Part of the Bay Area News Group

Raiders revert, and it hurts

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Sunday, November 28th, 2010 at 10:35 pm in Oakland Raiders.

Brought back some bad memories, didn’t it?

The same team that went into its bye week at 5-4 and full of hope is either a shell of itself or has simply reverted to what it has been starting in 2003.

The Raiders were out-blocked, out-tackled and blacked out. They were inferior in both the passing game and the running game. Had it not been for Jacoby Ford and and a couple of early Miami failures in the red zone, a 33-17 loss to the Dolphins Sunday at the Coliseum would have been _ and probably should have been _ much worse.

If you’re looking for some positive reinforcement, check out another site. Having had no problem saying how good the Raiders have been during their three-game winning streak, putting flowers on this pig is not an option.

News, notes and observations from the Raiders’ most disappointing game of the season:

– Even up to the time when press box announcers are supposed to announce lineup changes, Jason Campbell was the alleged starter. Asked a media-relations member and was told, “We have no changes to announce.”

If only the Raiders could only get over on an opponent the way they did with the media. What an incredible waste of time for a team that claims to put all its emphasis on winning to act in such a moronic fashion.

Sure fooled everyone with that Bruce Gradkowski switch. Gradkowski said he learned he was starting “at the beginning of the week.” Campbell said he found out Tuesday. Cable said he realized Gradkowski would start Wednesday once he was 100 percent healthy.

Because, you know, it was always going to be Gradkowski’s job once he was healthy. Cable has contradicted himself on this several times, but no matter. Coaches aren’t obligated to tell the media the truth except when it suits their purposes, and now that Gradkowski is hurt, it doesn’t really matter.

Not that it was handled with aplomb. If the Raiders were actually trying to go out of their way to look ridiculous, they couldn’t have done any better.

It’s apparent Gradkowski (surprise!) is down for awhile, re-injuring his throwing shoulder. He didn’t want to talk about or think about it, but said it felt like it did following the first San Diego game. And he returned five weeks later.

So now Campbell is back in the saddle, unless Kyle Boller is warming up in the bullpen. I heard second-hand Sunday night the reason Campbell was benched is that he’s not right for the Raiders as currently constituted, considering his issues with a pass rush and the club’s problems at wide receiver.

– Campbell wasn’t pretending to understand the double-talk, on one hand being told Gradkowski would get the job when healthy, and on the other hand still getting the start against Pittsburgh.

“My thing was in the Pittsburgh game, well, he was healthy,” Campbell said.

– Behind the scenes, the Raiders are fighting the perception that Campbell is the favorite of Al Davis, while Gradkowski is preferred by Cable and Hue Jackson.

“You’re a competitor and you like to compete, but by no means are you understanding or anything,” Campbell said. “It’s kind of tough because you’re caught right in between something and you don’t know what’s going on.”

Must be all that great communication Cable has talked about with his quarterback.

– Darren McFadden has fallen and he can’t get up.

In the last two games, McFadden, who has looked every bit the No. 4 overall pick in 2008, has 16 yards on 18 carries. Yes, there are issues with the offensive line. Privately, the coaching staff is concerned that he’s not running as he did before.

Right tackle Langston Walker seemed to think opposing teams are simply taking him (and other Raiders running backs) away.

“If teams are smart, if they have good defensive coordinators, they are going to load up against the run when they play us,” Walker said.

– The more Jacoby Ford does, the more damning it is for Darrius Heyward-Bey.

Telling moment _ Gradkowski has Heyward-Bey in single coverage on his left, with the safety drifting cheating toward the middle. He sees this, drops back, and lets fly a deep pass down the right sideline toward Marcel Reece. It is intercepted by Yeremiah Bell. Gradkowski said he was giving Reece a chance, given what he’s shown as a playmaker. He never considered Heyward-Bey even after he saw the coverage.

Reece is an intriguing but undrafted wide receiver turned tight end turned fullback. Heyward-Bey is the No. 7 overall pick in the 2009 draft and the alleged deep threat of the future.

The coaching staff is starting to reduce Heyward-Bey’s time on the field. He had far fewer snaps than normal and when asked if Heyward-Bey was still nursing a sore hamstring, Cable said it was simply a factor of the wide receiver rotation.

Not sure if another Raiders receiver is capable of making the 44-yard touchdown grab from Gradkowski, smoothly hauling it in while turning to his left and stradding the sideline for the score. He later repeated his magic act of taking an interception away from a defender with his 52-yard reception to set up a field goal.

– Davone Bess of the Dolphins caught six passes for 116 yards, had three punt returns for 60 yards with a long of 47, and the Raiders had no interest in him as an undrafted free agent. He went to Skyline High, grew up within sight distance of the Coliseum and was a big fan of Tim Brown.

