By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Sunday, January 3rd, 2010 at 9:43 pm in Oakland Raiders.
News, notes and quotes from the Raiders season-ending 21-13 loss to the Baltimore Ravens at the Coliseum:
– Lots of support for Tom Cable in the postgame locker room.
Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha said he hasn’t heard anything specific about Cable getting fired, but if he has any solid information, “I’m sure that myself and the other captains will speak out on Tom’s behalf.
Said tight end Zach Miller: “I want to see him. I think he’s been good all year. He’s been. He’s had to deal with some tough issues early on. But he’s been the same every week, and really consistent, and I think that’s good for the football team. And I’d love some continuity going into next season.”
Wide receiver Chaz Schilens: “As far I’m concerned he’s a good coach and deserves to be back here. That’s how I feel.’’
Not all the captains would necessarily be receptive, however.
“That’s not my call,’’ defensive end Richard Seymour said, although he added, “ I like coach Cable. I really do. He stayed the course and even when it was tough, he always had the troops ready to play. That’s all you can ask for.’’
Quarterback JaMarcus Russell, asked if Cable should return, said, “He should, he should. That’s not my decision. That’s the big leagues upstairs.’’
For his part, Cable plan on being back.
“I am, because I see, and you all see, too, where this team is going, and what we’ve been able to accomplish in proving some things,’’ Cable said. “Where we are offensively since the Cincinnati game, I think, speaks volumes, but again, yeah, I’m pretty sure (I’ll be back). As sure as I can be.’’
Cable said he has not talked to Al Davis about that, however.
– The Cincinnati game, of course, is when Cable benched JaMarcus Russell. And there’s no denying the passing offense got dramatically better once Russell went to the bench.
But it’s also true Russell led the Raiders to their won over Denver and looked light years better Sunday in terms of being confident and decisive than he did through the first nine games.
But there were two turnovers, an interception to Dannell Ellerbe and a sack-fumble lost to Ellerbe.
Russell was 9-for-14 for 102 yards in the second half after Charlie Frye (who took a ferocious beating and left at halftime with a lower back strain and an ankle injury) was 18-for-25 for 180 yards and a touchdown in the first half.
Asked about the good things Russell did, Cable said, “Not really thinking about that right now, just thinking about our effort and the disappointment I have over not being able to score some points in the second half, because I really thought we would.’’
Russell on his own play this season: “It was shaky, shaky. At times it was like we were on a roller coaster. Once you go up, you go down, you go up, go down, same thing.’’
– The Raiders rather dramatically illustrated the inconsistencies in the three phases of their play in the secondd quarter on consecutive possessions.
First, after Shane Lechler pinned the Ravens back at the 5-yard line with a 45-yard punt, the Ravens went 95 yards on just two plays on what Cable calls “chunk’’ plays.
Joe Flacco got the Ravens out of the shadow of their own end zone with an 18-yard pass to Todd Heap, then Willis McGahee bolted 77 yards for a touchdown, embarrassing Hiram Eugene with a stiff-arm in the process.
Trailing 14-3, the Raiders responded with one of their best drives of the season, with Frye completing 6 of 7 passes for 57 yards and a 12-yard scoring pass to a leaping Zach Miller to cut it to 14-10 with 47 seconds left in the half.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Ravens got a 53-yard return by Jamele Parmalee and the Raiders were fortunate not to give up any points when Billy Cundiff missed a 37-yard field goal attempt.
– Schilens talked up the job Cable did and was effusive in his praise about Frye.
“Charlie played great. He was getting drilled but he was getting the ball off and trusting his receivers,’’ Schilens said. “He played great. I wish it could have been different. I wish he could have stayed healthy and stayed in there, but he’s a good quarterback.’’
When asked about the job Russell did in the second half, Schilens clammed up.
After a brief pause, Schilens said, “No comment.’’
Schilens had a career high eight receptions for 99 yards and although he missed half the season with a broken metatarsal sustained in training camp, led all Raiders wide receivers with 29 catches for 365 yards.
Miller had seven catches for 37 yards, including the touchdown. The Pro Bowl alternate finished with career highs in receptions (66) and yards (805).
– Frye and Russell completed 27 of 38 passes for 282 yards, the most completions for the Raiders since the season opener against the Detroit Lions when Josh McCown was 30-for-40 for 313 yards and still booed heavily.
They completed 19 of 25 passes for 240 yards to wide receivers.
“I always thought we could do that, you know,’’ Cable said. “It’s just a matter of getting some things kind of cleaned up and letting a couple of young receivers grow up a little bit and not making it a one-man deal with Zach all the time.’’
– The Ravens rushed for 240 yards on 35 carries, with Willis McGahee rushing for 167 yards on 16 carries and three touchdowns _ including a 77-yard scoring run which he stiff-armed Hiram Eugene.
“I don’t know if that was a stiff-arm or a beat-down,’’ Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.
“It’s like he got a good three-way go, really. And he kind of caught me on my heels, and gave me a little club,’’ Eugene said. “Especially when it’s a big play for them, and you know it’s most likely going ot hit Sportscenter, and people are going to look at like, `He was in the middle’ but he’s a safety and he’s got to make that tackle.’’
The Raiders finished 29th in the NFL in rushing, surrendering 2,488 yards and tied the Rams for giving up the most rushing touchdowns with 24.
x-Place kicker Sebastian Janikowski converted field goal attempts of 37 and 39 yards without a miss to finish 26-for-29 on the season and extending his own club record with an even 1,000 career points.
“We’ve struggled a little bit this year so far but getting 1000 points, you know, it means a lot to me,’’ Janikowski said. “Just breaking the record means a lot to me.”
Janikowski had no comment about his impending free agency. He could be franchised or transitioned, with extra tags available if there is no collective bargaining agreement.
Most likely, Janikowski, like Shane Lechler before him, will get a huge raise.
– Lechler had punts of 54, 52, 45, 59 and 51 yards for a 52.4 average and finished the season at 51.1 yards per punt, behind the all-time record of 51.4 set by Sammy Baugh in 1940.
x-Tennessee running back Chris Johnson, the No. 24 selection in the 2008 draft, rushed for 134 yards on 36 carries and finished the season with 2,006 yards. Darren McFadden, the No. 4 pick in the same draft, had five carries for nine yards and finished with 357 yards on 104 carries.
The Raiders rushed for 51 yards on 20 carries, with Michael Bush (10 carries, 18 yards) and McFadden (5 carries, 9 yards) getting nowhere. The only run longer than five yards was a 13-yard reverse Louis Murphy.
– Cable is scheduled to meet with the media Monday at noon for a season-ending press conference, preceded by an open locker room session for players who haven’t already cleared out.