News, notes and quotes Thursday as the Raiders prepare to face the Denver Broncos:
— Nothing definitive, but it’s beginning to look like Kyle Boller will get the start Sunday when the Raiders visit the Broncos at Invesco Field.
Boller and Jason Campbell got the first-team work, and although Cable is already on record as saying Campbell starts if he’s healthy, the fact is he’s not healthy.
With his present level of mobility and pain, Campbell, Cable said, would not be able to play if the game were held today.
“He could go back, call plays and throw it but to be able to run and do the things he’s got to be able todo, it’d be pretty iffy,’’ Cable said.
Cable said Gradkowski is feeling better, but said he still hasn’t cut loose in terms of throwing the ball.
– Cable on the availability of Darren McFadden: “I think we’re close. He feels like he can cut it loose yesterday and today so I hope so.’’
– Although it hasn’t happened during periods of media availability, Cable said wide receiver Chaz Schilens, who had minor knee surgery approximately two months ago, is making some progress.
“He is on the field, working now, there’s no running, nothing quick twitch or anything like that, just trying to get him back on his feet,’’ Cable said.
— Linebacker Travis Goethel will be relieved to know Cable publicly acknowledged the minor back surgery which has sidelined the rookie since the start of the regular season.
Goethel had a “discectomy,’’ a procedure which a small portion of disc is removed in a non-invasive opearation similar to an arthroscope.
Cable said he could be ready to play as early as next week.
– Campbell, Gradkowski, McFadden, Goethel, running back Michael Bennett (hamstring), and SS Tyvon Branch (back) all had limited participation.
Those who didn’t practice were Schilens, John Henderson (stress fracture) and Thomas Howard did not practice.
– Defensive coordinator John Marshall, when asked if Denver’s passing offense resembled anything the Raiders had faced this year, named the San Diego Chargers.
The same Chargers who racked up 290 yards by halftime against the Raiders on the right arm of Philip Rivers and looked to be headed for Norm Van Brocklin’s 59-year-old record of 554 yards passing until coach Norv Turner decided it was time to run some clock.
Broncos coach Josh McDaniels is pledging an undying commitment to the run, but based on Denver’s league-worst 2.7 yards per carry and the sizable holes in the Oakland pass defense, it’s conceivable he’ll Kyle Orton will have his arm packed in ice Sunday night.
Of course, once San Diego’s momentum was stalled by Turner as well as two lengthy Raiders drives, Marshall sent the house at Rivers and ended up with a game-clinching 64-yard fumble return by Tyvon Branch, courtesy of a sack-fumble caused by a blitzing Michael Huff.
Marshall called those blitzes _ five in succession _ when backed into a corner.
“I’ll tell you what, that was a situation thing,’’ Marshall said. “We could not allow them to get in field goal range. When you get to a certain part of the field, you’ve got to go. And it was working, and it was fun to call. I’d much rather be calling that kind of game, just kind of dial ‘em up, like a Rolodex, `Oh, yeah, let’s run this one.’ ‘’
The idea was advanced to Marshall, (OK, it was me), that he could indeed blitz more often. It’s his call.
“Sure you could,’’ Marshall said. “But you’ve got a chance for a big play popping, in going after him in normal situations, first down, or second down . . . but hey, your thought process isn’t wrong. My wife, my daughters said, `Dad, why weren’t you doing that the whole game?’ ‘’
— Orton gets the ball out quickly in a rhythm passing game which is almost impossible to stop without disrupting his timing.
“If he gets his read and he gets the ball out quick, he’s like any quarterback, they get pressure, and that kind of thing, whether by a four man rush or designed pressure, they don’t do quite as well,’’ Marshall said. ` He does a good job. He really does. If he doesn’t pressure he’s going to complete some balls.’’
Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly called the Raiders pass rush “decent, but not good enough’’ and said it’s been discussed this week.
“We’ve got to get home a little more often,’’ Kelly said. “It’s going to come. You just can’t lose patience and get frustrated with how everything’s been going. You’ve got to keep hammering that nail in and hopefully we’ll get it going.’’
— Marshall said he’s pleased with the progress of middle linebacker Rolando McClain and was asked if he was surprised if the rookie hadn’t had a hand in any turnovers through six games.
“Yeah, and I kind of point that out to him once in awhile,’’ Marshall said. “I mean, a first-rounder has got to have impact, right?’’
— Offensive coordinator Hue Jackson said he has revisted the call sheet for the 49ers game and while went through the natural process of second-guessing some calls, had more problem with the execution than the play-calling.
When it was suggested that the Raiders went into the game with a run-heavy game plan and then had no answers when they couldn’t run, Jackson said, “I think we had answers. The execution wasn’t up to what it had been the last five weeks. That’s disappointing on all levels . . . there was no phase of the offense that particular day I was happy about.’’
— After Campbell did some good things with his feet to keep plays alive during the first two drives of the 49ers game which resulted in field goals, Jackson had this to say about why the quarterback’s play dropped off so dramatically.
“I think that’s in any situation where you have those opportunities and then you don’t cash them in. It’s like anything,’’ Jackson said. “You start pressing a little bit. I thought maybe the whole offense and that feeling of just wanting to do it and get it done and win the game and knew that boy, we’ve got to nail one of these opportunities, sometimes you press just a little bit more than what you should.’’