Why Raiders kept up the pressure


News, notes and quotes Tuesday as the Raiders on a short week prepared for a Thanksgiving Day game in Dallas:

— The Raiders sent pressure Carson Palmer’s way several times early on against Cincinnati and wound up down 14-0. Yet throughout the final two and a half quarters they continued to confound the Bengals with pressure and even got key sacks from Tyvon Branch and Stanford Routt.

“On a couple of those plays we were right at the ball but didn’t make a play on the ball,” defensive coordinator John Marshall said. “As long as the coverage is right and it doesn’t break down then we’ll have a chance. We’ll start making plays, or get to the quarterback.”

— According to Raiders.com, Branch has been named the club’s recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award.

— Among the congratulatory calls or texts Bruce Gradkowski received following the Bengals game were from Jon Gruden, his first NFL coach in Tampa Bay, and Jeff Garcia, a close friend he considers his mentor. Fear not, Gradkowski is only 25, but know show to play the media game. If Gruden or Garcia said anything incendiary regarding the Raiders, he’ll never tell.

“I talk to Jeff every week, and coach Gruden sent me a text,” Gradkowski said. “I told him he was doing a good job on Monday Night Football. It’s god to know those guys are watching and keeping an eye out, and I’m just excited to be out here and be able to play.”

As for replacing Garcia after Garcia made it clear he wanted out, Gradkowski said, “It’s crazy how things work out and that’s the nature of this business. Everything happens for a reason. I truly believe that, and I just take it as it comes.”

— Gradkowski’s father still works at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette _ where he worked at one time with the father of Dan Marino.

“I actually didn’t get to meet Dan Marino until after my rookie season, and it was a neat thing,” Gradkowski said.

— Rather than refute the commonly held belief that the Raiders have an inability handle success, Cable said the only way to change the perception is to win two in a row.

“This league is about consistency,” Cable said. “It’s a player or a team being able to perform consistently, and that’s really what we’re shooting for. I think for us to get where we want to be, that’s the real last piece here. And the only way to do it is to do it.”

After the Raiders beat the Eagles and before a 38-0 loss to the Jets, Cable rebuked the notion _ most recently proffered by Showtime commentator and ex-Raider Warren Sapp _ that the Raiders were at their worst after a win.

Punter Shane Lechler, asked about it Tuesday, looked at the results and sided with Sapp.

“I agree. Especially over the last six years, you win one, and the way it’s approached the next week . . . and it’s not about the staff, it’s in here,” Lechler said. “Things aren’t handle the right way. Guys become real cool . . . I hate to say it, but after the Philadelphia, people read press clippings. It was one game.”

— With Jon Alston ruled out with concussion symptoms and Isaiah Ekejiuba not practicing with an ankle injury, the Raider would be without two key special teams players and the possibility exists that Slade Norris could be activated. If the Raiders deem Alston’s condition seriously enough, he could be headed for injured reserve.

That would mean two key special teams veterans would be replaced by two players fresh off the practice squad _ David Nixon and Norris.

Nixon was promoted the day before the Bengals game after having a solid training camp as an undrafted free agent out of Brigham Young and being signed to the practice squad.

“I knew Jon Alston wasn’t feeling well throughout the week, but I had no inkling,” Nixon said. “I got the call, came in, signed the contract, met with (John Fassel), went over the scheme, and not only was I on the roster, I was active and was going to play.”

Nixon was on two of the four special teams and played on all of them once Ekejiuba left with an ankle injury.

— Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin is a symbol of hope for special teams players. He did little else for the better part of two years for Dallas and has exploded on to the scene this season with 35 receptions for 679 yards and seven touchdowns. That’s only five less catches than all the Raiders wide receivers combined, more yards, and five more touchdowns.

— Here’s how Charles Woodson characterized his stay with the Raiders on the Jim Rome Show recently:

“It’s always been kind of wild and crazy. But when I came in, I think it was a little better under Gruden and general manager Bruce Allen. They had pretty good control on things. And you know, we had some good players, so regardless of how wild and crazy it was, we had some players out there that could just flat out get it done. So we played through a lot of the negative stuff. Now, that’s not the case. Now they have some good players, but it’s nowhere near the talent we had when we were winning.”

