News, notes, quotes and observations Wednesday as the Raiders prepare to face the 49ers:
– Left guard Robert Gallery and running back Darren McFadden both made it back to the practice field after missing time with hamstring injuries, with Gallery looking the farther along of the two players, according to coach Tom Cable.
Gallery was injured in the season opener against Tennessee and missed the next four games. McFadden pulled up in the Houston game and did not play against San Diego.
While Cable said he was more optimistic about Gallery, he also thought McFadden could play.
“I think there’s a good chance, I really do,’’ Cable said. “We’ll see how he feels tomorrow after this work today and if we’re progressing and moving along I would expect we would have him Sunday.’’
If McFadden were to be ready, it would probably be in a secondary role with Bush as the lead back, considering his injury status.
Being able to pair McFadden with Bush on occasion, put him in motion or put him in the slot, would cause the 49ers to adjust defensively and perhaps draw a defender out of the box to open up the run.
– Cable wouldn’t commit to a hard-and-fast status of quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, but reading between the lines, it looks as if he’ll sit this one out.
“They told me we would know something by tomorrow,’’ Cable said. “We have a pretty good idea. Obviously he didn’t practice today and I think he’s pretty sore o we’ll see what kind of progress we make in the next 24 hours.”
Cable said he didn’t yet know if Gradkowski, should he not start, would be the backup quarterback or No. 3, with Kyle Boller moving up temporarily to No. 2.
— Others who did not practice were DT John Henderson (stress fracture), WR Chaz Schilens (knee), LB Travis Goethel (lower back), LB Thomas Howard (knee) and RB Michael Bennett. Bennett has been sidelined by a hamstring injury and wasn’t at practice Wednesday to be with his wife, who is having a baby.
Players who were limited aside from Gallery and McFadden were LB Quentin Groves, WR Johnnie Lee Higgins (knee) and CB Jeremy Ware (ankle).
— Free safety Michael Huff, whose sack of Philip Rivers forced the fumble that Tyvon Branch returned 64 yards for the game-clinching touchdown, was named the AFC defensive player of the week.
Huff finished with a career-high 11 tackles, surpassing his previous high of 10 in his rookie year on Nov. 19 against Kansas City.
— Player of the week honors aside, the Raiders defense has been torched for 947 yards in the last two games, giving up 249 yards rushing to the Houston Texans and 415 yards passing to the san Diego Chargers.
It’s the most yardage the Raiders have given up in consecutive games since 1997, when they gave up 441 yards in a 28-25 win over Denver and 554 yards in a 45-34 loss to Seattle for a total if 995.
Note: Missed one in between. Raiders gave up 960 yards in back to back games in 2004, 527 to Tennessee and 433 to Kansas City on Dec. 19 and Dec. 25, respectively. Interesting thing _ all three times the Raiders were 1-1, rather than 0-2.
That defense achieved the almost unheard of NFL double of being last in the league against both the run and the pass, a rarity in that teams that gain yards on the ground don’t often take to the air.
Although the Raiders were competitive against Houston and beat San Diego, cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha wants the yardage figures to come down.
“When the yards get up to 400, 500 yards, almost 1,000 in two games, you don’t want that,’’ Asomugha said. “The fact that we won the game last week was good, and we almost won the Houston game, that’s great, but as a defense we want to be much better, and that’s our focus this week, is communication. In the coverage, if we’re in a zone, getting the communication down and being able to play it much better than we have in the past.”
– Asomugha had this to say about the role reversal which finds the 49ers being the team in turmoil for a change:
“It’s different. It hasn’t been that way since I’ve been here. It is a change of things. I don’t know how they’re handling it, but I know it’s a difficult thing to handle.”
— Bruce Davis said Wednesday afternoon he hadn’t been summoned into the coaches offices for an official 49ers debriefing.
“Nothing like that, not yet anyway,’’ Davis said.
Davis was claimed off the 49ers practice squad a week ago and was on three of the four special teams units against the Chargers. He said he built up some friendships during that time, and is surprised to see them at 0-5.
“They’re much more dangerous than 0-5, especially offensively,’’ Davis said.“Frank Gore is one of the best in the business. Vernon Davis might be the best vertical threat tight end in the league.’’
As excruciating as this sounds, Davis called San Francisco, “one of the best 0-5 teams I’ve ever heard of. Sometimes you’re just a play or two away and that seems to be how it’s happening over there.’’
Davis said he’s kept in contact with some of the 49ers, although not this week, and said,
“I think really highly of a lot of ‘em. It’ll be good to try and knock ‘em around this week.’’
– Bruce Campbell, the fourth-round draft pick from Maryland, has been given no indication he will get some time any time soon.
“Still waiting, basically,’’ Campbell said. “Waiting for my opportunity, waiting for my chance.’’
Campbell said he has still been exclusively a right guard, and hasn’t been moved to any other spot.
Cable ordinarily has linemen learn or play another position to give the unit more versatility.
That could come soon. Cable said he’s been impressed by Campbell’s progress of late.
“I like what’s going on with Bruce. I felt like the last two to three weeks he’s starting to get it, he’s starting to figure it out and he’s starting to understand the tempo and violence it takes to play with,’’ Cable said. “He’s getting a better understanding of what he’s doing. I like where he’s headed.’’