News and notes from the coach Tom Cable’s post-practice press briefing Thursday:
– To no one’s surprise, the Raiders failed to sell out Sunday’s game against the Chiefs and will be blacked out locally for the fourth consecutive time.
With Cincinnati, Washington and Baltimore remaining on the home schedule, it appears likely, barring a remarkable reversal of fortune, that the Raiders will finish the season with seven consecutive regular-season blackouts after having only six in the three previous seasons combined.
– Defensive end Greg Ellis did not practice again after bye week arthroscopic surgery on a knee and shoulder, but Cable said Friday could be a different story.
“Actually, they said there’s a pretty good chance of it so we’ll see (Friday) morning,’’ Cable said.
The Raiders aren’t likely to push Ellis given how well Matt Shaughnessy played against the Chargers the week before the bye.
“You’d like to have him at full speed but if he’s not able to go we’re OK,’’ Cable said. “If he can go but if it’s limited (snaps) we’re OK because of our depth.’’
– For the second straight day, the Raiders brought in a left-footed punter to simulate the Chiefs’ Dustin Colquitt. This time it was Glenn Pakulak, who, like Ricky Schmitt on Wednesday, has spent time on the Raiders roster either on the practice squad or during training camp.
– Cable, with his tongue either firmly in his cheek or running a serious fever, was asked his hopes for quarterback JaMarcus Russell in the second half of the season.
“Throw 20 touchdowns and not turn it over any more and be about 66 to 67 percent completion (percentage),’’ Cable said. “I think that’d be pretty good.’’
Through eight games, Russell has two touchdown passes, 14 turnovers (nine interceptions, five lost fumbles) and has completed 48.4 percent of his passes.
At the midway point of the season, with all teams having played eight or nine games, Drew Brees of New Orleans and Matt Schaub of Houston lead the NFL with 17 touchdown passes.
– Punter Shane Lechler, leading the NFL with 52.3 yards per punt, has his eyes on Sammy Baugh’s 59-year-old NFL record of 51.4 yards set in 1940. Lechler looked up the record not long after the Raiders made him a fifth-round draft pick in 2000 and has been chasing it ever since.
He never met Baugh, a Hall of Fame quarterback and safety, who, like himself, grew up in Texas. Baugh died last Dec. 17 at age 94.
“I know he owned a big ranch out by Dallas. He was a guy that I’d have love to have met and I wish I would have taken time to somehow put that together but it didn’t work out,’’ Lechler said. “It’s funny, you look back at those records and you see the numbers and you’re like, ‘Were their calculations right then? You guys serious? How close were you guys watching this because these numbers are amazing.’ ’’
Lechler has games remaining in Pittsburgh (Dec. 6), Denver (Dec. 20) and Cleveland (Dec. 27) that could potentially be cold-weather games that could drag down his average.
In Lechler’s favor so far is he’s had a wide expanse in front of him virtually every time he’s called upon to kick with the Raiders ranked No. 32 in offense.
“Unfortunately, our situation helps him be the best in in pro football,’’ Cable said. “You’d like him not to have that many opportunities. He’s really had something to do with every game we’ve been in and the two we’ve won.’’