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Bush to start, but he will he carry the load?

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Saturday, November 21st, 2009 at 2:44 pm in Oakland Raiders.

Coach Tom Cable has remained noncommittal when asked about how he’ll deploy is three running backs, now that all are reasonably healthy.

Depends on who has the hot hand, down and distance, formations, etc.

With Michael Bush coming off a 119-yard effort against Kansas City, the first time a Raiders running back has gained over 100 yards this season, you’d think he’d be actively campaigning for a chance to see how much damage he can do with a heavier workload.

Bush got his yards against the Chiefs on only 14 carries, the most work he’s had in a game this season. His previous high was 12 carries for 55 yards in the opener.

He leads the Raiders in rushing with 350 yards, is tied with Justin Fargas for the team lead in rushing touchdowns (2) and at 4.5 yards per carry, is ahead of both Fargas (3.7) and McFadden (3.1).

Bush is the only one of the three who hasn’t been hurt, and the only one with a carry above 20 yards and above 40 yards.

I asked Bush this week if there’s a part of him that wants to demand 25 carries to see what happens, or even if he didn’t want to say it, if he felt that way inside.

“Sometimes, but I mean, that’s just not me,” Bush said. “I’ve had to be patient about a lot of things. Even at Louisville, I was behind a couple of guys. The whole leg injury taught me more patience. And now, with three running backs, it’s the same thing. I’m OK with it.”

While Cable has not named a starter for the last two games, Bush expects to be on the field when the game begins and figures the amount of work he gets will correspond to his production.

“I know I’ll be starting and I’ve just got to make the best of my opportunities,” Bush said. “That’s the only thing I can do right now.”

Bush may have derailed his own chance for a bigger role down the stretch when he asked for a breather in the third quarter after his most extended use of the season.

With the Raiders starting at the Chiefs 43, Bush carried on five consecutive plays, gaining 35 yards, and the Raiders reaching the Chiefs 22-yard line. After the fifth carry, a 3-yard run for a first down on third-and-3, Bush asked for a breather, Fargas came in and was stuffed for no gain.

The drive stalled when JaMarcus Russell threw incomplete, a 15-yard screen pass to Zach Miller was called by on a penalty for ineligible lineman downfield, and Russell threw incomplete to Bush on third-and-15.

Sebastian Janikowski followed it with a miss from 45 yards and the drive came up empty.

From the time Bush asked out of the game, he carried only four more times for 15 yards and never had consecutive carries. His two carries in the fourth quarter gained 10 yards.

Cable was enthused at Bush’s early breakaway run, a 60-yarder that was the big play in Oakland’s lone touchdown drive. In the past, Bush’s previous big gainers have come in the fourth quarter.

It also sounded as if Bush had been able to remain in the game on his run of carries, Cable would have kept giving him the ball.

“I would have rode that one,” Cable said. “Five tough runs like that in a row is a pretty good deal.”

One area that’s been largely unexploited has been Bush’s pass receiving skill. He leads the running backs with 14 catches for 83 yards, but that has more to do with the fact that he’s the only one who has played every game other than a concerted effort to get him the ball.

Russell had trouble with touch passes on short circle routes and screens, and if Bruce Gradkowski can feather some of those passes to the 245-pound Bush against corners and safeties, big gains could result.

INJURY REPORT UPDATE

The Raiders added starting strong side linebacker Jon Alston to the injury list with an illness. He is questionable.

Alston split the strong side linebacker position on a rotation basis with Sam Williams against Kansas City. He has had two concussions since Oct. 11 which the club said were minor. He has missed minimal practice time, according to the injury report.

Note: Offensive lineman Paul McQuistan, cut by the Raiders, was signed by Jacksonville. The Jaguars cut safety Brian Russell to bring him aboard.

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  • jhill

    I remember when they developed that area, 4eva. Really pissed me off b/c it messed up a lot of the “scenic” golf in that area, lol.

    Glad you made a lot of coin though!

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    4evaRaider Says:
    November 22nd, 2009 at 9:04 am
    Who can say SnB??? We get the rest of the year 2 see him soo we know better by then.I’m just glad that we have a QB that is not overwhelmed and has at least prepaired himself in the correct manner befitting a QB,imo
    =======================================================
    Maybe…..but if Russell is that far behind…he should be cut

  • 4evaRaider

    yes and no Jhill lol

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    Jhill,

    Russell is in his 3rd year and is playing like someone who never saw the field before.

