News and notes from Raiders practice Monday and the post-practice press briefing from coach Tom Cable:
— More details may or may not be forth coming Wednesday, but Cable gave this brief synopsis of the participation of running back Michael Bush:
“He did some individual work, caught the ball, ran some routs, carried it a little bit,” Cable said. “Limited.”
— Rolando McClain wasn’t the only member of the Raiders to begin fixating on Chris Johnson, the Tennessee Titans running back who gained 2,006 yards last season and will be aimed straight at the Raiders’ oft-criticized run defense.
At a recent practice, defensive coordinator John Marshall was heard invoking Johnson’s name when the defense was slow to seal the perimeter. It’s been ongoing since the schedule was released.
“They’ve been talking about Chris Johnson and Steven Jackson all summer because they’re the top two rushers coming back from last year,” defensive tackle Tommy Kelly said. “Coach Marshall, coach (Mike) Waufle and coach (Lionel) Washington, they’ve been keying on it, talking about it a lot.”
Kelly thinks defending Johnson rests with winning at the line of scrimmaging and getting defenders to the ball.
“Penetration. Make him stop his feet and to get as many guys around him (as possible). All the film we’ve been watching, it has been one or two guys, and they still haven’t brought him down. He still broke some tackles. So, we’re going to try to get as many guys as we can around him and just try to slow him down.
“A great player like that, you can’t really just always shut him down because they use him in the passing game. So, it’s going to be real hard to take him out of the game. We just want to limit him.”
Kelly sounds fine with loading up to stop Johnson and rolling the dice on Titans quarterback Vince Young.
“I’d probably take my chances. Chris Johnson, he did everything, 2,000 yards,” Kelly said. “I’d rather put eight or nine in the box and try to slow him down and put the game in Vince’s hands, even though Vince is an excellent athlete and a good quarterback. I would rather take my chances with Vince than Chris Johnson, that’s just a fact.”
Cable wasn’t willing to take it that far, but conceded keeping Johnson under control is Job 1.
“He’s probably the best there is in this league,” Cable said. “He’s got a tremendous group blocking for him, and good tight ends, the quarterback is a threat, also, so you can’t put all your focus on one guy, and he’s got good players around him. ”
— Punter Shane Lechler has been around long enough to know previous training camps and preseasons have provided false optimism, but is of the opinion there is legitimate reason to be more enthused this season.
“We have said a lot of stuff in the past just because everybody says that,” Lechler said. “I don’t know if you’d say we didn’t mean it back then but you can back it up a little right now. We’ve got a real legit chance this year.”
— Following the Chicago game, Cable said he wanted to see McClain “pull the trigger” as far as making plays on defense. He is satisfied with the progress since then.
“It’s happening and it’s been fun to see,” Cable said. “I think he understands now what’s needed of him and what we’re asking him to do. I look forward to seeing him play on Sunday.”
Regarding McClain’s veteran-like demeanor, Cable said, “He’s not one to dwell on things. He’s going to move forward and not let the last one beat you. He’s well schooled that way. There’s no reason for him or anybody else to be uptight or nervous. We have a good football team. It’s just a matter of going out and playing our way and our purpose.
“It’s not beating ourselves. Go play the opponent. Line up and play them with everything we’ve got and eliminate negative football. That’s what we’ve learned and we’ve figured out that that’s what we are.”
— Stanford Routt was happy to have won the job as the starting left cornerback over Chris Johnson (the Raiders’ Chris Johnson) but repeated his preseason thoughts that he really has no idea what Cable is talking about with regard to a new attitude.
“I think my mind is maybe a little more clear, not so much BS going on mentally,” Routt said. “But I really can’t put a finger on what you’re asking. Everything stayed the same. I’m still the same guy. I still study the same. I eat the same foods. I’m the same.”
— Any thoughts the Raiders had of bringing in Tony Richardson (if they had any at all) were erased when the fullback re-signed with the Jets a day after being released.
— Defensive end Alex Daniels, defensive end Jay Richardson and cornerback Joey Thomas cleared injured/waivers and were moved to injured reserve. They may at some point receive injury settlements and move on.
— The Raiders take Tuesday (the mandatory day off for teams that play Sunday) off before resuming practice Wednesday.