Bess doesn’t have the 40-yard dash time Al Davis prefers, but his skills as a receiver are off the charts. He had subtle pushoffs on at least two catches worthy of a 10-year veteran.

“I’m excited to come home and get to play in front of my home city, my family, my friends, all my close ones that supported me through this,” Bess said. “Just to get the W, that’s my focus. Just get the win.”

– It was almost comical to see the Raiders go into damage control mode, with players getting serious briefings about what to say and not to say if scheduled to take the podium. Players shrug their heads at this later and laugh when it’s brought up informally.

– Zach Miller is confirming that is original “arch injury” was a torn plantar fascia, a very slow-to-heal condition. He hurt his right leg later in the game. Cable called it a “fibula” injury. Miller caught one pass for six yards and is currently a shell of himself.

– When winning, every move a coach makes seems to work out, and then you have Walter McFadden.

McFadden had a good week of practice following a game in which Jeremy Ware got poor reviews from coaches against Pittsburgh. So McFadden was the nickel back, but for some reason, Ware was inactive even though Chris Johnson was out with a groin strain and Nnamdi Asomugha was playing with an ankle injury.

McFadden got torched for five catches and 113 yards, including four third down conversions and another on third down because of a defensive holding penalty. Asomugha, who had given up five catches for 87 yards all season, gave up four receptions for 65 yards and also had a holding penalty resulting in a Miami first down. He conceded afterward he couldn’t plant and turn _ sort of a prerequisite for playing cornerback.

With Ware inactive, it’s not like Asomugha had any choice but to stay in the game.

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  • RaiderRockstar

    Ford is like an Eddie Royal/Wes Welker player. Can be a very effective slot guy in three-wide sets, but can also play in a two-wide set. Still, the Raiders need a true #1 guy

    ***

    Jacoby Ford = Steve Smith (Panthers) without the attitude & injuries

    Print That!

  • J Hill

    2011 depth chart

    1 – Ford
    2 – Higgins
    3 – Murphy
    4 – Heyward Bey
    5 – Nick Miller
    6 – Chaz Schilens (3 games)

    ——————————————————

    6-12 record

  • YoungAmerican

    At least this way, Grads is out of the conversation (Al was never going to let him be “the guy” anyway), and Campbell has the rest of the season to show Al how badly this team still needs a QB.

  • http://raiders.com A.B. Paine III

    Cable may be liked by the players, and work well with Davis, but, he is not a good head coach. It doesn’t matter, though, until Al hands over the keys to a real general manager, who will hire a or be a real coach. If Al were sane, he would give Cower, Gruden, or Parcells anything they wanted.

  • Thec07

    RaiderRockstar Says:
    November 29th, 2010 at 9:27 am
    DHB is a #4 WR and Murphy is a #5. Ford should be the slot guy, so we need a #1 and #2.

    ***

    Jhill, come on brotha man

    2011 depth chart

    6 – Ford
    5 – Higgins
    4 – Murphy
    3 – Heyward Bey
    2 – Nick Miller
    1 – Chaz Schilens (3 games)

    ++++++++++++++

    JFORD is the worst WR we have, too short doubt he will every do anything…He also sucks at KOR….lol

  • Thec07

    YoungAmerican Says:
    November 29th, 2010 at 9:29 am
    Hard to see JLH still being a Raider in 2011.

    +++++++++

    If he is cut, he will go to another team and shine…

  • Jimbo

    ——————————————————

    6-12 record

    *********

    The silver lining of an 18 game season is reaching 6 wins.

  • DMAC

    W. McFadden= Toast
    What happened to Ware?

  • http://raiders.com A.B. Paine III

    The Raiders have always had the speed WRs, but they have also had a possession WR at the same time. Now, they don’t have that. The Raiders desperately need anyone who can catch the damn ball in traffic, and who is not 5,9.

  • mistic1

    # bcz24 Says:
    November 29th, 2010 at 8:00 am

    Gradkowski apologist are predictably silent this after that pathetic display
    ************
    No Mistic. You just dont get it. The Gradkowski versus Campbell debate ONLY rages on in your head. Everyone else here just wants the Raiders to win. You HAVE to keep saying ‘I told ya so’. Get over it dude. BOTH qbs SUCK!

    BOTH.QBS.SUCK.
    Get over it.
    ==========================================================

    What campbell vs. grdas debate? This has nothing to do with any so called debate. This is not about our qb’s at all. just as I said last week, cable has painted himself into a corner and proven to be a fraud. he fooled you into believing that the problem is qb play. he said it last year, and he said it this year. His pet project has flopped miserably. His offensive line has failed to protect the qb’s and have been average run blockers in some games and terrible in others.

