By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Monday, October 11th, 2010 at 1:10 pm in Oakland Raiders.
News, notes and observations from the Raiders open locker room session Monday in the aftermath of their 35-27 win over the San Diego Chargers at the Coliseum:
– Quarterback Jason Campbell didn’t like being sent to the bench, but he can see where it has been of some benefit.
“I felt like I was putting too much pressure on myself to make plays,’’ Campbell said. “I wasn’t playing the way I knew how to play and the way I feel I can play. I said just be ready when your number is called again. Having those two weeks to sit back and just evaluate everything, the guys on this team and also myself. Just come out and do better next time.’’
No sign of Bruce Gradkowski following his shoulder injury, and if Campbell knew anything about his status, he wasn’t saying.
“Honestly I have no idea right now,’’ Campbell said. “Our main goal is to keep working and get better each day.’’
He also artfully dodged the question of whether he should remain the starter.
“That’s the coaches’ decision. My goal is to keep preparing each and every week and keep getting ready and play my game,’’ Campbell said. “ Just play my game and not try to play someone else’s game and do what someone else wants you to do.Just play your game and have fun.’’
Khalif Barnes, who saw time as an extra offensive lineman and played left guard when Daniel Loper left with an ankle injury, buys into coach Tom Cable’s theory that there is no controversy.
“It’s kind of like, if your one guy that have is not able to go, the other guy you’re not going to be disappointed,’’ Barnes said. “It’s not like, damn, we don’t have this guy so we have no chance. It’s kind of like, we have chance every week with both of those guys. So in that way, I don’t look at it as controversy. I look at it as having a good problem.’’
– Chris Johnson helped make the 64-yard fumble return by Tyvon Branch possible when he took out an offensive lineman attempting to make the recovery, allowing the ball to bounce to Branch.
“That was my intention to keep the ball free, because I seen him trying to pick it up,’’ Johnson said. “I could have actually tried to get it myself, but there was only me and Tyvon around it and the offensive lineman, so my thing was, like we did last year with Cincinnati, go for the guy and knock him out of the way and let my guy get it, and it worked out.’’
– Despite the big stats compiled by Philip Rivers (27 of 42, 431 yards) Johnson wasn’t overly impressed with the San Diego quarterback.
Johnson believes Rivers looks to simply throw the ball to tall receivers in hopes of a jump ball or pass interference penalty.
“I think if you’ve got 6-foot or 5-10 guys, you don’t get that (kind of) play out of him,’’ Johnson said.
– Defensive tackle John Henderson is out of a walking boot as well as another he wore while sleeping as he recovers a stress fracture in his right foot.
“I feel good. I want to play. But I’m listening to the doc,’’ Henderson said.
—Nick Miller was inactive for 15 games with a broken shin last year, inactive for Week 1 in 2010, and then suited up and never set foot on the field for three straight games.
Finally getting a chance as a punt return specialist, Miller watched as the Raiders blocked the first two punts, and then had a free kick following the Raiders safety go out of bounds.
“When the first one got blocked, I was, I’ll get this one. There’s no way they’re going to get two and then, TWO! How can you get mad about that? It was awesome,’’ Miller said. “Two big plays for us. It was exciting.”
Miller’s big moment finally arrived when he fielded a 42-yard punt by Mike Scifres at the 8-yard line and returned it the San Diego 46 _ a 46 yard return on his first official touch of the ball.
“Yeah, it was caught on the 10-yard line, the guy was right in my face, made him miss and the basically just set up the next little move and off from there,’’ Miller said. “I just kind of reacted. Felt good.”
– It’s been a whirlwind for linebacker Bruce Davis, claimed off the 49ers practice squad Tuesday and playing on three different special teams units against San Diego.
Having failed to make the 53-man roster in his second year at Pittsburgh and with stops at New England, Denver and finally San Francisco, he found the whole experience with the Raiders “surreal.’’
.“I was telling my dad last night, I’ve never been a part of anything like that,’’ Davis said. “Not only on special teams, but the whole game, the offense, the defense, just stepping up when we had to make big plays to pull out the game, it was just amazing.’’
Davis father, Bruce Davis, was a Raiders offensive lineman from 1979-85.
– Middle linebacker Rolando McClain’s assessment of the win: “Good game. No comment.’’
More following coach Tom Cable’s press briefing at 2 p.m. . . .