Game balls galore


It was raining game balls in Alameda Monday, the result of a 31-10 win over the Denver Broncos to snap a four-game losing streak.

Fourteen of them were bestowed upon the Raiders by coach Tom Cable.

Defensive game balls went to cornerback Chris Johnson, safety Gibril Wilson, safety Rashad Baker, defensive tackle Tommy Kelly and linebacker Thomas Howard.

Editorial aside: Nnamdi Asomugha was the only member of the secondary to missed out. What a slacker. Kelly may be the first player to ever receive a game ball without showing up a single time in the postgame stat book.

Those honored on offense were quarterback JaMarcus Russell, guard Cooper Carlisle, wide receiver Ashley Lelie, running back Justin Fargas, running back Darren McFadden and tight end Zach Miller.

Special teams game balls went to punt return specialist Johnnie Lee Higgins and core special teamer Marquis Cooper, who has stepped into all four special teams and been a solid player since the day he arrived.

One more _ assistant coach Willie Brown got a game ball for speaking to the team before the game about the history of the Denver rivalry.

More news, notes and analysis:

— Two Cable slogans appear to be clashing somewhat. When he took over as coach, down came Lane Kiffin’s “I’m in” banner in favor of “1-0.” Cable’s message was to never look ahead or behind, focus only on the task at hand.

Except after beating the Broncos, Cable was talking in terms of 2-0.

“A lot of positives,” Cable said. “In terms of turning the corner and all that, I think you have to answer that after next Sunday. To me, you win a game, it makes you feel good. You win two games now you can start to believe.

“That’s the approach we’re taking this week. This is a huge game for us, just like Denver was. We’re going to prepare that way and get after it.”

Perhaps they’ll just go 1-0 for a second straight week.

— Cable confirmed what was obvious to those who watched the game on television _ that McFadden lobbied hard for the play which resulted in the Raiders first offensive touchdown in 15 quarters. McFadden took a pitch from Russell after a play fake and easily turned the corner for a 1-yard scoring run.

“We didn’t have the flip play out of that formation and he said, `If you give it to me out of the formation where I can get it, I can get it into the end zone.’ So we called the formation where he could get the ball,” Cable said.

— Russell had his most efficient game as a Raider while dealing with family issues and the death of his godmother in Mobile, Ala. Russell left the team Friday night and returned Saturday night, handling personal issues while at the same time being prepared to play.

“He and I had our typical Wednesday meeting,” Cable said. “We talked about it every day to make sure the plans and everything were in order. He took care of it. He met us (in Denver) and got through his review and all the things that we do in preparation for the game. And, obviously, he played very well.”

— Defensive end Derrick Burgess had just two tackles and showed up only occasionally as a pass rusher _ he was in Jay Cutler’s face on one bootleg run his way _ but his presence was a plus, Cable said.

“I think he’d be the first to tell you he’s a little bit rusty. But at the same time he gave our team some needed energy,” Cable said. There’s no question about that. As he gets back into it, like I think you saw with Darren McFadden, you expect him to be better this week and he will be.”

— Pass rushers will receive no special counsel after Howard was called for two personal fouls for roughing the passer, with Gerard Warren getting another. The two on Howard were borderline at best.

“We have to play the game the way we’re supposed to play it which is all out,” Cable said. “It’s unfortunate but it is what it is so let’s just keep ripping it. Calls will go our way soon.”

— As noted last night, the Raiders’ willingness to put the penalities aside and just play without getting all caught up in the blame game with regard to officials was a positive sign.

“I believe this, that we’re beginning to rely on each other and not worry about the negatives,” Cable said. “If I make a mistake, then you’re going to pick me up. If you do something wrong, I got your back.

“And I think that’s starting to happen. I think that it’s that whole thing about team mentality that we’ve been working for and I just felt that, really for a little while now, and I think it really kind of came
together a little bit yesterday.”

One example came after Higgins was called for unsportsmanlike conduct for doing a backflip following his 89-yard punt return for a touchdown, forcing Sebastian Janikowski to kickoff at a 15-yard disadvantage.

With one mighty swing of his left leg, Janikowski still reached the goal line with his kickoff and the Broncos opened at the 26.

Janikowski, who covets touchbacks, told Higgins not to let it happen again.

“He was a little salty to me but in the end we got back and I was like, ‘It’s my bad. Just blame that up on me.’ He was like ‘no, it’s cool. We just can’t have penalties. It’s cool,’ ” Higgins said.

