Postgame wrap


News, notes and quotes following the Raiders 24-7 loss to the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium:

— “Stop, stop, boom.”

That’s how Raiders defensive tackle Tommy Kelly described an Oakland defense that spent the week working on preventing big plays, and then gave up a staggering 384 yards on 10 snaps against the Cowboys.

It all started when running back Tashard Choice, taking direct snap from center, found a hole up the middle and ran 66 yards in the first quarter.

The Cowboys had 195 yards on 25 carries with 144 of those coming on three plays _ the run by Choice, a 46-yard touchdown run by Felix Jones and a 32-yard run by Marion Barber.

In the passing game, Miles Austin caught 145 yards worth of passes on seven receptions, with a long of 49 yards. Tight end Jason Witten, playing at left than full speed with a foot sprain which nearly kept him out of the game, had five catches for 107 yards including a 44-yard reception and a 37-yard reception.

Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and Cowboys coach Wade Phillips seemed to be of the opinion that the Raiders man-to-man defense made things too easy for the Cowboys.

“We’ve had a few games like this year, people scheming us and finding big plays on us,” free safety Michael Huff said. “I think once one comes, we start to think more and play outside our game, and then they hit us with another one and another one. I don’t really know what it is. We’ll watch film the next day and see what happened, but as its going on, we don’t realize it.”

Said Richard Seymour, who may as well have been reading from the same script from years past as Warren Sapp, said: “I think it all starts in practice, understanding where you’re supposed to be, doing what you’re supposed to do and taking care of your job. I can’t take care of someone else’s job and someone else can’t take care of mine. Everybody has to take responsibility for their play on the field and we have to get better as a group.”

— Read why the Thanksgiving Day loss was particularly galling to Raiders owner Al Davis in my column for Bay Area News Group-East Bay.

— On offense, the Raiders too a handful of shots downfield and came up with little, with most of the damage coming underneath and on shorter patterns. Not surprising, really, because the Raiders have not been a good deep throwing team all year and it’s not what is best suited for starter Bruce Gradkowski.

“There were plays there to be made downfield and I didn’t make them,” Gradkowski said.

— The Raiders unveiled a new defensive wrinkle by starting Trevor Scott at weakside linebacker in place of Thomas Howard, although Howard played plenty as Scott played in different areas of the defense.

On some plays, Scott was designated as an “elephant” pass rusher, a term the 49ers used for Charles Haley when John Marshall was defensive coordinator with the 49ers.

Only twice, however, did Scott line up with his hand down like a defensive lineman.

“A few days ago they said they wanted me to start at (Will) this game so I was like, `all right, let’s run with it,’ ” Scott said. “If it’s an opportunity to get on the field, so be it. Some guys don’t feel comfortable in a two-point stance, so if they stick with it, great.”

Scott had five tackles, two sacks, three tackles for losses, three quarterback hurries and made a special teams tackle.

He also collided with Tyvon Branch pursing a Tony Romo deflection on a play which could have resulted in a touchdown return for Branch.

— Running back Darren McFadden had 43 yards on 14 carries and had a 16-yard catch out of the slot. It was the most snaps McFadden has seen split wide this season.

— Cornerback Chris Johnson remains a true believer.

“Once we get back to sound football and doing everything like we’re supposed to, I still stick to my guns,” Johnson said. I don’t think there’s a team that can actually beat us if we play sound football.

— The Raiders opened the game strong on the ground, with Justin Fargas gaining 52 yards on six carries in the first quarter and only “ yards on six carries afterward. Michael Bush, after last week’s fumble, was de-emphasized, with just eight yards on three carries.

— Darrius Heyward-Bey got his first touchdown on a 4-yard catch from Gradkowski, with his next step catching a deep ball. He added a 17-yard reception later in the game. He got solid reviews from his quarterback and Cable. He has nine receptions for 124 yards in 10 games.

— Punter Shane Lechler kicked nine times for a 54.8 average and 46.3 net and is currently at 51.9 for the season, ahead of Sammy Baugh’s all-time mark of 51.4 set in 1940.

— More misery on kickoff returns _ Gary Russell replaced Jonathan Holland and had 15 yards on his only attempt, essentially stopping at a wall of defenders at the 17. Tony Stewart fielded a short kick for 11 yards.

— The Raiders overcame a 15-yard chop block penalty on Robert Gallery to persevere an score on their lone scoring drive, something they almost never do.

Gradkowski hit Murphy on a 23-yard pass to the 1, with Gallery’s penalty pushing it back to the 13. Gradkowski had a 21-yard scramble which helped the Raiders make up some of the yardage.

