397

Raiders can’t get air attack off ground

Another day, another practice session that doesn’t remind anyone of the glory days of Sid Gillman. At this point, the Kerry Collins of 2004-05 is starting to look good.

If you’ve been reading my Twitter page, it’s clear the Raiders’ passing game has left a lot to be desired more days than not.

Too may incompletions that stray too far from the target. Too many dropped passes. Too many routes cut short with receivers looking back with a surprised look on their face.

First, an admission. Many of the routine pass plays which wind up as completions don’t make it to Twitter, so in the end it’s not as bad as it sounds. One reason is I can’t type that fast on a phone keyboard.

The other is that in training camp, especially during shorts and shells and seven-on-seven drills, the incompletions and interceptions are the story, because good teams light it up in those situations.

The Raiders are not lighting it up. The last few days, in fact, they seem to have regressed a bit. They’re certainly not any better to my untrained eye than they were a week and a half ago.

Quarterback Jason Campbell continues to throw some very nice passes as well as some others which he doesn’t seem to have timed up with his wide receivers. It’s a similar story for Kyle Boller, although Boller can’t throw on the run as well as Campbell.

Bruce Gradkowski is just getting back on the field with a groin strain and Colt Brennan is currently hoping for a few scraps.

Zach Miller remains the most reliable receiver. No surprise there. Louis Murphy makes the most impressive physical plays, but also misses a few chances at sensational chances _ missing them by a fraction _ and dropping some easy ones.

Darrius Heyward-Bey isn’t dropping passes at the rate he did last year, but disappears for stretches at a time.

Todd Watkins had one terrific catch from Boller deep Sunday, turning outside, then inside to snatch a ball out of the air.

Nick Miller is doing what he did last year, Yamon Figurs made some plays against Dallas but struggled on Sunday.

Chaz Schlilens is getting back into the mix, made a few catches Sunday, and continues to be the one receiver who makes it look smooth and easy when he is healthy and feeling good. Which hasn’t been nearly often enough.

Asked if the pass offense is where he thought it would be at this point or if there are too many balls hitting the ground, Cable said, “I still feel that there are too many on the ground. We fight that constantly. We’re certainly improved in that area, but we’ve got to keep cleaning it up and cleaning it up, there’s days where you feel you’re making improvement on that and there’s days you feel like, OK, we still have a lot of work to do.’’

Defensive backs have talked about the challenges of defending the schemes put in by offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, but of late those routes and concepts have done little to make for a more productive offense.

True, they’re better than they were a year ago. But considering what was going on a year ago with the guy wearing No. 2, they’d just about have to be.

Either the Raiders start making some serious progress in a short period of time, or expect this year’s M.O. to be a team that relies on running the ball, playing defense and throwing sparingly until they join a league where most teams live by the pass.

More news, notes and quotes:

– It was family day for players and coaches at the Napa Marriott, with children, girlfriends and significant others on hand for practice. As a result, minimal interviews following practice.

Nice touch by the Raiders this year _ bringing out tables with umbrellas and chairs to the area in front of the field house with a temporary cabana with barbecued food, lemonade and iced tea.

Many players were playing with their kids even as Cable was going through his post-practice briefing.

– Great move by Murphy on a third-and-10 sideline grab, catching the ball at the stake and leaving Stanford Routt on the ground with a spin move to get the first down.

– Jacoby Ford was on the field for the first time since Aug. 7 but was being eased in. He fielded a few punts, ran a few routes. Cable said he hopes Ford will play against Chicago Saturday. Same for Schilens.

– The three players Cable ruled as “questionable’’ for Chicago were LB Sam Williams (concussion), WR Paul Hubbard (hamstring) and QB Charlie Frye (hand). He said Darren McFadden “possibly’’ could be questionable to face the Bears, but that McFadden was improving.

Considering DE Jay Richardson (knee) will see a specialist Monday, according to Cable, you can probably add him to that list. Frye will see a specialist Tuesday.

– Since it appears Mario Henderson is entrenched at left tackle, and Jared Veldheer is playing left tackle and center, two questions come to mind: 1) Is it getting to be time to have Veldheer play one position if you’re thinking about letting him compete for a starting job; and 2) Could he eventually play right tackle?

