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Getting beyond the rookie `wall’

News, notes and observations Thursday as the Raiders prepare to face the Chiefs:

— It’s the midway point of the season, yet the body clocks of middle linebacker Rolando McClain and defensive end Lamarr Houston are in theory near expiration.

They’ve been through training camp, a four-game preseason and eight regular-season games. At Alabama or Texas, the next step is determing where they stand in the BCS.

In the NFL, they’re only halfway home.

McClain and Houston were instant starters. Jared Veldheer, a third-round pick, will start his third straight game at left tackle. Wide receiver Jacoby Ford is in the rotation at wide receiver.

Travis Goehtel, a sixth-round pick, will play on special teams and back up at weak side linebacker in his debut after back surgery. Seventh-rounder Jeremy Ware will serve as nickel back if Nnamdi Asomugha misses the game as expected with an ankle injury.

Seventh-round pick Stevie Brown has emerged from the practice squad as a special teams player and reserve safety.

About the only two players who haven’t made an impact are Bruce Campbell, a guard taken in the fourth round who is being brought along at a more deliberate pace, and Walter McFadden, corner taken in the fifth-round who looked terrific early in training camp only to be derailed by hamstring issues.

The Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday’s opponent at the Coliseum, are getting similar production out of their rookie class.

Cable said the whole midseason “wall’’ was addressed with the rookie class last week.

“At this point in their physical season, they’re used to talking about bowl games and where we’re going to be on New Year’s Eve and all those kinds of things. We’re just at the halfway point,’’ Cable said. “So we talk a lot to them about how to take care of your body. It’s important that when you get rest you still have to rehab, you still have to get in there and ice and stim and get in the pools and do all the things that really restore your body, and they’ll learn to do that.

“And this class I think is a great example. They bought into it, and they’re doing those things.”

Once he reaches the field, Houston feels his rookie days are over.

“We’re halfway done with the season so being a rookie is done with playing-wise,’’ Houston said. “But in the locker room I guess I’m still a rookie.’’

Houston, almost invisible in a few games after getting a sack in the opener, has picked up his play of late.

“Every game you get to play you learn something different,’’ Houston said. “I’ve been playing about eight games. It’s fun getting into rhythm and pick up things and be able to understand what’s going on out there. It makes it a lot easier once you get your feet wet.’’

— Goethel, who predominantly played as a middle linebacker during the Napa portion of training camp, will be a backup at weak side linebacker against Kansas City.

That offers at least some validation to something I heard late in camp _ that the coaches liked Goethel so much they were going to make him a rookie starter at weak side linebacker along with McClain and middle linebacker and Houston at defensive end.

The plan was scuttled when Goethel’s back began acting up. Disk surgery kept him out for the first eight games of the season.

Cable said Thomas Howard, who missed the last four games with a knee injury, would play on special teams and be in a reserve role. His time on the field on defense is likely to be limited given Mike Mitchell’s ascension during Howard’s absence.

— Those who were limited at practice were WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (shoulder), center Samson Satele (knee), Gradkowski and S Hiram Eugene (hamstring). Those who did not practice were WR Louis Murphy (bruised lung), WR Chaz Schilens (knee), TE Zach Miller (arch), DT John Henderson (stress fracture) and Asomugha (ankle).

At some point in the recent past, Schilens surgery, originally described as minor and with a six week recovery time, developed into something more substantial.

Pressed about the time Schilens has missed, Cable said, “I think the procedure that was done was not something real minor or anything like that. It was fairly extensive, so it takes time.’’

— Cable said Asomugha is “much better’’ and has put some weight on his sprained ankle, although he conceded the cornerback hasn’t done any running.

Cable was tight-lipped about Miller as well. When asked if he expected Miller to play, Cable said, “Yes. But you know, it’s questionable, but yes.’’

Has Miller improved since Wednesday?

“Much,’’ said Cable.

-— Bruce Gradkowski isn’t starting, Cable said, because “he’s got to be able to do everything we need him to do and he’s improving, getting better, all that, but still, to say he’d be 100 percent, it wouldn’t be fair

— Punter Shane Lechler is enjoying the feeling of an important game against a division rival in November.

“It’s fun to be involved in a week where a game means so much,’’ Lechler said. “ It’s been a long time since we’ve done that. Anytime you got to play a team twice in one season, when you play them the first time it’s always important because it’s probably going to reflect on how you’re going to perform against them the second time.”

Lechler holds no hard feelings toward fans who have stayed away.

“It’s like you want to (tell) them, it’s `it’s OK to believe in us this year,’ ‘’ They’re still skeptical about us. And that’s fine. I understand the price of these tickets and stuff like that, but it’s good to have them showing up now.

“This game means a lot to us. We want to go to the playoffs. We want to be good. We want to change everybody’s perspective of us. We want to be No. 1 in the AFC West. We want a lot of things, but you can only go out and get so much, You got to win each Sunday, especially when you got an in-division game. We’re going to have to play our best.”

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • M Lonetree

    gentlemen, ladies,

    this year’s Raider team does not appear to be one that is waiting to fail or crumble. they seem to be rising and solidifying.
    this year’s KC team has squeaked out some improbable victories, but the fact remains that they sy<K!