— Defensive end Greg Ellis didn’t finish the game because of swelling in his knee. He had just two tackles in his homecoming game.

“I don’t know what happened. I just know swelling, a lot of pressure, going down my leg, going down my knee down my shin and my calf. I don’t know if I did something during the game,’’ Ellis said. “It started off swelling some but that’s to be expected coming off the scope but when we started playing, it was just killing me.

“That’s pretty much it. I don’t have a lot of answers for it. Obviously I hate it, coming back to my ext-team and can’t play the whole game. That’s not good.’’

Anthony Spencer, the player who replaced Ellis and has been under some heat because he came into the game with no sacks, had two of the Cowboys’ three against Gradkowski. DeMarcus Ware had the other against Mario Henderson.

Ware generally got the better of Henderson all day, with four quarterback hurries.

Cornerback Tyvon Branch, who came up huge last week against Cincinnati, had just two tackles and a pass defensed. He also drew a stare from Johnson, who was expecting help inside, on a 6-yard pass from Romo to Roy Williams for a touchdown.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    Real MR,

    Davis owns the team. He also refuses to change. What are you going to do?

    He chooses to run the team into the ditch. I say swap out the coach and hope that we get lucky with a Gruden II type of guy.

    The team is screwed.

  • new englandraider

    these guys cant get any continuity. we’ve probably had 8 or nine different starting offensive line, line ups. that doesnt help at all.

  • Charlie

    By the way, Ron Wolf was critical in helping Mr Davis build many great Raider teams.

    Lombardi was the primary cancer.

    He is gone and we will build the lines through the draft but we are behind the curve relative to the top NFL teams of today.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams


    Building up from the lines is the only way to go.

    Been preaching that.

    Yet everyone gets giddy over a 40x warrior or some guy with a YouTube video.

    Raji should have been the 1st round pick. Loadholt should have been the 2nd round pick.

    But Davis runs this team like a fantasy football team.

    Hell, even the Madden video game makes you address the lines

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    I hope DAvis just hires Fassell. At he’s a professional head coach and won’t be running a club med type camp.

    4 days of “walk-throughs” to go over the “fundamentals”

    Yet this is the most undisciplined team in the NFL

    GEt a real coach.

    Get a GM

  • Canadian Raider

    Grads is still better then JR, THE REAL MONKEY RAIDER is back so its time for us to go now, while he continues to to lobby for his boy friend Jamarcus, I wish the both of you would get the phuck out of here you stupid idiot. The guy says they use a diffrent play book, well of course they do moron, Grads doesnt have the arm strenth so he keeps it short. Fatso has no balls to run up the field for a 1st down. The fat pig is 300 hundred pounds and still cant hold the football. Its like hitting the stay puff marshmellow man. I will be on JR side when he comes into camp under 240 and takes takes charge, shows up early and takes pride wearing that jersey. To bad he is set finacially and could give a chit. !st round rookies should be paid like the NHL I million max for first three years.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    Canadian Raider,

    Who drafted Russell?

    also, just because Russell is garbage doesn’t mean that Grads is somehow great.

    They are both terrible!

  • SnB offense defense specialteams Says:
    November 27th, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    Real MR,

    Davis owns the team. He also refuses to change. What are you going to do?


    I’m already actively boycotting. I haven’t spent a dime on this franchise since the Gruden trade. (and no, I never really bought a Russell jersey). If more people did what I did, he’d have no choice but to change. But as long as idiots keep forking their money over to him, he’ll have no incentive. Anyone who gives money to Al Davis is endorsing what he does. You can’t say you disagree with Al’s decisions, then cut him a check when it’s time for your tix to show up in the mail. The minute you give him you’re money, you’re endorsing him, even if you’re not smart enough to know it.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    The right decision in the offseason:

    1. Cut RUssell – If he is as bad as advertised…why is he on the team

    2. Cut “Grads” – He’s NOT an NFL caliber QB….and spare the “intensity” and “hard work” cliche’. He’s terrible.

    3. Trade for a vet QB. I say trade for a qb because a trade suggests value on the other side.

    4. DO NOT DRAFT A QB! The Raider organization has proven over the last 35yrs that it is incapable of developing a QB.

  • # The Real MaddenRaider Says:
    November 27th, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    NE, Gradkowski isn’t better than Russell, at tall. Imagine if Russell goes out there yesterday and has the exact same game Gradkowski did. Imagine what Gradkowski’s supporters would be saying about him. They would be putting the loss entirely on him. All of those bad passes, etc. And those were mostly WCO passes, dumbed down for our remedial talent. Crossing patterns. Gradkowski is supposed to be a better WCO QB than Russell and he can’t hit guys on CROSSING PATTERNS? Crossing patterns is the bread and butter to the WCO.

