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Raiders injury list still a long one

News, notes and quotes from Thursday’s media availability sessions:

– Richard Seymour made it back on the field Friday and was limited during practice, and while John Henderson was out again, coach Tom Cable was extremely optimistic about his return.

Henderson missed practices all last week before being inactive against Arizona and hasn’t practiced this week either. Given he is listed at 335 pounds and has a foot injury, Cable was asked if the recovery process could take awhile.

“No, it’s sore. He’ll play this week. I expect him to work
tomorrow,’’ Cable said. Today is more (precautionary). Let’s not overdo it here.’’

– Players listed as limited included WR Louis Murphy (clavicle), G Cooper Carlisle (knee), G Langston Walker (elbow), Seymour (hamstring), G Daniel Loper (knee) and CB Chris Johnson (ankle).

Players who didn’t practice were LG Robert Gallery (hamstring), WR Chaz Schilens (knee), LB Ricky Brown (hamstring), Henderson (foot), S Hiram Eugene (hamstring), LB Travis Goethel (lower back) and CB Jeremy Ware (ankle).

RB Michael Bush (thumb), FB Marcel Reece (neck) and LB Quentin Groves (ribs) were listed as being injured but having participated fully.

Cable said that Murphy was “dramatically’’ better than he was Wednesday, but conceded upper body issues in terms of pain are more of an issue for wide receivers than for some other positions.

– Given the number of weapons the Texans have at their disposal, and the fact that Andre Johnson hasn’t practiced this week with a high ankle sprain, cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha isn’t likely to shadow Houston’s top receiver the way he did Larry Fitzgerald.

“Nnamdi’s not the focal point of this game,’’ defensive coordinator John Marshall said. “If we don’t give an outstanding team effort, so what if 80 catches one ball and you lose the game. That’s not the focus.’’

Johnson was listed as not having practiced, although Cable said he went through individual drills. Houston coach Gary Kubiak said Johnson is a game-time decision, Cable declared him ready to play _ which is the only sensible way to look at it.

“He very much will play. There’s no doubt in our minds,’’ Cable said. “ We don’t even look at it that way. If we did, it really wouldn’t change anything. It may free up a couple of guys to maybe get more involved in some things. He’s going to play so there’s no thought of that.’’

Asked what makes Johnson special, Raiders cornerback Stanford Routt said, “ I think it’s just the animal in him. He’s fast. He’s strong. He’s big. He’s physical. He’s not afraid to go across the middle. He has everything you’d want in a receiver. Everything.

– Marshall sees the Raiders No. 2 defensive ranking for what it is _ an indication that the Raiders may not be giving up a ton of yardage while at the same time realizing there are improvements that need to be made in other statistical benchmarks that carry more weight.

“Scoring defense is most important, red zone defense is critical, which carries over into scoring defense,’’ Marshall said. “Third down is important, getting off the field . . . turnovers . . . but number one is scoring.’’

The Raiders are ranked 24th in scoring defense (25.3 points per game) are 21st on third down (15-for-38, 39.5 percent) and are 32nd in red zone defense (7-for-8).

– Touchdowns may be eluding the Oakland offense, but it’s been raining first downs.

The Raiders have 21, 25 and 20 first downs, through three games, their longest in-season run of 20-plus games since 2002.

The only other time in the last seven years the Raiders even went back-to-back was 2005, getting 21 against Kansas City and 20 against Denver.

When the Raiders won the AFC title in 2002, they opened the season with seven straight games of 20 or more first downs, and later had a streak of five.

Running back Darren McFadden is tied with Adrian Peterson of Minnesota for second in the NFL with 21 first downs, six behind Houston running back Arian Foster.

—Raiders quarterback Bruce Gradkowski had two tryouts for the Texans in 2008 but wasn’t offered a job either time.

“The first time, they had two quarterbacks on the roster but never made a move,’’ Gradkowski said. “Then they brought me back awhile later and it was unfortunate _ I got a tweak running the 40-yard dash. That’s when Schaub was hurt, so they signed someone else.’’

The Texans instead went with Craig Nall, who was on the for about a month.

Recalled Kubiak: “Since he’s taken over, you could look at it and say he’s 2-0, given the situation (against Arizona). We worked him out a couple of years ago when Matt was hurt. Every time he’s gotten a chance, whether it was with (Jon) Gruden or the Raiders, he’s done some good things.’’

—Stripped of his playcalling duties in Oakland and ousted as offensive coordinator in the Jim Mora regime after a single season, Greg Knapp has resurfaced as the quarterbacks coach for the Texans.

