By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Sunday, October 25th, 2009 at 8:24 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Ten notable developments of Sunday’s 38-0 loss to the Jets at the Coliseum:
1) Tom Cable didn’t sugarcoat it. While the entire team is responsible for a loss of this magnitude, there was no trying to sell the notion that the problems of JaMarcus Russell had to do with everything but JaMarcus Russell.
Game-opening fumble? Russell should have checked it down. Interception thrown under pressure to Jim Leonhard? No good explanation. Interception in the end zone on first-and-10 intended for Todd Watkins?
“Just threw it up there,” Cable said. He said Russell was “out of sorts” and noted, “I just did not feel like at that point he gave us the best chance to have the success we needed to have offensively and made the move.”
2) Russell calmly disagreed with Cable’s assessment.
On the fumble, Russell said he was supposed to check down and didn’t have. The interception to Leonhard was because a defender had “crossed his face” and the one by Revis came when he was trying to allow Watkins to “make a play.”
Never mind that it was first-and-10 and he threw it up for grabs.
Russell acted like he knows the job is his until Cable is told otherwise.
In 79 possessions with the Russell at quarterback, the Raiders have 14 turnovers and have scored 14 times with nine field goals and five touchdowns.
3) Cable has now coached 19 games for the Raiders and has lost nine times by three or more touchdowns.
All the talk of carrying the fight for every play fell on deaf ears a week after Philadelphia. Whatever is in the DNA of this team to allow itself to be blown out on a fairly regular schedule still exists no matter how hard Cable tries to exorcise it.
4) The Raiders gave up 316 yards rushing to a team they knew beyond any doubt was going to run the ball. No trickery, no deceit, just a lot of hammering away at a defense that knew what was coming.
And they were helpless to stop it. The 316 yards was more than they ever gave up under six porous run defenses under Rob Ryan and the most since they gave up 319 yards to Seattle on Nov. 11, 2001, a night when Shawn Alexander gained 266 yards on 35 carries.
Cable didn’t see the sense in holding one particular area accountable.
“I think when a team runs for 300-plus it’s everybody,” Cable said. “I don’t know that you say it’s just up front, it’s the backers, or its this or that. It’s everybody.”
Bill Callahan, by the way, is a hell of an assistant coach. Always has been. His offensive line took the Raiders apart, he got a Gatorade bath afterward and refrained from proclaiming his opponent the “dumbest team in America.”
5) The crowd of 39,354 was the first sub-40,000 (announced) crowd since the Raiders returned to Oakland and the lowest for an Oakland Raiders game since Oct. 27, 1968 and a 37,083 total against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The actual fan count was much less. At one point, there was a 7-Eleven ad on the big screen that included uproarious laughter from the actors, and it was a little creepy to hear the guffaws echoing through a more than half-empty stadium while the home team was getting blown out.
6) Chaz Schilens was too sore to play, and wide receivers continue to be a non-factor. Russell was completing 24.3 percent of his passes to wideouts with one touchdown and five interceptions. Make that six, with Revis getting another one.
Louis Murphy dropped a third-and-3 slant on the Raiders second possession, killing a drive. Darrius Heyward-Bey caught two passes for 28 yards and dropped a late fade that could have ruined a shutout and there was much rejoicing.
He is, after all, just one catch behind Michael Crabtree, who had five receptions in his debut.
“It’s good to catch the ball. I had two catches today,” Heyward-Bey said. “That was a positive thing during the game. We just as a group we have to do more.”
Either Javon Walker is on triple-secret probation or he is the worst receiver in the NFL. Otherwise, he at least gets a shot.
7) Cable made two unnanounced changes to the starting lineup that had zero effect. Michael Huff took over for Hiram Eugene at free safety, and Barnes assumed the right tackle spot (for the first time in his career) from Erik Pears.
Barnes was the tackle on for both sacks recorded by the Jets.
The point is, Cable doesn’t have a lot of moves to make with regard to the lineup to shake things up that will make things any better.
Afterward, he talked about how it would help to have four key players back _ running back Darren McFadden, Schilens, left guard Robert Gallery and right tackle Cornell Green.
Truth is, the Raiders weren’t exactly tearing it up when McFadden and Green were around. As for Schilens, it’s been almost 11 weeks since he got hurt and it’s tough to know when he’ll make a real impression.
8 ) Michael Bush is running out of time to make a move. For all his running/receiving skills, Bush hasn’t gotten the requisite work to make an impression or done enough with what he’s received to merit more.
When McFadden returns, he’ll get the same deal as Russell and Heyward-Bey _ big money, lots of playing time. Cable likes Fargas better than Bush.
9) Chris Johnson isn’t playing nearly at the level as he did last year. This time David Clowney beat him on a 35-yard touchdown play, with Johnson recovering too late and giving up the score. Yes, he gets lots of work because of the presence of Nnamdi Asomugha, but he got it last year as well and parlayed it into a $4 million signing bonus.
10) Brian Schneider, where are you?
Special teams can be up and down from year to year, but the fact is they were very good for most of the time under Schneider last season and have awful with the exception of Shane Lechler’s punting and Sebastian Janikowski’s kicking this year.
Included in Sunday’s disaster was an opening kickoff penalty on Brandon Myers (illegal block) which caused the Raiders to open at the 10 _ a prelude to the Russell turnover.
Johnnie Lee Higgins returned one punt for minus-1 yard and let another fair catch fall, a play in which he raced up to the ball and was fortunate it didn’t take a sideways bounce and hit him for a fumble. Jonathan Holland had no kickoff return longer than 17 yards.
The worst play? Punter Steve Weatherford raced 16 yards for a first down when it was apparent film study had shown the Raiders would be running the other way and paying no attention to him.
“The whole thing this week was to make sure the ball was kicked, regardless of the situation and we just didn’t do it,” Cable said. “We took our eyes off the punter, got into the return too soon and everybody turned and ran.”