By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Monday, October 4th, 2010 at 3:32 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Upon further review, the ruling still stands.
The Raiders got their butts kicked at the line of scrimmage.
That was coach Tom Cable’s day-after assessment Monday of a 31-24 loss to the Houston Texans at the Coliseum.
For a veteran line coach, the way the Raiders lost far overshadowed any grit or progress the they may have shown in other areas. Football is for tough people, and the Raiders were far from it.
“It’s just playing, throwing the fight at them, and we didn’t do that,’’ Cable said at his weekly press briefing. “What matters is what you do on game day, and to know what’s coming at you and not handle it better than we did is disappointing, but we can’t sit around and dwell on it all week.’’
The players talked about it some on Monday, conceding the Texans had pushed them around and pointing out the season wasn’t over at 1-3 with the first division game approaching against the San Diego Chargers.
“They just came out and played better to tell you the truth,’’ safety Tyvon Branch said. “It took us too long to start stopping the run, and once we started stopping it it was too late.’’
Branch is apparently talking about the final 10 carries, when the Texans gained just 37 yards while milking the clock, carries which included five plays designed to do nothing but avoid fumbles following the Raiders’ final interception.
Cable said the coaching staff would continue to look for answers while putting together a game plan to begin introducing Tuesday against the Chargers.
“For us to be the kind of team we think we can be, we can’t have days like yesterday,’’ Cable said. “That’s just unacceptable. We all know that. I think it’s very clear in everyone’s mind that it’s unacceptable.
“So yeah, it’s exciting to be playing San Diego this week, it’s a division game and all that comes with that. It’s a great week for us and a good time to come, but we need to clear some things up.’’
More news, notes and quotes from Monday’s media availability and Cable’s press briefing:
— The early injury report update finds running backs Darren McFadden and Michael Bennett and starting weak side linebacker Quentin Groves with hamstring injuries, linebacker Thomas Howard with a knee strain and quarterback Bruce Gradkowski with a sore A-C joint in his throwing shoulder.
Gradkowski seemed to be the least serious of the four, Cable said, with more known about McFadden, Bennett and Howard by Wednesday.
“Normal Monday,’’ said Gradkowski with a smile, “except my feelings are hurt.’’
– Sat in the press box Sunday next to veteran reporter Frank Cooney, the Raiders presenter for the Hall of Fame and a guy who has been around long enough to have helped George Blanda carry his belongings to his car after he was waived.
In talking bout the rash of hamstring injuries for the Raiders, Cooney noted it was a cool summer and that perhaps it wasn’t hot enough at training camp. An old school theory to be sure, but what the heck, I asked Cable about if that could have any effect on muscle pulls.
“I don’t know,’’ Cable said. “You would have to really dig into some fitness or exercise physiologist or something like that.’’
Cable said the Raiders are continuing to look into it the problem, and again invoked the possibility of overtraining. He finds it strange that it’s still happening in early October.
“Now that we’re in to the season, you’re kind of in your routine, so we’ll look at how much we’re doing and that sort of thing in terms of the skills players, how much they’re running during the week and see if something there,’’ Cable said.
Cable said McFadden and Bennett both reported feeling better Monday, and that McFadden told him his new injury isn’t nearly as bad as the one that cost him there weeks in training camp.
– Defensive tackle John Henderson is undergoing more tests on his injured foot “to see if we can really figure out what’s going on with this. He was getting better every day and then Saturday and Sunday it got really sore doing nothing,’’ Cable said.
Regarding the other long-term absences _ wide receiver Chaz Schilens (knee), left guard Robert Gallery (hamstring) and linebacker Travis Goethel (lower back), Cable said, “This week, you have the potential for one or two of those guys, but we’re looking more like next week or the week after.’’
– The Raiders committed only two penalties, perhaps because the players have been taking it upon themselves with a little peer pressure to try and eliminate them.
“The players have started a deal. If the defense jumps offside’s they’re running and same with the offense now. They’ve kind of taken that on their own shoulders, which is good. I like that. Yesterday when you look at the film it was just really a clean football game all over the place by both teams.’’
– Middle linebacker Rolando McClain has probably never been part of a team which gave ground as easily as the Raiders did Sunday. He was right in the middle of it, as responsible as anyone else for the poor play, but unavailable for comment Sunday or Monday.
“He sent me a text this morning with some of his thoughts, and it is important to him and he’s embarrassed about it like everybody,’’ Cable said.
– Wide receiver Louis Murphy offered no alibis for the fourth-and-16 drop which ended up a diving interception by Houston’s Troy Nolan, saying it was a catch he should have made.
Murphy talked after the game about the soreness in his bruised clavicle and conceded he didn’t know until just before game time if he’d be good to go. It was still sore on Monday, he said, but improving.
Asked directly if Murphy should have been playing, Cable said, “Oh, yeah. He was fine. He’s fine this morning.’’