Higgins never saw the kickoff, which traveled 85 yards.

Editorial aside: Maybe Lane Kiffin had something with regard to that 76-yard field goal attempt after all.

“I was busy getting air,” Higgins said. “They say he probably could have kicked it to the second level.”

Cable thinks relieving Higgins of his kickoff return duties with the arrival of Justin Miller has enhanced his punt return skills.

“A kickoff returner is like saying, `you’re going to get in a head-on collision, and you’re a Volkswagon and here comes a Mack truck,’ ” Cable said. “That may distract you a little bit, you’ve go to be wired a little different for that one.”

— The play came back on a defensive holding call anyway, but Johnson was spoken to about his high-stepping interception return in which the ball was nearly knocked out by a Denver defender.

“That ball security isn’t good enough,” Cable said. “There was an opportunity right there to change the entire game had that ball gone the other way, went out of the back of the end zone or something like that. He’s aware of it. Next time it happens he’ll do the right thing.”

— Jon Alston, who carried his helmet in his hand after losing it on a block while running interference for Higgins, also started at strong side linebacker. Alston has been regarded as a tweener _ not really a safety or a true linebacker.

And it doesn’t matter to Cable.

“He doesn’t really look the part and those sort of things but he’s a football player,” Cable said. “He’s good for our team. He’s been tremendous on special teams and all that. He’s a good football player.”

— According to a note in the Rocky Mountain Tribune, Raiders CEO Amy Trask told a man in a Raiders jersey who was being led away in handcuffs by security that it was important to “be respectful” in someone else’s stadium.

Broncos fans had little respect for their own team. They weren’t booing Denver as Raider fans have taken to booing there team in some recent games, but then again, Raider fans weren’t running on to the field three separate times and interrupting the game.

Injury update

Safety Michael Huff left the game with a stinger and did not return, but Cable said he didn’t believe it to be a serious issue with regard to this week against the Chiefs. Center Jake Grove (calf) and linebacker Ricky Brown (groin), neither of whom were active against Denver, are “day-to-day.”

Cable said he thought Brown was getting closer to practicing. Grove said last week he expected to be ready by the time the Raiders played the Chiefs.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • M


    sarcasm about Tom Cable et alii is fine, but remember, the Cable Guy wants to be in Oaktown! He bleeds Silver and Black. It is nice to see.

  • RRS

    Hell yeah I think Ryan’s time is up.. I hate that guy and his prevent Defense… But Big Al is the only 1 who matters when it comes to these decisions.. All we can do is hope 4 the best…

  • M


    Kool-Aid stocks throughout the world will dwindle from excessive consumption if the boys win a couple of more games.

  • RaiderRockstar

    nice one 408. i forgot about the prevent defense in the 4th quarter. haha

    somebody will pick us this clown and I hope it’s the Jets. Favre retires after the season and the Jets are a 4-12 team again with Clemens at QB and Ryan coaching the D. LOL

  • Dakota

    If Al keeps Rob Ryan and Tom Cable we will be in for another 2-3 losing seasons.

  • M

    Hells yeah.. I enjoy a good Kool-Aid buzz I just wish I really had a reason to believe.. We all had such high hopes coming into the season.. Well aside from the gloom and doom guys… but what do I know I think were going to the SB every year… 😛

  • DirtyBathWater


  • DirtyBathWater

    Yabba dabba doooo!!!!!

  • # Dakota Says:
    November 25th, 2008 at 8:31 am

    If Al keeps Rob Ryan and Tom Cable we will be in for another 2-3 losing seasons.

    No. If we get a new HC, he will want his assistants, his players, his systems, his draft choices, AND THAT, will set us back another 2-3 years. Taking a guy who has the team playing well, who probably just got the break thru he needs, will give us some continuity here. Something we really need around this place.

  • RaiderRockstar


    If Davis locks Ryan up for another 5 years then all the people who said “we won’t make the playoffs until Davis kicks the bucket” were probably right. Although I certainly don’t wish that on him or anyone.

  • Dakota


    I guess we shall see. Was it a break through? The jury is still out, and beating KC next week will not confirm it….but, if we beat KC and SD in the next two weeks I might even start to believe. Cautiously…

  • Bring on the Chefs! And that crybaby rivers too… Oh man Im getting too excited about 1 win over a weak donkey team…But seriously I hate the donkeys.. I’ve been to 5 Raider donkey games in Oakland and we havent won 1 of them ishts.. I hate the donkeys with a passion… I know some of the Older Raider fans feel the same way about the chefs but 4 me it isnt even close…

  • post 338 M Never fear I have “my people” working nite&day to ensure the KOOL-AIDE stock-pile NEVER gets depleted =)

  • Sup 4eva?

