News, notes and quotes from the Raiders’ 31-10 win over the Dallas Cowboys Thursday night at the Coliseum:
— Second-year receiver Chaz Schilens seconded the notion offered by JaMarcus Russell that much of Oakland’s struggles with the passing game during Tuesday’s practice had to do with familiarity.
“We just got in a funk,” Schilens said. “We’ve practicing against the same guys every day. They’re smart guys. They are going to pick up on what we’re doing. It came together today.”
— Assessments of Schilens, Russell and McFadden are included my my Web exclusive column.
— Coach Tom Cable, making it clear Russell’s reporting weight was an issue: “That’s between he and I and we’re working on that. He’s doing really good right now.”
— Rookie first-round draft pick Darrius Heyward-Bey had a modest 8-yard gain for his first reception, and missed a chance to come up with a big play on the third play from scrimmage. However, safety Ken Hamlin broke up the pass which was just underthrown from JaMarcus Russell.
“I knew the ball might be coming my way,” Heyward-Bey said. “Outside release, corner did a good job, safety got over and helped pretty fast. Tried to make a play, didn’t happen.”
— With the Raiders in a burn-the-clock mode late in the game, Gary Russell played the role Michael Bush will get during the season and finished with 11 carries for 44 yards.
— Three players did not finish the game. John Wade left with a stinger, Nnamdi Asomugha with a heel bruise and Isaiah Ekejiuba with a shoulder injury. Becasue of Wade’s injury, Samson Satele played much of the game at center.
— A whopping 18 diffeernt players were targeted for 37 passes by Gradkowski, Frye and Russell. Fifteen different players accounted for 22 receptions.
“We now have a talented group there,” Cable said. “It’s nice to see a bunch of guys catching balls and making plays. We need that if we’re going to grow offensively and become a good football team.”
— First a hip flexor, now a heel injury, hopefully it’s not one of those years for Nnamdi Asomugha, and Chris Johnson, battling a knee strain, needs to hold up as well.
Stanford Routt, who had a poor practice Tuesday, struggled against the Cowboys. And when the Raiders went late in the game to a secondary of John Bowie and Jason Horton and corner and Jerome Boyd and Darrick Brown at safeties, it was scary.
— Hard to know exactly what to expect from the defense with the first unit being on the field for such a short time.
The Cowboys scoring drive included an 8-yard gain by Marion Barber, a 14-yard run by Felix Jones and a 12-yard reverse by Patrick Crayton.
On the other hand, the Raiders were stout in forcing Dallas to a three-and-out on its first possession back at its own 7, with Asomugha dumping Barber for a yard loss.
“It was OK. It wasn’t great,” linebacker Thomas Howard said. “It’s early. We got out of our gaps and they creased is a little.”
— Shane Lechler is ready. Three punts, 45.0 yards gross, 44.3 net. One inside the 20.
— The Raiders outgained the Cowboys 456-274 and had 26 first downs _ 15 passing.
— Bruce Gradkowski and Charlie Frye were relatively even in terms of stats, but there were a couple of short throws on sideline passes which will be a staple of the Raiders offense that Gradkowski has trouble throwing.
On one play, he came up short to Louis Murphy, who picked it off the grass for a catch, only to have it correctly overturned by replay.
It’s worth noting that throw is not a strength of Jeff Garcia, either.
Charlie Frye showed a good awareness in the pocket of surrounding defenders and was able to get off completions.
— Players have the day off Friday, with Tom Cable available to the media for a 5 p.m. conference call.
For quick hit notes throughout the game, check my Twitter page.