As usual, Woodson effectively cuts to the heart of the matter. The Raiders “talent” has not been all its been made out to be over the last six years.

And as usual, Woodson leaves out the fact that he didn’t exactly dedicate himself to the cause once the ship started sinking. Played his heart out on Sundays, but not a real grinder during the week, either in practice or in preparation.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • Turkey and mashed potatoes and gravy with corn on top, some cranberry sauce to give it a little sweetness, and of course stuffing!!!!

    Pumpkin pie for dessert and then leftover cold turkey sandwiches a couple of hours later!

    I can’t wait!

  • 4evaRaider

    no sweet potatoes ???

  • 4evaRaider

    take-out turkey…insert lamb and still keep regular side-dishes

  • My mother in law once tried making stuffing with rye bread.


  • Yeah the 1:15 gametime kind of throws a little hitch in the timing of everything. We’re thinking of trying to time “dinner”, for late first-half and halftime.

    Aren’t the halftime’s a little longer on Thanksgiving?

  • 4evaRaider

    Dell Florida sucks for a lot of reasons and thats one of them lol

    I remember waking-n-baking in Calli on a Sunday morn…and the 1st game is at 9:00am…sometimes at 8:30 am…

  • I am a guest during Thanksgiving, and there are so many people over you can basically eat dinner anywhere…so I usually end up on the couch watching football in the den with my brother-in-law and father-in-law.

    Too bad it is a 9 hour drive to get there….

  • 4evaRaider

    Leg-o-Lamb will be done at 2:45pm sharp gorge down 4 an hour or soo and viola!!! Kick-off at 4:15 here in floritucky!!!

  • 4evaRaider

    they Raider fans Dakota?!?!?!

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    Dakota Says:
    November 25th, 2009 at 8:57 am
    My mother in law once tried making stuffing with rye bread.

    Plus the rye seeds probably get stuck!

  • 4eva

    It is near Lincoln, Nebraska…they are so fixated on Husker football I doubt they even know what the NFL is down there.

    I have seen some KC jerseys around those parts, and some Viqueen jerseys…so I guess those are the teams they follow down there.

  • Raider Dell


    9 hour drive! When do you begin this journey, today and when you get there any food will do.

  • Dakota vs. World again I see…
    I’m on Dakota’s side today, you shoulda Al in the truck during your dream.

  • In honor of Dakota I’ll have aborted chicken fetus’ in the morning.

  • 4evaRaider

    well its there turn to visit your ever increasing family Dakota,imo

  • Raider Dell


    Can you leave the wings for the rest of us.

  • 4evaRaider

    When I eat the lamb and drink the wine I feel biblical

  • Right, Dell, bet on the Raiders, someone said they are the only team Dallas hasn’t beaten in Dallas.

  • 4evaRaider

    put on a toga and I’m there =)

  • 4evaRaider Says:
    When I eat the lamb and drink the wine I feel biblical
    You’re right 4Eva, Christianity is a cannibalistic practice.lol

  • 4evaRaider

    What did I say???

  • Dell, the native American side of me wants shrimp instead. Turkey has no taste that’s why everyone puts gravy & has cranberry sauce with it.

  • Raider Dell


    What Raider team shows up? The team that crushed Philly with 13 points or the team that spanked Cinn with 20 points, or the team that faced the Jets….

  • Raider Dell


    You are invited to my house. My shrimp bowl is awaiting you. My son likes butter as a dip, Cocktail sauce for me.

  • 4evaRaider

    Hey “jumbo” shrimp wrapped in bacon thrown on the BBQ dipped in a nice pineapple or papaya or both sauce yeah-baby

  • Raider Dell


    I knew bacon would be somewhere on that menu of yours.

    You Hog master.

  • lol

    Dell, we leave at 4:30 this afternoon, stay in Kearney, NE, and only have a could of hours to drive in the morning…then it is time to crack open the rum and coke and get buzzed until it is time to eat!


    The drive is worth not having all those people come to our house and have to be responsible for all the cooking etc…I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

    We do Christmas at our house every other year…that blows! lol

  • 4evaRaider

    I think…with all the comments made by the players this team is gonna be loose…being down 14-0 with less than 5 minutes in the half didnt faze them.The players are buying into it.Best Thing Cable did was bench Jmac…the attitude of the team exploded,imo.We got horses that can gallop alls Grads gotta do is get it to them.

