Part of the Bay Area News Group

Raiders shoot for consolation prize

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Wednesday, December 29th, 2010 at 2:39 pm in Oakland Raiders.

News, notes and quotes and observations as the Raiders prepare to face the Chiefs Wednesday at Arrowhead Stadium in the 2010 regular-season finale:

– It’s not going to be like 1999, when the Raiders were out of the playoff race at 7-8 but went to Kansas City knowing they could stop the Chiefs from going as well.

But the Raiders are doing their best to convince themselves that finishing with a 6-0 record in the AFC West and .500 overall would be a stepping stone into something special in 2011.

After the 1999 win, the Raiders jumped to 12-4 and began a three-year run of AFC West titles.

How it all works out this time around remains to be seen.

“We all expected a little bit more. We all expected to be in the playoffs,’’ cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha said. “That was our theme coming into the season; that was the goal. In training camp, we were saying it all along, this team was different, this team looks like we’re ready to contend. It’s a big year for us.”

Said quarterback Jason Campbell: “We’re just trying to finsh out this year on the right note, a strong note, finish 8-8 and try to get to 6-0 in our division in our division and go into the offseason feeling good about our last game and getting ready for next year.’’

– Asomugha and Richard Seymour conceded they’re not locks to play in the Pro Bowl Jan. 30 (held the week before the Super Bowl) although they hope to be healthy enough when the time arrives.

– Besides alternates moving up the ladder either because of injuries or players who made the team otherwise occupied with preparing for the Super Bowl the following week, another possible Raiders addition is long-snapper Jon Condo.

He was added last year on Jan. 19 in the days leading up to the game as a “need’’ player.

— Sounds as if Jacoby Ford, named the AFC special teams player of the week for his 99-yard kickoff return and 188 return yards against Indianapolis, could add punt return duties next season.

Ford could have conceivably been a Pro Bowler as a rookie this year if he returned punts with anywhere near the effectiveness that he returned kickoffs. The Pro Bowl return specialist (this year Tennessee’s Marc Mariani) typically does both specialities.

“We have been kicking him the ball,’’ coach Tom Cable said.“We did that in camp, in OTAs and all that, but were never really comfortable with that. As the year has gone on, he’s getting more and more comfortable. That certainly may be something for his future.’’

As for Cable’s future, he sidestepped the issue again when asked if he thought the outcome of the Chiefs game could play into his job security.

“I don’t think about that,’’ Cable said. `I think it determines if we can get it to 8-8 and 6-0 in the division. That’s really our goal so that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re focused on that.”

– Shane Lechler was stumping for Sebastian Janikowski, with Baltimore’s Billy Cundiff getting the nod at place kicker for the Pro Bowl.

“Not to have Seabass after the year he’s had, that’s very disappointing,’’ Lechler said. “I know he’s disappointed. I’m disappointed for him. There would be a whole lot of head coaches around the league I guarantee would take him. They won’t say it to their guy’s face, but they would take him over their guy right now. That’s just how it is. That’s how good he is.’’

— The difference between the division title-winning Chiefs and the Raiders?
Cable thinks it’s turnovers. The Raiders have 25 turnovers, more than twice as many as Kansas City (12).

He thinks it’s the biggest reason the Raiders have given up so many points.

The biggest area that I feel like we’re short is turnovers. We’ve done a nice job of scoring points, moving the ball, although erratic at times, but compared to where we were before we’ve done a nice job,’’ Cable said. “We need to be more consistent from game to game that way but the turnover thing is what really hurt this football team in terms of giving people extra opportunities.’’

The Raiders have given up 30 or more points six times, losing all six games. In those games, they have 13 turnovers and six takeaways. Overall, the Raiders are at a minus-3 in turnover margin.

— Although they took the field for warmups, right tackle Langston Walker (concussion) and Darren McFadden (ankle) did not practice along with Seymour.

Wide receiver Johnnie Lee Higgins (ankle), Nick Miller (ankle), cornerback Chris Johnson (groin) and safety Mike Mitchell (ribs) were limited.

Asomugha (ankle), and Zach Miller (foot) were full go.

— With an early game Sunday, the Raiders again moved up their schedule as they did before they played Jacksonville, getting meetings in before a 9:45 a.m. practice.

The Raiders started well against the Jaguars, leading 17-7 at halftime, but didn’t finish.

“I thought we fired a great shot at Jacksonville, in terms of our effort, and the energy level and the focus and all those things, I felt like were there,’’ Cable said. “And we adapted to it quite well by Friday of that week. And here we’re doing the same thing this week and kind of went right into it this week like no big deal. So, I think it’s something that will stick to us for the future.”

— Chiefs coach Todd Haley told Bay Area reporters by conference call he had no intention of backing off to keep players healthy against Oakland.

“Maybe some teams can think another way but we’re clearly not in that position,’’ Haley said. “We need to take advantage of every practice day we have and every game we have.’’

Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel said: “Absolutely we plan on playing it like a regular game and I’m planning on playing 60 minutes and I think everyone else in the locker room is too. The last thing you want to do is go out and get your butt kicked by the Raiders on Sunday and lose any momentum we’ve built up to this point.’’

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  • http://www.wix.com/GGEden/ggeden GG

    Who got Fargas out of the HB rotation? Hue. The guy who Al just gave the keys to the car and said “the offense is yours”.

    Who got McFadden better utilized? Hue.

    Who got Reece into the starting line-up and schemed him to play a focal role on offense, utilizing his H-back skills? Hue.

    Cable didn’t do it last year. Nor did Knapp or Kiffin.

  • RaiderRockstar

    if we lose Jackson to Cincinnati, and retain Cable, that’s ok if we do get ourselves renowned proven X&O guys at DC/OC.

    ***

    good point man. If we lose Hue Jackson and we get Tollner or Hackett to replace him as play caller, we might as well pack it in!

  • RaiderRockstar

    Hue Jackson was hired on Jan 26th and Fargas was dumped on March 6th … if you think thats all Hue’s doing, be my guest

    I still think Al Davis makes all the roster moves in Oakland. draftee & free agent alike

  • http://www.wix.com/GGEden/ggeden GG

    Al makes the moves, but if Hue says to Al, I dont want Fargas, and explains his vision and why etc, then Al will pull the trigger. Al has confirmed that’s how he operates when discussing Kiffin’s firing. Also, Hue acknowledged he spent a ton of time when first hired looking over tape, assessing his roster etc. Why he was off-limit to the media for so long.

  • RaiderRockstar

    Al makes the moves, but if Hue says to Al, I dont want Fargas, and explains his vision and why etc, then Al will pull the trigger.

    ***

    not sold on this theory. did Kiffin want Russell?

    all the defensive coaches & coordinators since 2003 wanted Sam Williams?

    Gruden wanted a kicker in Round 1?

  • Just Fire Baby

    Hue Jackson got his first OC job at USC, under head coach Paul Hackett.

    If Paul replaces a departed Hue, I’ sure there would be very little difference.

  • YoungAmerican

    not sold on this theory. did Kiffin want Russell?

    all the defensive coaches & coordinators since 2003 wanted Sam Williams?

    Gruden wanted a kicker in Round 1?

    ————-

    It doesn’t mean Al listens all the time. He listens when he wants to. Sometimes the coaches can sway him, sometimes Al has his own ideas.

    But everything filters through Al, and Al makes the final call.

  • YoungAmerican

    With Kiffin, I don’t think Al ever really liked the fact that he had to settle for hiring him when every other coaching candidate fell through.

    I think part of the reason Al listens to Hue a little more than he has to previous coaches is because Al thinks he made a great coaching hire.

  • http://www.wix.com/GGEden/ggeden GG

    Fair enough you’re not sold, but there’s evidence/history of it. Each situation/coach is different too. He might loosen the reigns the more he has faith in that coach’s ability.

    Anyway, Hue is a far bigger loss to Oakland (if he goes) than Cable.

    Put yourself in Al’s shoes, sitting there up in the luxury box, watching game after game. What Al saw this season was an offense led by Hue Jackson that broke a ton of franchise and NFL records. That was FINALLY getting it’s groove. After suffering years of seeing putrid offenses, here’s Al sitting in his box and saying to himself, “i got me a winner”.

    Meanwhile, he’s seeing the defense is pretty much the same as the last 5 years, signs of improvement, better players, some better coaching here and there, but still now wowing.

    Imo, Al would be ecstatic with Hue, and the potential for further improvement on offense being a high ceiling.

    Imo, Al’s thinking—if Cincinnati don’t make a move for Hue, keeping Cable-Hue together is do-able. But due to the possibility of Hue leaving, then I cant let this guy go.

  • PurpleDrank81

    JUSTIN BLACKMON IS THE TRUTH

  • M Lonetree

    I find it humorous that popular wisdom holds BParcells to be some kind of great franchise builder. He won a couple of smashmouth titles with the Gints yes. Got to the big dance with the Patsies. The Jets did nothing under him. The Cowpies still have only one playoff victory since Rockstar was in gradeschool (and it weren’t BillyBoy got ‘er done). And ‘Fins are ready to axe the Sparano regime, hand-picked by BP, after going 1-7 at home. This popular wisdom seems more like myth.

  • YoungAmerican

    Yeah, I’ve never bought into the Parcells hype. His Jets teams were awful.

  • http://www.wix.com/GGEden/ggeden GG

    Cowher is an under-achiever then. Only 2 super bowl appearances between 20 years, and the second the Seahawks rorted out of it. 20 years and a million division titles.

    Parcells is not an under-achiever compared to Cowher. He may not be a genius, but he certainly knows his stuff.