    He’s a bust. Now is it his fault…or how did they get here…that can be debated.

    An Al Davis franchise is always going to be weak on coaching and player character.

    That’s why they need to find a veteran with some guts and has some potential that other teams value.

    I say other teams…because the Raiders are incapable of scouting talent. Too much emphasis on measurables.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    For a top draft pick to be as bad as Russell is an indictment on the man that drafted him.

    IMO

  • jhill

    I think you may be overthinking it, SnB. You have to take some of what Down to the Bay and Vegas say to heart since they obviously have a bit of a pipeline to Russell.

    Hackett and Russell CLEARLY don’t have a good chemistry. Something has changed from the end of last year, and we can all feel it. For whatever reason, Hackett prefers Gradkowski over Russell AND Frye. We all said Frye should have at least been #2 since the summer, but oh well.

    Remember Jerry saying he observed Hackett grilling all of the QBs on checks and plays, and how good Russell was at it? He almost said it surprisingly, lol.

    The bottom line is the QB coach and the QBs need to all be on the same page. Why is Russell having Tuesday film sessions with Frye at his house instead of somewhere with Hackett? I don’t know the answer to that, but those are the things that have me scratching my head.

    And if you look at the picture of Russell on ESPN when Williamson talked about the benching, Russell is NOT fat. No where near it.

  • Nnamdi21

    Its understandable to judge Russell harshly. Emotions and frustrations run high, but he was always a project, his “3″ season is actually more like 2, his wides are unpolished rookies, Davis insists they play, the run game has faltered, the Oline has been spotty and patch work on and on.

    Russell hasn’t been putting in the effort apparently, but fuk man, at 23-24 yrs old and dealing with this non sense, how would you be doing?

    Once he passes the crucible of fire though, he’ll be bullet proof.

    I still got Russell’s back. He’s going to be good once he gets some REAL help and he develops.

  • aig

    Al Crzy Davis is a gambler. For every big win a gambler gets, he ends up being more aggressive and take more bad gambles. For every Bo Jackson and Nnamdi that Al gets he gambles more and more. I will say this SNB if i was to take a #1 overrall pick I would take the biggest possible gamble too. if you’re going to pick the first guy you might as well swing for the fences.

    Here’s to hoping for a close and competitive game today. At least our QB can see the entire field.

  • Nnamdi21

    JHill says:

    “And if you look at the picture of Russell on ESPN when Williamson talked about the benching, Russell is NOT fat. No where near it.”

    ==========================

    ESPN, what a joke! I’m switchin cannels and they show a thing about the Raiders and Russell and in the back ground behind him theres some fat slob gropin’ his junk.

    F-uh-k you ESPN. we get it. You hate us. We hate you right back.

  • jhill

    Russell is in his 3rd year and is playing like someone who never saw the field before.

    ——————————————————

    Cmon, SnB!

    The guy had ridiculous drops and penalties that took AT LEAST 14 pts off the board last week, right? DHBs drop, penalty on the Murphy play, and the Satele penalty bringing back the Miller screen. Make those plays and the game is won.

    LMFAO!

    Just thinking about how Cable was gloating about the QB play after the Philly game. Telling us all that Russell had been throwing the ball well the past few weeks, but the team wasn’t helping him with the drops. I think it was the Houston game before that where he was saying Russell acutually played well too.

    This is PLAIN AND SIMPLE Cable benching Russell for not throwing the ball to DHB. After 2 bad reads, he said, not the 2 bad throws.

    Regardless, you’re right. Just piss poor management is what’s causing the whole thing.

    But’s that’s still my team, lol!

  • aig

    Jhill,

    Hackett was the one that drafted Grad at Tampa. Hackett loves Grad because Grad is most familiar with Hackett’s teaching.

    The problem with JR is IMO his lack of dedication to his craft. He’s always been the biggest kid on the field at the every level up to college so Tony Bruno is right when he says that guys like that never had to work really hard at it. Granted our receivers are not helping him out but in this league only get so many chances. When the receiver is wideopen and JR is missing them high and wide is not working either.

  • ENGLANDRAIDER

    It’s about time Russell was told to sit down and watch.
    Cable’s been telling him for two years now that he needs to work at his job more and he just hasn’t bothered. Not in the off-season and not during the season.
    It’s not enough that he has an arm. In fact if all he’s got is an arm then he should take up bowling.

