A few random thoughts gathered from shuttling kids to and fro Saturday and catching a little college football in between with the Raiders in their bye week:
— The steady drumbeat of Jim Harbaugh to the Raiders will soon pick up steam, if for no other reason than the Stanford coach has a healthy respect for Al Davis having worked in Oakland, and because Merc columnist Tim Kawakami will see to it.
Watching Stanford’s 51-42 win over Oregon, Harbaugh’s offense had exactly the sort of power running (38 carries, 223 yards from Toby Gerhart) and downfield throwing (12 completions for 251 yards from Andrew Luck) that Al Davis loves. You’d think think it was a more athletic Marv Hubbard clone hammering the middle with Lamonica doing deep.
Interesting dilemma for Harbaugh should the Cardinal win a couple more games before the end of the season. Does he strike right away, or ride the Andrew Luck train closer to completion when the Cardinal could potentially win a Pac-10 title and get him an even better gig?
Regardless, he’s not coming to Oakland.
As much as he admires Davis, Harbaugh’s agent is (or at least was) a business partner of Mike Lombardi at the National Football Post. Rest assured Harbaugh will never disparage the Raiders, but will seek out a more stable opportunity. The guy does seem a bit detached from reality on occasion, however, so I reserve the right to be dead wrong in public.
— Speaking of Luck and the Cardinal, is it really that much to ask for Raiders receivers Louis Murphy and Darrius Heyward-Bey to occasionally make a leaping catch as if they had some sort of connection with quarterback JaMarcus Russell? Yes, it’s pros vs. colleges, but, every once in awhile it would be nice to see the Raiders even approach something appoximating a legitimate passing game.
— According to one report, William Joseph was brought back in by the Raiders for another look. Let’s say I’m a little skeptical that 30-something Greg Ellis will be back for the Chiefs game after arthroscopic knee surgery, but even if he’s out, Joseph is a tackle, not an end. The Raiders could, however, play Richard Seymour exclusively outside in the meantime.
One thing’s for sure _ Matt Shaughnessy should be given as many snaps as possible after what looked to be a breakout game against San Diego.
— For anyone who seemed confused over the “revelations” contained in Friday’s post on the Raiders and the likelihood of Jon Gruden returning, there was no new ground covered there. It was all reported in 2004 in the days leading up to the Bucs-Raiders game at the Coliseum. The only reason I repeated it was because of the volume of talk about Gruden’s potential return.
— Damn frightning injury to Cal’s Jahvid Best against Oregon State, even more so because he was coming off a “minor” concussion the previous week.
It’s a murky medical area, but there’s a scary collaboration between the pride of a football player and the eagerness of a team to get a player to return to action following a concussion. Strong side linebacker Jon Alston sustained a “minor” concussion after the Oct. 11 against the Giants, then again following the Chargers game.
Alston was back on the practice field the Wednesday following the Charger game. Coach Tom Cable said he’s passed all the tests.
Here’s a guy passionate about football and will do whatever it takes to get on the field. He’s also a Stanford graduate who will have no trouble making a good living when his football days are over. If the Alstons of the world are going to push aside concussions, so is everyone else. The NFLPA would be wise to protect players against themselves.
— Profootballtalk.com is reporting the Raiders are working closely with the NFL to determine what to do with Tom Cable and allegations about his his history of violence toward women.
While that may be true, my understanding is they’re just as obsessed with ESPN, unable to let go of what they believe was a pipeline of information between former coach Lane Kiffin and the network, specifically Chris Mortensen.
Time to move on.
— The general consensus regarding the pot arrest for Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum? No big deal. Entitled to a mistake. Pretty dumb, but hardly a blip on the radar screen.
Just for the hell of it, let’s substitute Lincecum in his Mercedes for a hypothetical quarterback in a Rolls Royce. Instead of a wispy 150-plus pounds with long hair, the offender weighs upwards of 270 with something approximating a mohawk. Instead of being the toast of major league baseball, he’s considered a potential bust as a No. 1 overall draft pick.
Same crime, but assuredly two entirely different reactions, and we won’t even get into the sociological implications which are sure to be debated.
The moral of the story is it pays to be productive.