Postgame wrap


News, notes, quotes and observations from the Raiders’ 16-14 win over the St. Louis Rams Sunday at the Coliseum:

— We’ll never know for sure if Tom Cable’s job was in jeopardy or even if it was Cable that made the ultimate call to bench Jason Campbell in favor of Bruce Gradkowski at halftime while trailing 7-3.

Could have been offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, could have been Al Davis, although Davis would be the most unlikely candidate given his on-the-record support of Campbell as the next Jim Plunkett.

But it sure looked like it was Cable that made the call, because it was the desperate sort of move a coach simply doesn’t make in Week 2 unless he thinks he’s under extraordinary pressure to win a game.

The Raiders had spent much of the first half in Rams territory and come away with only three points. The offense had no rhythm, and when Campbell threw an interception directly into the hands of James Butler at the St. Louis 25-yard line late in the half, the crowd booed and then began chanting, `Bruce, Bruce, Bruce.’’

When the second half began, they erupted with “BRUUUCCE’’ when he actually took the field.

The Raiders traded for Campbell, made him the undisputed No. 1 quarterback, the owner gave him an endorsement as well as a one-year contract extension for $4.5 million and Campbell got a buck-fifty (six quarters) in return.

Let the record show that it worked. Gradkowski’s picture could be in the dictionary next to the word “spark.’’

— We’ll see how the whole Gradkowski-Campbell scenario plays out this week, but it’s clear someone with the Raiders wanted to make it clear the job doesn’t “necessarily’’ belong to Gradkowski.

Included in the quote sheet distributed by the team was this sentence from Cable: “Today was about winning the game, it does not necessarily mean Campbell is replaced as the quarterback for the rest of the season.’’

Here’s what Cable actually said:

“(I) made the switch at halftime at quarterback, basically to just give the team a lift, felt like we needed to change up a little bit and my job is to win games and do whatever it takes to do that.’’

He said the Raiders “weren’t in rhythm, weren’t in synch,’’ and when asked what it meant for the rest of the season said, “ I’ll worry about all that tomorrow, really. I want to go look at it. But today was about winning this game, what did it take to do that, that was the right choice, obviously, and it worked out, and Bruce came in and gave us a lift.’’

Nothing nearly as forceful as “it does not necessarily mean Campbell is replaced as the quarterback for the rest of the season.’’

Campbell’s reaction: “I was surprised. We were down 7-3. We had been moving the ball. We just stalled when we got to the red zone. But at the same time, it was a decision that they made. I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do and just live with it and just move forward.’’

Campbell handled it the way you’d expect, considering his reputation with Washington and his comportment since joining the Raiders. He said he didn’t want to be a distraction, that it was bigger than him.

Gradkowski’s reaction: “It’s the NFL. We’re just trying to win. It’s nothing against Jason. Coach just felt like hey, give me the second half and see what I could do. You just always have to be ready when your time gets called.”

Gradkowski said he was informed of his insertion into the game by Jackson at halftime.

“I want to be the starter. In my mind, I am the starter. But that’s how you have to approach it,’’ Gradkowski said.

–Players were careful not to choose sides. Linebacker Quentin Groves said Gradkowski provide a spark simply because the offense was moving the ball and keeping them fresh.

Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha had this strange reaction: “The thing is, we might have been down 7-3, it could have been 7-6. So it wasn’t like we were getting killed by the Rams, so I guess that’s why it would be surprising.

“But at the same time, it’s good that the offense didn’t let it mess up what they were doing. They were still able to run the ball, still able to move the ball with Bruce. So as long as it works out, I think everybody’s OK with it.”

As long as it didn’t mess up what they were doing?

Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo: “(Gradkowski) was a good move by their coaches. Good move. He’s obviously a mobile guy and he executed the offense pretty good. They came out obviously with the intent to throw the football. They did a nice job.’’

Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis: “You can’t let a guy coming into the game give a spark. You hve to say, `Hey, this guy’s coming into the game cold.’ You’ve got to give him credit because he obviously made some big plays for them.’’

— There will be plenty of discussion of how meaningless a two-point win against a team which has now lost 27 of 28 games is in the large scheme of things.

