News and notes from Sunday’s conference call with Raiders coach Tom Cable a day after a 45-7 loss to the New Orleans Saints:
— In the aftermath of Saturday’s disaster, veteran defensive end Greg Ellis openly wondered if his teammates were taking their profession seriously enough as in getting the proper rest and being physically and mentally prepared to play a game.
“Guys, you can’t stay out all night. Can’t expect to come in here and just turn it on,” Ellis said. “This isn’t high school or college football. This is the best of the best in the NFL. So you’ve got to do the small things that maybe you didn’t have to do in college.”
Cable said he wasn’t aware of any raging Friday night parties that included his players, but conceded he didn’t know there weren’t any, either.
“The one thing as a coach that you’re always leery of is breaking camp because then they get home, they don’t have curfew, don’t have those kinds of things, and so as grown men we’ve got to handle those distractions, and to take care of our bodies and stay focused on what we’re trying to do,” Cable said.
— Probably unfair to single out Mario Henderson, but on his Twitter page in recent days he detailed a Burger King binge that astute readers figured out totaled more than 6,400 calories, and in a recent tweet said he ate an entire box of Frosted Flakes the morning of the Saints game. All after being serious about his diet for six months in preparing to become the team’s left tackle.
— Cable wasn’t calling the Saints game a setback, but it sure wasn’t a step in the right direction, either.
“We’re looking at the film hard, obviously,” Cable said. “We just reverted to a lot of old bad habits in a couple of areas. So (we) just have to think that through and make some good decisions here in the next 24 hours as to the right approach for this week.”
At the end of last season, in the afterglow of two surprising wins to close the season, Cable spoke of working to change the losing culture of the locker room and said, “I thought it was a mouse when I took over but it really was an elephant.”
Cable sounded surprised that Dumbo has returned.
“The only good thing here is it didn’t count against us, but there’s much to learn from it and you’ve got to make that a good thing,” Cable said. “We were making progress in a number of areas, and to revert back, I think everyone’s going to take notice of that . . . it’s a tough lesson. It’s ridiculous to have to go through it, but we did. So now we’ve got to approach it, `This is what it is, there ain’t no getting around this. And we’re going to go from here in terms of staying the course and keeping up with the investment that we’ve put forth.”
— Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, after catching an opening slant for 12 yards, had two other passes thrown his way and no receptions despite playing well into the third quarter. Cable said it is because the Saints were leaning toward him in coverage, something he anticipates will happen with every team on the schedule.”
— Whatever the Raiders’ problems were on defense, Cable said they didn’t include Tommy Kelly.
“It would not be fair for anyone to really question or devalue what he’s done the last two weeks,” Cable said. “They’re really not able to run to his side if you look at it.”
— Cable was non-committal regarding the future of Terdell Sands while talking up the weekly improvement of Desmond Bryant, the undrafted free agent out of Harvard.
“He continues to do it. He continues to get better. He’s moving to the football, had one sack, missed another one,” Cable said. “He’s got the big body, he’s got the want-to, and he’s allowing his coach to take him where he’s trying to go.”
Cable was asked if it was the end of the line for Sands as a Raider.
“I don’t know that yet. It’s too early for all that,” Cable said. “It’s just where we were at in terms of rotation. We didn’t expect to play the first group as long as we did in the second half. Butwe had to, and bsaed on the rotation and the way it all worked out, (we) just ran out of time.”
— According to a year-old salary roster, Sands is due a $1.3 million salary this year and was scheduled to receive a $1.9 million roster bonus which he may have already been paid. The Raiders don’t get that back.
— If Jonathan Holland’s 43-yard touchdown reception wowed Cable, he was keeping his enthusiasm under wraps.
“There’s a lot of competition and he was fortunate to make a guy miss there,” Cable said. “That’s what you expect your receivers to do.”
— No word yet regarding Saturday’s new injuries, including a “chip fracture” to the left wrist of Nnamdi Asomugha and a stinger sustained by safety Rashad Baker. Javon Walker received limited play because Cable said they wanted to ease him back in.”
— A pretty shaky performance from the offensive line overall, with the Raiders continuing to get calls for illegal formations and false starts.
“The illegal formations, we have had that issue through all three games where the tackle has not been far enough up on the line of scrimmage and it’s ben addressed and it will continue to be addressed,” Cable said. “The false starts, that’s just a lack of focus of focus.”
Offensive lineman, Cornell Green in particular, have been nailed for illegal formations while trying to create extra space to deal with a speed rusher on a passing down.
— The Raiders have just two practices before a Wednesday walkthrough and leaving for Seattle, where they play Thursday night. The first roster cut down to 75 is Tuesday and some players could be released Monday.