Higgins gets another chance to shine


It’s been a long year for the Raiders most productive wide receiver a year ago.

But it’s worth noting that Johnnie Lee Higgins will be back in the starting lineup as the Raiders enter the last quarter of the season, right about the same time he compiled most of his receiving statistics a year ago. Rookie Darrius Heyward-Bey missed pracitce Friday for the third straight day, is listed as doubtful and very unlikely to play.

Higgins had only eight catches at this point last season. After catching four passes for a season-high 63 yards against Pittsburgh, he currently has 10 (one more than Heyward-Bey).

In the last four games in 2008, Higgins caught 14 passes for 196 yards and three of his four receiving touchdowns, a jumping off point most people figured would carry over into an even better 2009.

Instead, Higgins took a ferocious shot from San Diego safety Eric Weddle in Week 1, seemed affected by it for weeks, and found himself getting much less playing time than Heyward-Bey and fourth-round selection Louis Murphy.

“Yeah, it was rough. You know me, I’m a fighter, I just hate sitting back and watching, I want to be out there, but I just do as I’m told,” Higgins said Friday. “I go out there and when my number is called, I go out there and I perform. Complaining won’t get you anywhere. When it’s my time to shine, I go out there and try and do it.”

Some news and notes from the Raiders Friday practice:

— The Raiders have not yet put left guard Robert Gallery on injured reserve, but are expected to do so later today or Saturday. Practice guard-center Roy Schuening is hopeful of being promoted to the 53-man roster but is taking nothing for granted until asked to come in and sign a contract.

Schuening would also be a backup center. Starting center Samson Satele was limited in practice and listed as questionable, but is expected to start, with Chris Morris taking Gallery’s spot at left guard.

If Satele were to be re-injured, Morris would take over at center and Langston Walker at left guard _ presumably leaving the Raiders without a center unless Schuening is on the roster. Schuening said he’s been taking turns at center all season and is proficient with the shotgun snap.

“I only had one bad one all week,” he said.

— Defensive end Greg Ellis pracitced for the first time this week, and like Satele, was listed as questionable.

— Washington running back Quinton Ganther, recently elevated to starting running back ahead of Rock Cartwright (with Clinton Portis injured and out for the season), played youth football in Oakland with Kirk Morrison.

“He’s a friend of mine. He’s from here in the Bay area. Played Pop Warner against him,” Morrison said. “He went to Mountain West Conference, went to Utah. I know a lot about him so we follow each other’s careers and we’re real good friends. Had to help him out with tickets.”

While it’s somewhat comforting that Portis is out and the Redskins have worked their way down the depth chart at running back, the Raiders gave up more than 100 yards to the Jets’ Shonn Greene, the Chiefs Jamaal Charles and the Bengals’ Bernard Scott, none of whom opened the season as starters. Greene was in fact the Jets’ third-string back behind Thomas Jones and Leon Washington.

“He’s a cutback runner, a slasher and very explosive,” Cable said of Ganther.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • lefty12

    24-exactly.that is how the old man drafts(whether anyone likes it or not)-potential.he drafts like colleges sign blue-chip recruits.i’m not saying it is the proper way to draft,but imo,that is how he does it.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    24 Says:
    December 11th, 2009 at 6:14 pm
    SnB – I hear ya but theres a difference in potential regarding Murphy and DHB. It could be that Murphy is better right away but he may only be an average talent over the course of his career while DHB starts out slower but has a higher ceiling that will allow him to become a star. It doesn’t always work that way but thats why one is a 1st round pick and one is a 4th round pick. Murphy has had similiar problems at WR with dropped balls and imo, they need a better WR coach to get these guys ready and up to speed.
    We only assume DHB has more talent than Murphy because of draft status.

    Murphy was projected as high as the 2nd round of the draft. While DHB was projected as low as the 2nd round.

    I don’t think DHB has anything on Murphy. Or at least nothing tangible. DHB had limited production in college and limited production in the pros..

    Murphy has been flashing talent all year and has had a couple of BIG games for the Raiders.