Here’s how Cable answered:

“I think if he fit there, if he keeps developing where he becomes one of your top five players and you’ve got to find your spot for him,’’ Cable said. “The real bottom line to your question is he’s got to continue to grow. It (the Dallas game) was not bad, but there’s a lot more that’s needed in order to get it into that sort of mind fame.’’

Translation _ he’s not ready.

— One way the passing game has come along, which could pay dividends down the road _ linemen have an idea of Campbell’s depth in the pocket, which should help protection.

“Not to talk bad about JaMarcus or anything like that, but there is more definition with Jason,’’ Henderson said. “If he says he’s dropping back three steps, it’s going to be three. If he says it’s seven, it’s going to be seven. (Campbell) is good at what he does as far as footwork.’’

– The Raiders will have a padded practice Monday morning. Cable said he was impressed with the physicality against Dallas, and the better the Raiders play in terms of tackling and hitting in the preseason, the less inclined they’ll be to hit in training camp.

“My thought on pads or no pads has been, A), our health, and B), just the quality of work we’re getting, whether we’re in ‘em or out of ‘em, and this team has shown maturity in that they can go out and get work done and not have to be in pads to do it all the time,’’ Cable said.

  • Share/Bookmark

Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • Captain Mudslide & the Dingle Berry Posse

    Campbell stared him down & DHB never came back to the ball…thought it was gonna be a pick 6.

  • SouthDakotaRaider

    Yeah, that pass was uncatchable… despite what the naysayers may say

    (I’m looking at you, Bill Williamson!! ESPN looney)

  • http://aldavissucks.blogspot.com/ The Real MaddenRaider

    mistic1 Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    How about this list of signings and retentions. jerry rice, tim brown, bill roomnowski, rod woodson, eric allen,eric turner, jeff hostetler,

    …………….

    LOL. You got anything a little more current?

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    Something is wrong when the #1 receiver only gets targeted once…while everyone else is targeted multiple times.

    Again, if DHB was allowed to develop and not be forced into the starting lineup….I wouldn’t complain.

    But this kid, like last year, will be one of the two starters on the field game 1.

    If he is only pulling down 1 or 2 receptions….we lose!

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    Throw the kid a screen pass or something…just make an effort to get him involved in the offense.

    #1 receiver folks. #1 receiver.

  • RaiderRockstar

    But this kid, like last year, will be one of the two starters on the field game 1.

    If he is only pulling down 1 or 2 receptions….we lose!

    ***

    S&B: I don’t know man. 2 catches per game = 32 grabs on the year (Jerry Mac predicted 35 for DHB’s soph season)

    I expect to see Murphy, Higgins & Watkins (or Ford) on the field quite often – even if Heyward-Bey & Schilens are the starters

    hopefully this offense won’t be so predictable!

  • DKnight007

    Yamon Figurs looked like he had some nice hands in the game against Dallas.

    If he keeps it up…he might beat out Watkins or at least make the practice squad!

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    If our #1 receiver is not seen as a threat….expect that all too familiar 8 & 9 man front…..and then calls from the peanut gallery for Bush to be benched!

  • DKnight007

    I would like to see Hue call more plays with play action and where Campbell can roll out a bit just to move the pocket and by himself some more time.

    The Ravens do that alot and so do the Eagles. It is very effective to buy the QB more time to throw.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    Rockstar,

    He has to improve on the 1 catch every 2 games we saw last year.

    I am all for development, but his start to me was so bad that it is very concerning.

    Seeing 1 pass targeted in the 1st preseason game sounds like more of the same.

    Maybe its the cynicism getting the best of me again. I need to see catches…not just great effort and hard work…receptions.

    Nick Miller is getting the ball. So is Murphy and Zach Miller….even in the 1 preseason game.

    DHB should play the entire 1st half this weekend

  • bcz24

    Schilens is the #1. Makes more sense to have Murphy in the slot cuz I think he is more effective there…

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    And DHB should play more because he is just as raw as Ford, Nick Miller and others.

  • DKnight007

    SnB offense defense specialteams Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 12:52 pm
    Throw the kid a screen pass or something…just make an effort to get him involved in the offense.

