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Postgame wrap

Tyvon Branch sent his regrets via modern technology:

“I personally apologize to the raider nation!,” Branch sent out on his Twitter account about two hours after a 38-13 loss to the Tennessee Titans.

A business memo would characterize Week 1 for the Raiders as “failure to accomplish any of the objectives and/or projections set forth by management.”

Other than Darren McFadden for the first time looking every bit the No. 4 overall selection in the 2008 NFL draft, there was virtually nothing for the Raiders or their fans to feel good about.

Other than the fact that it was on the road in the afternoon, and not at home in prime time, this one had the whiff of hopeless season openers in 2006 and 2008, when the San Diego Chargers (27-0) and Denver Broncos (41-14) humiliated Raiders teams which were never really in the game.

News, notes, observations and some quotes (furnished on site by Steve Corkran and from the Titans P.R. staff):

– The Raiders aren’t likely to go into any sort of detail until Wednesday, but the game caused physical pain as well as mental anguish. Six players didn’t finish _ Robert Gallery (hamstring), Yamon Figurs (stinger), Hiram Eugene (lower leg), Michael Huff (knee) and Richard Seymour (hamstring).

If both safeties are hurt, the Raiders will consider promoting Stevie Brown from the practice squad unless they want to move Tyvon Branch, Mike Mitchell or Jeremy Ware to single deep safety.

– Raiders coach Tom Cable: “We felt like we were very hesitant in all three phases particularly early in the game, and never seemed to get rid of it. In this league, they don’t give you anything, you have to take it.”

Not entirely true. The Raiders gave up a 56-yard touchdown pass from Vince Young to Nate Washington, 15-yard scoring run by Javon Ringer and a 76-yard bolt to Chris Johnson on plays which would have been touchdowns in flag football.

“Those plays they scored on were our mistakes,” cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha said. “You know, if we played our defense correctly, that stuff never happens. The deep pass, and then the draw.”

– Blocking and tackling, two issues which along with quarterback play have killed the Raiders for the better part of the last seven years, were poor again. Quarterback Jason Campbell never could get anything going with wide receivers and wasn’t able to get Zach Miller involved until it was too late. He barely had time to think. Truth be told, when Campbell did have time, he wasn’t very good.

And if he doesn’t get any better at sliding, he’ll wind up being injured without being hit.

Campbell’s interception and 32-yard return by Chris Hope, setting up another Tennessee score, was another instance of the Raiders making it way too easy for the Titans.

– During training camp, much of the talk was about a sophisticated offense installed by Hue Jackson that would bring the Raiders into the world of contemporary football. Instead, Cable sounded a lot like Lane Kiffin when he said, “I learned like we have to stay on schedule. We have to play the game in a mode that does not allow us to be in third and long so much.”

Gallery was more blunt.

“We were in long-yardage situations and we’re no good when we get to that,” Gallery said.

– Jared Veldheer’s baptism under fire is one he’d rather forget, from poor shotgun snaps to being at the center of a line that found itself overwhelmed much of the game. Veldheer wasn’t at Hillsdale anymore.

“It was a new experience, obviously,” Veldheer said. “I definitely got better at some things. There”s some opportunties to keep working at things, keep getting better at things . . . there were challenges at times, which I knew there would be.”

– Middle linebacker Rolando McClain finished with six tackles and found himself walled off on Ringer’s 15-yard touchdown run _ the kind of play he was drafted to prevent.

McClain echoed what he said during the week _ that the NFL really wasn’t all that much faster and better than the SEC.

“No different,” McClain said of the speed.

– The Titans rushed for 205 yards, 76 of those coming on the one Johnson run. The other 38 carries for the Titans netted 133 yards _ an average of 3.5 yards per carry.

To the Raiders credit, they seemed to realize those 76 yards indeed count toward the total. They went in hoping to keep Johnson from breaking the big one and failed.

The good news? There are no more Chris Johnsons on the schedule and 3.5 yards per carry will be a huge upgrade if they can do it against most other teams.

