How much do the Raiders really care?
It’s a fair question in the wake of three consecutive losses by a combined score of 96-16, and a subject which was broached by Giants middle linebacker Antonio Pierce Tuesday in a Sirius Satellite Radio interview.
When the Raiders lost 24-20 in the season opener against San Diego, Cable said he was pleased that his team appeared be anguished about the defeat, and that such emotional pain in the wake of a loss is something that had been missing from the team’s chemistry since he arrived.
And here comes Pierce, saying the Raiders competed as if it were a scrimmage, without the kind of fire and emotion the NFL uses to sell itself to the masses.
The depth to which the Raiders care about their performance was apparently a topic of discussion in a lengthy post-practice meeting. When asked about what had transpired during the 10 to 15 minutes the team was gathered on a far field, away from the media, Cable at first said they were enjoying a laugh.
Later, he allowed that how they have reacted what has transpired in losses over the last three games was also on the table.
“That’s pretty much what we were talking about out there, talking through that,” Cable said.
Game circumstances in blowout losses account for a big part of the difference. There’s an inevitability that goes along with a large fourth-quarter deficit that lessens the shock value.
“We were three-and-out so quick, have the turnover and you’re down 28-0, so it’s not a great position to be in,” tight end Zach Miller said. “We didn’t play well, so it’s no wonder he said something like that.
“It definitely didn’t feel like a scrimmage. Guys can say what they want. We didn’t play well enough as an offense, so can’t say anything back if you didn’t have any production.”
Rookie wide receiver Louis Murphy admits he is struggling to adapt to a new culture after a playing on a national championship team at Florida.
“We just have to step up and play. I’m new to this aspect of football. (In) school, you lose, it’s the end of the world and you try to get it done. Here you have more room for losses. We just have to get on the ball of things and be more particular and detailed in what we’re doing.
“It’s kind of a snowball effect and it’s gotten bigger and it’s just rolling downhill.”
Defensive tackle Gerard Warren having defeat as a conditioned reflex cannot be accepted.
“Well, if I can identify any player on this team that can accept losing, then that’s something I think I have to take to Mr. Davis and Coach Cable,” Warren said. “We don’t accept losing. No matter what the outcome of the game is, we want to be victorious, no matter how long it takes to get the victory. And if a guy can walk in and say, ‘Man, I gave my all, but we lost,’ we don’t need you in this locker room. Cause we’re here to win.”
Defensive end Richard Seymour, coming from a New England team with a history of success, was uninterested in dwelling on the pain of the losses.
“I think as a professional you have to be able to, whether a good play happened or a bad play, you have to move on to the next,” Seymour said. “We can’t move forward looking to our rearview mirror. I think that’s going to help us being able to put things behind us and move forward.
More news, notes and quotes:
— Tackle Langston Walker, cut by Buffalo two seasons into a five-year contract that guaranteed him $10 million, re-signed with the Raiders and was on the practice field Wednesday. Walker had 32 of his 65 career starts the last two seasons for the Bills, but was cut Sept. 8.
“I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that I saw it coming,” Walker said. “But you know, they made their decision, and Oakland has me back.”
Walker tried out for the Raiders last week, after which Cable said they were just taking a look and indicated conditioning was an issue and said, “We’ll just wait and see down the road.”
The road arrived quicker than expected in part because of the play of right tackle Erik Pears, who has four false starts.
The Raiders made no attempt to bring Walker back in part because they were implementing a zone blocking scheme which puts a premium on movement and athletic skill.
“It’s slightly different, but I think I can do it. I’m athletic enough,” Walker said. “I guess if I couldn’t they wouldn’t bring me in.”
Cable said Walker is in good shape. His weight is down from (gulp) 380 pounds to 362, still bigger than your average zone blocker.
“He’s quick off the snap,” Cable said. “Let’s see how he does it as hegets into it and gets familiar with it.
Walker said getting up to speed with the new system is more of an obstacle than being physically ready to play.
“I think it’s more about learning the playbook,” Walker said. “That’s the biggest issue standing in front of me. Different words and signals and nomenclature, and different quarterback.”
Walker has retained his very dry sense of humor.
“I did enjoy Niagara Falls and Canada, the East Coast life. Lake Erie is somewhat like the bay a little bit, when you factor in the fact that there’s water,” Walker said.
— Chaz Schilens was limited in practice but encouraged Cable with what he was able to accomplish. If Schilens can practice a second straight day, chances appear good he could have a role against Philadelphia.
“He looked good in what he did so we’ll see tomorrow,” Cable said.
— Robert Gallery was listed as questionable but did not practice. Greg Ellis missed practice with a sore knee that was precautionary.
— With Luke Lawton out and Oren O’Neal waived, Gary Russell and tight end Brandon Myers saw time at fullback. It didn’t sound as if promoting Marcel Reece from the practice squad is an option.
— Cable welcomed any input an influential veteran such as Donovan McNabb would have speaking with Russell.
“I think, especially at that position, it’s always good to seek out those guys who have been through those same issues, as well as listen to ’em when they seek you out,” Cable said. “So I don’t think something like that can do anything but be a positive.”