's season came to an official close today for the season finale against Baltimmore as Darrius Heyward-Bey's sprained left foot kept him on the Inactive List for a fifth consecutive week.

Joining DHB among the Raiders Inactives - QB Bruce Gradkowski, RB Justin Fargas, CB Chris Johnson, OL Langston Walker, WR Javon Walker and DE Greyson Gunheim. J.P. Losman is the 3rd QB.

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Raiders captains - Z. Miller, S. Lechler, T. Branch, N. Asomugha, S. Janikowski

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Baltimore wins toss, elects to defer so Raiders will receive...

January 1, 2010
DHB's season over?

For those of you champing at the bit to get one last look at rookie Darrius Heyward-Bey this season to see if the No. 7 overall pick and first receiver drafted can add to his meager reception totals, keep waiting. It does not sound as if DHB is completely healed from his sprained left foot, purportedly suffered when a teammate stepped on it in practice on Dec. 4. Then there's the, ahem, rust factor.

Coach Tom Cable told reporters Friday morning the staff would evaluate a tape of DHB's limited practice and make a decision off that.

"If he was ready to go and...I think (he) would be valuable," then he'd play, Cable said. "But if he's not, it wouldn't be right to do it."

Officially, DHB is listed as questionable. His hands have been questioned by critics all season.

With nine catches, DHB ranks 27th...among rookies. His 124 yards receiving ranks 24th...among rookies. And his 13.8-yards per catch average ranks 12th...among rookies. He has not played since Thanksgiving Day in Dallas, where he caught his lone TD pass.

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Running back Justin Fargas (knee) and offensive lineman Langston Walker (leg) did not practice and are listed as doubtful. Defensive end Greg Ellis (knee) practiced full and is questionable, as are safety Tyvon Branch (hip) and cornerback Chris Johnson (hamstring). Defensive tackle Gerard Warren (shoulder) practiced full and is probable.



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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