    #1 receiver folks. #1 receiver.

    ^^^^^^^^
    Yep!

    They need to get DHB involved by throwing a WR screen or doing some reverses.

    Just some easy play passes to get him involved and get his confidence on game day going!

    I was screaming for this all of last year and Hue Jackson better not pull a Cable when it comes to play calling!

    After watching the Dallas game though….Hue’s play calling was noticeably better than Cables.

  • RaiderRockstar

    S&B: our bread & butter should be running the ball and playing good defense. control the clock. dominate time of possession and field position. limit turnovers on offense & create turnovers on defense. Campbell should just be asked to manage the game. passes to Zach Miller, McFadden and the young wides for short completions, which could turn into big gains with speedy wideouts

    if we can’t run the ball or stop the run, we lose.

    the # of catches by Chaz or Darrius = not important to me. just catch the ball when it comes your way and BLOCK until you hear the whistle

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    I think it makes more sense to have DHB in the slot. Murphy has done well enough on the outside…

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    Rockstar,

    I hear you. Run the ball don’t turn the ball over and play good defense.

    I hope the Raiders are patient enough to follow your advice.

    But the receivers have to open up the field too. Otherwise its 8 & 9 man fronts.

    Of course, JaDavis was so inept it didn’t matter what we ran.

    Anyway, just run a modern offense that is focused on running 1st.

  • mistic1

    # The Real MaddenRaider Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    mistic1 Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    How about this list of signings and retentions. jerry rice, tim brown, bill roomnowski, rod woodson, eric allen,eric turner, jeff hostetler,

    …………….

    LOL. You got anything a little more current?
    *******************************************************

    How try # 21. Namdi island on for size!!!

  • RaiderRockstar

    it’s a pass happy league.

    fortunately, the Raiders have a good secondary (minus Routt & Eugene)

    unfortunately, we don’t have the o-line or chemistry with Jason and the young wides to keep up or follow suit … thus calling for a balanced offense. perhaps run first, pass when needed. Take a blueprint from the Jets last year, except Campbell is much better than Sanchez!

  • http://aldavissucks.blogspot.com/ The Real MaddenRaider

    RaiderRockstar Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    S&B: our bread & butter should be running the ball and playing good defense. control the clock. dominate time of possession and field position. limit turnovers on offense & create turnovers on defense.

    ………………

    Absolutely agreed. The Gruden philosophy is the only way the Raiders have won in the past 20 years.

  • DKnight007

    I would like to see them be physical and run the football in the next game to set up the pass.

    Compared to the Dallas game where they wanted to pass from the get go….which is understandable….but they need to work on run physical and consistent run blocking in the next game IMO.

  • raidertbone

    POUND THE ROCK vs. Chicago!!!!

  • DKnight007

    The one play call that I really questioned and had me scratching my head was calling a 4 WR set pass play on that 4th and 1?? I hope Hue just wanted to test something out there.

    Silly play call! You pound the football in that situation or do a bootleg.

    I hope we don’t see any weird play calls like that during the season!

  • http://www.blogcdn.com/www.fanhouse.com/media/2008/04/desmond-howard-425-sm.jpg Bo Schembechler Jackson

    LMAO @ “The Gruden Philosophy”.

    You mean, take a dominant defensive team and turn it into sh!t? Then get knocked out of the NFL by your former team?

    We can do a lot better.

  • mistic1

    Pressure Defense, with blanket coverage, solid kicking game,power running game plus deep strike passing game. Excuse me but this is Davis football 101! Funny how everyone wants to give credit to someone else win the raiders win.

  • bcz24

    After watching the Dallas game though….Hue’s play calling was noticeably better than Cables.
    *******************************************
    Was Hues play calling better, or is our playbook just better now that our QB’s IQ isn’t purple.

  • DKnight007

    bcz24 Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 1:14 pm
    After watching the Dallas game though….Hue’s play calling was noticeably better than Cables.
    *******************************************
    Was Hues play calling better, or is our playbook just better now that our QB’s IQ isn’t purple.

