News, notes and quotes from Friday’s practice, group interviews with running back Bush and linebacker Trevor Scott, and post-practice press briefing from coach Tom Cable:
— Cable believes the Raiders players are past the point of deflecting blame and can finally look themselves in the mirror after a mistake.
`I think the accountability has gotten where it needs to be now,’’ Cable said. “It’s not a matter of how we did this or what we called, or whatever this or that is. It’s on all of us and we recognize that, and I think we take responsibility for it now.
“That’s really, really huge for us, for this football team, because it’s the first time in the four years I’ve been here where guys man up and say, hey, that’s on me. So that’s a good thing. The next step is you can’t let it happen.’’
— Officially listed as out for the Chargers game Sunday are WR Chaz Schilens (knee), LG Robert Gallery (hamstring), RB Michael Bennett (hamstring), LB Travis Goethel (lower back) and DT John Henderson (stress fracture).
Listed as questionable are LB Ricky Brown (hamstring), LB Quentin Groves (hamstring), CB Walter McFadden (hamstring) and CB Jeremy Ware (ankle). All were listed as having limited participation in practice.
Listed as probable are QB Bruce Gradkowski (A-C joint), TE Zach Miller (hip), S Hiram Eugene (hamstring) and CB Chris Johnson (ankle).
LB Rolando McClain returned to practice after two days off because of a personal issue and will start at middle linebacker.
— The Raiders pass rush was negated by a Houston rushing attack that kept the front seven on its heels. Trevor Scott, moved from end to outside linebacker this week with injuries to Groves and Howard, was asked what it would take to get the pass rush going and said, “I’m going to do it this week. I’ve got it.’’
Might that mean a lot of blitzing, given that Scott will play linebacker (Cable said Scott would start even if Groves recovers enough to be active)?
“I’m going to be all over the place,’’ Scott said. “That’s all I know.’’
—The seemingly endless wait for the debut of wide receiver/return specialist Nick Miller will come against the Chargers, Cable said.
Miller made the Raiders last season on the basis of a strong training camp, only to discover that what was originally diagnosed as shin splints was actually a broken shin bone.
For reasons never fully explained, Miller stayed on the 53-man roster for 15 games before going on injured reserve for the final game, and was listed every week as “not active.’’
Miller had another solid camp and made the team again this season, only to find himself inactive in Week 1. He wore the Raiders uniform in a regular-season game for the first time in Week 2 against the Rams, but was the only player suited up who didn’t get into the game.
He was active but didn’t step on the field in Weeks 2 or 3, either.
Against San Diego, Cable said Miller would play as a punt return specialist _ he was fielding punts along with Johnnie Lee Higgins _ and on special teams.
If the Raiders wanted to get creative, Miller had his own package of plays during each of the last two training camps which have never been used in regular-season game.
“Because of our injury situation, he’s going to have to help us in some teams and things like that. He’s a very energetic guy, naturally, so he’ll bring some energy to the game, that’s for sure,’’ Cable said. “He wants to get out there and go.’’
– Defensive coordinator John Marshall isn’t the only one surprised at the inability of the Raiders defense to force turnovers. Oakland has only five takeaways, and two of those were gift punt muffs by Arizona.
The other three were a sack fumble of Vince Young in the opener and interceptions by Groves and Stanford Routt.
“We seem to be late. If a ball’s tipped we’ve gotten a couple of those,’’ Cable said. “It’s just go get the football with an aggressive style. I don’t quite think we’re there yet.’’
— While McFadden’s speed and versatility will be missed in the backfield, the fact is that in terms of breakaway ability, his track record doesn’t match that of Michael Bush as a Raider.
In his last 26 games, dating back to a 50-yard run in Week 2 against Kansas City, McFadden’s longest run is 33 yards. During that span, Bush has runs of 67, 60 and 40 yards.
“Some guys to me have that innate ability, that when they get through they can make the safety miss and go, and he’s shown that,’’ Cable said.
Through three four games, McFadden was averaging just over 25 touches per game with 85 runs from scrimmage and 16 receptions, a workload Bush hopes to duplicate.
“I’ll be doing the same thing he was doing when I was out,’’ Bush said. “If he got the ball a lot, I expect to do the same thing if that’s the way the coaches are going to go. Whatever’s thrown my way, I’m ready.’’
— Cable, an unabashed New York Yankees fan who hasn’t been above gloating to a press corps member who is a Twins fan, conceded that Tim Lincecum would be good enough to pitch for his team.
“If George (Steinbrenner) was alive, he’d buy him tomorrow,’’ Cable said.