    I am tired of losing…its time to just roll with the guys that produce and not those that hit the lottery because Davis doesn’t know what he’s doing

  • lefty12

    24-i’ve said it before-there must be some reason Bush isn’t used more that we as fans aren’t privy to.maybe he has an attitude problem,maybe he dogs it in practice,maybe he is being given the MA treatment for refusing to help the team by changing positions last year-who knows,but there has to be something.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    lefty12 Says:
    December 11th, 2009 at 6:13 pm
    Cable would love for Dmac to show he should be the main RB-Bush too for that matter.but the fact is neither has stepped up to claim the job,hence Fargas getting the bulk of the playing time.besides,do you ever notice the excellent job Fargas does picking up blitzes and blocking?
    Truth is we have no running game. A running backs main attribute is to run the ball, get yards and score touchdowns. Our running game is decidedly mediocre…perhaps even below average.

    Our running game rarely makes a real difference. They dont’ get yards, don’t score. Sure Fargas makesa nice block..but he, like DHB and others, don’t have the prodcution necessary to win consistently.

    I know people like his “grit” and “determination” but the RAiders need those attributes to go with “production”

    Running for 65 yards is not a good day

  • 24

    Another thing that hurts the running game is the offensive line injuries. Mario Henderson has been good and is steadily improving. Gallery has been dominant as a run blocker and his injuries have hurt us terribly. Satele has gotten better throughout the season and Morris has improved as well. Carlisle is decent and our RT position has been better with Green manning the position strangely but its obvious our offensive line is filled with average guys and we just need more talent and depth to carry us but considering those factors, I think this average group has played beyond expectations. They’ve had some solid games.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    And DMAC and Bush, for whatever reason, aren’t good enough for Cable to start in the NFL.

    I think we might have to draft a running back.

    Let’s put aside our favorites and just go out here and get REAL, UNCOMPROMISING, STARTING CALIBER PLAYERS.

    the Raiders are filled up with a bunch of role players masquerading as starters.

    Chris Johnson, Adrian Peterson, Michael Turner, Cedric Benson and Ray Rice..those are starting running backs…Thomas Jones and those types

    Fargas, Bush and DMAC are role players at best

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    lefty12 Says:
    December 11th, 2009 at 6:14 pm
    i’m glad you see all the practices so you know who the ‘best’ players are.is your last name Hanson?
    Those same practices that led Russell to be the starting QB?

    How hard are those practices? Russell shows up overweight, slothfull, missing practices/OTAs and missing throws and he starts.

    I see enough on game days to make a reasoned opinion

  • 24

    Lefty12 – I agree…theres something but that something couldn’t possibly be enough to keep the best back off the field ya know what I mean? Its probably his attitude but let that guy use that attitude on the field. Maybe if hes tired from all the running, he’ll quiet down haha.

  • lefty12

    great RBs are also good to great blockers.it is as important as running the ball.100s of guys can just run,it’s the intangibles that make them good just like there is more to playing QB than just throwing the ball.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    lefty12 Says:
    December 11th, 2009 at 6:22 pm
    24-i’ve said it before-there must be some reason Bush isn’t used more that we as fans aren’t privy to.maybe he has an attitude problem,maybe he dogs it in practice,maybe he is being given the MA treatment for refusing to help the team by changing positions last year-who knows,but there has to be something.
    Just start Fargas full-time then

    But this partialling out of carries is not working.

    And you DON’T NEED 3 BACKS…that’s a bunch of bull

    Start Fargas…because that’s who Cable wants to start and cut DMAC and trade Bush while he has value.

  • 24

    SnB – I would continue with our running backs into next season. I think this team really needs to focus on improving this offensive line, specifically the right side. Thats supposed to be the strong side in running plays and we’re lacking plus the protection at RT needs to be alot better. Unless a legitimate QB enters free agency, its hard to imagine going into next season with different guys unless Al Davis wants to rid himself of Gradkowski in order to make JR comfortable again but I saw something that said Al can cut JR in an uncapped year and he won’t lose as much money but I’ll have to find that.

    If Al Davis can actually cut JR without the same financial issues, he might do it but I’m not sure if he’ll draft another QB or not. I have a feeling JR will be the opening day starter next season on a short leash with the possibility that Gradkowski will be called upon much quicker the next time around.

  • lefty12

    saying Cable WANTS to start Fargas is a total lie.he has said and it has been reported many times he wishes Dmac or Bush would step up and take the job,but neither has.

  • 24

    New Post!