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Eugene will challenge Huff

Quick hits from Wednesday’s interview sessions and post-practice press briefing from coach Tom Cable:

– A second consecutive poor game from free safety Michael Huff has put his status as an unquestioned starter in peril five games into the season.

“We’re going to create some competition for Michael and give Hiram Eugene an opportunity to go out and press him a little bit, and see if we can’t bring the best out of either one of those guys,” Cable said.

Eugene started five games in place of a struggling Stuart Schweigert at free safety last season while Huff was the strong safety. He had some of the same problems Schweigert did in terms of open-field tackling.

`The main thing is that we’re going to try to do a little competition thing as far as the free safety thing,” Eugene said. “Just kind of shake things up a little bit and see how it works. I’m just grateful for the opportunity for whatever they decide to go, as far as if I start, the playing time, it doesn’t even matter.

“I’m going to prepare like I prepare every week, like I’m going to play anyway, or start. I’m pretty sure that Mike is going to do the same.”

Eugene said he learned from his five-game trial run last season.

“Well, my main thing was angling, taking the angles on the tackles and bringing the guy down in the open field,” Eugene said. “That’s what I tried to improve on the most because I know that was my (weakness).”

Huff has started all 37 games since being the No. 7 overall pick of the 2006 draft out of Texas in 2006. He has one interception and one forced fumble. Huff was as invisible in the locker room Wednesday as he has been on the field of late.

– Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha can’t count on one hand the number of passes headed his way this season.

But he can do it with one hand and one additional finger.

Asomugha recounted one pass thrown at him in each game, with the exception of the Chiefs game, when there was two. Every week he talks himself into believing it will be the game where teams will come after him, and every week he’s wrong.

He writes all of it down in a spiral bound notebook he showed to reporters Wednesday.

“Don’t get lazy because they’re not throwing at you,” Asomugha wrote in his book, followed by reminders of what can happen if he happens to let his guard down for even a single play.

The Raiders have begun putting in Asomugha at safety in certain formations, as they used to do with Charles Woodson, hoping to get him some opportunities at interceptions. Asomugha had his breakout year with eight interceptions in 2006 and saw only 35 passes his way all last season, picking off one.

“Nam is a special guy,” Cable said. “He accepts that that’s the way it’s going to be but the minute people talk it up too much, all of a sudden someone says, ‘We’ll take that challenge. We’ll come after you.’ At some point it’s going to happen so you want to make sure he stays alert and stays focused on what he’s doing.”

Jets coach Eric Mangini said the low total of passes headed Asomugha’s way is a sign of respect, and that the reasons for leaving him alone are twofold _ one, because Asomugha is that good; and two, when quarterbacks do look his way, the receiver is usually covered and they go somewher else.

– No boot, no limits for running back Darren McFadden. His role Sunday against the Jets should be more like the Raiders envisioned in training camp.

“That was kind of the plan. That’s what we worked on in OTA, that’s what we worked on in fall camp so you want to continue to progress with that,” Cable said. “It has tied our hands a little bit but it’s nice to be getting him healthy so we can continue to get back on track that way.”

The Miami Dolphins, in particular, have had success using running back Ronnie Brown in the “Wildcat” formation as a shotgun quarterback who runs the option. The quarterbacks coach at Miami is David Lee, who installed it at Arkansas last year as the offensive coordinator for McFadden.

“When I was looking at it, I know where it was started, so it’s something you look at, you wish you were healthy so you can go out there and do the same thing,” McFadden said.

– Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell has avoided opportunities to run the ball but said he may be more daring in future games.

“If I time comes for me to run, I will,” Russell said. “Some of the times late in the game, I was trying to make a pass on the run. If it’s that time where I”ve got to keep the chains moving by myself while running, then I will.”

– Jets quarterback Brett Favre owned the Raiders as a member of the Green Bay Packers, with a 4-0 record a 61.7 completion percentage (79-for-128) for 1,188 yards, 11 touchdowns and four interceptions.

His last game in Oakland was the night after his father died suddenly in 2003, and he passes for 311 yards in the first half alone en route to a 22-for-30, 399-yard, 4-touchdown performance in a 41-7 win. When the Packers crushed the Raiders last year, Favre was 15-for-23 for 266 yards, two touchdowns and no picks.

Still, there’s the other side of Favre _ the one who occasionally delivers the turnover _ that the Raiders would love to see.