    The fact that Campbell is a better qb is a moot point at this juncture.

  • Thec07

    Jacoby Ford = Steve Smith (Panthers) without the attitude & injuries

    +++++++++++=

    No way…steve smith is a way better teammate…JFORD is overated….. We should cut him, and sign charles schallens….

  • J Hill

    Maybe invite JaDavis back to camp next year?????

    ——————————————————

    Would send too many fans over the ledge.

    Not happening.

  • Jimbo

    2011 depth chart

    6 – Ford
    5 – Higgins
    4 – Murphy
    3 – Heyward Bey
    2 – Nick Miller
    1 – Chaz Schilens (3 games)

    ********

    Gawd..that sucks….

    must be the worst WR corp in the NFL. We need to add a free agent, like the old days.

  • http://atm Raider O

    Ford is our best WR, and I told You People he will be a player. He was a 3rd RD pick on Mock draft.

    I was right about Houston and Ford! It feels great to be right. I wish I wasright mort often. Damn you Frantz Joseph!

  • YoungAmerican

    Not that a coaching chance will make a huge difference in philosophy, but there’s no way Cable should keep the job if the Raiders don’t end the season at .500.

    The only reason Hue should be considered for a HC job is to allow for some consistency for the young offensive players.

    The guys like Hue, so let him be HC and work with Trestman as the OC.

    This team still is in desperate need of a good WR coach, as well as a good DB coach.

  • Thec07

    sign charles schallens
    ++++++++++++

    My bad we allready have charles, maybe we can bring back jivin walker…

  • RaiderRockstar

    The silver lining of an 18 game season is reaching 6 wins.

    ***

    bwahahahahahahaha!

    good one Jimbo, kind of stings a little bit though …

  • DMAC

    # Jimbo Says:
    November 29th, 2010 at 9:35 am

    2011 depth chart

    6 – Ford
    5 – Higgins
    4 – Murphy
    3 – Heyward Bey
    2 – Nick Miller
    1 – Chaz Schilens (3 games)

    ********

    Gawd..that sucks….

    must be the worst WR corp in the NFL. We need to add a free agent, like the old days.
    ==========
    Yeah, let’s bring back Andre Rison.

  • Jimbo

    I dont see the comparison to Steve Smith. I liken him more to Desean Jackson. Little speedy guy. Smith is a bull even though he is also small.

  • YoungAmerican

    The only problem with bringing in a free agent WR is that he’ll look at the QB and o-line situations and say “no thanks”.

    Which is why, no matter what, the o-line needs to be dramatically improved and a new QB needs to come in.

  • DMAC

    We should of kept Yeah’Mon Figurs.
    LMAO

  • RaiderRockstar

    It feels great to be right. I wish I wasright mort often. Damn you Frantz Joseph!

    ***

    Raider O,

    McClain is about equal to Joseph imo.

    Frantz Joseph = CFL’s finest!

    :P

  • Thec07

    Raider O Says:
    November 29th, 2010 at 9:35 am
    Ford is our best WR, and I told You People he will be a player. He was a 3rd RD pick on Mock draft.

    I was right about Houston and Ford! It feels great to be right. I wish I wasright mort often. Damn you Frantz Joseph!

    ++++++++++++++++

    JFORD is a wasted pick, will never be anything in this league…lol

  • RaiderRockstar

    We should of kept Yeah’Mon Figurs

    let’s bring back Andre Rison

    ***

    Jerry Porter, Ronald Curry & Doug Gabriel would dwarf what we’re currently getting from Schilens, Murphy & DHB!

  • http://atm Raider O

    RR,

    McClain is a beast, and he will be a PB player. Print that!

  • DMAC

    Can we finally throw Bruce C. in there for at least 3 running plays. Want to see what he has to offer.

  • mistic1

    # exlaraiderseasonticketholder Says:
    November 29th, 2010 at 8:17 am

    IMHO, Bruce is a better QB than Campbell for this team. What I find disturbing as a team player, he did not inform the trainer of being reinjured during the game. Grads should have taken himself out. The reinjury would explain the wobbly pass picked in the end zone. No excuses though, Bruce did the wrong thing.
    ============================================================

    Laughable! Bruce’s t rex arm explains that wobbly throw. That is exactly who has been for his entire nfl career.

    Cables hand picked players are complete flops across the board. The cable gradkowski connection has been irrevocably and utterly exposed for the circus freak show that it is. You cant flim flam Davis, and heads are gonna roll.

