Note: Raiders players had the day of Friday and will not practice Saturday morning, returning to the field at 4:20 p.m. with media availablity to follow.
A transcript of coach Tom Cable’s conference call with Bay Area reporters Friday, the day after a 17-9 win over the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas:
Q: Did you come through the game healthy?
Cable: We spoke of there guys last night. Walter McFadden, Sam Williams and Swayze Waters. We’ll know a little bit more about each one of them, Walter McFadden is definitely not anything serious at all, in fact, he may be ready to go to work tomorrow. Sam Williams may have a slight concussion so he’ll start the protocol today for that. Swayze Waters, very fortunate, when he got roughed on the PAT attempt, but it’s just a bruise. No one else came up today following the game, so we came out of it in pretty good shape.
Q: Looking over film, what were your impressions of the first team offense?
Cable: It’s a guy here and a guy there. It looks to be probably a little better than what I thought last night after the game, so I think we can fix it, and fix it rather quickly. The biggest negative I see is the four false start penalties. Good ball security, no turnovers or anything like that. I thought both Cartwright and Bennett ran the ball tough. I thought the second group of linemen blocked some things, the longer I played, I think the better they got. I think Kyle Boller went in there and did some nice things. There are some things I’m sure he’d like to do over again, but he was able to make some big throws and get us in some plays and give us a chance.
Q: Specifically, how did Veldheer and Campbell look with the second line?
Cable: You know, it was OK for the first time out. A lot of mistakes, but the longer they played I thought the better they got. That’s encouraging, and I’ll look for bigger and better things this week vs. Chicago .
Q: In terms of getting the plays in and out, in terms of Jason getting the team to the line of scrimmage and just looking like an organized team for the first time out, how would you rate it?
Cable: I thought good. I thought we could have been maybe a little faster in our tempo in and out of the huddle, but that’s normal for the first game of the preseason. But in terms of communication, we even ran a little bit of no-huddle, he handled that very well. So I was pleased with that.
Q: How important was it to get Lamarr Houston back on the field to close out a game in terms of his growth and maturity?
Cable: Well, you have to understand, he and Shaughnessy both are with the second nickel team, so they were going to be in there regardless. Guys wanted to make the point where they were playing all game. That really wasn’t by plan. Normally they wouldn’t be in there, with the first nickel group it would be Trevor Scott and and Kamerion Wimbley, but once we took the starters, so to speak, and started to play the second units, they’re part of that second unit, therefore they had to play a little bit.
Q: How encouraging was play of Shaugnessy and Houston?
Cable: I think it’s exciting. They were prodcutive. They were productive not only rushing the passer but against the run. They can do better at some things for sure. I think definitely an encouraging start.
Q: How do you weigh going for a field goal with Swayze Waters versus going for it on fourth down? Is it an “integrity of the game” issue or you simply trying to get a team ready for the regular season?
Cable: I think getting us ready to play. We were pretty lucky last night in that we got to deal with an incredible amount of situations throughout the game. Usually it doesn’t happen like that, not in one game or even this early in the preseason. I really just kind of took the situations as they came and we coached them and adjusted to them. It was really good for our team. That’s the thing we’ll take out of it. We were able to be in a number of different situations. You just kind of go with what you have planned and you go from there.
Q: How important was that last drive for Jason in terms of getting rhythm for that group?
Cable: The rhythm thing was most important. I did not like the second series very much. It just felt like we were going to put the line and the quarterback back out there together and see if they can kind of put some cohesiveness together which they were able to do a little bit. The thing I am encouraged about is it was a guy here or a guy there that were breaking down. I look for us to be better this week.
Q: Do you expect the guys you held out to come back this week?
Cable: We don’t know that yet. The report today is they are all better and improving. We’ll see how the week goes.
Q: How would you assess the play of the centers?
Cable: There was really not a lot of pressure other than the second drive of the game. Samson did get beat. That was a tough series of plays. I mentioned that. I didn’t like it so I put them back out there. I think prior to that and certainly after that, protection was pretty good all night.
Q: No kickoff returns but how did you like Johnnie Lee on punts?
Cable: I mentioned this before, it’s a big emphasis for us to improve the return game. Unfortunately he was knocking the ball to the back of teh end zone every time. Hopefully we’ll get some more chances here in the next three weeks. I did like the one return Johnnie had. I thought he handled the ball well. I look forward to getting those other guys in there as well and seeing what they can give us.