Kubiak brought in Rick Dennison from Denver to be the coordinator. Knapp was hired in part because he has a history with quarterback Matt Schaub, who was with the Falcons as backup to Michael Vick when Knapp was offensive coordinator.

“I was trying to do what was best for our quarterback and the relationship was excellent,’’ Kubiak said. “Greg does an excellent job coaching quarterbacks. He helps me a great deal from a scheme standpoint in game planning and preparation in the passing game.’’

– Can’t watch the Raiders Sunday, but it will be possible to chart Kirk Morrison’s progress locally. KPIX 5, the local CBS affiliate, will air Indianapolis at Jacksonville with the Raiders blacked out.

– Some observations from former Raiders coach John Madden during his Sirius radio show “Madden Football’’ on George Blanda, who died Monday at age 83:

On Blanda’s legacy as a football player, not a specialist

“He hated to be called a ‘kicker.’ If anyone says ‘kicker George Blanda’ or ‘George Blanda comma kicker,’ he hated that. He wanted to be known as a football player. And he was a football player, who played quarterback and also kicked. That’s what he wanted to be known as. There was a time when he was with the Chicago Bears and he wasn’t playing much quarterback so he told George Halas that he just wanted to play, so he played linebacker. That was the type of guy he was. He was a quarterback that could play NFL football as a linebacker.’’

How Blanda operated in a crucial situation

We’re playing Cleveland, and we’re behind and on the goal line. He comes over, we take a timeout, and I’m going through [play calls], ‘Let’s do this. Let’s go far right 16. No no no, I don’t want to do that. Let’s go far left 7. No no, let’s go near left 65…’ So I’m just bumbling, stumbling trying to find a run down there on the goal line and George said to me, ‘I’ll tell you what, coach, if you let me throw three slants in a row to Warren Wells, I’ll guarantee you a touchdown.’

“I said ‘You’ll guarantee it?’ He said ‘Yeah, I’ll guarantee it.’ I said ‘Well, that’s a hell of a lot better than anything that I have.’ So first down, he throws a dirt ball on a slant to Warren Wells. Second down, he throws a touchdown. That was George Blanda. I’m the coach and I’m thinking goal line run, this is what I want. He’s thinking, ‘What the heck are you talking about? Just put the ball in my hands and I’ll win the doggone game for you.’”

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • DMAC

    When Gallery comes. If he comes back, I hope we plug in Loper at RG.

  • DMAC

    What about DMAC at LT? And Bush as the primary backer?
    DMAC= Beast

  • raiderzmaverick

    The two players who look best from our draft were the two NOT chosen because of their 40 times.

    Somehow the first two draft picks this year slipped by that “criterion”.

    Just like somehow Zach Miller slid by and we still drafted him.

    Our two O-Linemen were two of the fastest 40 times for O-linemen. That’s about as valuable as being able to throw the length of the football field from your knees.

  • DMAC

    Bruce Gradkowski’s 10.6 yards per attempt average leads all NFL quarterbacks this season.
    Gradkowski, a dink-and-dunk passer prior to joining the Raiders, is playing with confidence and attacking down the field. As long as No. 1 receiver Louis Murphy (clavicle) plays this week, Gradkowski is a fine fill-in choice against the Texans’ league-worst secondary for those owners with Tony Romo or Brett Favre on bye.
    Source: ESPN.com

  • DMAC

    Raiders RCB Nnamdi Asomugha is not expected to shadow the Texans’ top receiver this week as he did with Larry Fitzgerald in Week 3.
    As Rotoworld’s Evan Silva points out, Jacoby Jones filled in as the LWR, with Kevin Walter as the RWR, back in 2007 when LWR Andre Johnson missed time. Asomugha usually matches up against the left wide receiver. For what it’s worth, Raiders coach Tom Cable has “no doubt in his mind” that Johnson will play for Houston this week.
    Source: Oakland Tribune

  • raiderzmaverick

    Good one DMAC…I was just about to post that!

  • raiderzmaverick

    Grads isn’t a high % QB because he keeps trying down the field. If he dumped the ball off he could get his % up, but he’s looking to move down the field, not just dump the ball off.
    That’s why the WRs get so many throw their way when he’s in as opposed to JC who will get the RBs lots of receptions or the WR standing by the line of scrimage.

  • raiderzmaverick

    Second-year receiver Louis Murphy is one of 13 receivers with at least 20 targets who don’t have any drops.