“He pulls it out of his hat but he also gives you a chance to make plays,” cornerback DeAngelo Hall said. “Brett’s the kind of guy, he’s got nothing to lose. He’s not playing for Pro Bowls, he’s not playing for money, he’s just out there having fun and those are the scariest guys. He can go out there any time, throw a pick to the house or throw a 60-yard bomb so he’s a guy we definitely got to keep contained.”

– Fullback Oren O’Neal was in the locker room on crutches and said his rehab is coming along fine. He said he was surprised to read Lane Kiffin’s comments after the surgery that it was a career-threatening injury.

“I talked to (team Doctor) King and didn’t say anything like that,” O’Neal said.

O’Neal said he hopes to be ready by training camp.

– Running back Justin Fargas was on board with the idea of Tim Brown joining the front office. Brown floated the idea Tuesday on Sacramento radio station KTHL (1140-AM).

“A guy like Tim Brown, with his experience, not just as a football player, but as a Raider and a member of this organization, that would be very valuable to us as players. His knowledge as a player and how things work here, I’m sure it would help.

“I don’t think we’re too far off. It’s just a matter of coming together as a team and getting things done on the field. There are a lot of distractions and different things around here but, overall, as a team, we do a good job of trying to focus on what we can control, focus on our work, because there are so many things that go around, after awhile you kind get numb to it, so you just have to focus on your work. I’m biased. I’d love to see Tim Brown around here a little bit more, interacting with us, because of the type of player he was and the type of person he is.”

– Defensive end Derrick Burgess (strained triceps) was the lone player who did not practice. Cable said Burgess is showing progress in his rehab and said the Raiders would know in a day or two if Sunday was a possibility.

Asomugha (elbow) and linebacker Isaiah Ekejiuba (shoulder) were limited, but Cable said both should play. Guard Robert Gallery and tight end Zach Miller were limited with what Cable called “bruises” but netiher was on the official injury report submitted to the NFL.

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • Joe the Plumber

    Yeah, and healthy workers perform better than sick ones, also. I like your style, LMN. Have you ever thought about getting involved in politics? Or you wouldn’t dare associate with all of those criminals =)

  • La Milicia Negra

    Id love to.. and i have been, we have several parties here, so its more interesting..

    But I don’t like to be ‘The Face’ not just because i’m dead ugly, but i don’t like to be the guy infront.. I rather be the guy wispering things in the ear of ‘The Face’/'guy/girl in front’.. Like Karl Rove, just not from the Dark Side.. =)

  • willie

    Tim Brown for President and Gm of the Raiders,frig gannon,NOBODY would know his crying ass name if AL didnt pick him up!Raiders!!!!!!!!!

  • La Milicia Negra

    *cough* Gruden picked him up..

  • John McCain

    My friends, I’m going to give you some straight talk. Al Davis is ruining this nation. His fundamental practices over the last twenty years have been an embarrassment. I love this nation, but I can no longer sit by and watch one man tear it apart. That is why, when I am President, I will work to have Mr. Davis removed from his position where he has continually and recklessly managed the Oakland Raiders with the most heinous and irresponsible behavior. Hard working Americans like Joe the Plumber deserve better from their leaders. That’s why I say to you, Joe, you will be able to live and enjoy your football and beer on Sunday without the tyranny of an Al Davis.

  • AlisGod

    LMG, here is where the ultimate hypocripsy of the Al haters.

    Everybody says Al controls everything, which we can all agree to. But when bad things happen, it’s Al’s fault. But when something good happens ooohhhh it’s somebody else. Well Al still signed the check didnt he. If Gannon didnt work out do you think people would blame Gruden or Al?

  • willie

    Post 112,who says?And,did gruden pay him? USA

  • AlisGod

    Willie, also, everyone forgot that in the middle of Gannon’s original contract, he decided to stay at home and asked for a reneg on his contract after a good year. After he got the new contract, he was not the same player. As good as he was for us during those years, he was never a Raider.

  • http://www.raiders.com Oakglenn

    Tim Brown is just pissed at Gannon for yelling at him for all those dropped passes.

    Hey Tim, you might have challenged Jerry Rice in receptions had you not taped all your fingers together you loser.

  • http://www.raiders.com Oakglenn

    JR is a fatass dumbass. Time to go to Tui.

  • http://www.raiders.com Oakglenn

    Jim Harbaugh will save the day!

  • Bench JR

    Chris in NY Says:
    October 15th, 2008 at 5:05 pm
    JaMarcus and McFadden will be outperforming Cutler and Peterson by the 2010 season, if not sooner.

    Well you are 50% right … I would be surprised if JaMarcus is even starting or with the Raiders in 2010.

