By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Thursday, December 9th, 2010 at 2:52 pm in Oakland Raiders.
News and notes Thursday as the Raiders prepare to visit the Jacksonville Jaguars:
— Darrius Heyward-Bey has no catches since Halloween and no worries.
Heyward-Bey ran a reverse for 14 yards, executed a “rub off’’ screen that freed Jacoby Ford up for a 4-yard touchdown pass from Jason Campbell and earned high marks from his coaches for blocking.
His season stats are exactly as they were following a 33-3 win over the Seattle Seahawks on Oct. 31 after he had five catches for a career-high 105 yards and a 69-yard touchdown catch: 19 receptions, 266 yards, 1 touchdown.
“There have been times he’s been open and we’ve missed him. There have been times the defense has taken him away,’’ offensive coordinator Hue Jackson said. “Sometimes it happens that way.’’
Said coach Tom Cable: “Certainly I’d like him to get balls, but there hasn’t been a lot of opportunity that way. He’s doing everything else. He maybe our best blocking receiver right now. He’s doing a lot of dirty work.’’
On the 4-yard pass to Ford for the touchdown, Heyward-Bey said he created room by simply running his route.
“I’m entitled to run my route,’’ Heyward-Bey said. “If the corner jumps it, then I’m the one that’s open and the ball comes to me.’’
— Cornerback Chris Johnson was limited in practice for the second consecutive day and thinks he’ll be able to play against Jacksonville. He missed the last two games with a groin strain.
“I’m working through it,’’ Johnson said. “I should be able to go. I don’t feel anything so we’ll see how it goes. I did everything, so I don’t see why not.’’
If Johnson returns and plays in the nickel, it could mean Michael Huff goes back to free safety and Stevie Brown to the bench, an alignment that brought some good work out of both players last week.
“I think it’s been a nice deal for Stevie,’’ Cable said. “He’s giving us the freedom to do this. Obviously Michael has the skill to go out there but you can’t do it if you don’t feel good about the safety in the middle of the field.’’
— Middle linebacker Rolando McClain (foot), defensive end Jarvis Moss (hand fracture) and safety Hiram Eugene did not practice. Moss fractured his hand in practice recently.
Players who were limited included wide receiver Chaz Schilens (foot, knee), tight end Zach Miller (plantar fasciitis, leg) defensive tackle John Henderson (foot), cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha (ankle), safety Tyvon Branch (shoulder).
— Center Samson Satele was conspicuous both for his work on a fourth-and-1 quarterback sneak in which Campbell got three yards and a first down as well as well a handful second-level blocks in the run game and screen game.
As offensive linemen are wont to do, Satele said it wasn’t necessarily as sensational as it looked.
“I had a good game but there was still a lot of stuff I could improve on,’’ Satele said. “There’s some stuff, I watched it live on TV and it looks pretty good. There’s some other stuff that I can do a lot better. Like coaches say, it’s the little things.’’
Satele described Jacksonville’s 4-3 front as a constantly moving target, with a lot of stemming.
Of particular interest is defensive tackle Tyson Alualu, the first-round draft pick from Cal.
“I can’t wait for Alualu,’’ Satele said. “My cousin is married to his sister so it should be a good match.’’
– Rookie guard Bruce Campbell, the lone member of the rookie class who has yet to make his presence felt as a position player, was inactive against San Diego. Cable, however, feels good about Campbell’s progress.
“He needs a terrific offseason, but I think he’s going to be a dynamite player in the NFL,’’ Cable said. “I really like him, and the more I’m around him, and the more I get to work with him, he can learn, he gets it, and once he has it, it’s in there and it’s locked down, and I like it. I think his future is very bright.’’
Cable thinks Campbell could play tackle, but seems to be leaning toward leaving him at guard.
“When you watch that kid run and how powerful he is inside, sometimes anchoring down, he would give you some real stability inside there,’’ Cable said. “So, we’ll see what the future holds, but I like where he’s going.’’
Robert Gallery, like Campbell, was also a college tackle who was moved inside.
“I look at it like, if you have a small parking place and you’re going to try and put a big Cadillac in it and sometime it doesn’t quite fit,’’ Cable said. “And when guys don’t quite fit in there, for whatever reason, they’re not comfortable in space outside or they don’t handle the length of it, meaning they’re long but they don’t play long, there’s no business putting them out there because they’re going to get torn up.
“ So when you get big powerful guys like that guard, I think it really stabilizes your line.’’