    I know as soon as I go into the lab we’ll get to 408 without me… 😕

  • BDAtlanta

    If possible, I would love to see a transcript of the speech Brown gave on the rivalry.

  • M

    Certainly pleasant to visit this site this week. All of the “doom and gloom”-ers can get a rest from their negativity for a day or two.
    Yes, I know that it is easier to believe that all will turn out poorly, makes disappointment feel better I suppose. I find it easier to believe the Raiders will do well in spite of everything. As I have no hope for the human race, gotta have hope in something. 🙂

  • M..

    well what is worse? one win over denver and people was talking playoffs.. or the doom and glum patrol?

    the doomers have a touch with reality, the others dont.. I will always follow the once who base their thoughts on reality and not the dreamers..

    I love this win, no doubt about that, but it doesn’t change the overall picture.. we are still fu©ked.. we will win over KC, we have to, but bucs and texans will humiliate us..

  • Nation, we don’t get a ton of high points in the season, so take the time to vote for two bright spots in the season:

    Coach Cable was nominated Coach of Week and Darren McFadden was nominated Rookie of the Week.


  • jhill

    cable an an oc ??????

    didn’t we just get told that mcfadden drew up the first td on his hand?

    is fargas still starting over mcfadden?

    can we please get rid of all the experimenting and on the job training with our coaches?

  • # 408RAIDER Says:
    November 25th, 2008 at 8:17 am

    Big Al isnt as big a Fuk up as Bush… IMO thats a lil harsh dude..

    well, I just call it as I see it.. Al has fu©ked up a proud NATION and franchise, bush did the same..

    99% of their decisions, made things worse..

  • SacRaider

    408RAIDER Says:
    November 25th, 2008 at 8:11 am

    I just think if we can play like we did on sunday for the rest of the year Cable will prove his worth as a motivator @ least..

    I thought Willie Brown was the motivator?

  • Al Davis Underoos

    Its been six years since a Raiders team led by Rich Gannon crushed the orange crush in Denver. You guys may still try and call Russell a bust until he eventually leads the team to the playoffs, but fact is the Raiders have not had a quarterback play that well in Denver since Gannon. Cable has this team on the right track and they will get beat again, that much is certain. Kiffin forgetting what a rival is was the worst blasphemy he uttered during his whole tenure. Now we have a real Raider fan as a coach that gets emotional win or loose. I have not seen a coach for the Raiders like that since the days of Madden. Even Bugel never got teary eyed when he finnaly won a game over a hated division rival. Cable hating everyone the Raiders are supposed to hate is a breath of fresh air and a great motivational tool if you reflect on the Marty S. and the pre-Cable Shanahan years. Great win to build on.

  • jhill

    please keep ur caution flags up D … if u won’t say it, I will!

    Its only KC and SD, just like it was a depleted last place defense we finally beat.

    wins over these sorry azz teams should not give u hope that cable and ryan .. CABLE AND FRICKIN RYAN …. can lead this team to where it needs to be.

    C’mon …

  • Sac

    good point! you too jhill..

  • RaiderRockstar

    the mod is kissing babies and slapping wives or however that saying goes …

    kicking dogs and taking names.

  • Jhill..

    long time no see.. good to have ya back

  • this win really got a lot of the good old poster of this blog to return =)

  • I cant believe the mod deletes the things he does then lets all the racial and homo stuff stay up.. Its freaking tarded

  • William Sooner

    The Raiders will win out, and win the division!!! The thought that they are going to actually make the playoffs is making me hard.

  • M


    Reality is whatever one decides it is. 6,000,000,000 people, 6,000,000,000 realities. Culture defines a common ground for people to share their interpretations of reality.
    As for dreams, those and any other mind sets are equally as real to whomever experiences them.
    Keeping reality real. 🙂

  • Chris in NY

    I really like Alston. He’s as fast as Howard and he’s pretty aggressive. I do think the Raiders probably need to get a new MLB and move Morrison to the outside, so I’m not really sure where that leaves Alston, but I’d love to see him on the field a lot more. If they decide to leave Morrison at MLB I think they should keep Alston as a starter at OLB.