  • willie

    Post122 What did you say?JRUSS is the MAN,the SILVER and BLACK will put you on a slow jet home!

  • Chris in NY

    Oakglenn,
    I hope that’s a joke man. Listening to the “Start Walter” crazies is bad enough.
    What’s next? Start Vince Evans. Start Donald Hollas.

  • K-Rock

    PFT says…

    And, as to Madden, there’s speculation in some circles that he could be the mystery person to whom Al Davis was referring at his September 30 press conference, when Davis suggested hiring for the front office a “unique” candidate with local ties. It’s not much of a stretch to envision Madden returning to the Raiders to help rebuild a franchise that thrived so strongly during his decade as the team’s head coach.

    That would be interesting if Madden and Tim Brown helped bring back the swagger to the Raaaiduhhs!

  • http://krock,youresofunny,dude K Rock is making me laugh tonight

    I see it’s comedy hour, K Rock. Madden working for Al Davis… Hilarious. Madden still has ulcers from his last stint there.

  • http://krock,youresofunny,dude K Rock is making me laugh tonight

    Somebody ask K Rock which “circles” he heard this in. I’m guessing it’s circles of voices in his head.

  • K-Rock

    Hey stupid.

    Can you read? It says PFT says…

    I know that it might be hard for you, buy try reading more and typing less, moron.

  • http://www.wineandpills.com Norco_Bob

    I firmly believe Andy Walter should start,…Iv seen nothing so far as to why you keep playing Jamarcus…Im for Andy!

  • http://www.wineandpills.com Norco_Bob

    Phils in WS,..bfd.

  • Robert

    I think the mystery person who Al has been talking about is none other than Jim Harbaugh, ex QB coach of the Raiders and current HC of Stanford, thus making him a “local guy”…he would be a great coach for the Raiders coz he is fiery but he has also traversed the politics of the organization…

    He has nothing but respect for Davis and is thankful for Davis giving him his opportunity to coach…unlike that weasel Kiffin…

    Also, he actually has NFL experience and Head Coaching experience…

  • http://www.wineandpills.com Norco_Bob

    Dude,…Harbaugh has worked for Al,..which means he wont be the next coach,..nobody ever works for him twice unless he has no other job offers…(Shell)

  • Robert

    Norco…read Kamakami’s article in todays merc…
    “Al Davis is a different story. Harbaugh’s first NFL coaching job was on the Raiders’ offensive staff in 2002-03. Harbaugh was an Al favorite then, and Harbaugh sure brightened up when I asked about the Raiders owner.

    “I talk to Mr. Davis now and then,” Harbaugh said, adding that the last conversation came around draft time when Davis asked him about his former quarterback at the University of San Diego, Josh Johnson.

    “I love talking to him. I consider him a mentor, and it was always special every time he would pull me aside with the Raiders or call me on the phone. He’s the best.

    “Nobody can talk football like Mr. Davis. Every time I talk to him, I always glean something about football.”

  • Robert

    Norco here’s the link…http://www.mercurynews.com/raidersheadlines/ci_10721929?nclick_check=1

    But I was thinking about this earlier than today…Al said a local guy, so everyone assumed he meant someone who had roots in the Bay Area…

  • Robert

    norco…you say, “nobody ever works for him twice unless he has no other job offers” I assume you may be basing this on recent history coz the Raiders have had coaches come back other than Shell…Charlie Sumner was one if I remember right…Give me time and I am sure I’ll find you more…

  • http://keepkiffin.com rich_gannons_love_child

    i absolutely LOVE the fact that players hated rich gannon. teams need players AND coaches like that. gannon was obviously NOT an al davis guy, which suits me just fine.

  • http://ronebofh.livejournal.com/ rone

    “Jets coach Eric Mangini said the low total of passes headed Asomugha’s way is a sign of respect, and that the reasons for leaving him alone are twofold _ one, because Asomugha is that good; and two, when quarterbacks do look his way, the receiver is usually covered and they go somewher else.”

    And three, DeAngelo Hall is so friggin’ overrated, and opposing receivers have been beating him like a drum all season.

    Great story on Asomugha in ESPN.com’s Page 2: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=clemmons/081014

  • willie

    post 128,yes sir,Tom Flores,as a player and Head Coach

  • Robert

    Willie…thanks…

  • Robert

    Also norco…Jim Fassel, one time OC for the Raiders has interviewed numerous times for the HC position…for some reason, Al never bites…

  • Robert

    terry robiskie…ex player, played a few seasons in Miami, then retired and ended up in Oakland for his first NFL coaching job…

  • WV RAIDER 4EVER

    ok fools jump on the bad typing ect but listen al is going to be al 36 yrs watching n knowing this idont count before age of 6 just what i know n remember al wont ever let go n pray its still in family we r different tim b wants to be when few else does read john madden is tired of travel guys hell even matt m al is tired just input would be a bonus.