    ^^^^^^^^
    I think it was so far at least…since there wasn’t alot of weird head scratching play calls except for that 4th and 1, 4 WR pass play call.

    Also, Campbell said they didn’t open the playbook, but kept things pretty basic for that first game.

  • SaintKaufman

    Hey Jerry,
    So you know, I could have done that oil change for like, $500.

    Go Raiders!

  • http://aldavissucks.blogspot.com/ The Real MaddenRaider

    # Bo Schembechler Jackson Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    LMAO @ “The Gruden Philosophy”.

    You mean, take a dominant defensive team and turn it into sh!t? Then get knocked out of the NFL by your former team?

    We can do a lot better.

    ……………….

    I’m not aware of Gruden turning any team to “sh!t”. Did he ever lose 11 or more games for 7 straight years? Anyhow, the philosophy that Rockstar said we’re going to use this year, of focusing on ball control with the offense, is exactly what Gruden did when he was here. And I agree with him. That’s all.

  • http://aldavissucks.blogspot.com/ The Real MaddenRaider

    mistic1 Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Pressure Defense, with blanket coverage,

    ……………..

    Is there any team in the league that doesn’t have this goal?

  • mistic1

    I dont have a huge problem with the fourth and one call. Yes you could have smashed in there but also spreading with four wides did give the receivers one on ones. Actually ther erceiver was open but campbell missed him. That pass hits the wide out in stride it could be much more than just a first down.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    The starting wide receivers have to be a factor. Meaning, they can’t disappear for entire stretches. I kind of wish DHB had a little “give me the damn ball” attitude so that it wouldn’t be so easy to neglect the kid.

    4 2009 preseason games – 2 receptions
    12 2009 reg season starts 9 receptions
    1 2010 preseason start – o receptions and 1 pass attempted

    The lights need to come on!

  • SaintKaufman

    Mistic,
    Ball was tipped at the line.

    Really liked Campbells accuracy. Maybe just not used to seeing any.

  • http://aldavissucks.blogspot.com/ The Real MaddenRaider

    SnB, you’re blaming people other than Russell for our offense last year. That’s forbidden in here.

  • mistic1

    # The Real MaddenRaider Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    mistic1 Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Pressure Defense, with blanket coverage,

    ……………..

    Is there any team in the league that doesn’t have this goal?
    ******************************************************

    My point is not about team goals but rather the Davis philosphy on defense. Blanket denotes press man bump and run, and no every team does not run that scheme.

  • http://aldavissucks.blogspot.com/ The Real MaddenRaider

    Russell was responsible for the entire organization in his 3 years here, ever facet of it. That’s what’s been agreed upon amongst the nation. You’d better get into line. Blaming an offensive player other than Russell for his own mistakes last year is flat out unacceptable. You will blame Russell, or you’ll be asked to leave. Are we understood?

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    Louis Murphy

    16 gms – 34 receptions 521 yds 4 Tds

    Louis Murphy has a track record. That’s why I am not critical of him right now. He continues to improve and you can forecast him being a solid receiver for the Raiders.

  • http://aldavissucks.blogspot.com/ The Real MaddenRaider

    Mistic, what owner doesn’t have the philosophy of…gee, blanketing receivers and putting pressure on the quarterback? Is there any owner in the league that DOESN’T want to see this out of their defense? Is there any defense in the league that has a goal of NOT putting pressure on the offense and NOT covering receivers?

  • mistic1

    # SaintKaufman Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Mistic,
    Ball was tipped at the line.

    Really liked Campbells accuracy. Maybe just not used to seeing any.
    ********************************************************

    I thought Campbell looked very good, I am excited to see the offense with all of its weapons. Also I think it may take about half a season or so before the offense gels, and campbell and receivers get on the same page.

  • http://aldavissucks.blogspot.com/ The Real MaddenRaider

    Just to expand on Al Davis’s unique approach to the game, he also wants to score points on offense, doesn’t he? A real trailblazer… Blanketing covering on defense and scoring points on offense. It’s Al’s way or the highway!

  • http://aldavissucks.blogspot.com/ The Real MaddenRaider

    Mistic, what game were you watching? Campbell and the first string offense couldn’t do anything.