– Raiders defensive tackle Richard Seymour: “Things just kind of snowballed on us. I don’t think the game started out that bad. Once they got momentum, we never seemed to get it back. It will be a good film to watch because we have a lot of things to work on.”

– Raiders quarterback Campbell: “Obviously, we’re not proud of how we played today. We have to get back to the drawing board, eliminate the penalties and we can’t turn it over.”

Ah yes, the penalties How about 10 for 77 yards. That was another offseason point of emphasis.

– Figurs fumbled the opening kickoff, with the Raiders recovering. Figurs also fumbled on a kickoff return against San Francisco and a punt against Seattle.

Can’t say they weren’t warned.

– Asomugha: “During the preseason, as far as the confidence level we’ve shown, we looked likea team that even if we were behind, it would be OK, we’d be able to bounce back, so I never got too discouraged. Then the fourth quarter rolled around, we were still struggling, and I was like, `What’s going on? Why can’t we make up this ground?”

– McFadden looked like the running/receiving back the Raiders had envisioned when they drafted him. He’s never ran harder or better from scrimmage, gaining 95 yards with a long of 16. He consistently broke the first tackle and finished runs. He also caught six passes for 55 yards.

“Catching the ball, running with the football, blocking, he was able to convert some plays,” Cable said. “That’s the kind of player we envisioned him being. As I have said all along, if he is healthy, that’s what he’s capable of.”

Said McFadden: “I just feel like I did the best job that I could out there as far as how the coaches use me. You want to go out there and play hard and I feel like I did that today.”

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • dmill415

    I JUST MADE AN ACCOUNT FOR THIS DISCUSSION BOARD, I HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING YOUR POSTS FOR A WHILE…

    I WANT TO CLEAR ONE THING UP FIRST…

    M-I-K-E M-I-T-C-H-E-L IS AWFUL !!!!!! MIKE MITCHELL HONESTLY DOESNT KNOW HOW TO TACKLE …THANKS AL DAVIS YOU IDIOT…I KNOW THE GAME OF FOOTBALL AND HAVE BEEN A RAIDER/SPORTS FAN FOR A LONG TIME.. HES A BRUTAL PLAYER

    TITAN GAME QUICK NOTES…

    Jason Campbell= No wonder he was only worth a 4th round pick…the Redskins aren’t idiots ( but us Raider fans dont look at that ) … He’s aweful…and Yea we know how bad our line is, but put someone in there than can make the best of that situation WHAT CAN WE DO…Put in Bruce Gradkowski ( the guy that takes his players to eat at his parents house and beats the Steelers the next day ) HE COMPETES, AND WILL GET YOU THAT EXTRA YARD…

    McFadden= Yes he was the only bright spot, but like someone said in an earlier post it was primarily in soft coverages…I mean my god that was the most painful and grinding 95 rushing yards I have ever seen…

    Khalif Barnes= very uncoordinated…aweful

    Stanford Route- bound to be picked on and burned by number 2 wide Receivers all year long :( and if it isn’t him its chris johnson…

    RAIDER FANS, BRACE YOURSELF… IF YOU WATCHED THE WHOLE GAME THIS MORNING YOU NOTICED WHEN THEY SHOWED AL DAVIS IN THE LUXURY BOX ( LOOKING LIKE HES ABOUT TO DIE) HE ORDERED SOME AFRICAN AMERICAN GUY SOMETHING ABOUT ASKING ABOUT “WHO CALLED THAT PLAY” AND FRANTICALLY NODDED HIS HEAD AND RAN UP THE STAIR CASE ….I HAVE PLAYED IT BACK NUMEROUS TIMES…HES A FREAKN JERKOFF PEOPLE

  • hendu

    hey501, stop cryin, its WEEK one, on the road! The whiners got killed in Seattle,and others as well.Remember,8and8 is what we have,a few lucky bounces and 9 and 7. Raiders!!!