    Why, if both Parcells and Cowher are to be considered over-rated, do people still wish they came to Oakland? Because those guys, and the likes of Vermeil, Schottenheimer, etc, are very very good at what they do, and often do it from team to team, (Cowher yet to do that). Compare them to how many hundreds of HC’s bust.

    People can say the same about Gruden….but people still wish for him. There are no such things as absolute godly HCs in the NFL like Phil Jackson that just win like 10 super bowls in 20 years.

  • RaiderRockstar

    names like Parcells & Cowher are wasted on this blog. those guys are about as likely to come here as Peyton Manning in free agency next season …

    Jon Gruden has a healthy respect for Al Davis, but #1 Does he want to get back into coaching? and #2 what other offers would he get?

  • PurpleDrank81
  • http://www.wix.com/GGEden/ggeden GG

    Not saying Cowher/Parcells are realistic candidates, but trying to point out how so many thousands of Raider fans dream of them being here. People will disparage them as over-rated etc, but they dream inside. And let’s say either of them was reported as the new Raider HC, you’d see those same people jumping for joy.

    Why? Because they’re very good HCs. Billions of HCs bust in the NFL every year. People have some unrealistic notion that top HCs win 10 super bowls in 20 years.

  • RaiderRockstar

    GG,

    even with an in-house promotion, another coaching change in Oakland destroys whatever hope this team had of turning the corner and building something. Players love Cable and his no nonsense approach. He tells it like it is and he’s pretty animated.

    Al Davis is a players owner. He will listen to them moreso than any coach. If Tom Cable has full player support and we go 6-0 against the AFC West, Al Davis would be a friggin douchebag to every player in that locker room

    Hue Jackson as HC of the Oakland Raiders = 4-12 next year and Tom Cable will be a Head Coach elsewhere and finish with a better record

    Print That

  • RaiderRockstar

    new post!

  • http://www.wix.com/GGEden/ggeden GG

    Ok. But my money is on Hue as HC, Cable let go. Especially if hue is courted by Cincinnati. Tom Cable wont be an NFL HC elsewhere.

    Look at how many coaching changes are gonna happen for 2011, and how many big names are likely to return, and how many recently let go HCs could be in the interview circuit…

    Parcells, Cowher, Gruden, Lewis, Kubiak, Garrett, Frazier, Sparano, Coughlin, Phillips, etc. Cable is not a hot commodity in that field?

  • Sir Dennis Eeatin-Hog

    On Mallett:

    this one is hard to call. He has a cannon for an arm, but does have accuracy issues at times. His accuracy percentages are improved this season over last, but a lot of that has to do with Bobby Petrino’s system. Mallett is not mobile — not talking about dual-threat here, just stating that he has difficulty moving in or out of the pocket. He reportedly has a good understanding of sophisticated offenses, but he doesn’t execute that understanding consistently. He has improved from 2009 to 2010, so there was progress, but I also question his mental toughness and ability to lead a team based on his maturity level NOW. Not saying he can’t improve in that area, but it remains to be seen.

  • Sir Dennis Eeatin-Hog

    From what I’ve seen, Luck is the best QB in college football.

    Newton looks like the kind of pick that will either be GREAT or DISASTROUS if he goes in the first half of the first round. He won a junior-college national championship last year and is playing for the D-1 title in a week, so he must be doing something right. Reminds me a lot of Vince Young.

    Gabbert is getting a lot of attention right now, but that spread offense doesn’t really show enough of what kind of downfield or intermediate passer he is, and I’d be interested to see how he handles taking snaps behind center since they don’t do that at Missouri (same questions about Newton regarding center-QB exchange).

    If I was ranking them, I’d have it Luck, Mallett, Locker, Gabbert, Newton.

  • BigLefty

    RockStar right on

    I think Q Groves has been a terrible addition too. He is still completely lost out there after 15 games

    WLB with a grand total of 36 tackles The LB that we all thought was afraid of contact (T. Howard) had 79 tackles last year. Over 2 times as many

    How about this stat for our great LB trio

    McClain, Groves and Wimbley all year 1 FORCED FUMBLE & 1 PICK

    Check this out: Ricky Brown and Jon Condo 3 FORCED FUMBLES and 0 Picks

    How about them apples

  • RaiderDebo

    Raiders at Chiefs

    Florio’s take:  Anyone who thinks this game is meaningless doesn’t understand the depth of the rivalry between the franchises.  The Chiefs need to maintain momentum, and they’d love to atone for close loss in Oakland from earlier in the year.  The Raiders are on their way, but they’re not yet ready to win at Arrowhead.

    Florio’s pick:  Chiefs 20, Raiders 13.
    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    Has this dumbfk ever watched a Raider-Chiefs game? Jamarcus kicked KC’s ass at Arrowhed the last two years. And Culpepper beat them there in 2007. THREE STRAIGHT FLORIO!

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