  • http://www.blogcdn.com/www.fanhouse.com/media/2008/04/desmond-howard-425-sm.jpg Bo Schembechler Jackson

    No Herrera is stillin charge of ignoring the media and executing grudge paybacks.

  • RaiderRockstar

    Are those ground numbers are yards from scrimmage?

    ***

    scrimm

    same as I did above for McFadden

  • LA to TheBay

    Dakota Says:
    November 5th, 2010 at 8:42 am
    293.bcz24 Says:
    November 5th, 2010 at 8:41 am
    Last time Nnamdi sat out was a big game for us too… it was the Gruden Massacre…

    _______________________

    The Gruden Massacre? You mean that game we won …..

    ***everything else will be stricken from the record***

  • RaiderRockstar

    No Herrera is stillin charge of ignoring the media and executing grudge paybacks

    ***

    well i wish him the best in regards to Kiffin & JaWalrus

  • LA to TheBay

    If Herrera is ever caught on one of his clandestine sabotage missions, he keeps cyanide at the ready…. just in case.

  • LA to TheBay

    The key to this game will be our offense’s ability to sustain drives and put up points.

    Get going early, force KC out of their comfort zone and put the game on Cassel’s arm.

  • http://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXj7I1RzLSE&feature=related exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    Like the Celtics used to do to the Lakers in Boston, time for fire drills at the Chiefs hotel.

  • http://blackhillsphoto.com/sturgis-weddings/black-hills-weddings.jpg Dakota

    304.LA to TheBay Says:
    November 5th, 2010 at 8:49 am
    Dakota Says:
    November 5th, 2010 at 8:42 am
    293.bcz24 Says:
    November 5th, 2010 at 8:41 am
    Last time Nnamdi sat out was a big game for us too… it was the Gruden Massacre…

    _______________________

    The Gruden Massacre? You mean that game we won …..

    ***everything else will be stricken from the record***

    ++++++++++

    lol

  • LA to TheBay

    Stan Routt’s been playing pretty well as of late. Johnson can bite on double moves, but as long as we can bottle up their receivers, we’ll be OK on the outside.

    McCluster, without really seeing too much on film of him, seems like he’d be real solid in the slot, where we’d be weak with the youngster Ware.

    Fortunately for us, I don’t think McCluster will be 100%, if he goes at all.

  • LA to TheBay

    I went back and watched that second half of the Rams game.

    My conclusion is this: as long as we keep running well, doesn’t matter who is QB.

    But when Bruce gets back, there will be zero drop off, for those concerned with messing with a good thing.

  • bcz24

    RaiderRockstar Says:
    November 5th, 2010 at 8:48 am
    Are those ground numbers are yards from scrimmage?

    ***

    scrimm

    same as I did above for McFadden
    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
    Id be interested to see pure rushing #s for each game,

  • bcz24

    exlaraiderseasonticketholder Says:
    November 5th, 2010 at 8:56 am
    Like the Celtics used to do to the Lakers in Boston, time for fire drills at the Chiefs hotel.
    *******
    It wasnt a felony back then…

  • davidon

    I wish they would vary the snap count/try some hard counts, try some no huddle, keep their defense off guard

  • The Big Banana

    This game is HUGE. Man, I hope our run game gets going early. This will be the key to success. That and stopping their running game.

  • LA to TheBay

    davidon Says:
    November 5th, 2010 at 9:10 am
    I wish they would vary the snap count/try some hard counts, try some no huddle, keep their defense off guard

    —————

    I just really wish we could clean up all the false starts and delays of game and every game having to burn a timeout ’cause we’re not ligned up properly.

  • LA to TheBay

    lined up*

  • The Big Banana

    LA to TheBay Says:
    November 5th, 2010 at 9:00 am

    My conclusion is this: as long as we keep running well, doesn’t matter who is QB.

    ==============================================

    EXACTLY. If DMAC & Co. can get it going, we have a good chance to put this team away.

  • http://blackhillsphoto.com/sturgis-weddings/black-hills-weddings.jpg Dakota

    Have a nice weekend fellas!

    GOOOOO RAIDERS AND LAKERS!!!!!

  • http://www.blogcdn.com/www.fanhouse.com/media/2008/04/desmond-howard-425-sm.jpg Bo Schembechler Jackson

    exlaraiderseasonticketholder Says:
    November 5th, 2010 at 8:56 am
    Like the Celtics used to do to the Lakers in Boston, time for fire drills at the Chiefs hotel.

    ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

    FFFFFFFFFFFFFIIIIRE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Jon Condo…

  • LA to TheBay

    Just don’t let the team read any press clippings saying they’re in some way like the 2002 Super Bowl team or whatever.

    Cable still needs to make sure that they don’t get ahead of themselves.

    Whatever the coaches did the last two weeks (IE game plan correctly by minimizing your own weaknesses and exposing the other team’s) keep doing it.

  • M Lonetree

    must feel good for some of you younger Raider fans to have this Sunday’s game actually mean something with regards to possible playoff implications.

    feels good to us older folks too.

    have no fear. expect no failure. Raiders keep rollin’ to 5-4 and into the Bye.

