Hiram a good “catcher”


The sneak peek afforded the media Wednesday while Hiram Eugene struggled to field punt returns apparently is not an accurate barometer of his skills.

Coach Tom Cable said that if Johnnie Lee Higgins can’t play against the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday, either Eugene or Javon Walker return punts and the Raiders were not likely to sign someone to take over the speciality.

Higgins didn’t practice Wednesday with a shoulder sprain and Cable said he was `questionable” to face the Chiefs. Miller, Cable confirmed, will be out four to six weeks with a crack in his shin just above the ankle and as of now there are no plans to put the undrafted rookie on injured reserve, which would end his season.

Eugene has not returned a punt in his NFL career. Cable said Walker had returned punts earlier in his career, but his stats show 35 kickoff returns as a rookie for 769 yards and nothing since.

They would be counted on to do more than simply throw up their hand, signaling for a fair catch.

“You’ve got to have your return game, and you’ve got to do your deal,” Cable said. “Hiram’s a terrific catcher, and probably the best of the group in that regard. And then obviously with Javon having done it earlier in his career. It’s a benefit to us now that with the injuries, he’s gonna be active this week, play, all those things. So we’ll have him available.”

More news, notes and quotes from Wednesday:

— As noted above, Cable committed to activating Walker against the Chiefs a day after saying the receiver would need to exhibit enough speed and separation to be effective.

That will come as welcome news to Walker, who said he didn’t know if he would be active during the open locker room session and was willing to wait patiently for a chance.

“I feel like I am a receiver still in my prime. I am still young just 30 years old. A lot of the top receivers are my age or a year older. It’s kind of difficult because I am in a situation where all the receivers here are a year or two years,” Walker said. “That is just the politics of football and you got some young guys, and I mean young. If you look at it statistically everybody here is young. That might be the direction they are going in. I am just playing my role for what it is right now.”

— Cable said Khalif Barnes is practicing without restrictions and could conceivably be active for the Chiefs game. Chaz Schilens (broken foot) and Nick Miller have already been declared out. Running back Justin Fargas practiced without restrictions and is expected to play.

— Cable said the Chiefs have blended some of coach Todd Haley’s passing offense (he was offensive coordiantor for the Arizona Cardinals last season) with the existing Kansas City running game.

“They’re a little bit of both, and Johnson is still a great runner,” Cable said. “There’s no question about that, when he gets his pads downhill at you he’s a load, and he’s got great speed. But you’ve also seen them being more spread, and throwing the ball around a little bit.”

— Isaiah Ekejuiba felt the Raiders’ special teams put the Raiders defense in a difficult situaiton by allowing 66 and 59 yard kickoff returns by Darren Sproles.

“I was very disappointed. Very disappointed,” Ekejiuba said. “Our defense played great, and we gave the Chargers two short fields. And that’s unacceptable for a division game that’s this close. So when you do that, you have to go back and re-evaluate where you are and where you want to be. And obviously this is not where we want to be. We have a lot of work to do.”

— Haley, offensive coordinator for the NFC champion Arizona Cardinals last season, coached receivers in the NFL from 1996 through 2006 with the Jets, Bears and Cowboys. He sees starting two rookie wide receivers, as the Raiders did in Week 1, a difficult task.

“The receiver position is a tough position to play and adjust to,” Haley said. “I’ve coached it for a long time and . . . even for high picks its rare to come in and make a smooth transition. The speed of the game is so different. The complexity of the coverages that you’re seeing is so great. It just makes for a tough transition, and it’s rare that young guys can come in and make a huge impact and when they do, I’m really impressed.”

— Cable said that part of Darrius Heyward-Bey’s job is to create open areas for others but wanted to see all parts of his game improve.

“I mentioned a couple of weeks ago about how he’s already pulling coverage toward him because of his speed, and that definitely showed up,” Cable said. “And that is a part of his responsibility, and a big part. But at the same time he’s got to grow in all facets, whether it’s blocking, catching, running the route, pulling the coverage, whatever that is, you just want to get him as close to a complete player as quickly as we can.”

— Cable estimated free safety Michael Huff for 30 or more plays, mostly on passing downs. Huff intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble.

“He was absolutely tremendous,” Cable said. “Not one coverage bust, got everybody aligned, made some calls and, obviously, the two great plays.”


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • LA to TheBay

    Enough with the blown coverage nonsense.

    Most TDs occur because of some kind of missed assignment or a good play by a WR in coverage or just an outstanding throw.

