News, notes and quotes from Thursday’s open locker room session and post-practice press briefing with Tom Cable:
– One day after indicating he probably wouldn’t bother to name a starter at running back in place of Darren McFadden because the workload would be distributed relatively equally, Cable said Michael Bush would start against the New York Giants with Justin Fargas in reserve.
“It’s not really a big deal in terms of how it all goes down,” Cable said. “That’s just where we’re at right now.”
– Napa update _ Cable said he still hasn’t been contacted by authorities in Napa or by commissioner Roger Goodell.
– Cable is 1-3, his franchise quarterback is at the bottom of the passer ratings and having his work ethic questioned, his boss is notoriously impatient, and his running game has gone missing in action.
So how does he like Oakland now?
“This is my team, so this is me,” Cable said. “It’ everything I wanted it to be. Now I just need to win some games.”
– Johnnie Lee Higgins was limited in practice but did almost everything, Cable said. Those who did not practice included Darren McFadden, Robert Gallery, Nick Miller, Cornell Green and Oren O’Neal. O’Neal, Cable said, is doubtful, which would leave Luke Lawton as the lone fullback.
Tight end Zach Miller was limited in practice but “much improved” and should be “full go” Friday, Cable said.
– Safety Mike Mitchell went down after tweaking a knee early in practice, but Cable said he made it through the entire practice an there is now issue. Hiram Eugene, whose absence was noted by punter Shane Lechler as a factor in some of the special teams struggles, practiced but Cable said he wanted to see film before determining if he would be active.
Eugene is recovering from a calf injury and was inactive against Denver and Houston.
– Special teams coordinator John Fassel, who describes himself as “positive” and “happy-go-lucky” underwent a personality transformation Monday in the wake of a disasterous performance by his unit against Houston.
“I kind of came out of my shell a little bit and told ‘em what I thought. Put it that way. (I) won’t elaborate,” Fassel said. “But I also let ‘em know that there’s no blame. It’s just everybody has to do better, and I started with myself. Yeah. Changed the tone and message a little bit. Especially going into New York, cause that’s a big game personally.”
Fassel’s father Jim is the former head coach for the New York Giants. In fact, the last time the Raiders played the Giants at the Meadowlands in 2001, Jim let John hold the red challenge flag.
“It was pouring rain and the Raiders killed the Giants and I remember being on the sideline with my dad because I was coaching in college or something and I said ‘Hey you know what? Bad game but I’ll always remember just being there with my dad,’ ” Fassel said.
Good game for the Raiders, though. They won 28-10.
– Rich Gannon isn’t welcome at the Raiders facility any more, but it sounds as if Shane Lechler wouldn’t mind the occasional visit.
When talking about his role as a leader, Lechler, whose locker was near the quarterbacks, invoked Gannon’s number and spirit.
“I learned from one of the best, number 12, he sat right here, he would call you out in a heartbeat,” Lechler said. “Probably wasn’t the most liked guy in the locker room, but I guarantee you the most respected guy in the locker room. That’s the way people have gotta’ be. ”
– The first coach Sebastian Janikowski played for in the NFL was fond of saying he didn’t like to get too “deep or philosophical.” Janikowski can relate.
He credited his 7-for-7 start to simply getting into a groove earlier than usual.
“It seems like every year I start off slow then I got a streak for like 12, 14 field goals make in a row, then this year feels like I’m starting from the beginning,” Janikowski said.
When asked if there had been any difference in his training or preparation, Janikowski said, “Same thing. Played golf.”