Lease deal no surprise


More news and notes and observations following Wednesday’s practice:

— Considering the state of the economy and the Raiders current state of affairs, it’s no shocker that the club and the Joint Powers Authority reached agreement on a three-year extension.

It’s also an indication that for whatever rumors exist about the financial instability of the franchise under Al Davis, there isn’t a buyer lined up to purchase the club and move it to Los Angeles in the foreseeable future.

Also guessing the current rock-bottom status of the team in terms of butts in the seats somehow benefitted the Raiders in this deal.

Coach Tom Cable on the lease extension: “I think it’s important any time you know your hometown team is going to be there. As I mentioned when I got this job, we need to get this team going to give something back to Oakland so they have something to be excited about, for people to come to the games and buy the tickets and do all those things that you want as an organization. So I think it’s very important.”

Unless the Gradkowski news prompts a flood of ticket requests, blackout No. 5 should be announced Thursday.

— Read Cable’s words closely and while he won’t come out and say it, is there any doubt that all the talk of JaMarcus Russell’s poor work ethic is far more accurate than his passes on a given Sunday?

Cable’s been hinting at it all year and has never come out and say it. Given the way he’s talked up the dedication of Bruce Gradkowski and Charlie Frye, he never had to. His message is clear enough without taking on Russell directly in the media.

Davis also thinks a crisis point has been reached, otherwise he would have never either reccommended it or gone along with it. It also gives him a chance at a future press conference to say how Cable erred when he benched Russell.

— Insteresting to see how Russell handles the situation. Ideally, he’ll stand tall, take some responsibility and vow to get better. If he gets good advice, he’ll do exactly that.

— Chaz Schilens will start at wide receiver in place of Louis Murphy, and not Darrius Heyward-Bey. The rationale is is Murphy and Schilens play the same position, although passing game coordinator Ted Tollner said the positions are essentially interchangable.

Russell has never had any sort of chemistry with Heyward-Bey, at least not during training camp or any regular-season games. He and Murphy seemed to have something going early, but in the last few weeks Russell couldn’t develop any timing with either man.
— Last week, cornerback Chris Johnson told media members not to forget that if the Raiders went unbeaten in the second half, they would finish 10-6. His sights were still set high on Wednesday when discussing what the Raiders must do on defense in light of the struggles of the offense.

“The defense is fine,’’ Johnson said. “What we have to do is with the turnovers we get, we’ve got to make sure we try to get in the end zone. Or not let the offense in the end zone and we win 3-0. that’s our mentality now.

“If not score, then set up a score. If we do that the rest of the seven games, I think we’ll be all right.’’

— Heyward-Bey has no plans on going Ochocinco on the Raiders in terms of being a flamboyant personality, but conceded the Bengals wide receiver has at least one fan who is also a Raiders fan.

“ It works for him. I know my mom likes it,” Heyward-Bey said. “So, whatever works for him, that’s good, because whatever you got to do on and off the field to make your play good, that’s what you got to do.”

— Still no sign of LB Ricky Brown or WR/KR Nick Miller, who didn’t practice. Nor did free safety Hiram Eugene, who had a shoulder injury.

The good news is veteran defensive end Greg Ellis was limited and could possibly play against Cincinnati, Cable said. Also, Michael Huff’s ankle which necessitated an MRI, is apparently fine. He made it through the entire practice.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer