By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Monday, September 20th, 2010 at 4:01 pm in Oakland Raiders.
News, notes and quotes from Monday not related to the quarterback situation:
– The biggest problem Tom Cable saw offensively was having a potential 28 points in red zone opportunities only to actually end up with only 13.
The Raiders gained 404 yards _ breaking a 76-game run of less than 400 dating back to 2005. Tight end Zach Miller felt the yardage and points didn’t add up.
“With that many yards you should really be scoring a lot more points,’’ Miller said. “It comes down to the red zone and just getting the ball in the end zone. We didn’t do that well at all.’’
“I saw that on the screen and thought, `Wow, it’s been awhile since we’ve had a lot of yards,’’ Miller said.
The only games where the Raiders had such impressive yardage figures with so few points was a 417-yard game against Kansas City in 2002 which they lost 2010, and a 428-yard game in 1993 against San Diego where they won 12-7.
– Cable’s thoughts on continuing a left tackle rotation of Mario Henderson and Jared Veldheer:
“I want to do this for what’s right in that, I think we sit back and look at the film now and you see we’ve got two guys that are pretty even there and we’re able to keep them both fresh and roll ‘em in there and see if we can get one to kind of rise if you will,’’ Cable said.
Cable alternated a struggling Kwame Harris with Henderson for a time in 2007 before ultimately going with Henderson for the final two games of the season.
“Believe me is I’m the first guy to say I’d like to put the same five guys out there,’’ Cable said. “Sometimes you have to be flexible for it to work.’’
– Cable described Richard Seymour, out of the Rams game with a hamstring injury, as “real close.’’
He said the there was some hope Seymour would be ready to face the Rams.
– Darren McFadden has shown admirable restraint through two games, 48 tough carries and 240 yards rushing, never uttering a hint of an “I told you so.’’
But teammate Michael Bush, McFadden’s training camp roommate, knows he heard the critics who thought he didn’t run hard enough and went down too easily.
“As a player if you think people are down on you and you’ve been doing good for along time, it probably tends to get on your nerves,’’ Bush said. “He’s very competitive and out to prove those people wrong.’’
Through two games, McFadden is second in the NFL in rushing, trailing only Indianapolis’ Arian Foster (300 yards), who had 231 yards in the opener. McFadden had 357 yards in 104 carries over 12 games last season.
“Any time I’ve gotten the question, `Is Darren all hype?,’ I’ve always said, `Just watch,’ ‘’ fullback Marcel Reece said. “Once Darren got healthy and confident in this scheme, just watch. He’s going to run away with it. Darren knew it, this organization has known it, now the rest of the world is getting to see it.’’
McFadden said he hasn’t made any big changes in his life other than trying to eat a little better, and said in his mind, he hasn’t proven anything.
“You’re only as good as your last game,’’ McFadden said. “Yesterday, I felt like I had a good game. Now I have to go out there and do the same thing next week.’’
– Players were still buzzing about the lick Quentin Groves laid on Rams return specialist Mardy Gilyard following the touchdown that put the Raiders up 13-7 in the third quarter.
“I was like, `Oh, dude is really hurt. He’s done,’’ wide receiver Johnnie Lee Higgins said. “Looked like he ran right through him. Didn’t even break his stride.’’
Safety Mike Mitchell good-naturedly griped about Groves stealing his hit, while Ricky Brown marveled at how Groves played off a block and then delivered the blow.
—Johnnie Lee Higgins, who didn’t have a punt return over 19 yards last season, said it felt good to be back in the open field.
Higgins raced 53 yards with the Rams’ first punt, although the Raiders failed to convert it into points after coming up short on a fourth-and-goal deep in St.Louis territory.
“I got my swag back and it’s on,’’ Higgins said. “Once I got past the first wave, everything opened up. I was so amped. It was the opener, planes flying over, everything just got me amped.’’
In 2008, Higgins had punt returns for touchdowns of 93 and 89 yards on consecutive weekends, the second and longest punt returns in franchise history.
– Safety Stevie Brown, the final cut to get the roster to 53 before the opener, was happy to be playing on all special teams and get to play in an NFL game _ something he felt would happen all along.
Brown was even interviewed by the press on cutdown day, only to discover later he would be released. He cleared waivers and was signed to the practice squad.
“Saturday, right before practice, they took me upstairs and told me they were going to activate me for the game,’’ Brown said. “It felt good because I’ve been wanting to play. I always felt I deserved to play so now that I had the opportunity to, I was going to make the most of it.
Brown had a special teams blow against punt returner Danny Amendola at the 13-yard line.
“I was just down there hustling,’’ Brown said. “I was surprised he didn’t fair catch it. So as soon as I caught it, I just hit him. It definitely felt good.’’