    I was hoping that Charlie Frye would play but any change is good.
    Gradowski, unlike Russell, works at his job. The problem might be one of accuracy but I’ve had it with Russell throwing the ball in the dirt in front of an open receiver.
    Gradowski is also too short at 6ft 1in but he can scramble better than Russell and brings some motivation to the game.
    Again, Frye at 6ft 4in might be a better fit.

    It’s gong to be interesting to see how the receivers do now. Maybe the book’s not closed on DHB this year. Now that man’s got motivation.

  • kidseven

    I think maybe the Raiders are chasing the bet with Russell. Even during his best games, has he done anything to suggest he has the potential to be great? Has he done things only the elite QBs do? Other than one 40 yard bullet on a rope he threw for a TD early in the season–confirming he has some elite physical tools–I’ve not much else to give me hope. He does appears to be sort of streaky in a good way, completing passes in bunches–like at the end of last season–and he’s hit a couple of big throws at critical times, but then even a clock is right twice a day.

    Seems to me a QB needs a combination of fire and determination, accuracy, natural ability to sense the rush, ability to read defenses, leadership, and an above average dedication to getting better and winning.

    We’re half way into the season and he throwing off his back foot, missing wide-open receivers, and he can’t even reliably hit the dump-off. Regardless of “system” or the quality of his receivers, I’d say he’s either going to bust or be a 5-year project before he’s an average QB.

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    4evaRaider Says:
    November 22nd, 2009 at 8:57 am
    only 1 hour away Jhill…I used 2 live in sun-city and shopped at that Staters Bro’s all the time

    Plumbed almost all those houses in Temecula/mareietta
    —————————————-
    When I was a kid, my dad used to taake the family to Murrieta Hot Springs Resort. He used to love the steam baths. In the summer, the place was hotter than hell. lol

  • EMRaiders

    Good morning Nation.

    Well, here we go on another hopeful and not woeful (hopefully) Sunday afternoon.

    You know, I don’t have much expectation for Grad, but at least it will give us a look at what really is the problem. If he makes some throws, and the WRs are still dropping balls, than it would be hard to say that is all Russell’s fault. However, if the WRs all of a sudden become the second coming of Tim Brown and Jerry Rice, then there might be something there. Though to be fair, a couple more games with the same outcome would be necessary to truly put full blame on Russell.

    I do think that with Grad in, we should be using the wildcat, or “wildhog” a bit more. Grad is more athletic and quicker than Russell, so it should be interesting to see how that works. I think both Bush and McFadden are used to throwing the ball, so it might be a good idea to try it. Let’s just hope it doesn’t turn out like last week, with only like 5 or 6 yards gain in 3 plays or so.

    Well, that is my two cents for today. No point in discussing the defense, we all know what’s needed there.

    Though, I do wonder, could they possibly be making a position switch for Russell from QB to DL?… if he did show flashes of something, was blocking… lol.

  • Nnamdi21

    In his last 2 seasons Russell’s wides have been…

    Javon Walker

    Ashlie Lelie

    Johnnie Lee Higgins

    Drew Carter

    Chaz Schilens

    Darius Heyward Bey

    Louis Murphy

    May have missed some but you get the picture…

  • Nnamdi21

    EM Raiders: Plays too high in his pads. lol!

  • neilb

    Off to watch whatever games on tv.Good luck Grad.

    Later…

  • http://www.us.army.mil/ texguy

    The Real MaddenRaider Says:
    November 21st, 2009 at 10:24 pm
    Priest, you should have given 16yearold a phonics book, and tell him if he learns how to read he can have free tickets.
    ————————————
    MR, you have no class whatsoever.

  • 4evaRaider

    It sure is Exla…but I think it beats the hell out of fla. and all this humidity

  • 4evaRaider

    enjoy Neilb

  • Nnamdi21

    For those of you thinking we should’ve taken Crabtree over Bey, man, can you imagine what Crab’s attitude would’ve done to Oakland and Russell?

    Who knows, maybe a guy screaming the Emperors got no clothes would finally shake things up. Its happened before but Davis usually just ships them out.

    Looking for a DT draft prospct for Oakland to pass on next year?

    Ndamukong Suh. Compares to…Richard Seymour.