  • WV RAIDER 4EVER

    wife typed that shes funny huh

  • WV RAIDER 4EVER

    man wanted roy williams wr lions but not that much who is this crabtree wr in college

  • Robert

    WV…I can’t tell what you’re trying to say? Are you saying Al is Al and he isn’t going to change…and that if Tim Brown wants to come back and help, that would be great? Also, Madden doesn’t like traveling means…what? Sorry dude…can’t figure out what youre trying to say…

  • http://www.wineandpills.com Norco_Bob

    Ok, I may be loaded on one too many Norcos tonight,..hey, my cross to bare,..anyway,..Im for Andy,…Andy Walter deserves a shot this sunday,…let Andy play dammit.

  • http://www.wineandpills.com Norco_Bob

    Robert must have missed the part of my post that read,”unless he has no other job offers…”…have you heard Fassell getting any offers letely?

  • Robert

    Norco…he is currently working with the Ravens…he has worked steadily since leaving the Raiders…
    As far as Walters…I agree that last Sunday, when the Raiders were clearly out of it, it couldn’t hurt to start Walters…but on the whole, Russell has to work his way thru all the mistakes…

  • http://i288.photobucket.com/albums/ll180/floresrd508/mcfaddenball.jpg SouthTexasRaider

    crabtree has been tearing it up big time.. he’s with the texas tech raiders, they are ranked 25 in the polls right now

  • Mistabrown

    Bingo!

    # lefty12 Says:
    October 15th, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    maybe the problem isn’t the players at FS,but the position their put in due to our incompetent def cord!

  • Mistabrown

    Other than Al Davis there is ONLY one other constant the last 5 years….Robert Frickin Ryan!

    Head coaches come and go and that schmuck keeps his job when his defense sucks year after year!

    Tim Brown, your thoughts on Rob Ryan ?

  • http://moron.com MR

    So what’s up mistabrown? I like your take on things. Ryan sucks, the offense sucks, Kiffin sucks, Jamarcus sucks, the defense sucks, Davis sucks, the fans suck, Oakglenn sucks, the kickers suck, Cable sucks, the receivers suck, Lofton sucks, the stadium sucks, jeez you’re a real Raider fan mistabrown.

  • Immodest in Modesto

    Why does everyone, or at least alot of people, take the time to state: “in my opinion?” You’re writing it, aren’t you? Who else’s opinion would it be? Just asking…

  • http://moron.com MR

    Immodest, you are right. In my opinion, mistabrown is the greatest Raider fan of them all. He hates everything about the Raiders, he sulks and says nothing of value, he wins hands down. In my opionion.

  • Immodest in Modesto

    MR: In my opinion, it is delightful that my opinion should be buttressed by your opinion. But this is only my opinion of your opinion, of course.

  • willie

    mrs,please stfu,or move to niner country! night,RAIDER FANS! RAIDERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Immodest in Modesto

    MR: But surely you exaggerate on your previous opinion, (no,I’m not calling you Shirley). One would have to like SOMETHING about the Raiders in order to be a Raider fan, wouldn’t one, or otherwise why bother? Being a Raider fan is not the easiest of assignments at the moment, after all. We just need 3 wide recievers and a couple of lines, and we’ll be fine…

  • Immodest in Modesto

    The European stock markets are a bloodbath this morning, after the crashes on Wall Street and in Asia. Not that I have any money, it’s just interesting. I wonder how much stock Al Davis has? With Raider attendance inevitably going south, and no one able to buy gear anywhere, we may only be able to afford a 5th round pick, or maybe a couple of 7th rounders. A tough time to be rebuilding!

  • Charlie

    I am happy to see Cable will be working some new players into the line up to see if improved play will result. So far free safety and wide receiver are targeted but I am sure other spots are being discussed.

    Also, some good direct talk about how the Dline needs to disrupt passing timing. What was implied is that the line needs to do it without blitz help. Four guys need to disrupt.

    The problem is we do not have enough talent on the Dline now. Drafting help is a huge priority.
    Until then the guys that are here need to show up with maximum intensity.

  • Lynn from Snot

    This defense is too talented to be this ineffective. Ryan is hamstrung by Davis or is just not that good as a cordinator