A transcript of Raiders coach Tom Cable’s conference call with Bay Area media Sunday evening, starting with injury updates:
Cable: (Chaz) Schilens with the knee, obviously, it’s going to be a three to six week issue for us. Satele will be ready to go back to work tomorrow. (Michael) Bush fractured his left thumb and will need a procedure on it, and whether or not that keeps him out remains to be seen.
Jason Campbell suffered a stinger, and after the X-rays, that does not appear to be too serious. We just need to rehab it and make sure he is ready to go. He also fell on his right wrist, and we’ll need to see more on that in the coming days. Chris Johnson will be able to go back to work. Thomas with a concussion, that will be day to day obviously. Desmond Bryant hyperextended an elbow and that will be a day-to-day issue as well. Richardson will not be ready to play on Thursday night. And Alex Daniels will probably not be ready to play on Thursday night.
Q: What is the bigger deal with Campbell, stinger or wrist?
Cable: Right now, I guess it’s the wrist.
Q: Did it happen on the same play?
Cable: It happened on the series before.
Q: Is there a chance Bush is back for the opener?
Cable: Yes, there is a good chance. There will be a procedure done tomorrow to repair it and then we will know more after that.
Q: How about Chaz for the opener?
Cable:I would say it’s questionable.
Q: Are you getting an MRI on Jason’s wrist?
Cable: We did all that today.
Q: Will Satele reclaim his starting job tomorrow?
Cable: I want to look at it. There were some things from last night’s game that I was not pleased with but there were also a lot of good things at the center position. I think the fact that Samson is ready to go is the most important thing right now.
Q: Did Gradkowski solidify his No. 2 status?
Cable: He definitely showed himself well and strengthened our football team at the quarterback position.
Q: But you’re not ready to say he is the backup?
Cable: Well, I think he is. I never said he wasn’t.
Q: Do you think the nature of camp practices resulted in poor tackling last night?
Cable: Oh no. No. No. We’re fine that way. That isn’t our issue.
Q: So, what is the issue with the tackling?
Cable: Well, I’d like to see us wrap up when we tackle. That was probably the biggest negative that took away from the game. I was very disappointed in our kick coverage teams. Those two things, we got to play better. And offensive tackle. Those three things, you can put your hand on those pretty clear.
Q: Is Mario Henderson’s job secure?
Cable: Well, everyone has got to continue to improve and all that. I don’t see any reason for him not to. My feeling on it right now is that he’s not unlike anybody else. He’s got to get better.
Q: Do you have a clue who your punt returner is going to be?
Cable: I felt like we were getting closer to that. I don’t know after last night that it’s any clearer than it was before but I’ve got an idea.
Q: Would Bush have to switch to carrying the ball in his right hand all the time if he needs a cast?
Cable: I don’t think it’s a cast issue, from what I’ve been told. It will certainly have to be protected, but I don’t believe it’s going to be a cast.
Q: Veldheer at center only this week or moving back and forth?
Cable: He’ll move back and forth.
Q: What did you think of Veldheer’s play?
Cable: I saw a guy playing center for the first time in this league. You got to learn where to put his helmet a little bit more consistently. When he did, it was pretty good stuff. So, there’s a lot to grow on. It was actually a pretty good effort by him.
Q: Considering you were 20-for-30 with five or six drops, does that many on-target passes indicate the timing of your passing game is well ahead of last year?
Cable: More important, the fact that we’ve had so many guys in and out, with Chaz out, Louis had a time out, Darrius had a time out. It bodes well for the direction we’re heading. It speaks volume for how far we’re ahead of where we’ve been in the past, no question. But, if you look at those drops, we still got to get our hands on third down. We were pretty good last week in Chicago , and then last night we dropped off again. So, there’s a direct correlation to us having success and how we are as a football team on third down. You can say the same thing on defense. We weren’t very good on third down last night.
Q: Is Reece blocking well enough to be considered a legitimate starting candidate?
Cable: Well, I’ll say this: He just continues to get better. That’s the thing that he’s shown us is that, from one week to the next he’s going out and improving on whatever his negatives were from the week before. It’s starting to show up more and more that this guy, you can coach him, he’ll take it and he’ll go get it again. I certainly think that he’s really showing himself the right way.
Q: His dimension as a receiver is something the other fullbacks really can’t offer . . .
Cable: That’s a true statement.
Q: How would you rate your receivers?
Cable: Well, I think there is some opportunity out there that we didn’t take advantage of, I mean a few drops. But I thought the group as a whole, would like to see more happen there at the end. We had a chance to really win the game even though there was just a little bit of time left and we didn’t get it done so… I think overall, I think the group is moving forward the right way. I’d just like to see a couple of more guys step up.
Q: Is there a need to add another receiver with Chaz out 3-6 weeks. Maybe Coles or Bryant?
Cable: We haven’t had any of those kind of discussions at this point. Right now, we’re more focused on our group and trying to find, really that fourth and fifth receiver. I think that’s really key for us right now.
Q: You said you’d know more about Thomas Howard after this game. What did you learn about him last night?
Cable: I thought the guy did some things better than he had in the two previous weeks. I think that in the right role, he can really help us, so we’ll see.
Q: Stanford Routt has been playing a lot — still a competitor with Chris Johnson as starter?
Cable: I don’t think there’s any question. I think Stanford has had a tremendous opportunity presented to him and, you know with the injury to Chris Johnson, Stanford has certainly taken the opportunity and done well with it.
Q: Tom, what did you see out of Darren McFadden last night?
Cable: I saw explosive play, I saw a guy run hard and in between the tackles. You know, it’s nice to get him back. You know it’s good for him to get his first action. I’ve said all along that when he’s healthy, I think he’s very important to what we’re trying to do.
Q: Talk about how Chris Cooper and Quentin Groves played last night.
Cable: You know, I think Chris Cooper is a consistent guy who shows up, you know does things right. Played the boot well a couple of times, rushed the passer well a couple of times, and disrupted the pocket. And Groves showed up a couple of times as a linebacker playing some pass defense, when rushing the passer, hurried the quarterback twice.