News and notes from Thursday’s post-practice press briefing by Raiders coach Tom Cable:
– This is just a hunch, but it’s starting to look as if wide receiver Chaz Schilens (broken left metatarsal) may not be much of a factor next for next week’s game against the New York Jets, let alone Sunday’s road game against the Houston Texans.
Schilens has been out of view of the media ever since the team returned to Alameda, and although Cable has publicly held out hope his best receiver could play against Houston, it doesn’t look like he’s anywhere close to taking the field.
As the Raiders began Friday’s session, Schilens was working along with free safety Hiram Eugene doing some low impact agility exercises. Schilens may join his teammates Friday for some individual drills and do what Cable described as “light work, just kind of introduce him to it.”
Regarding Schilens availability for Sunday, Cable said, “I would say this: it’s doubtful.”
Asked how Schilens would fit in when healthy, Cable said, “I think once he’s back into the routine, absolutely, we need to get him involved. But that may lend itself to a little more three-receiver stuff.”
When quarterback JaMarcus Russell spoke to reporters before practice, it didn’t sound as if he has been throwing to Schilens or even communicating about the particulars of when the receiver would return.
“I don’t know,” Russell said. “I haven’t heard from Chaz as far as his recovery. But I know he’s doing pretty good. He’ll be a big help, and to the young guys, he’ll be a help to them just by letting them know he was young before he’d been in it and go out there and make some plays. It would be good to get him back.”
Since Schilens has done little more than treadmill work after an initial period of inactivity, it’s been six weeks since he really ran and cut on his foot. It could be midseason before we see the Schilens who was so impressive during training camp and caught give passes from Russell in the preseason opener against Dallas.
– One of Darren McFadden’s problems, other than fumbles? The pass isn’t going well enough to set up the run.
“He’s been somewhat productive when it’s been there is the best way to say it,” Cable said. “But again we need to throw the ball in order to have more lanes open up.”
– Houston quarterback Matt Schaub has thrown for 823 yards with a 64.5 percent completion rate with seven touchdown passes and two interceptions through three games, which doesn’t come as a shock to Cable. He was the line coach with the Falcons when Schaub was the backup for Michael Vick.
“We thought he was really good. He was terrific. At that time he was the No. 2 and we thought maybe the best No. 2 in football,” Cable said. “It doesn’t surprise me at all what Matt’s doing.”
– Cable said Thursday was another sharp practice and reiterated his belief the Raiders are nearing a breakthrough game and that the players realize it, but that it’s about time to make it happen.
“Actually, they’re the easiest (to convince) because they can see it,” Cable said. “It’s one thing to say it and then it’s not really there. We had another good day so they can see it because they have seen so much and been here enough.
“They’re really the catalysts for getting it going . . . you have to have the proof at some point.”
– Eugene should get in some work Friday, Cable said, but is still “questionable” and the probability is that Michael Huff will start again at free safety. Huff was limited with rib and quadriceps issues. Cornerback Jonathan Holland was limited (elbow) and could be active as a cornerback though Justin Miller was brought in to return kickoffs.
Holland, although only recently moved to defense, would play ahead of Miller in the secondary, Cable said.
Fullback Luke Lawton sustained a light hamstring strain at the conclusion of the Wednesday practice and was limited Thursday. Cable said he would have a better idea about Lawton’s game availability Friday.