By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009 at 5:19 pm in Oakland Raiders.
There’s every chance Javon Walker could get his first chance at substantial playing time and nothing would change.
The incompletions would continue, the lack of timing with JaMarcus Russell would be evident and the Raiders would continue to struggle.
Walker wasn’t sounding off or challenging coach Tom Cable, but he’s read the comments from his boss saying he lacks the burst in and out of breaks to be playing regularly and wanted to on record with his own assessment.
“Ain’t nothing wrong with my in and out, coming out of breaks,” Walker said. “I do it with the best of them. I do it with any other receiver here. Plain and simple.”
Walker would rather be told he’s sitting so the Raiders can develop their young receivers rather than say he can’t play anymore.
“Look, I’m happy, I just want to clear this up right,” Walker said.
Cable didn’t sound as if things would change soon, and and that perhaps Walker would drop even further on the depth chart once Chaz Schilens and Johnnie Lee Higgins return from injury.
“ I think just in terms of the numbers, who has been productive, that’s number one and we’re about to get very healthy there too,” Cable said in reference to Walker’s use.
Let’s face it. What no one is saying aloud here is the Raiders are simply too committed to Darrius Heyward-Bey _ regardless of what he does on the field _ to put a veteran like Walker in the game.
Al Davis wasn’t happy last season with the amount of time veterans like Ronald Curry and Ashley Lelie were getting at the expense of Schilens and Higgins, and now Heyward-Bey and Louis Murphy are added to the mix.
Murphy, with six catches and 118 yards _ second only to Chicago’s Johnny Knox in receiving yardage _ has justified his playing time with production.
Heyward-Bey has one catch for 17 yards, and supposedly he’s opening up areas for other receivers. If that’s the case, they’re not getting wide open for Russell to find them in stride, considering his completion percentage.
Assuming Walker’s role will remain as it is, it will be interesting to see how committed they are to playing Heyward-Bey at all costs when Schilens and Higgins return. Schilens was far and away the Raiders best receiver during training camp, and Higgins the No. 1 threat at the end of last season, both with Russell throiwng the passes.
More news and notes:
– Is it just me or does it seem that Rich Gannon has a lot better handle on what is wrong with the passing of Russell than Russell himself?
– Here was Gannon’s take on the job Tom Cable is doing with the Raiders:
“I give Tom Cable a lot of credit, not a little bit of credit, a lot of credit. He knows exactly what he has in terms of his personnel and he is not going to try to beat you throwing the ball 35 or 40 times. He understands the strength of that football team right now, and last year as well, without question is not the play of the quarterback, it’s the three running backs he has in Darren McFadden, Justin Fargas and Michael Bush.
“And that, combined with the fact that they have an offensive line that was really bad a year ago in terms of pass protection, and with a young quarterback and with inexperience at the wide receivers, he’d be crazy not to run the football. So I tip my hat to Tom Cable and what he’s been able to accomplish the first two weeks of the season. They are a better football team defensively, they can run the ball, and that has to be the M.O. as they head down the road the next six or eight weeks until JaMarcus can come along, until their young receivers can develop.
But I think guys like Greg Ellis and Richard Seymour, their ability to stop the run, something they didn’t do a very good job of a year ago, that has to be the strength of this football team. Tom Cable knows what he has and he’s done a good job the first two weeks in making sure that’s a point of emphasis.”
– And no, Gannon has never wanted to be a fulltime NFL coach. Way too many hours, not enough pay, too much time away from the family. Plus it’s not as if he’s on great terms with the organization right now anyway. I was told they lobbied (unsuccessfully) to keep Gannon off a CBS telecast last season for being too critcial.
He will be the color analyst for the Broncos game along with play-by-play annoucner Ian Eagle.
– Speaking of Gannon, it seems Broncos coach Josh McDaniels has taken an approach similar to the one the Raiders took in 1999 when Jon Gruden told Al Davis he couldn’t win with Jeff George at quarterback. Current Raiders quarterbacks coach Paul Hackett reccomended Gannon, and Gruden had his efficient, error-free leader replacing the freewheeling George.
Kyle Orton has stayed away from mistakes and not been nearly as explosive as predecssor Jay Cutler, but he understands the system and works within its framework.
“You want your guy to take care of the football, score touchdowns and win games,” McDaniels said. “Right now, maybe we haven’t scored quite as many as we’d love to by now but we’re doing for the most part some of those other things pretty well and we’re building on it.”
– McDaniels started his career as a low-level assistant for Bill Belichick in 2001 and did defensive quality control work in 2002 and 2003 when Richard Seymour was a young defensive lineman.
“He was a real sharp guy,” Seymour said. “You could tell early on he was going to climb the ladder.”
McDaniels said dealing with Seymour makes for a unique challenge because every lineman must be prepared to face him because he’ll line up anywhere at any time.
“He’s added a whole other dimension to their defense,” McDaniels said.
– Both Shane Lechler and Sebastian Janikowski agreed Sunday’s win over the Chiefs was the best game they’d ever had in tandem.
Lechler, who hates kicking in Arrowhead Stadium, averaged 56.9 yards on seven punts with a 45.9 net and said if Hiram Eugene had managed to down one punt at the 5-yard line (it trickled into the end zone for his lone touchback) it would have been the best game of his career.
Janikowski, who loves it, as evidenced by a 23-for-26 lifetime mark there, connected from 48 and 54 yards and had four touchbacks. The two kickers created enough field position for the Raiders to allow 409 yards and give up just 10 points.
Janikowski tried to sell the notion that he doesn’t feel any different at Arrowhead than anywhere else.
“Don’t let him fool you,” Lechler said. “He always looks forward to going there.”
Lechler said he had a good warmup and likes kicking in humid weather because he doesn’t waste as much time getting lose and kicking into a net on the sideline.