In terms of hitting and statistical dominance, the margin was much greater. The Raiders gained 404 yards, the first time in 76 games they’ve hit 400. That’s all the way back to Oct. 23, 2005, 416 yards against Buffalo, with Norv Turner as head coach.

The Rams gained 210 yards, the lowest total allowed by a Raider defense since Week 2 against Kansas City in 2008.

Running back Steven Jackson looked headed for a 200-yard day with 56 yards on eight carries in the first quarter and had only 19 yards on 11 attempts afterward.

Raiders running back Darren McFadden had a career high 30 carries for 145 yards, with 20 carries for 107 yards in the second half. It was McFadden, not Jackson, who was lowering his shoulder and driving defenders backward.

The Raiders need to play much, much better to approach anything resembling .500, but they were more physically dominant against the Rams than the score would suggest.

— Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey had a career-high six receptions 80 yards, and five of those for 74 yards came with Gradkowski as quarterback in the second half.

Louis Murphy had six receptions for 91 yards, with five catches for 64 yards coming with Gradkowski in the game.

On one play, Heyward-Bey spun out of an initial tackle and gained 33 yards. There were at least two plays where Rams defenders played him physically enough there could have been a flag, but Heyward-Bey ended up giving as much as he was taking.

“Me and Louis came to play. We talked about it in the wide receiver room that we need to make plays for the team to win. It showed today. Next week we got to do it again.’’

Said Cable: “I just felt like those two guys really grew today. We went to ‘em a number of times and they answered. I just think that’s part of that confidence and that growth that you get and hopefully we’ll just continue to ascend and we’ll get more out of them as we go.’’

— The reason for Samson Satele returning to his job at starting center became clear on the third position when rookie Jared Veldheer, last week’s starter at center, went in to play left tackle for starter Mario Henderson.

Veldheer was called for holding on his first play, but alternated with Henderson throughout much of the game. In the second half, it was on a series-by-series basis.

Henderson conceded the in-and-out treatment wasn’t easy.

“Of course you’re going to be a little cold, you want to get used to a guys, especially pass rushing,’’ Henderson said. “So it’s kind of like, when I get out there, it’s, ‘Oh (bleep).’ But at the same time, regardless, gotta get the job done.”

Cable on the unorthodox tackle setup: “Just another example of finding a right group to kind of help us win football games and so, I think as a head coach, that’s my job. I’ve got to make sure I do whatever it takes to win football games and having that rotation was good for us today.’’

— Groves, Michael Huff and the just-activated Stevie Brown (Erik Pears was released) all made big special teams hits, with Groves getting in a SportsCenter special crushing rookie Mardy Gilyard on a kickoff return.

The reaction of the crowd was almost as loud the second time on the replay board as it was when it took place.

“I was out of it because everyone was slapping, high-fiving, cheering, and doing that,’’ Groves said, not having any idea he’d done much other than get off a block and deliver a decent blow.

“I saw the guard try to block me so I pressed the guard, then I saw the returner and I figured I’d take a shot,’’ Groves said.

— The Raiders came after Rams rookie quarterback Sam Bradford early and often to start the game, then once he began to look confused, allowed their four-man rush to get the pressure late and play coverage.

And it worked beautifully.

“The important thing for our football team is we were getting their early with a four-man rush and hitting him without sacking him,’’ Cable said.

— Thanks to everyone who took part in the live chat and sorry for the time or two when transmission was lost and I was knocked off line.

— The final attendance was annoucned at 48,396, considerably higher than the smallest home opener in history. The Raiders drew 40,545 for the home opener in 1998 against the New York Giants _ Jon Gruden’s first regular-season home game as Raiders head coach.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • StayinBlack

    Gotta keep showing different looks on D! Q. groves is physical on special teams

  • hendu

    Armond, Yes Ive won the 30pack,means next home game will have to find B and Bob,will contribute to the cooler!

  • Richard Bentley

    The kid is a gamer. Al has a problem with overlooking that in favor of physical talent. You gotta have both, and the first has to be more than the second.

  • Try Some Reality

    Lefty – I agree man. As much as I was upset about the rookie being thrown to the wolves at Center in a hostile environment against Tenn, I didn’t have a problem with the rotation. Clearly, Henderson isn’t getting the job done.

  • aig-raiders

    I am not a fan of Routt and hope he proves me wrong.

  • MistaBr0wn

    One other plus about this win:

    KKKell had nothing to b!tch about and hasnt been heard or seen from since.

  • rdrfan

    Does anyone else thank coach cable looks like Curly on the 3stooges? You still have to like what he stands for.

  • Try Some Reality

    Richard Bentley Says:
    September 19th, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    The kid is a gamer. Al has a problem with overlooking that in favor of physical talent. You gotta have both, and the first has to be more than the second.


    Yup. He’s always had that problem. We need more football players and less specimens.

  • J-MAN-805


  • J-MAN-805


  • armond

    congrads hendu just dont get 2 twisted over there with them. marios mentality is what bugs me. hopefully this will light a permanent fire for him 2. ill say this about grads he aint conceding anything to anyone. when asked if he was the starter he said he always feels hes the starter. thats is why ill ride with him cuz this team is just too mentally fragile to except jc’s mellow demeanor. especially on offense.

  • mikedlopes

    We can only get better at this point.

    Chaz will be a nice gift on our way down the road.

    Then Louis Murphy and DHB are only going to get better. I saw these guys playing today, and to see them make plays and to see their emotions on the field only tells me good things.

    With the power “BRUUUUCE!!” bestow upon us, I like where this team can go.

    He’s definitely a catalyst to our development and growth as a team.

  • fat kidd

    Rolando McClain Body Slam on you tube

  • Bauce 4 Real

    Great day this was……r8eray is a cool cat and he going back down to LA feeling great!…….We all need to feel that

  • GalacticGus

    Great Win! I think had Grads started, the game would not have been as close. had we had our hammer, Michael Bush healthy and playing.. we would have used him on those last drives and pound it all the way into the endzone on the tired defense. Smash mouth Raider football to close out the games and though fumbles are more of a risk when you run more, so is interceptions when you throw more… just as what happened at the nailbiting end of the game. hopefully the coaches and players play call and game plan to the strengths and size and weakness.. such as Gradkowski’s height is taken in consideration and matching up with the height of the D to have a keen awareness of surrounding on every play and study film and players. Not saying not to throw over the middle, but to plan so that there is always a good enough clearing when you do throw over the middle. as people have said.. Gradkowski is the same size as Brees, who has won a superbowl.

  • Bauce 4 Real

    To watch Big John up close is crazy. He biggest baddest guy on field. He allowed RoMac to look better

  • fat kidd
  • J-MAN-805

    ROMAC put that beezy in the dirt!!!! s#!t was nasty!!!!!

  • Bauce 4 Real

    Yeah well Grad injected juice in that whole placee…..hard to ignore it

  • armond

    BAUCE!!!!!!!!! how u like mcclains side suplex? dude dont sign kids autographs and throw small punkazz wrs around. what an azzhole and i luv it!

  • priesttj

    You guy’s keeep talking about Grads size it aint his size as far as throwing it’s his size as far as running. I don’t think he needs to be running around at his size. As far as him as QB his size isn’t as bad.

    I like this new version of DMC much better no mater what y’all say KC the Bills game and no other game. He is a much better HB now than when he came into the league……….period

  • J-MAN-805

    i was sittin behind the lambs today and it was unreal how big steven jackon is….. wow

  • engine1589

    One thing I love about living overseas is being able to watch the Raiders games live. When are they going to change the black out rule? It only hurts the fans and I feel for the Raider Nation in the Bay. Anyway, great game. If BRUUUUCE doesn’t start next week, it will be a crime. He keeps proving time and time again that he is a winner. Until Campell can do that, it better be BRUUUUCE’s team. And McClains bodyslam (a penalty that almost cost us the game) was awesome. Glad to see he has that old school Raiders toughness/meanness…been missing. Dmac showed it as well. Putting the hits on in stead of taking them all the time. Also, Lamarr Houston’s sack was HUGE. He is only going to get better. Keep it going Raiders!!!

  • mikedlopes

    anyone have that groves hit?

