By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Wednesday, October 21st, 2009 at 1:35 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Maybe it was because someone was tired of reading about all the losses leading up to the 13-9 win over Philadelphia and the struggles of JaMarcus Russell.
Or that the media needed to be reminded that the Raiders have been playing at something less than full strength, which serves as some kind of explanation for an offense that has scored 32 points in the last four games.
It could have been their way of keeping up with the 49ers, with the local news dominated by stories of No. 10 overall pick Michael Crabtree playing a role in this week’s game against Houston.
Whatever the reason, the Raiders actually issued a press release Tuesday to repeat what coach Tom Cable had already announced the day before _ that Chaz Schilens was returning to action after recovering from a broken left metatarsal sustained eight weeks ago.
(The release also duly noted the absences of left guard Robert Gallery, Cornell Green, Darren McFadden and pointed out that Nnamdi Asomugha missed much of the Eagles game after being poked in the eye).
Mind you, Raiders often don’t issue press releases for the signings of their own players, and the philosophy regarding when players return or don”t return is usually kept as vague as possible.
There was not only a press release, but the Raiders even put Schilens in front of the cameras, recorders and notebooks Wednesday _ something normally reserved for quarterback JaMarcus Russell.
If Gallery, McFadden and Nick Miller return following the bye, it could merit a parade.
“Hopefully, (I’ll bring) a little more physical nature and a positive attitude for right now,” Schilens said.
If Schilens can recreate the kind of chemistry he had Russell during training camp and a preseason game against Dallas, it can be a huge help. Schilens could see from the bench how opponents regard the Raiders passing game.
Toward that end, Schilens said he has been working with Russell over the past two weeks to regain their timing. In the preseason game against the Cowboys, Russell threw five passes to Schilens in the first quarter and all were complete, which doesn’t include a pass interference call that set up a touchdown.
“Really, what I see is they don’t respect us, our pass game, they don’t respect us very much, and we’ve got to earn that respect back,” Schilens said. “We were in the preseason, but we’ve got to get that back.”
Schilens, who hoped to be back for Week 2, said it took eight weeks for the bone to heal and that it was important to make sure it didn’t happen again. He said he didn’t know if he will start or how much he will play.
But Schilens can sense the importance put upon his return, and that’s OK with him.
“I feel if they’re going to put me out there it’s my job to go out there and make plays. I’ve always said that. If they’re putting me out there they have confidence in me, and I’m not going to go out there and not do my job,” Schilens said. “So yeah, I need to go out there and make some plays and help the team win.”
No sign of Gallery during the Raiders media window Wednesday, meaning his “questionable” designation is probably optimistic.
More to come later . . .