A transcription of the media’s conference call with Tom Cable regarding the Raiders’ roster cutdown to 53-men:
Note: Sound quality was poor and quesitons were edited, sometimes heavily, because I had a difficult time hearing them.
Q: Have you got the cuts, coach?
Cable: I do. Jerome Boyd, Darrick Brown, Greyson Gunheim, Johnnie Holland, James Marten, David Nixon, Slade Norris, Chris O’Neill, Marcel Reece, Gary Russell, Ricky Schmitt, Darrell Strong, Mark Wilson, Ryan Boschetti, Jeff Garcia, Morlon Greenwood, Justin Miller, Terdell Sands, Seth Wand. We waived three guys injured, Michael Hawkins, Rashad Baker and John Wade.
Q: What was the thinking on Garcia?
Cable: I think first and foremost, we are committed to JaMarcus Russell as our starter. I think that when you look at the preseason, and practices in camp, and the games, that we played, all four of the games, three of the four which Bruce and Charlie played, and they probably were the most productive in terms of scoring points and moving the football team. I think that the fact that whether or not he’s comfortable in his role as a backup, it is what it is. JaMarcus is our guy and those other two guys did a great job in terms of performing on game night.
Q: Did Garcia asked to be released?
Cable: There was some talk about whether or not, how he would fit and all that, but for right now, the best way for me to approach it was the fact that that those two guys played so well and we’re committed to JaMarcus.
Q: Missing time with the calf strain, did that hurt?
Cable: I don’t know that, it’s hard to say. It’s unfortunate that he had to miss any time, but how that affected him, only he would know that.
Q: What affect will this have on JaMarcus, will it hurt to have no one to push him?
Cable: I don’t think so. I think both guys in the room with him now, Bruce and Charlie, bring a lot to the table in regards to JaMarcus. I think his relationship with the two of them is strong. I think that they understand that they have to be there and push him every day just like Jeff would if he was here, but he’s not going to be, and so you just move forward. For JaMarcus Russell to think he was anointed or something like that would be ridiculous. I don’t think he’s that way.
Q: Why Louis Rankin over Gary Russell?
Cable: I just think, again, it came down to production. That was a tough call, no question. Gary Russell is a fine football player, as is Rankin. I think with the release of Justin Miller, needing depth at the kickoff return spot as probably part of the difference. But certainly, Louis Rankin, he’s been pretty solid the whole way through, his improvement, as a blocker, I think is what put him on this football team.
Q: Seven WRs in part because Schilens won’t be available in the opener?
Cable: That had something to do with it, just making sure that we continue on the right path with that group, and not having Chad, having six going into that game, we’ll probably only dress four, maybe five, so you just want to make sure you’ve got the right numbers.
Q: Chances there will be someone different on this roster tomorrow?
Cable: I don’t know that yet. We’ll listen to anybody that’s willing to talk right now, certainly. We’ll that all the way up to the deadline, but whether or not it will be different tomorrow, it would be hard to tell you at this point.
Q: Was Rankin’s ankle from the Seattle game an issue?
Cable: A slight ankle sprain but if we practiced yesterday he could have practiced so no not really
Q: Difficult to dump a fourth-round pick, what happened with Slade Norris?
Cable: Just overall development and his ability to make the transition from being a guy rushing the passer with one hand down to standing up and playing it enough. Although he did some of it in college it just didn’t feel like it came along quick enough. So we’ll see what it means.
Q: Terdell Sands, lack of production or Desmond Bryant coming on?
Cable: Oh I think both, I think both. There’s no question, both.
Q: Were injuries to Wade and Baker (stingers) serious?
Cable: They both would be out for an extended period of time as of right now. I don’t know exactly how much time but I know it’s a long period of time and so we need to put this team together now with who’s available.
Q: Who is the No. 2 quarterback?
Cable: You know I think that’s yet to be decided. I think those guys both as this thing kind of played itself out they really were equals. That’s really kind of the approach to it now. We’ll have to make a decision when we get to game day.
Q: How do you determine that with JaMarcus getting all the snaps?
Cable: We’ll do that as we go. That’s just something for another day.
Q: Impressions of Shaugnessy in return?
Cable: I think leading up to the foot injury, Shaughnessy did nothing but get better every day, kind of like Bryant did. We know we have a really good young player there. Then he comes back and even though he’s really just coming off the injury, did nothing but get better each day he was practicing and I think he showed up big time on Thursday.
Q: Did Sam Williams’ play in the middle help him survive in addition to his special teams play?
Cable: I think he did show we’ve got some versatility there now. But primarily, the role was to be on special teams and give us a backup linebacker.
Q: Why practice Sunday, just to round up the 53 for the first time?
Cable: No it’s just the fact that we’re playing a Monday night so the week is a little different in terms of the practice schedule and all that.
Q: Who will be your starting center?
Cable: Right now it’ll be Chris Morris.
Q: How did that happen?
Cable: I think that, you know it, it probably came to him that he’s going to have to take his game to another level. I think he did that and he did that consistently. I think that . . . you know about offensive line play, consistency is what wins. It doesn’t have to be pretty. It doesn’t have to be the biggest or the baddest. You have to be consistently good and I think Chris has done that.
Q: Who are your starting linebackers?
Cable: I’ll get into all that when we get closer.
Q: Did John Bowie step up his play of late?
Cable: I think really John stepped his game up. He did give up the big play the other night but he made a bunch of plays on the field, tackled well. Again the guy just played himself onto the football team. That’s what it really came down to.
Q: Did you overlook Nick Miller’s fumble because of his playmaking?
Cable: Naw, I don’t think you ever overlook a turnover. I think understand a lot of those happen with a guy like Nick who is pressing so down hard to make make too many big plays or make a big play every time he touches it. He’ll learn rather quickly that you just let the game come to you.
Q: Where did Jerome Boyd come up short?
Cable: I just think that the drafting of Mike Mitchell in the second round and Tyvon Branch, Hiram Eugene and Michael Huff, that’s a good group of safeties. Just wasn’t able to break into that group.
Q: What is the progress of Mitchell’s hamstring?
Q: Good as in . . .
Cable: Good enough to practice.