News, notes and quotes from the Raiders’ open locker room session and press briefing with coach Tom Cable:
– It took a day for the Raiders’ 20-19 win over Denver to sink in for quarterback Charlie Frye. Former teammate Andra Davis saw to that with a sack that gave the Raiders quarterback a concussion.
“It’s scary just to feel like that. You’re really not into what’s going on,” Frye said. “That’s why it was so interesting watching the film the next day of how we won the game. It was pretty cool to see how that unfolded, for me really for the first time.”
Clear-headed and cleared to play, Frye looks forward to a homecoming against the team that cup him after the first game of the 2007 season, benching him in favor of Derek Anderson. Frye went to college at Akron, his family lives two hours away and his sister is getting married in the area Saturday.
“I had to get 30 tickets,” Frye said. “It’s a chance for the family to come, friends, those type of things, and those things are special because who knows if I’ll ever get back there to play another game.”
Frye was the first player to start at quarterback for a season opener and be with another team the next, traded for a sixth-round draft pick to Seattle. Former G.M. Phil Savage made note of Frye’s propensity for taking sacks as one of the reasons for the move.
Since then, Frye was drilled by Mike Holmgren in Seattle and Paul Hackett in Oakland, both proponents of an offensive system which minimizes sacks and stresses getting the ball out quickly to receivers. He was hit against Denver, but not sacked.
“I really didn’t comprehend how this position is supposed to be played until I got to Seattle,” Frye said. “You always wonder, ‘Well, what if I had known that when I was playing in Cleveland? Would that have made a difference?’ And the longer you’re playing the more you understand.
“I talk to Cabes a lot (about) what he’s trying to get done. One of the big deals last week is they feed off sacks, Denver did. We didn’t want them to get rolling, momentum and stuff, so I threw a lot of balls away. That hurts the old percentage, but it’s bigger than that. That was our rival game. We had to win that game. That’s part of knowing the game.”
– With Luke Lawton suspended and Oren O’Neal on I.R., the Raiders find themselves with 220-pound Gary Russell as their lone fullback. They possibly could pick up Marcel Reece from the practice squad, although Reece’s strength has been receiving moreso than blocking.
– Although Zack Miller has been cleared to practice, he needs to pass one more test to play against the Browns.
“I think it’s called a post-accident concussion test,” Miller said. “It’s the same test I’ve taken four times already. I’m really close. I’ve been practicing, feeling fine practicing, so everything looks good.”
If Miller does not pass, Tony Stewart would be the lone healthy tight end, with Brandon Myers still not cleared to practice following his concussion. Guard-tackle Erik Pears played tight end against Denver _ and was a benefit to a season-best 241 rushing yard rushing performance.
Considering the weather in Cleveland could be in the 20s or 30s with snow and/or high wind, it could be a fullback/tight end kind of game.
– Running back Justin Fargas missed practice for the second straight day, meaning Michael Bush, coming off a 133-yard, 18-carry game against Denver, could get a lot of work. He’ll trade the wind and cold for the altitutde of Denver any day.
“I grew up playing in cold weather like that in Kentucky,” Bush said. “To me the altitude was a big deal. I hadn’t had much practice at it and it was a whole different beast. I kind of got used to it in the second half.”
– Those who did not practice Thursday included DE Greg Ellis (knee), WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (foot), WR-KR Nick Miller (tibia), quarterback Bruce Gradkowski (knees), Fargas and Myers (concussion). Players who were limited were G Cooper Carlisle, CB Chris Johnson and Zach Miller.
– Gradkowski is holding out hope he could play in the season finale against Balitmore.
“It’s crazy how much better you can feel in a week. I feel a lot better. Not as good as I want right now. The doctors are kind of surprised how fast I’m moving along,” Gradkowski said. “I’m not where I need to be to play just yet, but I’m getting there . . . next week’s a definite possibility. Once the trainers really give me the OK to really push it outside, then I’ll try that.
“It would be a lot easier if it was one knee. If it was one knee, I’d brace it up . . . it just stinks we only had three games left.”