    How many starts has Russell had with this unit?

    Most people where on Russell’s side last year because he was LEARNING. This year however, he was not supposed to have Gradkowski numbers.

    This was Gradkowski’s 2nd start with the Raiders. He should get the rest of this year to see if he can WIN the job.

    Russell had plenty of chances. HE DID NOT DO CRAP WITH THEM!!!

    Big difference with Gradkowski having a bad 2nd start against a top ranked Defense on 3 days rest after BEATING a top ranked Defense…

    and Russell struggling against teams like the Chiefs and Texans in his 2nd full year as a starter.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams


    Gradkowski is only here to fill in on some meaningless Raider games to close out the season.

    He and Russell should be released at year end. As should Tom Cable and his entire coaching staff.

    Al Davis should be sanctioned by the Commissioner!

  • Raiders75, Gradkowski sucks. You know he does. Let this little game go. You’re playing gotcha with Russell supporters and it’s leading you to defend an awful quarterback, which doesn’t make you look very smart.

  • Canadian Raider

    SnB I agree that neither one is that great but for some reason I feel more comfortable watching the game with him in there. Let him finish the season and we will go from there. If somebody paid me 5 million a season to be the starting QB of the raiders, I would be so honored that I would be in the best possible phisycall and mental strenth possible. I was talking to a college head coach yesterday at the Detroit game and he said it best. Before you draft a position as important as QB you have to know the guy your picking inside and out. What his mind set is, how smart is he. Drafting players just because of arm strenth or speed is so stupid Al just wont let it go. Ti Brown was no speedster but ran a pefect pattern all the time and had geat hands. I would draft a slower physical WR with great hands every time.

  • 4evaRaider


  • I would like the Raiders to go after McNabb next year.

    There is a real chance that he would be there for the taking.

    Having an African-American WINNING QB to tutor Russell would be huge. This might be just what Russell needs.

    Of course there no way this would happen because the Raiders are locked with Russell because of the ridiculous salary Russell is due next season.

  • So, I guess Gradkowski fans felt “comfortable” yesterday with Gradkowski in there, even though he couldn’t “fire up” the team or even hit a receiver on a crossing pattern. As long as we’re all comfortable losing by 20…

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    Canadian Raider,

    IF it makes you more comfortable watching the games…then fine.

    I see this for what it is. Another lost season. Another offseason of having to start over.

    I would rather see Frye in there. At least he is capable of being an NFL QB. Grads just doesn’t have it.

    I am afraid that Tom Cable falls in love with Grads like he does with other terrible, but positive attitude, type guys like Kwame Harris, Cornell Green, Hiram Eugene, Justin Fargas and Darius Heyward-Bey.

    Our roster is getting worse and worse adn worse

  • I don’t care if we’re 4-12. I’m just comfortable with Gradkowski playing. Comfortable. Commitment to comfort!

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    Raider75 Says:
    November 27th, 2009 at 2:11 pm
    I would like the Raiders to go after McNabb next year.

    There is a real chance that he would be there for the taking.

    Having an African-American WINNING QB to tutor Russell would be huge. This might be just what Russell needs.

    Of course there no way this would happen because the Raiders are locked with Russell because of the ridiculous salary Russell is due next season.
    Why on Earth would McNabb sign with Oakland? Seriously.

    Get realistic. You are looking at guys like JP Losman, Rex Grossman, Brian St. Pierre, Sage Rosenfelds and Mark Bulger

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    The Real MaddenRaider Says:
    November 27th, 2009 at 2:13 pm
    I don’t care if we’re 4-12. I’m just comfortable with Gradkowski playing. Comfortable. Commitment to comfort!

  • Sage Rosenfelds! I think we could all get comfortable with him starting. Just be comfortable, baby!

  • Comfort and poise!

  • Canadian Raider

    SnB we need a modern day Football mind on our team for sure. I never liked Cable, for me if Al can step aside and admit he was wrong and be a man about it, other coaches would be so reluctant not to go there. No matter what business your in it starts at the top. No 80 year old man should run any business, they have done there work for the world retire and enjoy the scenery. I would love to pry away Urban Mayer thats my guy. But here we are again getting older and more frustrated year after year. something gotta give

  • The Real MaddenRaider Says:
    November 27th, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    Raiders75, Gradkowski sucks. You know he does.


    I never said he didn’t suck. However, he has the right to suck in his 2nd start.

    Russell lost the RIGHT to suck at the end of last season.

    Cable knows Gradkowski is not the answer as well, but Gradkowski EARNED the right to play by WORKING his butt off. Russell is not entitled to the job.

