News, notes and quotes following open locker room and a post-practice briefing from coach Tom Cable Wednesday as the Raiders prepare to host the New York Jets at the Coliseum.
Defensive end Richard Seymour was baited into a light-hearted guarantee that the 2-4 Raiders would make the playoffs this season.
Seymour appeared on Two Deep Zone 1530 Homer, a Cincinnati-based radio show hosted by Artrell Hawkins, a former teammate of Seymour’s with New England in 2005 and 2006, and former Bengals corneback Charles Fisher.
When asked about the Raiders outlook for the rest of the season, Seymour went into a lengthy answer about changing the culture in Oakland, ending by saying, “there’s no better uniform in the NFL than seeing that silver and black. I’m sure you guys can agree with that.”
The rest of the exchange went like this:
It’s certainly recognizable. Now, are you guys going to the playoffs?
Seymour: Are we going to the playoffs?
Are you going to the playoffs? I want a yes or no answer.
Seymour: You can mark it down. The Raiders will be in the playoffs.
The Raiders are going to the playoffs?
Seymour: The Raiders are going to the playoffs.
What was he supposed to say to an old teammate?
Not exactly Joe Namath guaranteeing the Super Bowl, but it beats, “things are pretty fishy around here” or “I’d like a trade as soon as possible.”
Cable had no problem with one of his defensive stars expressing his postseason thoughts, especially one who has been there before.
“You’re not going to get anywhere until you start to believe in where you’re going,” Cable said. “It’s good to stick your neck out a little bit but know with that comes the responsibility of backing it up.”
— Chaz Schilens practiced without limitations and Cable said he’d wait through the rest of the week before determining whether he would start, but anticipated he would play “a ton.”
— Fullback Luke Lawton practiced fully after missing the Philadelphia game with an ankle injury, but not surprisingly, Cable said Gary Russell would retain the position of starting fullback after catching five passes for 55 yards and getting high grades from the head coach for both his run blocking and pass blocking.
Those who were limited in practice were right guard Cooper Carlisle (ankle) and defensive end Greg Ellis (knee), both who will be monitored throughout the week but are expected to play. If Carlisle takes a turn for the worse, Cable said Paul McQuistan would be the probable starter at right guard.
— Those who did not practice were WR Nick Miller (shin), LB Ricky Brown (ankle), RB Darren McFadden (knee), LG Robert Gallery (broken fibula) and RT Cornell Green (calf). The only one with even a shred of a chance to play is Gallery, who more than likely will be out another week and possibly not return until after the bye.
Tight end Brandon Myers also missed practice with the stomach flu.
— According to Stats, LLC, the Raiders had 14 blitzes on pass plays after having 20 blitzes through the first five games. On those plays, quarterback Donovan McNabb was 3-for-11 for 97 yards and was sacked three times.
Unlike the Eagles, who are rank 30th in the NFL in rushing attempts and are quick to bail on the running game, the Jets are ranked second in rushing and third in attempts per game at 33.5. The ability to blitz rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez will depend on if the Raiders can slow New York on the ground enough to create second-and-long and third-and-long situations.
“We’ll see. We will see. We just want to be on the offensive side, attack them,” linebacker Kirk Morrison said. “Sometimes as a defense we sit back on our heels. We have to change it up. You have to do something. You lose three in a row you have change up. We got on the offensive side a little bit.”
After seeing the Eagles and Donovan McNabb go up top, Cable is expecting a steady diet of Thomas Jones, the New York running back who rushed for 210 yards last week in a 16-13 overtime loss to Buffalo.
“I think first and foremost as much as Philadelphia wanted to throw it first and run it second, the Jets will be just the opposite,” Cable said. “They hang their hat on it, they’re good at it. (I) kind of heard they want to take something off that quarterback. Well that means you’ve got to put it somewhere so you put it in their two runners’ hands. They’re very good, very good offensive line, very good running team.”
The Raiders are already doing their best to downplay the blitzing of the Eagles. Cable told the New York media by conference call they blitzed “seven or eight” times.
— Rookie wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, who has two catches for 36 yards in six starts, understands there will be added scrutiny to hs stats with Michael Crabtree ready to play for the 49ers Sunday.
“I’m aware of it, but I don’t care about it. Because I can’t sit there and worry about what people are gonna write about comparing. I need to worry about what the Raiders are doing here, how we’re gonna win this division, how we’re gonna go to the playoffs, how we’re gonna reach our goals. So I can’t worry about if I’m compared to somebody else. If I sit there and worry about that, I’m not worried about the right things.”
— Film of a pigeon accompanying the Raiders down the field on a kickoff return made for an amusing highlight, but struck a few players as something more significant.
“You see that pigeon?,” Green said to teammate Sam Williams. “That was Marquis.”
Indeed, even the mother of Marquis Cooper, the Raiders linebacker and special teams standout who was lost at sea on March 1 and presumed dead, thought the same thing.
Williams checks in with Donna Cooper regularly.
“She said, `That was Marquis out there with you guys,’ ” Williams said. “That was something else. I just saw it on the field, wondering why it was there. Once I saw it with us, covering the kick, it was special.”
— No recent updates on the media line at the office of Napa County District Attorney Gary Lieberstein on the alleged attack of assistant coach Randy Hanson by Cable. And it’s not as if Raiders players are overly concerned if their coach will be charged.
“You would think that would have been a bigger issue, just considering the allegations,” defensive end Jay Richardson said. “You would think that would be like a bigger thing. But it hasn’t been at all. No one’s talked about it. He hasn’t talked about it. We haven’t talked about it . . . we’ve got so much on our plate, we’ve got enough to worry about.”
Cornerback Stanford Routt said he conceded he’d had some communications with Hanson, who was in charge of third-down packages when he was a rookie second-round draft pick. He said he is not aware of any consitent communications between defensive backs in Hanson, either in person or by computer.
Hanson’s attorney, John McGuinn, told the NFL Network Raiders defensive backs had been corresponding with Hanson by computer for help on defense
“I can tell you that ever since training camp I have had a phone conversation with him or two, but as far as players calling him, asking him for this tip or that tip or whatever you want to call it, I not that I know of,” Routt said. “I know he’s helped me out a lot in the nickel and playing in the slot, with my improvement and awareness in the slot, so I’m always going to have a good relationship with him, you know what I mean?
“I remember, we were playing the Broncos or Chargers, he may send me a text message saying, `Hey, watch out for this play, they like to do it.’ I don’t’ really let what happened get to me. I don’t take sides on anything like that.”
— Jets coach Rex Ryan said he won’t have the same feeling coaching against the Raiders without his brother Rob there as defensive coordinator, but added there is no animosity between the Ryan family and the organiation.
“Rob, certainly, he loves Al Davis. And I don’t think there’s any bad blood at all from our family heading to the Raiders, and all that,” Ryan said. “The Raiders were great to our family and Al Davis was great to my brother.”