News, notes and observations Wednesday from Raiders coach Tom Cable and the open locker room session:
– Reading between the lines, it looks like the most significant injury this week belongs to left guard Robert Gallery, one of several players to miss practice as the Raiders prepared to face the St. Louis Rams.
Actually, you didn’t have to read between the lines quite as much, because Cable deviated slightly from recent policy and provided some details.
“He’s got a pretty good strain,’’ Cable said. “This is one of those things we’ll see in 48 to 72 hours and see where he’s at. Fortunately, those guys on the line of scrimmage, if they worked on Friday, they could play on Sunday.’’
The fact that the Raiders released Yamon Figurs and signed an offensive lineman is an indication they’re preparing for Gallery being inactive.
– Quarterback Jason Campbell became the second player in two days (Zach Miller was the other) to suggest the Raiders may have been “overconfident,’’ remarkable considering their record over the last seven years.
“That game taught us a lot because we were getting some good press clippings, and this game here, I think it pretty much humbled our team and made us get back to know what we have to do to get where we want to go,’’ Campbell said. “We have to go out there and earn it. We have to fight for what we want.’’
How is it possible the Raiders could be overconfident? In a way they’re no different from much of the fan base which thought they had a winner and now are willing to sell their beloved team for a nickel after a bad opener.
“Human nature, you know?,’’ Cable said. “It’s easy to change the mood or the attitude of a human being. All you have to do is give them some sugar and they’re sweet and happy. Talk about ‘em bad for two minutes and they think the world’s coming to an end.
“We haven’t done anything for us to say, `We’re all that.’ We think we’re headed in the right direction, but it comes down to winning and achieving.’’
– Those who didn’t practice included Gallery, WR Chaz Schilens (knee), CB Nnamdi Asomugha (groin), LB Travis Goethel (lower back), DT Richard Seymour (hamstring), CB Walter McFadden (hamstring), CB Chris Johnson (stinger) and S Hiram Eugene (hamstring).
Running back Michael Bush practiced without limiations, as did safety Michael Huff (knee) and defensive tackle Desmond Bryant (elbow).
That’s a good sign for Bush, although he’d still have to be cleared medically to play in a game 20 days after surgery.
Cable wasn’t going to get caught up in a discussion about splitting the carries between McFadden and Bush, figuring there will be plenty for both.
“I just think we get those two guys going and go play,’’ Cable said. “I don’t think it matters who goes out first or any of that. I just think, let’s get to work. We need ‘em both and they need to play a lot.’’
Asomugha’s groin strain has been an off and on thing the past two years. On most days, he’s still being stretched as practice begins.
– Cable warned that all the Raiders ills have not been caused by the offensive line.
“Let’s not dump on that group,’’ Cable said. “I mean, that would be stupidity by all of us. We ran the ball with some consistency. We’ve got to clean up the sacks early in the first two drives. We do that, you look at it and say, `What, that really isn’t that bad for them.’
But because of that issue on the first two drives, it’s not aceeptable. I’d like to see us run the ball and continue to run the ball on that pace and improve from there, because I think we’ll be pretty good at that.’’
– The Raiders had two sacks against Tennessee but Cable thought the Raiders pass rush was negated more by game circumstances than by anything the Titans did.
Quarterback Vince Young was 13 of 17 for 154 yards and two touchdowns, and Cable counted seven bootlegs _ meaning there were only a handful of passes to get a true pass rush.
“We didn’t make them throw the football enough to sit around and say, `Let’s evaluate the pass rush,’’ Cable said.
The Rams and rookie quarterback Sam Bradford should offer more opportunities to rush the passer. Bradford, the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft, threw 55 passes in his debut, completing 32 for 53 for 253 yards.
Coach Steve Spagnuolo pointed out the figure was inflated by a pair of two-minute drills late in the game where Bradford threw 19 passes _ two more than Young threw the entire game against Oakland.
– Bradford has never been to the Coliseum, but said running back Steven Jackson told him what to expect. Jackson played in the Coliseum on Dec. 17, 2006, rushing for 127 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a 20-0 win.
“He said it’s actually pretty fun,’’ Bradford said by conference call. “He said it’s a nasty crowd, they’re violent, they yell at you. But those are the types of crowds that make it enjoyable to play. I’m looking forward to the challenge.’’
– Cable on the release of Figurs one game after he returned both kickoffs and punts.
“We just felt we needed to take care of our team right now,’’ Cable said. “We felt like when we did it there was a chance that would happen.’’
So the Raiders didn’t think Figurs was good enough to be around for Week 2, but that he was still their best bet to return kicks in Week 1?
If Higgins and Ford struggle, at some point the Raiders will have to get around to Nick Miller.