  • jhill

    you’ve got to be kidding me B with the Wade hype …

    u do realize the line he was playing agains, right?

    dj williams was out, right?

    who the heck was he powering outta there?

    what about the debacles of the past 2 weeks?

    your Grove hate is hilarious.

    I do agree we need another C though. I’m tired of his injuries.

    too funny!

  • RaiderRockstar

    during the presidential race he left all the negative mccain comments and deleted all the negative obama comments. that wasn’t obvious!

    the dude needs to be fair. delete the racial and homo stuff for sure! the name calling doesn’t make people more informed on Raider football either. feel free to remove that junk

  • Chris in NY

    Gotta stomp the Chiefs this week.
    Come one JaMarcus, keep it rolling, big fella.

  • Al Davis Underoos

    Since Hall and Kiffin were purged the Raider defense has started to jell to the dismay of the Ryan haters.

  • 408 still enjoying the big WIN.Man-O-Man that was sooo sweet.I thought in only his 2nd start Wade has already brought stability and a little TUDE,watch that fukker against KC.Many points 2 consider,like JLH has wings on his ankles =),and SUPRISE~ Bush is a LEFTY ,but like I said EEES GOOD!!!

  • M

    AD Underoos,

    post 324, much the same regards here.

  • Ryan still sux

  • jhill

    what’s up lmn …

    I still keep my eye on u guys (did u pull it out against D last week in ffb?)

    I agree with ur bush analogy, by the way

  • M

    JaMarcus may have had a bit extra in his psyche last Sunday after attending his God Mother’s funeral. Never a bad thing to have something more to strengthen oneself, but having an O-line keep you from being hit helps as well.

  • Nnamdi21

    I like how NFL Network Total access never said one f’in word about the Raiders…

  • I only like to make fun of non raider fans who come in here.. try to keep it civil with the NATION 😛

  • Al Davis Underoos

    The big difference I see in Russell after Kiffin has been removed is that he is looking for open spaces to put the ball instead of waiting for the receiver to complete his route. Much better anticipation of where the receiver should be and where the defenders are not. Improved head swivel and decision making, he is starting to look at receivers just to throwoff the secondary and looks much more confidant after a short transition to Cables passing philosophy.

  • Chris in NY

    Do you realize that if, two weeks ago, we held that lead over Miami (i.e. a stop on 4th & 5) and Roddy White holds onto that TD to beat Denver, we’d be sitting ONE game out of 1st place right now with a game against KC coming up and Denver facing the Jets.

  • RaiderRockstar

    John Wade is a lot stronger than Grove. Grove excels in the zbs because of his aggressive style and quickness. He’ll hold his own and cuts pretty well, but he never dominates anyone. He simply gets the job job, which makes him average. Wade has more power and the ability to move people, but he’s not as quick as Grove and probably doesn’t cut as well. He wasn’t familiar with the zbs, because the Bucs didn’t run one. Those reasons made Grove the starter, but since Wade has had a little time to get the zbs down, he seems to be getting better. His strength is a huge lift for us and I don’t think he’ll get mauled by Jamal Williams when we play the Chargers, like Grove would. I think he should start as long as he’s playing well. Same with Alston & Lelie.

  • SacRaider

    Al Davis Underoos Says:
    November 25th, 2008 at 9:31 am
    Since Hall and Kiffin were purged the Raider defense has started to jell to the dismay of the Ryan haters.

    Didn’t we get blown out by NO and ATL after Kiffin was fired? Agree about Hall tho. Worst trade ever..

  • darkknight01


    You hit on all points about why Rob Ryan time is here is done!

  • post 319 RaiderMight,thankx 4 the link!!! I voted =)

  • NO put the smash on GB last night.. They happen to play a man defense like we do plus they play it better IMO…

  • Nnamdi21

    AFC Playbook had Brian Baldinger and Sterling Sharpe pointing out how Denver was looking so good and had found their run D. BalDinger went on to say he doesn’t like the Raiders and its clear Sharpe’s no fan.

    Eat a heapin’ bowl of up yours jag offs.

    Can’t blame you too much from what Oakland has shown this year, but there really is something special there like it or not.

    Just have to focus the beam for the laser to get destructive.

    I hope the Raioders have gotten a taste for victory and realize they can get into the end zone.

    They played down and almost apologetically at times this year.

    I hope we see no more of that.