News, notes, quotes and observations from the Raiders last practice of their bye week:
— Safety Michael Huff was the first player off the field, nearly on a dead run to the locker room. Mike Mitchell wasn’t far behind, looking like he had a plane to catch _ which he probably did. A few players did hang around and do some press interviews, but by the time they concluded and reporters were walking back to the media room, the parking lot was already starting to empty.
Instead of using the bye week to forget about the wreckage that preceded it, coach Tom Cable is hoping the Raiders instead use to time to rest and relax, but also mentally steel themselves for a big game in Pittsburgh upon their return and stretch drive that could put them into the postseason.
“There’s obviously a lot more excitement,” left guard Robert Gallery said. “It’s just a different feeling and I can’t put it on any one thing. We’re winning games, it’s fun and we’re in position to make this last half of the season count.”
Said rookie wide receiver Jacoby Ford, perhaps the brightest star in the entire NFL in a 23-20 overtime win over Kansas City: “Coming off a big win like that, going into a bye, it makes the bye extra special to you. You’re definitely going to be in a better mood when you do get home and when you get back it’s time to go back to work and playing football.”
In some cases, Cable played the role of the teacher who gives homework over Thanksgiving or Christmas break.
“We’ve given guys different things,” Cable said. “Could be on paper, could be on a disk. But anyone who wanted it, or who we think needed it, we made sure they had material they could work on.”
— Once upon a time, the Raiders were 2-4, until a stunning 59-14 win in Denver seemed to change things in a way that a more reasonable point spread could not.
“A lot of this game is confidence and to know that we could put a full game together like that was big,” Gallery said. “We hadn’t done that in all three phases and I think it go everybody going and thinking, `You know what? If we do things right, we can be pretty good.’ And it carried into the next week and the next week.”
Cable thought the Broncos game helped the Raiders to begin developing the kind of personality he had been looking for since training camp.
“We’re going to get in your face, we’re going to fight you and we’re going to scratch and claw, and that mentality came out,” Cable said. “Boom, we get a play, then we get another play, then another play, and pretty soon you look up and it’s 21, and it’s 28. There was no let up. Like piranhas.”
He thought the Raiders carried that mentality into the Seattle game, which Oakland dominated the second half, and hopes a personality has been established.
— Wide receiver Jacoby Ford said he understood he was faster than everyone else on a less-than-stellar play as a youth.
“I’d have to say I was in the third grade,” Ford said. “I was out wide and the quarterback threw it to me the first time and it bounced off my shoe. We rean teh same exactl play and I caught it, ran one way, then I had to cut all the way across the fied and I just kind of outran everybody. I think that’s when I realized I was pretty fast.”
If it sounds as if Ford has a great memory, it helps that most of his career is on tape.
“I have all my Pee Wee games on tape, all the way from flag football up to my first tackle football game,” Ford said.
— Defensive end Richard Seymour was excused a day early to be with his family.