  • The Big Banana

    # LA to TheBay Says:
    November 5th, 2010 at 8:55 am

    Get going early, force KC out of their comfort zone and put the game on Cassel’s arm.

    ====================================================

    Yep. The first team that has to rely on its QB to win the game will lose. Whether it’s us or the Chiefs. Mark it down cause that’s how it’s going down. We run well and stop their run, we win. Other way around, we lose. Simple as that.

  • DMAC

    Morning peoples!

  • The Big Banana

    Well, folks. Looks like rain on Sunday. Which only makes running the ball and stopping the run that much more important.

  • RaiderRockstar

    must feel good for some of you younger Raider fans to have this Sunday’s game actually mean something with regards to possible playoff implications.

    ***

    Correctamundo!

  • DMAC

    The restaurant caterer that was sharply criticized by Randy Moss for the food it prepared for the Vikings last week is now offering free lunches to Minnesota fans who turn in their Moss jerseys.
    Tinucci’s in Minnesota, which has generated welcomed attention since Moss’ alleged outburst, is offering free chicken, ribs, and beef to the first 50 people who give their Moss jerseys. The jerseys will be donated to the Boys & Girls Clubs in Nashville, where Moss is now playing. Since Moss criticized the food, Vikings owner Zygi Wilf personally apologized to Gus Tinucci.
    Source: Nashville Tennessean
    =========
    Some funny schit.

  • The Big Banana

    Morning DMAC

  • M Lonetree

    DMAC!,

    you ready to run a chip block naked slip screen for a 68 yard Raider TD on Sunday or is your hammy bothering you?

  • DMAC

    Wassup fellas!

  • DMAC

    You know I’m ready.

  • RaiderRockstar

    Looks like rain on Sunday. Which only makes running the ball and stopping the run that much more important

    ***

    the grunts on the O-Line love this stuff. these run the ball 40 times to keep punching them in the mouth routine never gets old

    we’ll mix it up on occasion though with a reverse, some dump offs to DMAC, Bush, Reece & Myers. a few slants to see if we can get DHB or Ford some YAC and the deep ball 3 or 4 times to keep their DB’s honest

  • M Lonetree

    DMAC,

    Zygi Wilf should give Tinnuci’s a food court spot at the Viking’s stadium as gratitude for helping get rid of Moss.

  • inonewordraider

    This game is getting a ton of hype and they’re mostly talking about our resurgence not the Chiefs when they have the better record so they probably feel a little disrespected. Let’s see if we can handle the pressure

  • DMAC

    Yeah, that’s the least he should do.

  • RaiderRockstar

    does this mean Tinucci’s will no longer serve Inta Juice products ???

  • DMAC

    If it’s going to rain. We need to be extra careful w/ the ball. Ball security will be major. Can’t afford stupid turnovers.

  • J Hill

    Wassup folks!

    Why am I really not worried about this game?

    Since the defense has figured out how to NOT get beat by that same old play action pass, and has moved ShoNasty in at DE I don’t see us having ANY problem with Tom Jones.

    Jamal Charles is a gimmick back and they very well have 150 yds total rushing and a TD or 2. SO WHAT!

    Raiders 29

    KC 17

  • M Lonetree

    Inonewordraider,

    KC is a wisp of a breeze waiting to disappear whereas the Raiders are a storm front gathering momentum to sweep the continent.

  • J Hill

    How do the Chiefs gameplan for Marcel Reese?

    As long as our 3 back attack is in full effect, I think we will be fine.

  • inonewordraider

    Tony Bruno last night was proclaiming DMAC as the MVP for first half of the season

  • bcz24

    J Hill Says:
    November 5th, 2010 at 9:31 am
    How do the Chiefs gameplan for Marcel Reese?

    As long as our 3 back attack is in full effect, I think we will be fine.
    *****
    My prediction was Marcel will be the difference.

  • davidon

    Worried about Aso being out. Do they have a fourth corner if they go 4 wideouts?

  • davidon

    I think offense will have to keep scoring to help out the defense.

  • bcz24

    Weezy McFadden is ready to play, or Huff, with Stevie Brown and Branch at safeties

  • bcz24

    the Raiders are a storm front gathering momentum to sweep the continent.
    *****
    I like to think of them as an Autumn Wind

  • inonewordraider

    Talk about mini milestones this season, breaking the 13 game streak vs Diego, winning back to backs for first time since 02, trying to win 3 in a row since 02, trying to beat KC at home for the first time since 02…

  • M Lonetree

    Bcz24,

    well said. The Autumn Wind it is.

  • J Hill

    Echoing RRS in that I’m not worried about Nnamdi being out and facing that nothing QB Matt Cassell.

    We are back to playing tight man to man instead of that zone so CJ37 and Routt will do just fine.

    Jeremy Ware is a player and our 3 S can more than pick up the slack.

  • DMAC

    Game of the Week on SI………

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/kerry_byrne/11/05/raiders.chiefs.GOTW/index.html?eref=twitter_feed
    ===========
    I like hearing this type of schit. Raiders are finally, no longer the laughingstock of the league.