Return to respectability

The Raiders’ offense may not have gotten even with the 49ers during Wednesday’s second practice session, but gave a measured, physical and professional account of itself without feeling the need to retaliate.

With the 49ers gleefully celebrating over a red zone drill in which they intercepted JaMarcus Russell and Bruce Gradkowski four times, you wondered if the Raiders might attempt to get something started, hockey-style, when the two sides met again.


Instead, Robert Gallery dropped Kentwan Balmer on his back with a clean, legal block on the first play from scrimmage during the team session, opening a hole for Justin Fargas, and the Raiders simply went about their business.

Oakland still had difficulty getting the ball downfield to wide receivers, although Darrius Heyward-Bey made a pair of nice grabs, one from Gradkowski and another difficult catch from Jeff Garcia on a crossing route.

Garcia was the most effective of the Raiders quarterbacks, moving well and spreading the ball to different receivers.

Russell didn’t deserve his only interception, a pass slightly behind Johnnie Lee Higgins which bounced off his arms to the 49ers’ Reggie Smith. The 49ers got another interception on the last play between the two teams until Saturday night, with Marques Harris stealing a Charlie Frye pass intended for Samie Parker.

Russell did have two passes deflected by 49ers defenders and struggled with his accuracy.

The Raiders defense, despite giving up three touchdown passes to Vernon Davis in a four-play span at one point, also acquitted itself well, Raiders coach Tom Cable said.

“It was a tremendous response. Defensively, really lights out on third down,” Cable said. “Just want to see us make a couple of those throws down the field. You saw one get tipped and you saw one get dropped, and one got tipped and intercepted. So I just want to clean up those three plays. Third-down run looked good, blitz looked good there at the end. Two of ‘em I thought we mis-keyed it, but other than that pretty good.”

Cable was pleased the Raiders didn’t come out wild-eyed and overanxious after the morning practice.

“I think we’re starting to turn the corner in terms of understanding, `Hey, this is what (the morning practice) was, and now we have to come back with the right way to handle it,” Cable said.

More news and notes:

— Cable said Lorenzo Neal had not been secretly considering retirement and that his departure wasn’t voluntary.

Instead, it had more to do with the recovery of Oren O’Neal, who missed all of last season after having his anterior cruciate and lateral collateral cruciate ligaments repaired and having his hamstring re-attatched to the bone.

“I think it says a lot about O’Neal,” Cable said. “I think he’s really got back out here, got back into it. He gets better and better with each day.”

He said the Raiders hadn’t thought ahead to the 53-man roster, but surely Cable and Al Davis realized that keeping two fullbacks who were essentially blockers with limited receiving skills was a luxury. Not when it meant a developing block-and-catch back such as Marcel Reece or a versatile halfback/fullback such as Gary Russell would have to be cut to make room.

— One bit of concern _ at the end of the first practice. O’Neal appeared to be in considerable pain. He sat on a bench collecting himself for a few moments then walked very slowly into the field house. He didn’t practice in the second dession, watching in a baseball cap. But that isn’t unusual, in that O’Neal hasn’t been going in both practices during double-days.

— Rashad Baker was cut by the Eagles Tuesday, and ended up back in Oakland the following day. Baker was a special teams player for the Raiders last season who gradually worked his way into a prominent role as a third safety in some defenses. He led Raiders safeties with three interceptions and was tied for the team lead.

It also allows the Raiders to be patient with Mike Mitchell, (hamstring) who Cable conceded earlier in the day may not be ready to play when the regular season begins.

“(He was) a heck of a special teams player and a guy who really worked himself into being that third safety when Tyvon (Branch) went down last year, so it gives us good depth.”

— Cable confirmed that wide receiver Chaz Schilens had surgery Wednesday morning. Breaks of metatarsals often require screws to promote healing and make the affected area stronger. Cable put Schilens’ absence at four to six weeks.

— Cable on Heyward-Bey’s progress: “I see his progression, how to release, how to run routes much better. Now it’s just getting him confident that he’s going to catch every ball. Not most of them, but every ball.”

Heyward-Bey did have one drop in the afternoon session, admittedly on a pass by Russell which was slightly behind him and thrown at a high velocity.