    Can U imagine 2 Seymour’s on the field?

    Never happen unless Suh manages a sub 4.4 40 though.

    I bet Taylor Mays can.

    http://walterfootball.com/scoutingreport2010nsuh.php

  • http://blstb.msn.com/i/55/90A2853B6CFBCC2AFC987BB18B832.jpg vegas raider

    Man, couldn’t find much to bet on today. A bunch of duds, and they took the Broncos game off the board, as apparently Orton might play now.

    So I took the Colts and Vikings. When in doubt, take the undefeated teams. Can’t believe the Colts are only 1 point favorites. Vikings -11.

    When I go to the Hilton I think I might take the Raiders with the over. Raiders are 4-5 against the spread this year, which is about how I am picking anyways so might as well say screw it and roll with the squad.

  • Nnamdi21

    Hope the Raiders run over the Bengals!!!

    Score TDs!!!!

  • 4evaRaider

    A little on 2days starting QB
    *******************************************
    COLLEGE: Played in 49 games, 36 starts, for Toledo…Completed 766 of 1,123 passes for 9,225 yards and 85 touchdowns and 27 interceptions while setting 19 school and three conference records, including Toledo marks for most pass completions, yards passing and touchdowns…Rushed for 1,018 yards with 14 touchdowns on 248 rushing attempts (4.1 avg.)…Became the first quarterback in NCAA Division 1-A history to complete more than 70 percent of his passes in consecutive seasons (71.2 in 2003 and 70.2 in 2004)…His career pass completion percentage of 68.2 set a Division 1-A all-time record, breaking the previous mark of 67.1 percent (795 of 1,184) set by Kentucky’s Tim Couch…Earned All-Mid-American Conference first team honors and was named co-recipient of the Vern Smith Award, given to the MAC’s Most Valuable Player, as a senior in 2005…Set a MAC single season record as a sophomore and ranked second in the nation with a 71.2 percent completion rate…Ranked sixth in NCAA Division 1-A with a 161.5 passing efficiency rating…Named honorable mention All-American in 2004 when he ranked second in the nation with 70.2 percent pass completion percentage…Became the seventh player in MAC history to gain more than 10,000 yards in total offense during a career, coming up with 10,243 yards and 99 scores on 1,371 plays…Finished his career as UT’s career leader in touchdown passes (85), completions (766) and passing yards (9,225)…Also holds the Toledo all-time records for passing efficiency (156.61), passing yards per attempt (8.21 avg.), touchdown pass percentage (7.57 percent) and 300-yard passing games (nine)…Ranked seventh on the all-time MAC list in passing yardage and fourth in touchdown passes…Majored in Business Marketing.

    PERSONAL: Earned all-state and “Fab 22 Team” honors from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in junior and senior seasons at Seton-La Salle (Pittsburgh, Pa.) High School…Threw for 2,978 yards with 30 touchdowns as a senior…Passing yardage was most in conference’s 87-year history, surpassing prominent players such as Johnny Lujack, George Blanda, Joe Namath, Terry Hanratty, Joe Montana and Dan Marino.

  • Nnamdi21

    Nail it Vegas. Bet the Silver and Black today. Its happenin’.

  • http://blstb.msn.com/i/55/90A2853B6CFBCC2AFC987BB18B832.jpg vegas raider

    I listen to Mel Kiper usually every Saturday on the radio, and he said that Taylor Mays has hurt his draft stock quite a bit this year. Said he may go the way of Rey-Rey last year and slip into the early 2nd round.

    Give me one of the two SEC LB’s, McClain or Spikes. It should be simple, draft D where they play it the best (SEC) and draft offense where the best offenses are (Big 12 and Pac-10).

  • ENGLANDRAIDER

    Man, I woke up this morning with some kind of a hangover.

    I was down at the Kings Arms, just by the river, sitting on a stool, half watching a rugby game on the big screen, half playing blackjack with the barman and this German comes in.
    He’s staying at the nearby hotel and came in for a drink.
    We get to talking. I tell him Germany’s fine except there’s too many Germans there. Next thing I know we’re playing drinking games. This guy drank like they weren’t going to make it anymore and this morning I felt like crap.
    Really feeling down.

    Then I come on Jerry’s blog and start feeling better because I start reading that conversation between Priest and 16.