  • ENGLANDRAIDER

    This game showed us what we already knew: That the offensive line needed better players and time to jell.
    Expecting this team to be in the playoffs is like assuming you’ll win the lottery.
    On this OL we’ve got two new players and one is a new CENTER! Plus we’ve got a new QB.

    It bothered the hell out of me when Cable announced ONE WEEK before the season that Veldheer would be the center and he hadn’t even played there in two weeks!
    In the game those lousy snaps made you want to eat your effin beer can.
    Veldheer did improve as the game went on though and what the hell it was his FIRST game as center.

    Campbell looked pretty much as we thought. He’s slow to make up his mind, fixates on his intended receiver and has a slow release.

    He’s not Plunkett Al.
    If he was, Shanahan wouldn’t have given him to the Raiders. Shanahan decided instead to play an ageing but good quarterback who’s been injured so much he hasn’t completed a season in three years.

    On the other hand, Campbell’s a vast improvement over Russell and it’s early days yet. He’s at least competent, has better footwork, knows what’s gong on,
    and can scramble better.
    This was also HIS first game.

    Then there’s Henderson. You’d think he’d at least wave to all those guys running by him.
    Maybe we should go back to telling him there’s a Kiffin on every team we play. Talk about inconsistent!

    On the defense too we’re playing rookies and there are going to be errors.
    What’s Huff’s excuse?

    We brought in some good players through the draft this year and it’s going to take time.
    McFadden finally looked like the McFadden of the first year and he was playing with the same OL.
    In a couple of weeks Bush should be back and the running game should improve and open it up for the passing game.

    I still think we’ll be around 8-8. Like every other member of the Nation, I just want to see some progress.
    Hey, if you’re an optimist sometimes good things happen. If you’re a pessimist, good things never happen.

  • Hobs Gnarly

    on the one play that jerry points out for mcclain, he was held, watch it. you can plainly see the offensive player had shirt and arm pulling him. jerry you should know better.

  • Hobs Gnarly

    it’s not the players it’s the system…..al’s system. as soon as the defensive blitzer see’s campbell drop back seven steps which is all the time they know raiders throwing it deep so blitz. al’s simple schemes that stand the test of time is the blame all here. all jeff fisher had to do was look up film from when he played the raiders in 1985 and well we are still playing the same offense and defense. cable had to know they were going to go after the qb hard esp veldheer but would al let him do anything different? welcome to raiderville hue.

  • Hobs Gnarly

    they looked like they had a new game plan on friday night (al’s contribution) and never practiced it on saturday.

  • JLofty

    The offensive line schemes were HORRIBLE! Guys out of position. Guys pulling to block someone who had already penetrated and blown up the play. Embarrassing line work by all involved.

  • mistic1

    One thing that i notice, is people just dont understand what they are watching.

    The o-line was awful!!! This is on Cable not just because he coaches them, but becuase he picked these guys for their positions on this team. Veldheer did fine for his first nfl start, as a rookie in hostile territory. he made some rookie mistakes, the rest of your team should be good enough to overcome them, they were not. Walker, carlile, and henderson are killing our offense! Bring in barnes for henderson, and we need to get b campbell ready to replace carlisle! Move henderson over to the right tackle spot where he wont be exposed to spedd rushers.

    Gradkowski over jason campbell outrageous. campbell was under sever pressure the entire game!! It is not the offensive system that failed, its the execution of the pass protection. Stop with the complaints about the seven step drops, every team in the leauge has this for deep passing. This is not a unique Al davis thing. Campbell was under pressure even with short drops, and being in the shot gun. No qb can succeed under those conditions. If it wasnt for his athletic abilty to move around, and his rocket arm, it would have been much much worse. Gradkowski does not have the arm strength, to throw on the run like Campbell and he is not tall enough to look over the top of the pass rush and throw like campbell did all day long yesterday. Lets be real.

  • Hot Shot

    I dont know what you are watching.Bruce out played campbell in the preseason and played well last season won games when he started.He has a good enough arm to throw passes.Watch his film tape.