By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Wednesday, December 9th, 2009 at 3:44 pm in Oakland Raiders.
News, notes and quotes following coach Tom Cable’s post-practice press briefing:
– Sounds as if there were no pleasantries exchanged between alleged training camp combatants Tom Cable and Randy Hanson upon Hanson’s return to the building Wednesday.
Cable apparently wasn’t given much information about Hanson coming back, which seems unusual given the coach’s status in the organization and the fact that Hanson cooperated with the Napa Police Deparment and district attorney in an assault investigation against him.
“I’ve heard that, but I do not know anything about that,’’ Cable said when asked if Hanson was back at work.
Asked if Hanson would have a role on the field, Cable said, “Again, I really don’t know a lot about that other than that I was told he was back.’’
Cable was asked if he was surprised that Hanson was back, Cable said, “Sure. But right now, my focus is this football team. That’s behind us and we’re moving forward.’’
It was widely reported Hanson was given three options by Al Davis after the Aug. 5 incident at the Napa Marriott. He could analyze film, take a job in the scouting department or finish off his contract with pay. Sources said he was working in the scouting department Wednesday.
Hanson went so far as to tell his side of the story to Michael Silver of YahooSports.com _ often a death knell for the continued employment on the secretive Raiders _ but sounded as if he was open to a return when he said, “I watch every game. I want them to win. Once a Raider, always a Raider.’’
– Just Cable’s luck. The Raiders win their most significant game in years against Pittsburgh, the focus has been on playing good football rather than assault investigations, ESPN stories about his alleged domestic issues, and the failings of JaMarcus Russell, and then the Hanson story returns.
Just another Whack-a-Mole day in Oakland, where one problem resurfaces the moment you put the mallet to another.
– Left guard Robert Gallery looks to be the only player certain to be out against Washington, as Cable is holding out hope defensive end Greg Ellis can return in some capacity and possibly even . . . drumroll please . . . Nick Miller.
“He’s not declared out. He’s actually out of the boot and has been running,’’ Cable said of the undrafted free agent out of Southern Utah. “That’s a good sign.’’
Miller was scheduled to return kickoffs in Week 1 against San Diego only to be a midweek scratch because of shin splints, which was later diagnosed as a tibia fracture. He’s been on the 53-man roster and inactive on game day for 12 games.
“There’s been times when it’s improved and thought he was coming back so you wanted to hold out hope more than anything,’’ Cable said.
Gallery, Ellis and Miller did not practice Wednesday. Neither did wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (foot strain), whose status probably won’t be determined until Friday.
– Shane Lechler must have prematurely blocked the 2008 season out of his mind, talking about Bruce Gradkowski and noting he had the first chance to deliver back-to-back wins since Norv Turner was coach.
Reminded the Raiders finished 2008 with wins over Houston and Tampa Bay, Lechler said, “Oh, yeah. End of the year, that’s right. Wow.’’
The Raiders also won two in a row under Lane Kiffin (Weeks 3 and 4 in 2007) and Art Shell (Weeks 7 and 8 in 2006).
The last time the Raiders won three in a row was 2002, with four, five and four-game winning streaks (the last one encompassing the final two regular season games and two playoff games).
“It’s kind of been our Achilles’ heel around here for a while, is you win one and then a total letdown,’’ Lechler said. “We’re trying to figure out that process of how to win two, put two together and get something going here a little bit.’’
– More X (split end) and Z (flanker) analysis from Cable: “The Z is a move-around guy. He’s the guy that’s moving all the time, has to adjust in all the formations. Route-wise they’re not different. Routes are routes. But the position itself, where it starts, where it ends, how it fits, dramatically different.’’
– Cornerback DeAngelo Hall, no lock to face the Raiders Sunday, nursing back and knee injuries, told Washington reporters he had no hard feelings against the organization which released him after eight games, paying him $8 million.
“It was a great time for me there, the short period of time I was there,’’ Hall said. “I still love that Oakland Raider tradition.’’
Hall said Cable told him it was a salary cap issue, Cable told Washington reporters by conference call it was a problem of scheme.
That notion was seconded by cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, who was critical of the organization when Hall was cut.
“He’s a guy that plays with his eyes,’’ Asomugha said. “He’ll be the first to tell you he wants to be free to go out and make plays and do what he does best. “When you come here, you have to understand you’re going to be in press coverage, man-to-man, 90 percent of the time. It was definitely something he wasn’t used to.’’
Asomugha praised Hall as a teammate.
“He had his teammates’ back whether he knew them or not,’’ Asomugha said. “He was always fighting for guys. If there was a tussle on the field, he’d jump in and have that protective character. It was something guys could feed off of because he had their back.’’
– Redskins coach Jim Zorn on playing against the Raiders as a member of the Seattle Seahawks: “I just remember if we won the game or if we lost the game nobody walked off that field smiling. They were physical games. Because that was our rival up in Seattle. There was no love lost between the two teams.”
“We just fought every inch of the way to win. We got a lot of wins. I do remember the AFC championship in the Coliseum in LA when the Raiders went to the Super Bowl that year they beat up on us pretty good
in that game. We lost handily.”