    And Jay Richardson had a great game!!!

  • Boy, I can feel the love today!

    I do participate in the cooking of the Turkey…we have a drink or two, hook the propane up to the fryer and watch it get hot…while having another drink or two…and then we put the Turkey in and drink while watching football for an hour or an hour and a half…then we take the Turkey out and pour another drink for dinner.

    Real difficult cooking lol.

  • Canadian Raider

    Larz Iam in Toronto we leave 6 am to get to Detroit by 9am check into the hotel and head over to the tailgate. Then were going to this sports bar in Detroit to watch the Raider game. Gonna be a long one must start drinkin tonight to get body and mind prepared for a long day.

  • 4evaRaider

    there is just sooo many of them pigs in fla.Dell…

    Starkey Park…which I live on the North-West border of had to have a hog hunt b/c a wild boar started getting aggressive against a man and his dog.So they had the hunt a month ago shot and killed over 300 hogs and didnt put a dent in them…I could shoot a hog a day EASY if I wanted 2.

  • 4evaRaider

    Yesterday morning B4 I took my daughter 2 work…She was sitting on the front porch waiting 4 me and I herd her say WHOA!!! and a Doe jumped out from behind my car.Wild-life ABOUNDS around here

  • VanHeathen

    I hope Grads shuts up all the haters that are still longing for JR after he crapped all over his teammmates with his lack of professionalism…

  • Raider Dell Says:
    November 25th, 2009 at 8:37 am
    A few items up for discussion.

    Cali has no more tax revenue. The extra 10% will not reduce the defecit down any further. We here in this state are looking at a 20 BILLION DOLLAR defecit. Can anybody spare some coin.

    How many of you really like turkey? I know the deep fry helps, the smoker helps. the cooking by somebody else helps. I can’t stand the bird. My family and I eat beef. I have turkey for the traditional family members who are invited.

    The question is for me? Do I watch the Raider game and should I eat before the game or after?

    All replys will be appreciated.”

    I am like you Dell, turkey is way over rated. Our family always has Prime Rib, a tradition started by my Grandmother (RIP). There will be some turkey for others, but most of us will eat beef.

    Right now the wife is at home scrambling to make sure the house is spotless, sometimes it’s good to be stuck at work.

    Typically we will start dinner around 3 pm but that will be smack dab in the middle of the 3rd quarter, so we may wait until the Raiders win to eat. There are always tons of appetizers like chips and clam dip, Nuts and Bolts (this is waht my GMother used to call Chex Mix) and other munchies so we will be ok.

    Here’s hoping that everyone has an excellent Thanksgiving. I will be up bright and early Friday morning to the tune of 5am to head over to Best Buy to get a good deal on another LCD HDTV. Last Black Friday I bought a $300 leather executive Raider chair for $100 so I will be on the hunt…

  • Dakota Says:
    November 25th, 2009 at 9:34 am
    Boy, I can feel the love today!

    I do participate in the cooking of the Turkey…we have a drink or two, hook the propane up to the fryer and watch it get hot…while having another drink or two…and then we put the Turkey in and drink while watching football for an hour or an hour and a half…then we take the Turkey out and pour another drink for dinner.

    Real difficult cooking lol.”

    Love the methods bro

  • Thanx guys my girlfriend is fixing the shrimp & greens. Shanahan interviewing with the Bills right now.

  • I honestly think Turkey day may be my favorite holiday.

    I think I place it above X-mas. Better memories and more fun, can’t beat NFL football from 9am on.

    Plus the extra long weekend. Very light work week.

  • VanHeathen,

    As for myself, it is not about Garbagekowski vs Russell…it is the mere thought that some believe Garbagekowski is the answer for 2010!

    Gotta be kidding me!

    Hey, if he suddenly becomes some decent QB, great, but it is highly unlikely. 50% completion percentage and a couple of TDs and a couple of turnovers and 180 yards might look good right now in the wake of the Russell era, but that just isn’t going to cut it either…and he has never done much better than that in the past.

    Hoping Garbagekowski is the answer is like hoping Cable is more than the 18-50 HC he is.

