Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

November 2, 2011
Houshmandzadeh wants to put the drop behind him

ALAMEDA - New Raiders wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh doesn't want this to be what NFL fans remember him for:

Houshmandzadeh still is bothered that his lone season with Baltimore ended in this fashion.

"They say I can't run, whatever," Houshmandzadeh said. "But I can run a route and I can get open with the best of them and I can catch the ball. The last play that I played I dropped it. That's something I really don't do so I'm eager to get that behind me also."

The drop clearly bothers Houshmandzadeh. He brought it up twice during his media time after practice.

Houshmandzadeh said he went to Baltimore last season chasing a championship and having a drop in the AFC Championship game in that situation bothers him.

"When it mattered, I dropped the ball," Houshmandzadeh said. "Not saying we would have won the game but we would have had a chance to continue that drive. When I look at the Raiders, and I follow football like I said earlier, they have so much talent. They have a coach who I believe in. And, if Hue said, 'Guys, listen, we're going to get in the Wing-T and we're going to run the option this week, T.J., I need you to be the fullback and lead up the A Gap,' I'm going to do it. I might say, 'Why does he want to do that?' But I'm going to do it because I believe in his ability to lead us to victory in the way that he coaches. And, man, the Raiders have a lot of talent on this team it's just a matter of putting everything together."

Having a perfectionist with the wide receivers can't hurt. If Houshmandzadeh and sprinkle the other five wide receivers with some of that mindset, the Raiders will be better for it.

Houshmandzadeh, 34, said his body feels fine. He said with only one year of high school ball, three in college and limited action early in his career, he feels he has plenty of football left in him.

Houshmandzadeh added he's never been injured. Coach Hue Jackson expects Houshmandzadeh to play Sunday when the Raiders host the Denver Broncos.

"I feel better now and it could be because I wasn't playing all these weeks when other guys were, but I feel good," Houshmandzadeh said. "People look at age and this and that, look at the body and the injuries and playing time. I haven't played a lot in my career. I sat on the bench for three years."

Why Houshmandzadeh for Hagan?

Once Houshmandzadeh's signing was announced Tuesday, speculation was aplenty over who the Raiders would cut to make room for him on the roster.

The player let go was Derek Hagan, the team's leading receiver in the preseason.

And apparently Hagan's roster spot was contentious spot.

Raiders coach Hue Jackson's desire to add Houshmandzadeh dates back to training camp.

But late owner Al Davis didn't want to add any veterans and preferred to keep Hagan, a veteran that's not as accomplished as Houshmandzadeh.

Jackson was Houshmandzadeh's position coach from 2004-06 in Cincinnati and Jackson, like most coaches, wanted another player he knew.

But Davis wasn't in favor of the move.

"The conversation that me and coach (Davis) had had, we wanted to make sure that we stressed our young receivers. Again, those guys are the foundation of this organization as we continue to move forward, and that's not going to change. At that time, Derek was there, we took Derek. I wanted T.J. Hey, like I told you, when coach makes a decision ...Well, now all of a sudden, when I keep looking at our football team and where we are, I say, 'Hey, here's a guy who can help us now that we're in a whole different situation,' and that's why I did what I did."

Palmer-Houshmandzadeh Connection

Jackson reiterated the decision to add Houshmandzadeh was his and not one made in concert with quarterback Carson Palmer, who played six seasons with Houshmandzadeh and worked out with him in recent months.

So no, Palmer didn't come with the title of assistant general manager when he was traded from Cincinnati:

"A lot of people have said - and I've heard all the reports; you walk around and look, and some of the coaches have their TVs on - 'Oh, this is a Carson Palmer deal.' Carson Palmer had nothing to do with this. I tried to get T.J. during training camp. People forget that I had a relationship with T.J. I coached him and I know exactly what he is. So, this wasn't Carson's idea, by no stretch. Now, once I said, 'This is what I want to do,' did he say, 'Hey, coach, boy, that's a pretty good deal?' Yeah. But he never came to me and said, 'Hey, look, you need to get T.J. on this football team.' This has been my decision. I took it to the powers that be within this organization and said, 'This is what I think we to do in order to continue to get a little bit better.' That was hard for me to do. I'll be the first to tell all of you guys that, Derek Hagan has done a great job here. Unbelievable job. I love the young man. And I love what he brought to the table. But, again, if I can add a piece that can make us a little bit better, and the quarterback has some familiarity with somebody, then that's going to make us a little bit better. At the end of the day, that's what I have to do as the head coach."

Palmer said he was given no heads up about Houshmandzadeh working out for the Raiders and that Houshmandzadeh wasn't around to watch Monday Night Football with him:

"I didn't know until T.J. was coming up here. I found out when TJ called me and told me he was coming in for a workout. I know Coach Jackson was looking to sign him before training camp, or during training camp, TJ said, but it never worked out. Fortunately, it worked out this week."

As for that Monday Night game, it had been reported Palmer invited the wide receivers over to talk football.

That never happened. Palmer said he didn't remember inviting the receivers to watch the game.
"I watched it by myself," Palmer said.

Injury Report

Full participation in practice: WR Chaz Schilens (groin), FB Marcel Reece (ankle), TE Kevin Boss (concussion), S Matt Giordano (neck)

Limited participation: C Samson Satele (knee), S Michael Huff (ankle)

Did not participate: RB Darren McFadden (foot), QB Jason Campbell (broken collarbone), K Sebastian Janikowski (hamstring), LB Rolando McClain (ankle), CB Chimdi Chekwa (hamstring), CB Chris Johnson (groin, hamstring).

Jackson said McClain is getting "closer" and McFadden is making "progress."
If he's not 100 percent, expect McFadden to sit out Sunday and be ready for next Thursday at San Diego.

Michael Bush is more than capable of being the Raiders' lead back and Taiwan Jones could step in and provide some of the speed the Raiders lose without McFadden.

Johnson has been out since Week 3 and has practiced only once since.

"We are still working through that process," Jackson said. "We're getting closer and closer. He wants to be out there, and he's frustrated about what's gone on with his leg. We'll continue to work with him."

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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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