  • DMAC

    # Raider O Says:
    November 29th, 2010 at 9:42 am

    RR,

    McClain is a beast, and he will be a PB player. Print that!
    =========
    I 2nd that O Dog!

  • Thec07

    Raider O Says:
    November 29th, 2010 at 9:42 am
    RR,

    McClain is a beast, and he will be a PB player. Print that!

    +++++++++++
    Quicksain Mcclain…Looks like he is running in quicksand…

  • Jimbo

    Throw all Bruce’s off the roster.

  • http://atm Raider O

    Thec,

    Dude, I know. He is 5’9! How is the smurf going to jump up and fight for the ball. We don’t need more smurfs. We have Miller & JLH! Great, another 4.2 guy that can’t catch!

    LMAO
    Ford = Beast!!!

  • RaiderRockstar

    I 2nd that O Dog!

    ***

    you cant teach O Dog new tricks

  • Jimbo

    Throw all Campbells off the roster too.

  • Thec07

    Cables hand picked players are complete flops across the board. The cable gradkowski connection has been irrevocably and utterly exposed for the circus freak show that it is. You cant flim flam Davis, and heads are gonna roll.

    ++++++++++++++++++=

    ROFLMAO….Both qb’s suck however, this was funny….

  • DKnight007

    Gotta go with Campbell the rest of the year and hope for the best basically.

    This 2nd Charger game is a MUST win actually. Hope the coaches and players can get pumped and motivated to try and sweep these clowns this year.

    The O-Line and D-Lines need to play better when it comes to staying low and maintaining leverage while playing physical to run block better and penetrate and fill the gaps. They may have to move Huff to corner or something versus Bolts also. Have Mitchell cover Gates.

    The coaches need to get their heads out their azzes also and they need to get in players faces and challenge them to step it up this week or the chances of making playoffs will be over just like that!

  • DMAC

    Grads and Campbell both s_uck, but they’re fairly garbage w/ Jacoby Ford giving them a hand.

  • http://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXj7I1RzLSE&feature=related exlaraiderseasonticketholder
  • Thec07

    DMAC Says:
    November 29th, 2010 at 9:45 am
    Grads and Campbell both s_uck, but they’re fairly garbage w/ Jacoby Ford giving them a hand.

    ++++++++++++=

    JFORD is too small to be effictive. You guys comparing him to steve smith are crazy,, the kid will never be that good…. He is mostly lucky…

  • http://atm Raider O

    RR,

    I was watching McClain most of the game yesterday, and he was doing great. He us very smart, huge, and has above avg speed. He is all over the field. He adjusts the players on the field, and he makes plays. He will never be a P Willis, but he can be a great MLB fir the next decade. Much better than Kirk, and has more potential. Great pick,!

  • http://www.aflciodental.com/unions/IBEW.png The Real Ray

    Thec, I agree…….Ford was a waste of a draft pick! lol

  • http://raiders.com A.B. Paine III

    Gradkowski’s performance yesterday was infuriating. I hadn’t been that pissed at a Raiders’ QB since Jay Schroeder.

  • RaiderRockstar

    You cant flim flam Davis

    ***

    only on a Raider blog can you find gems like “flim flam” or my personal favorite, WALLA WALLA BING BANG

  • DMAC

    People were loving Cable and Hue a few weeks ago, now they want them gone. Damn, its a trip what losing does to a team.

  • Thec07

    JFORD <——- trade him for a 6th rounder…lol

  • http://raiders.com A.B. Paine III

    Gradkowski doesn’t even belong in the NFL. He should be working in a garage somewhere in Pennsylvania.

  • Thec07

    The Real Ray Says:
    November 29th, 2010 at 9:48 am
    Thec, I agree…….Ford was a waste of a draft pick! lol

    +++++++++++++++

    You know what is funny, I took a lot of heat from guys in the blog concerning JFORD…they were right…lol

  • DMAC

    # Raider O Says:
    November 29th, 2010 at 9:48 am

    RR,

    I was watching McClain most of the game yesterday, and he was doing great. He us very smart, huge, and has above avg speed. He is all over the field. He adjusts the players on the field, and he makes plays. He will never be a P Willis, but he can be a great MLB fir the next decade. Much better than Kirk, and has more potential. Great pick,!
    =========
    I 2nd that O Dog!

  • http://atm Raider O

    Woof woof!!

  • Thec07

    only on a Raider blog can you find gems like “flim flam” or my personal favorite, WALLA WALLA BING BANG

    ++++++++++++++++

    lol…right…Only on this blog….

  • Thec07

    Quicksain McClain….Rookie MLB needs to make plays and not be in reaction mode on his heels…However, I did see some moments from yesterdays game….