  • DKnight007

    mistic1 Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 1:22 pm
    I dont have a huge problem with the fourth and one call. Yes you could have smashed in there but also spreading with four wides did give the receivers one on ones. Actually ther erceiver was open but campbell missed him. That pass hits the wide out in stride it could be much more than just a first down.

    ^^^^^^^^
    Sorry….but calling a 4 WR set pass play on 4th and 1, is just plain silly!

    It’s not logical either…low percentage pass play on 4th and 1 is NOT good play calling…especially when converting 4th downs is of the utmost importance!

    If you call a pass play in that situation, then it should be a play action to the TE, or a roll out pass play to the TE or a flat to the FB or a short quick out to a WR on a play action roll out.

    Or a QB draw or run should have been called instead.

  • SaintKaufman

    I was a little pissed Campbell hung Murphy out to dry on that stupid dump in the middle of the field. We still seem to have the 3 yard routes on 3rd and 6 in the playbook as well. Just throw it away or try to make something happen with your feet instead of risking a turnover or injury.

  • DKnight007

    mistic1 Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 1:22 pm
    I dont have a huge problem with the fourth and one call. Yes you could have smashed in there but also spreading with four wides did give the receivers one on ones. Actually ther erceiver was open but campbell missed him. That pass hits the wide out in stride it could be much more than just a first down.

    ^^^^^^^
    Thats why you don’t call a spread 4 wide pass play.

    Low percentage.

  • RaiderRockstar

    if Satele has a serious injury, does that give the starting job to Morris or Veldheer at Chicago ???

  • DKnight007

    SaintKaufman Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 1:34 pm
    I was a little pissed Campbell hung Murphy out to dry on that stupid dump in the middle of the field. We still seem to have the 3 yard routes on 3rd and 6 in the playbook as well. Just throw it away or try to make something happen with your feet instead of risking a turnover or injury.

    ^^^^^^^^^
    Agreed!

  • mistic1

    # The Real MaddenRaider Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    Mistic, what owner doesn’t have the philosophy of…gee, blanketing receivers and putting pressure on the quarterback? Is there any owner in the league that DOESN’T want to see this out of their defense? Is there any defense in the league that has a goal of NOT putting pressure on the offense and NOT covering receivers?
    *******************************************************

    I realize that you dont like Davis, but this does not change the point I am making. My point is about Davis and his particular method single high saftey, natural pressure 4-3, and man press. I wasnt talking about the end result/desired outcomes/ or goals.

    Also for those of you that beleive davis is stuck in his ways, Just take a look at this years defense, DAVIS IS ALLOWING MARSHALL TO TWEAK IT!!! Davis will let his coaches try out things…but they better work

  • DKnight007

    RaiderRockstar Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 1:35 pm
    if Satele has a serious injury, does that give the starting job to Morris or Veldheer at Chicago ???

    ^^^^^^^^
    Morris unfortunately….

    I would like see Veldheer more though!

  • priesttj

    This is for J Wiggle only. If you watch Center play in most cases you’ll ntic that they often are blcking space because most centrs play in what is often dscribed as a phone booth that is his assignment. On the play in question where he is said to have whiffed, what really happend is he passed on his player thinking he would pick up a blitzing LB but there was none. He misread the defense and quickly tried to recover but it was too late……sack.

    The center calls the rptections so he has to know what the defense is trying to do and set line play. On running plays while he wasn’t dominant he was effective. So pass plays are different because you don’t know if they’ll drop someone or run a game up front. His respnsibility is OG to OG anything up the middle if nothing comes there he’ll often look uninvolved. But he’s actually doing his job.

  • RaiderRockstar

    what game were you watching? Campbell and the first string offense couldn’t do anything.

    ***

    yeah.

    believe it or not, Campbell looked better in a Jim Zorn offense than a Hue Jackson offense …

    hoping for better results against Chicago.

    Just Fire Baby called it. Dallas has JCamp’s number. terrible first half

  • RaiderRockstar

    priesttj Says:
    August 16th, 2010 at 1:38 pm
    This is for J Wiggle only.

    ***

    LOL!

    why don’t you just ask for his e-mail address or facebook or twitter page?

    that’s sad