    Hmmm, I seem to remember a TD throw in the 1st half to Louis Murphy. It was high enough to keep away from the defender and inside the 20 yard line. I don’t think that’s a bomb, do you guys?

    And hey, if it wasn’t a TD per some ridiculous rule, it wasn’t called back because of the throw.

    I know Al Davis made you cry at some point, Rich, but sometimes you’re just plain wrong.

    Get over it.

    8.5 x 11 posts don’t make you right. They make you an eyesore. And a loser.

    Go post on your favorite team’s site.

    Oh, wait…….who’s that again?

  • neilb

    Afternoon all.

    Haven’t read all 500+ comments,so forgive me if someone has already said it,but didn’t Branch return punts in college ?

  • LA to TheBay


    Well, many of the guys you like on the Titans, Giants, and Steelers were signed as free agents. Santonio Holmes is pretty fast, if I remember right.

    Al drafted his skill guys and signed for his heavies. Also drafted a good (eventually) LG and solid LT.

    Pretty sure there is a long list of guys Al signed and drafted that were pretty talented.

    Hey, remember when the Raiders were winning? Ya, Al was the owner then too.

    But wait, it was all Jon Gruden, right? Wrong. Callahan lost with Gruden’s system, but got to the Super Bowl. Gruden won with Dungy’s system.

    #1 offense (Gruden’s) vs. #1 defense (Dungy’s). Credit Gruden for being a good coach, getting Tampa over the hump, and for being a classy guy.

    Credit Al indirectly or directly for any winning and losing season we ever had.

    Al Davis=Raiders.

    Unless you guys are fans of the 1960-1963 Raiders, you have Al to thank, indirectly or directly, for your favorite team, their 3 SBs and their 6 straight losing seasons.

  • DT42


    you forgot option 2. come up with a couple of hundred million dollars and buy team.


    i wouldn’t mind seeing Branch return punts at all. I can’t remember if he returned punts in college but i know he returned kicks. After he blasted that 300lb TE, we need to get him on the field whenever possible.

  • hellsbells

    Does anyone even read ricochicks posts. See name scroll by.

  • DMAC

    Let’s have Branch return punts!

  • Raiders4eve

    As long as Al is the owner, he will do it his way, ever since 1985, we been to playoff maybe 8 times but when we do we do it Al way for those who complain go support n another team n stop whining, the Raiders are back to excellence, we r couple players away from being a playoff team, Schillens n Murphy might be the answer so WHINERS either support Al way or support another team n come back after new owner is in charge.

  • neilb

    I see the clocks aren’t fixed yet.

  • LA To TheBay

    6 winning seasons in 20 years since Free Agency. Are the fans of the Raiders required to bend knee to Al Davis for that, too?

  • LA to TheBay


    Sapp, Burgess, Walter, Moss?

    Whatever, they can have their comments.

    How ’bout Willie Brown? Freddy B? Snake was traded to Houston and is still a Raider. Jerry Rice comes and talks to the team, despite retiring a 9er. How ’bout Plunkett? He got passed up and was given an opportuity win 2 SBs.

    Here’s a good one: Rich Gannon. Yeah, same guy who publicly called out Al Davis. You think he has the opportunity to play anywhere else for a SB? Have how many 300 yard passing games? Who drafted Tim Brown and brought in Rice? Zack Crockett? And came back and asked for a job after making his comments? Lol.

    Your argument is tired.

    The players you’re thinking of, Richochet, have the same problem you do: JADED.

    Guys who played like pros? Taken CARE of.

    Show us on the doll where Al spanked you.

  • DMAC

    Wasn’t Branch an excellent return guy at UCON?

  • neilb

    Spot on DMAC.If I remember right that was one of the reasons why we drafted him.

  • Raiders4eve

    Wow so it’s ok for Desean Jackson, Sproles, n many more stars to risk their main players to injury when they let them return punts, but we shouldn’t let DMAC return it cause we can’t afford him getting injured wow. We need pts by our special teams so if DMAC can score go for it.

  • DMAC

    Let’s give him a shot.

  • How ’bout Willie Brown? Freddy B?
    Al Davis puts food on their table, C’mon man.

  • # LA to TheBay Says:
    September 17th, 2009 at 11:57 am

    MR 538

    I agree. I don’t think Cable addresses it in the media unless he is going to try to fix it, though.


    So, you think Cable’s going to take on al davis? He wont last through the season.

  • LA to TheBay

    “KoolKell Says:
    September 17th, 2009 at 12:18 pm
    LA To TheBay

    6 winning seasons in 20 years since Free Agency. Are the fans of the Raiders required to bend knee to Al Davis for that, too?”