  • priesttj

    Some of you guy’s interject Al Davis if one of these guy’s is on the toilet. Veldheer at C is on cable ………..period

    They drafted the kid as a OT it’s Cable’s theory that players should be tried at all these positions simultaneously. This is the first time since I’ve been a Raider fan that I’ve seen thing like this. Yeah we have had one or two players who were utility lineman like Steve Sylvester but this stuff I’ve never seen it b4 so this is Cable no question.

    Rotating OT’s like this is knew I’ve never seen it to this extent. Plugging players here and there on the Oline came when Cable got here.

  • fat kidd

    new post

  • tscott

    To all you guys who keep clamoring about how DMAC is not a good back you are very uneducated football people. You line did not make him look good it was him. Your coaching has held him out for years by not giving him touches.. HE is a 20 carry guy not 8 ( just look at what happens when he gets the touches) And some of you idiots are still saying when bush gets back…I hate he was drafted by your team..Because you are totally disfunctional up top.. And for as many great post as I have read there are some real isiots in the fan base also that can not admit you are wrong and live wwith it…Top 3 rusher in the NFL and you all can not wait until Bush gets back…unbelievable!!!

  • Que

    I am new to replying on this blog but there has been some racial tones i ve seen in the past . for example jerome plunkett. I know some of us wouldnt say these kinds of things if we were in the company of african american company. I also think we should still wait and see before making a huge change a qb so soon. I think cable has opened up something that could ruin the team. The win was important but its still about a bigger picture and that would be could our short thrower leader of men which I ll say myself is a leader but what happens when you go from coming off the bench and the other team and defensive coordinator game plans for you. Its very much different being the starter who is game planned for. Bruce gives the spark and has passion one can only hope he can throw that ball deeper when the times comes. I watched the game again and still thought the same, a win but the quick yank of players by cable my not be good for the team in the long run. The tackles slash centers lol , the qbs . This team is still the team with a bad offensive line very unknown WRs and maybe junk QBs. One guy has the ability to short ball and stay in games and teh other with time can do exactly what Al davis and the raiders have been . HArd runs and PLay action. Thats raiderway, its something I have myself had a hard time staying to like , I am a die hard gruden guy. And still upset this guy isnt coaching today.good win go raiders

  • NOLA Raider

    I love that 55 went WWF. That’s the real Raider football. Somewhere the ghost of the Assassin is smiling.

  • ohioraider

    Score this one: Cable 1 Davis 0

    Hope Cable takes a page from the Gruden playbook and shows the old fool where to shove it. Davis is so spiteful he’d rather lose his way than let his coaches win their way.

    We can only hope. Grads is Gannon reincarnate. Exactly what the team needs.

  • raiderbub81

    who has an NFL game rewind account…post the link for your brothers in arms so we can watch the game!

  • DKnight007

    If Cable wants to give himself a shot at winning more games than last year….then he starts Grads until he plays like crap or makes huge mistakes that costs the team wins. If that happens, then they should go back to Campbell.

    Grads is the starter this team needs NOW and he has proved it time and time again.

  • Jaysohn

    I think too much of the bad play is being placed on Campbell but at the same time I do believe that right now Grads gives the team a better chance to win. I was at the game and the Campbell INT was really Murphys fault. He didn’t run the route full out, he kinda half azzed it and because of that he wasn’t at the spot on time. Also I think the switch in the O line helped too because they were terrible in the first half. There were two third down plays where they didn’t gain the one yard needed. If gained the Raiders could have easily had more scores on the board under Campbell. And I’m not even going to talk about the pass interference calls not made on two bombs to DHB. The difference though is I believe Grads energy rubs off on the whole team. This team right now needs that extra bit of juice because its really not mentally strong enough yet. Its missing an emotional leader and Grads them that more than anything. I don’t know if he is really a better quarterback but right now he is a much better leader than anyone else they have on either side of the ball.

  • RaiderDevastate1

    RunDMC is gonna do what he do, when we get Bush back it’s gonna be scary! I would use them just like I used Bo and Allen on the original Tecmo Bowl! What u know bout that?!

    Go Raaaaaaiideeeeerrrss!!!!