  • DMAC

    # raiderzmaverick Says:
    October 1st, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Grads isn’t a high % QB because he keeps trying down the field. If he dumped the ball off he could get his % up, but he’s looking to move down the field, not just dump the ball off.
    That’s why the WRs get so many throw their way when he’s in as opposed to JC who will get the RBs lots of receptions or the WR standing by the line of scrimage.
    ===========
    TRUE!

  • raiderzmaverick
  • raiderzmaverick

    # DMAC Says:
    October 1st, 2010 at 10:19 am

    When Gallery comes. If he comes back, I hope we plug in Loper at RG.
    ———————————
    Me too! He looks pretty descent out there.

  • Just Fire Baby

    Stretching the field opens up running lanes.

    Keep chucking it down the field Bruce!!!

  • raiderzmaverick

    If our O-line was better at pass defense (big if) and we had another receiver we could get involved our offense could be pretty scary (in a good way).
    Obviously the O-line is opening holes for the run game. McFadden isn’t having to make moves. He normally hits the hole and then lowers his shoulder or cuts into the lane on the swing passes. Hasn’t made a lot of people miss, but has shown speed and really impresses me lowering his shoulder and plowing into people gaining extra yardage after contact.

  • LA to TheBay

    DMAC Says:
    October 1st, 2010 at 10:30 am
    # raiderzmaverick Says:
    October 1st, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Grads isn’t a high % QB because he keeps trying down the field. If he dumped the ball off he could get his % up, but he’s looking to move down the field, not just dump the ball off.
    That’s why the WRs get so many throw their way when he’s in as opposed to JC who will get the RBs lots of receptions or the WR standing by the line of scrimage.
    ===========
    TRUE!

    ————————-

    My support of Grad is well noted, but we still need more from him.

    If that pass deep middle to Murphy was a better-thrown ball, it’s a TD and we don’t have to worry bout Janikowski making that FG.

    Murphy had to make a tough adjustment just to get under it. If it’s in front of him, he’s off to the races and has an extra TD and maybe 25, 30 more yards in addition to the great numbers he already put up.

    Com on, Grads this is it. Must win, no turning back.

    You can let er rip, but rip em right.

  • LA to TheBay

    So is Bush part of the equation Sunday?

    Would be ideal to have him and McFadden back there at the same time in pro, maybe even line Bush up at FB, take some screen passes or leave him in to pass block, get McFadden outta the backfield.

  • LA to TheBay

    McFadden’s got the hot hand, or leg as it were, so I still forsee Bish as being rather limited. Backup duty, but he should still play a mojor role in 5-10 plays, not neccecarily running it either.

    I’d personally like to see those two split 45 carries and just demolish teams, but the Texans are pretty good up front, so gameplan will likely to be to take advantage of their agressive LBs with screen plays, play action, etc.

  • DMAC

    WE TO EXECUTE IN THE RED ZONE. WE NEED TD’S NOT FG’S.

  • LA to TheBay

    it’s miller time

  • DMAC

    need

  • LA to TheBay

    And with Eugene out (yay), how will the safety rotation work?

    More Stevie Brown? Would like to see this kid against a bonafide passing attack like the Texans’.

  • DMAC

    Stevie!

  • DMAC

    Stevie! Stevie!

  • RaiderRockstar

    Raiders RCB Nnamdi Asomugha is not expected to shadow the Texans’ top receiver this week as he did with Larry Fitzgerald in Week 3.
    As Rotoworld’s Evan Silva points out, Jacoby Jones filled in as the LWR, with Kevin Walter as the RWR, back in 2007 when LWR Andre Johnson missed time. Asomugha usually matches up against the left wide receiver. For what it’s worth, Raiders coach Tom Cable has “no doubt in his mind” that Johnson will play for Houston this week.
    Source: Oakland Tribune

    ***

    Suckford Routt is covering Kevin Walter?

    K-Walt is a must-start this week in FF then!

  • DMAC

    “stiff armed” Eugene has got to go!

  • DMAC

    Jets released NT Howard Green.
    Green is losing his roster spot to veteran Trevor Pryce, but he’s expected to be brought back on Monday. Perhaps the Ravens will lure him to Baltimore.
    Source: Aaron Wilson on Twitter
    ========
    DT Depth anyone? (cut Eugene)

  • LA to TheBay

    Walter scares me a bit.

    Texans are going deep sideline the whole game I bet, when not running power and stretch.

    It seems like when our CBs play a cover two, Branch has been isolated with the fasted WR on the field thus far this season and that’s very very bad news.

    The good news is Bruce Almighty can keep us close.

    When was the last time we can remember where the Raiders could play in a good ol fashioned Texas shootout?