    Kell, you miss my point. You should be blaming Davis for this.

    Again Al Davis=Raiders, Raiders=Al Davis.

    Unless you’re a fan of the 1960-1963 Raiders, you became a fan because of Al Davis. Guys that Wolfe brought in? Good point. Who allowed it to happen? Oh, wait, it was Gruden. Who did Al hire? Oh, wait it’s the players. Who’s the head of the scouting department?

    We agree about this, KK. You can blame Al Davis because Al Davis=Raiders.

    If and when they win again. Guess what? You can credit Al Davis.

  • The denial in here is unbelievable. We’re going to lose to the Chiefs in the same fashion we lost to SD. With the prevent. Watch.

  • LA to TheBay

    KoolKell Says:
    September 17th, 2009 at 12:22 pm
    How ’bout Willie Brown? Freddy B?
    Al Davis puts food on their table, C’mon man.

    Prove my point, why don’t you. Like I said, he takes care of those loyal to him.

    Other than Gannon, who asked for a job, can you think of any obvious examples of GOOD players throwing Al under the bus?

    I am defending Al, but I’m also calling him out. Would you admit that the team looked better Monday than they have in years? Credit Al. Mad at the prevent defense? Blame Al.

  • DMAC

    Damn, I thought I would never say this but…..Huff had a hella of game on Monday. If he keeps playing like this he should be rewarded his starting position again.

  • DMAC

    Heard Mcallister is out of shape still.

  • LA to TheBay

    Do you go to the games?

    I do, I am a paying customer therefore I can complain all I want!

    To sit here and geek out on your computer all day doesn’t make you fan so don’t attack real paying customers.

  • neilb

    DMAC…..wash your mouth out with soap and water !!

    Huff…..’bout time.

  • Cult:

    1. a particular system of religious worship, esp. with reference to its rites and ceremonies.
    2. an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, esp. as manifested by a body of admirers: the physical fitness cult.
    3. the object of such devotion.
    4. a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc.
    5. Sociology. a group having a sacred ideology and a set of rites centering around their sacred symbols.
    6. a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader.
    7. the members of such a religion or sect.
    Cultists venerate the Cult leader. Different from Sports Fans, who venerate the sport, team, player.

  • LA to TheBay

    He got rid of Moss ’cause the guy became a slouch and unprofessional.

    He got rid of Burgess ’cause the guy became a slouch and unprofessional.

    Gibril? Walter? Didn’t want to be here. F ’em, you’re gone.

    And they still don’t bash Al, just take little shots here and there.

    Hall? The guy sucks. He saves himself by making the occasional INT. He gets cut.

    Would you really give a glowing review to the guy that fired you? Come on, Kell, common sense.

    He traded Snake. Traded him! Snake ever throw Al under the bus?

    When Al is winning, no one complains. Al is too much for the NFL. Why did we see a TD robbed?

    Lawsuits against the Bucs and the Panthers, against the refs, against the league.

    Ditka says “the league is better when the Raiders are good.”

    He’s right. Now tell that to the league.

    Oh wait, that super cool NFC-AFC format that we know today as the NFL? Who could possibly responsible for this beloved NFL of ours? Not a senile old prick like Al Davis.

    Oh wait……………

  • Raiders4eve

    What happened to Chris Mcallister, I would rather have him as our free safety forget Huff n Hiram they r bums n Huff got lucky with one pick just like Stokely did for the da donkeys.

  • Al Davis = The Raider for better or worse is that breaking news to some slow posters in here or what?

    That’s like saying the sun will shine today and later on tonight it will get dark but dont worry folks tomorrow morning guess what…..The sun will come up AGAIN!!!!

    Why is this news to some of you?

    Why do you point this out like your in Romper Room?

  • neilb

    I work for some cults.

  • LA to TheBay


    I went to the games in the Coliseum. The real one in SC, buddy. I have enough Raiders gear to call myself a paying customer.

    Don’t tread on me and don’t tell me I’m geeking out all day. I’m at work and rarely comment any other time. Attacking real fans? I eat and sleep Raider football, fool. I bleed siver and black. I want my team, our team, to be good as well.

    I don’t usually go on diatribes but punk ass fools like Richochet piss me off sometimes.

    Now I’m back to being Joe Cool…..

  • RaiderRockstar

    new post you barack worshippers

  • Einstein

    JaMarcus is a fat loser and he has body odor.

  • Raiders4eve

    We were voted the team of the decade, Al was and still is the man.