News, notes and quotes Thursday with on-site help from beat writer Steve Corkran:
— Turns out the Raiders had their first ever “Defeat Monday” this week. Getting Monday off is normally associated with a win. It happened fairly regularly following wins under Art Shell (all two of them) and Norv Turner, less so under Lane Kiffin and eventually Tom Cable.
Following a loss, however, it’s always been time to get back to the grind.
Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly said he hadn’t even looked at Jacksonville game film.
“We came in and coach said, `It was a tough game. We lost, I trust everybody feels like (expletive) and we’re going straight on to the Denver game.’ So I just took the cue from Cabes _ he wanted to move on, so I moved on.”
Coach Tom Cable said players were given cut-ups and things were emphasized, just not as a part of a regular Monday.
“I don’t think there’s an easy way to do it, I just think it’s the most obvious,” Cable said when asked if that was the easiest way to deal with a difficult loss. “You want to get on to the next one as soon as possible.
— While practice sessions in Denver seem to indicate a growing role for quarterback Tim Tebow _ perhaps even a start _ Cable said the Raiders are still counting on seeing starter Kyle Orton.
“I think he gives them the best chance to win. I think that’s pretty clear,” Cable said. “But it wouldn’t surprise me to see Tim some.”
Cable’s evaluation of Tebow coming out of the draft?
“He’s a good athlete, he’s got a ton of leadership ability, he’s a winner, it’s whether or not he could develop into a guy who could be in a pro-style system and play in this league. I haven’t seen a lot of him, so it’s really hard to talk about him now.”
— Still no Rolando McClain at practice. Cable holds out hope McClain will be able to play Sunday and said he’s improving, noting it’s a “deep-tissue issue.”
He said it’s a toss-up at this point whether Johnnie Lee Higgins or Nick Miller (both limited with ankle issues) would return punts.
Also limited in practice were defensive tackle Richard Seymour (knee), cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha (ankle), backup quarterback Kyle Boller (quad) and safety Hiram Eugene (ribs).
— Kelly reprised an old favorite when describing the propensity of the defense for giving up big plays.
“It ain’t been a situation where people are just marching up and down the field,” Kelly said. “We’re just stop, stop, boom and there will be a big play. You go back and look a tthe games, I am srue there are a couple of 50- or 7-yard plays. Big chunk plays in every one. The Tennessee game, the Arizona game with the kickoff (return) . . . as long as we keep the big plays to a minimum, we will be OK.
“We just have to keep people from having the big chunk plays and keep those plays to 10-yard gains, at the most 15 yards. Just get the man down and play another set of downs.”
— Kelly was asked about the possibility of receiving a Pro Bowl berth. (How many people thought that question would be asked this year?)
“That would mean a lot to me, but at theend of the day I would rather have the respect of people around the league than fans,” Kelly said. “If the other guys you go against respect you, that carries a little more weight than even from the coaches. Respect from plyer to player, to me, is the highest honor.”
Kelly, unfortunately, will never find out the player vote. The NFL chooses Pro Bowl entrants next Tuesday based on votes from the fans, players and coaches _ one third each. Tallies are not released.
In the case of a player like Kelly, often a Pro Bowl selection does not accompany a breakout year. Seems there’s often a lag time involved until a player’s reputation carries weight with voters in all three areas.
— Stanford Routt on the big plays given up against Jacksonville:
“It was either technique or just one of the four defensive weapons _ eyes, hands, feet and leverage. All four of those weapons, or lack thereof, showed up in all of the big plays we got beat on in the second half.”
— The more right tackle Langston Walker watches running back Darren McFadden, the more he feels as if he’s running in quicksand.
“It just makes you realize how slow you are,” Walker said. “I mean, I’ve seen him run from some pretty fast guys, guys that had a pretty good angle on him, and it makes your job a little easier because defenses are gearing towards him and it opens up the pass a little more. I mean, he’s a threat any time he touches the ball, whether it’s handed to him or we find him out on a route.”
— Tim Tebow took the majority of the reps in practice and even Brady Quinn got some as Kyle Orton rested a sore throwing arm.
Asked by Broncos’ beat writers if Tebow was ready for a bigger role in the offense, cornerback Champ Bailey said, “I think eh can take on anything thrown at him. He’s a guy that has seen a lot _ especially through his college days. I think everybody is a little bit anxious to see what he does in the league.”
— In this “Hindight is 20-20” NFL draft do-over
by CNN-SI’s Don Banks, the Raiders pass on Rolando McClain this time and instead select Dallas wide receiver Dez Bryant at No. 8. McClain goes No. 20 to the Houston Texans.