    Many employers promote less capable employees based on factors such as being on time, number of missed days, and attitude. Its not always about who has the most skills.

    This is a life lesson for Russell. A guy with less talent is putting up the same numbers as him because he is WORKING HARDER.

    That’s another reason I want Gradkowski to have the rest of this year to see if he can improve. He has EARNED that right by working hard.

    Maybe other players can learn something from this as well.

  • Canadian Raider

    MR you have to be the stupidest person ever, gives some opinions on players to draft coaches to pick not just sit back and type the same chit all day, your a lonely person just jump already.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams Says:
    November 27th, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    Why on Earth would McNabb sign with Oakland? Seriously.


    LOL! Same reason anyone would. MONEY!!!!! LOTS AND LOTS OF MONEY!

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    Real MR,

    They have to go to the scrapheap to find a QB. The coaching staffs in Oakland is atrocious and the the Davis influence makes it impossible for a younger QB to develop and succeed here.

    THey have to go to the scapheap and hope they can find a guy that is looking for a fresh start who has fallen out of favor.

    granted, scrap heap QBs will never lead you to a deep playoff run….but aspirations such as those are not for the Raider fan to have.

    Its about trying to get to a point where the team is able to compete into the 4th QTR in most of their games

  • Found this SI article on Al Davis from ’96


    I’ll post the highlights.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    Raider75 Says:
    November 27th, 2009 at 2:23 pm
    SnB offense defense specialteams Says:
    November 27th, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    Why on Earth would McNabb sign with Oakland? Seriously.


    LOL! Same reason anyone would. MONEY!!!!! LOTS AND LOTS OF MONEY!
    Nope. McNabb, provided he doesn’t retire an Eagle, will have a chance to go to a team with a chance to win. Perhaps the Panthers, or Vikings (when Favre retires) or Washington, or even Buffalo.

    Oakland…no chances of going deep into the playoffs until they decide to build the lines and implement a modern playbook!

  • Yeah SnB,

    I’m not down with the fatalistic approach of “oh well Davis isn’t going to change, what can we do”.

    We’re doing it. 5 consecutive blackouts and counting. Blackouts, Blackouts, Blackouts.

    You don’t think the NFL notices?

  • What do coaches tell players in camp?


    Look at Miles Austin. Practice team player to Super Star. Stayed with it, never gave up, EARNED his playing time and made the most of it.

    Gradkowski earned a shot. He should have more than 2 games to see what he can do.

    Russell lost his right because he took his physical skills for granted and came in with a sense of entitlement.

    You ever hate working around someone who goofs off, wastes their talents, doesn’t take their job seriously, etc… and tops if off with the arrogance of entitlement while you you felt blessed to have the job and have to work your butt off to keep it?

    That is why many players have responded positively to Gradkowski. Not because he is the better QB talent wise, but because he WORKS HIS BUTT OFF for his job.

  • RaiderFan77

    TO many of you are already blaming Grad like u expect him to be Joe Montana well of course he isnt. He is what we have and to blame him for the loss is just sad because to many of you were busy stuffing ur face that u failed to notice that our O line had a horrible game. They gave him no time to throw accurate passes and even so he made good decisions and kept from throwing an interception. Grad is doing great with what he has to work with and hes getting people invloved and best of all hes not making a lot of bad decisions throwing the ball. dont blame the guy doing his best to make it work blame the guy upstairs.

  • raidasteve

    After reading some of these comments I can not believe how stupid some of our fans are.

    1. Al Davis runs the team and makes the all of the hires. If the team sucks (and it has since 2002)then it’s his fault PERIOD.

    2. It is a team game. Not one person can turn the team around. You can have Brady at QB and the team will still suck. Gradkowski did ok because most of the time he had no time to throw and HE DID NOT TURN THE BALL OVER. Don’t get me wrong, he is NOT the answer.

    3. JaMarcus is a BUST. Look, this is his 3rd year and he doesn’t get it. If he cared he would bust his ass and try to improve his game. He hasn’t and I’m not sure if he will. Maybe on his 3rd team…

  • 24

    The 1983 Raiders are on KTVU Channel 2. I accidentally found it because its called The Deadliest Catch which is the wrong title. Now theres some real truth to whats being said there if you haven’t seen it before.

  • 24

    I predicted the Cowboys would win 38-7. I’m surprised I was 2 Touchdowns off my prediction. I guess the Raiders played better than I thought.

  • good-juju

    Probably wont affect Al Davis, but the fact remains he has been doing a terrible job running the team and has turned the Raiders into the laughing stock of the NFL.
    I gave up my season tickets this year. My friends did the year before. Eventually Raider fans will stop caring.