  • RaiderRockstar

    DMAC: Howard Green started for the Jets last year as 3-4 NT when Kris Jenkins got hurt. half a season plus playoffs this dude was solid … not sure why he’s unemployed?

    I’d certainly take him over guys like Bryant or Alford!

  • DMAC

    He’s certainly worth a look. Bryant and Alford don’t convince me.

  • LA to TheBay

    RaiderRockstar Says:
    October 1st, 2010 at 11:00 am
    DMAC: Howard Green started for the Jets last year as 3-4 NT when Kris Jenkins got hurt. half a season plus playoffs this dude was solid … not sure why he’s unemployed?

    I’d certainly take him over guys like Bryant or Alford!
    ——————————

    Normally, I’d say management would not be after him because of his skill set, but with the continued concern for Big John’s health, may be a neccecity.

  • DMAC

    I think the Jets are loaded w/ D-linemen.

  • RaiderRockstar
  • LA to TheBay

    necessity

  • Kirk

    Raiders 24-17.

  • LA to TheBay

    RaiderRockstar Says:
    October 1st, 2010 at 11:02 am
    the Texans know who this guy is …

    http://imgs.sfgate.com/c/pictures/2008/12/22/sp-knapp22_ph_0499584985.jpg

    STUD!

    ————————-

    “Hey, guys, isn’t that ol boy with the rat tail that averaged like a yard on punt returns last year?”

  • LA to TheBay

    Sorry, RRS. Had to.

  • RaiderRockstar

    There is one happy observation that seems relatively safe: Johnnie Lee Higgins is a ridiculously fast, wickedly fun diversion from a dismal season. He scored twice against the Texans, on a 29-yard reception and an 80-yard punt return. He has scored on three returns and three receptions, giving him more touchdowns than any other Raider. He has six of the team’s 23 this year, two ahead of runner-up Darren McFadden. In the entire NFL, only Reggie Bush matches Higgins’ three scores on punt returns.

    The first touchdown was followed by a corny “Carlton” dance, a tribute to the stylings of Will Smith’s hopelessly geeky cousin on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” The second touchdown celebration, Higgins explained later, was “the Hooka-Hooka,” a dance he described as popular in his native Texas – his way of saying hello to people back home.

    12/22/2008 Gwen Knapp (SF Gate)

  • LA to TheBay

    I’m rooting for JLH.

    Wouldn’t mind seeing him play a good deal in this game as a WR.

    Wish we had the line to play more 3 WR sets, cause you know that’s what Cable wants to do.

  • LA to TheBay

    The first touchdown was followed by a corny “Carlton” dance, a tribute to the stylings of Will Smith’s hopelessly geeky cousin on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” The second touchdown celebration, Higgins explained later, was “the Hooka-Hooka,” a dance he described as popular in his native Texas – his way of saying hello to people back home.
    ————————————————-

    Funny this was mentioned, actually met a chick outside of Austin that went to High School with JLH in Sweeney, TX.

    Apparently her and her friends taught him everything he knows (about dancing).

  • DMAC
  • LA to TheBay

    We need to see more of JLH dancing this year.

    He did have, what a 50 yard return, v. Stl? Take a few to the house, young man.

  • DMAC

    JLH is cool in the slot. Hasn’t shown much returning punts lately. Lets give Miller or Jacoby a shot.

  • LA to TheBay

    Whoever lines up on the left side will be taking advantage of that rookie RCB for Houston. Guy has been eaten alive thus far.

  • LA to TheBay

    DMAC Says:
    October 1st, 2010 at 11:12 am
    JLH is cool in the slot. Hasn’t shown much returning punts lately. Lets give Miller or Jacoby a shot.

    Surprised that Al hasn’t mandated that Mitchell and Jacoby get more playing time this year.

  • DMAC

    My prediction…
    Texans will be all over Miller and Murph
    DHB has a monster game!

  • LA to TheBay

    DHB still has a long way to go despite improvement.

  • LA to TheBay

    They should get the ball in his hands early. Get a great athlete in space. His development has been paramount, even if its a detriment to the team.

  • LA to TheBay

    I honestly don’t think either of their CBs can keep up with our guys. Bruce and the boys should have a good day.

  • LA to TheBay

    Bruce is Batman.

  • LA to TheBay

    Will catch you Semi Pros in the PM sesh.

    Be good, Nation.

  • Just Fire Baby

    Sweeny, Texas (population of 4,000) is the hometown of Elmo Wright, former football player credited with the very first End Zone celebration.

    Dancing in the end zone and playing football. Must be in the water there in Sweeny.