  • Hey Dogg, Go W’s!!!

  • Raider Dell

    Gentleman and I use that word quite loosely. I have family and friends arriving in a few hours (6 to be exact) and I must prepare the Grill. I decided to have brisket cooked with wood chips dipped in wine and plenty of sausage and wings. I must begin my adventure.

    I will bring out the lap top and enjoy your comments about the Raiders in a few.

    Dakota be safe. Take the hand gun and be careful. Your driving your future son to the Thanksgiving Holiday family festival.


    Love the lamb idea, great choice.

    Later to all and have a happy Thanksgiving.

    Raider O

    Stay focused, stop worrying about firing Cable. Dakota got that part handled.

    Tell KK I love the red roadster. I’m so jealous.

  • VanHeathen

    I’ve wanted JR to succeed just like everyone else, i’m just SICK of his lack of preparation, slacker approach, to the 1 of the 32 greatest job in Pro Sports. If he wants to squander his abilities, let him do it on the bench…

  • Canadian Raider

    Hey Larz look for us at the Detroit game we are way up at the top OF one of the enzones we will all have our Raider Shirts on lol

  • 4evaRaider

    Yeah Dakota and we fully expect to see

    Little Allen Jimmy Davis Carter Dakota dressed up in Raider Gear!!!

  • vegas raider Says:
    November 25th, 2009 at 9:50 am
    Hey Dogg, Go W’s!!!”

    That’s what I’m talking about! The W’s beat the Mavs with only 6 players! Curry looks to be coming along too. Everything started shaping up nicely as soon as Jackson hit the exit.

  • VanHeathen

    Jr’s appraoch to this season has been so far from professional it’s a freakin’ insult to all of us!
    Wake Up! this kid needs SERIOUS help getting his head straight…

  • “I decided to have brisket cooked with wood chips dipped in wine and plenty of sausage and wings”


    Sounds awesome. Never used wine soaked chips before, sounds interesting. You must be using green chips because I would think that regular chips soaked in wine would burn too fast. Have you ever done this before? I need details 🙂

  • 4evaRaider

    Dogg Good Morning!!!

    I had 2 pick up daughter just when we started talkin Guitar God Gibbons.That bwont happen again as she gets her very own 1st car 2day!!!

    But yeah Govt.Mule and Billy sound GREAT together,imo thankx Bro =)

  • M Lonetree

    RaiderDogg, Dell,

    whenever I’m around the clan leaves menu for any holiday up to me. Since T’day is also the matriarch’s b’day this year I decided upon a Hawaiian based mixed plate theme. Chicken, pig, fish and shrimp done in traditional recipes (Kalua Pig in a slow cooker rather than in the ground). She always loved a luau and there’ll be a foto of her being smooched by Don Ho as the centerpiece. Pineapple upside down cake decorated with mini-tiki torches for the wishing ceremony.

  • VanHeathen

    Hey Dogg, thanks for bringing up the ‘Improved Warriors”…Getting rid of Jack, has inspired the guys who care to become a team. It’s almost EXACTLY what the raiders looked like lst Sunday, a team free of a guy that was mentally bringing them down…i really wish it wasn’t like this, but it is….

  • VanHeathen Says:
    November 25th, 2009 at 9:54 am
    I’ve wanted JR to succeed just like everyone else, i’m just SICK of his lack of preparation, slacker approach, to the 1 of the 32 greatest job in Pro Sports. If he wants to squander his abilities, let him do it on the bench…

    I totally agree about his work ethic. I have been yelling about that since he left OTAs to attend that funeral for a week and a half, or his mother’s little surgery or whatever it was.

    And anyone that fat clearly is not dedicated to their profession when their profession is a sport! All the kid has to do is work out and prep for GAMES for god’s sake!

    Those were red flags to me and almost everyone said shut up Dakota, quit being negative, Russell will be just fine etc.

    Well, that wasn’t the case. I still think there are other factors that contribute to Russell’s problems, including the clown HC, so I am not giving up on the kid yet either…

    Get the kid a coach that can motivate and teach him…this staff clearly cannot do it. I know that most of the responsibility lies at Russell’s feet, but I truly believe that if we had a coach Russell believed in or feared he would be a much better QB.