— Offensive tackle Cornell Green did not finish the second practice after being poked in the eye but is expected back for Thursday’s single session. Nnamdi Asomugha didn’t finish practice because of his sore heel. Asomugha expects to be nursing his heel and hip flexor until a week or so before the regular season and said it’s been a common issue for him during camp.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • 1soldierdaddy

    4evaraider… i agree w you partially bra’… but, most of america doesnt understand how many times europe and other countries have been terrorized, and, i firmly believe in TAKING THE FIGHT to them instead of letting them BRING IT TO US… i hate the resources we spend when our country could use the SELF HELP seminar , but, we ARE making the terror regime spend ALOT of their $ and resources over THERE instead of elaborate plans and what not for another 911… one 911 was enough for a lifetime… and, dont worry man, i’ll ALWAYS fight for another persons freedoms, even if they dont believe im doing it… all in all man, you made some good comments though, no one has to agree w anyones thoughts…thats freedom in a nutshell

  • Norco,

    I think you have a mental illness, so I don’t get mad at you!!!

  • RaiderRockstar

    Raider O: you need to fire that white teller if you want Kell’s business. just FYI

    he’ll be in on the 1st with that social security check, so you still got some time

  • RaiderRockstar

    I think you have a mental illness, so I don’t get mad at you!!!


    come on Raider O. I’ve seen you throw rocks at the short bus before!

  • Thec07

    Thanks for the link to comcast. I dont like javon walker but he is having an impact on the WR”s. Murphy, and Bey have looked to him for leadership, and they state they listen….

    JRUSS interview very telling. He needs to spread the ball to ALL not just Chaz….

  • Richochet

    exlaraiderseasonticketholder Says:
    August 20th, 2009 at 7:37 am
    Morning Nation,

    Here’s what I think of the whiners:
    Isn’t that exactly what the Niners did to the Raiders the last two days?

    Alllllll….over…..the Raiders?


    Anyone notice the “too quickly” message now reads –

    You are posting comments too ignorantly. School yourself.

  • RaiderRockstar

    Richochet: u a 49er fan?

  • RR,


    Throwing rocks!!!! Are you making fun of me becuase I’m palest!nian!

  • BOO!!!
    Help us, help you!

  • DirtyBathWater

    Huff shouldn’t go anywhere. I know he was expected to come in and have an instant impact, fact of the matter is EVERYONE needs time to develop into a player, Huff has the tools but he just need time and stability which he himself did not have with the damn bed n breakfast Rob Ryan fiasco not knowing how to utalize his talent, putting him up on an island by himself against the best TEs in the game, which he did a pretty damn good job, I saw him getting better and better but ppl want to give up too quickly on guys because they were drafted high he needed time like everyone else

  • RaiderRockstar

    Raider O: they other day you called yourself a nomad

    I thought you might throw berries at him?

  • RaiderRockstar

    DBW: I think Huff deserves a shot too …

    unfortunately Raider O thinks he deserves to be shot!

  • RaiderRockstar

    Anyone notice the “too quickly” message now reads –

    You are posting comments too ignorantly. School yourself.


    BSJ: mine says “not lucid enough. try again”


    maybe I should stick to comments regarding D-Smooth?

  • 1soldierdaddy

    the prob is…givin huff a chance doesnt effect our team as much as givin jmac another does… if huff plays poor, it may or may not cost us the game …depending on the rest of our game…if our qb struggles….well, our record indicates the point…

  • DirtyBathWater

    Lol RR funny man…Raider O can’t get a break today, it seems to me that D.White has a better view of what’s going on out there based off of his twitter reporting, cmon Jmac lets get it together man ur twitter reporting is lacking imo

  • 1soldierdaddy

    so rockstar..whats it mean when i get the…
    “too flacid” comment?….lol…remember im an UNED PODUNK

  • RaiderRockstar

    DBW: Raider O is not a Huff supporter. In fact, he’s very outspoken about giving guys like Jerome Boyd the job instead. I wasn’t trying to slam him based on earlier comments this morning

    he knows I’m just joking anyways. We always go back & forth

    It took a Chaz Schilens injury to make him pro-Walker

  • 4evaRaider

    new post

  • AZ Raider

    RaiderRockstar Says:
    August 20th, 2009 at 10:40 am
    Anyone notice the “too quickly” message now reads –

    You are posting comments too ignorantly. School yourself.


    BSJ: mine says “not lucid enough. try again”


    maybe I should stick to comments regarding D-Smooth?

    Dang mine says:

    “AZ Raider, due to the fact your posts are too brilliant for members of this blog to except, we will delay in posting this in order to ensure balance between extreme intellegence and stupidity.”