    That was effin great Priest! Way to go and don’t let Mr trying to pizz on the parade get in the way.
    That was a great thing to do.

  • http://blstb.msn.com/i/55/90A2853B6CFBCC2AFC987BB18B832.jpg vegas raider

    People say Bruce is a shrimp and has no arm. I say he has the same arm-strength and size as Mark Sanchez. Didn’t stop Mark from being a top-5 pick.

  • 4evaRaider

    those 2 DT’s from U.of Minnesota…I cant remember their names but 1 of em 6-2 320 and a freshman WOW

  • Roch R

    How good can this Raiders team be with a QB that can manage the ball? How good can the supporting cast be with Gradkowski?

    GO RAIDERS!

  • 4evaRaider

    I can think of another 6′ QB…Brees

  • ColoradoRaiderFan

    What happens if Kowski gets hurt? Do you want to see JR or Frye?

  • http://blstb.msn.com/i/55/90A2853B6CFBCC2AFC987BB18B832.jpg vegas raider

    If we win today, we should acknowledge our 16 year old good-luck charm. If he is truly in a wheelchair, we should try to get Jerry involved in hooking him up with a player that is willing to give the kid tickets to future games.

    It would be good pub for the team (for once) and I am sure there are tixs available.

    Good work Priest, the Holiday season brings out the best in us!!!

  • ENGLANDRAIDER

    Nnamdi:

    Post #266

    Maybe you’re just listing receivers who Russell can’t throw a ball to.

  • 4evaRaider

    I think in football it’s definitely the size of the fight in the dog…not the size of the dog in the fight

  • 4evaRaider

    I know Vegas…Talking about making a kid’s LIFE!!!

    Way 2 Go Priesttj

  • 4evaRaider

    If Priesttj got any of us tickets we would ALL jump up and down like there is no 2morrow…Hell I almost jumped up and down for 16…but at 51 I just felt like it instead lol

  • http://sportmag.us/images/Lester_Hayes_November_1981.jpg RaiderDogg

    I always knew that Priest was a good dude. He clearly has a big heart.

    I’m off to Oakland y’all, have a good one…

  • http://blstb.msn.com/i/55/90A2853B6CFBCC2AFC987BB18B832.jpg vegas raider

    What a catch Dallas Clark!!!!

  • Plunketthead

    Hell of a catch. Hell of a pass too.

  • http://sportmag.us/images/Lester_Hayes_November_1981.jpg RaiderDogg

    Forgot to mention Boomer Esiason. He said this morning that Gradkowski wouldn’t turn the ball over as much as JaMarcus would. What he didn’t mention was that Gradkowski turned the ball over twice last week in a quarter and a half and JaMarcus had 0 turnovers.

    I still think that Gradkowski will also see a different game called for him, based on his skill set, which will mean more high percentage plays and quick hitters. All I care is if I see Bush RUN THE FUKKING BALL!

    ok now I am out, enjoy the game…

  • ENGLANDRAIDER

    When Priest met 16 and his mom at Emeryville he said he’d be wearing Raider gear.

    I got a great visual of Priest sitting in a booth at Denny’s wearing a Raider helmet!

    Way to go Priest!

    GO RAIDERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • islandraider

    Morning All-
    Anyone got a list of internet channels for today?

    I hope Grad does well, even tho he and Frye were there to be ‘non-threatening’ to JR. There has been good stories of guys starting badly or riding the bench til they got an opportunity. Wasn’t Gannon a non-starter at KC? And Plunkett was a great story. Maybe just the new energy will kick it up for the defense. They have to compete today. They just might!

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    atdhe.net

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    watching the Colts/Ravens game via atdhe.net. They have a skysports.com feed from England. Real interesting when they cut for commercials and opinions.

  • http://blstb.msn.com/i/55/90A2853B6CFBCC2AFC987BB18B832.jpg vegas raider

    34 points in the 1st Q of Browns-Lions!!!!

    The over/under for the game was only 38.

  • Plunketthead

    Another Ed Reed interception

  • jhill

    I’m actually watching the Browns game, lol. Best game on so far.

    I tell you what, that Matt Stafford looks good. I had no idea he was 6’2 and 240lbs.

    Quinn still isn’t impressing me at all. Would rather have Gradkowski, lol!

  • jhill

    I don’t know why you guys just don’t get on with and call you local DirecTV dude.

    NFL package for $189 is a steal!