By Steve Corkran
Saturday, August 20th, 2011 at 9:16 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Raiders coach Hue Jackson says he wants to “build a bully” with this team. He spent three hours or so Saturday night watching his players get bullied by the 49ers in an eye-opening, 17-3 loss at Candlestick Park.
Jackson is bright enough to know that it’s going to take plenty of time, effort and patience to build his team into the kind of team that imposes its will upon opponents. Saturday night’s beat down illustrated the point.
Jackson doesn’t want to hear about how the Raiders were without front-line players such as running back Darren McFadden, cornerback Chris Johnson and wide recievers Jacoby Ford, Chaz Schilens and Louis Murphy, either.
“That has nothing to do with tonight,” Jackson said. “Tonight, we didn’t play Raider football. We didn’t play like a Raider. That’s just the truth. Let’s call it like it is. We did not play as well as this football team can play, and they’ll be the first to tell you that, and we need to get better.”
Perhaps most distressing to Jackson and the Raiders, the 49ers marched up and down the field against the Raiders starting defense without much difficulty.
The 49ers held the ball for almost 37 minutes and piled up 402 yards offense, with 226 of those yards coming in the first half, with the starting defense on the field quite a bit.
Veteran offensive lineman Khalif Barnes cautioned people against making too much of one game, especially one that doesn’t count in the standings.
“It’s never as bad as it looks,” Barnes said. “We just have to go back to camp and keep working. We don’t expect to be polished at this point but, obviously, it should have gone better than it did tonight.”
*Starting quarterback Jason Campbell suffered an injury late in the second quarter as he scrambled from pressure. Forty Niners linebacker Ahmad Brooks slammed into Campbell around the neck and head region, with Campbell going down hard.
Several trainers tended to Campbell on the field before he was escorted to the bench for further evaluation. Jackson said afterward that Campbell got “dinged up.”
It appeared as if Campbell suffered yet another stinger — he endured three last season, including one against the 49ers in an exhibition game. However, Campbell said it wasn’t a stinger, but he is set to undergo a test to determine whether he suffered a concussion.
“I am doing all right,” Campbell said. “I took a knee to the head. When it happened, everything kind of went dizzy, drop out for a minute. It’s unexpected, something you can’t prepare for. I’m just glad I’ll be all right.”
That’s the precise reason the Raiders signed veterans Kyle Boller and Trent Edwards. Jackson has two options to choose from in case Campbell can’t play, knowing that Edwards and Boller have plenty of starting experience.
Campbell’s stat line is somewhat misleading. He completed 5 of 7 passes for 74 yards. However, he also was sacked twice and made a couple of poor decisions.
On one play, he had tight end Kevin Boss wide open in the corner of the end zone but opted to tuck the ball and go for the touchdown via the run. He was stuffed for a 1-yard loss.
“It was actually a run-pass option,” Campbell said. “If I had to do it all over again, I’d try to get out of the fake as soon as I could and get my eyes around and at least give him a chance at the back of the end zone.”
That will come, he said, with more practice time and exhibition games.
“It’s preseason,” Campbell said. “You want to take those tries. Coming out of this game, one thing we’re trying to learn is we have to finish. The only play I regret from tonight is probably that one. It’s a run first play but at the same time you should try to give him a shot in the back of the end zone.”
*Not sure who is going to be in the lineup against the Denver Broncos on Sept. 12 for the regular-season opener, but it’s looking more and more likely that Jared Veldheer, Daniel Loper, Samson Satele, Cooper Carlisle and Khalif Barnes are the front-runners, from left to right.
Those five started against the 49ers and played the entire first half. Rookies Joseph Barksdale and Stefen Wisniewski didn’t get their turn until the second half.
Loper and Barnes are the two who haven’t solidified spots just yet. Jackson has said several times that he intends to play the five best players and that Wisniewski is one of those five.
If that’s the case, then Wisniewski is being eyed as a replacement for Loper, who filled in for Robert Gallery for four games last season.
Barksdale and veteran Stephon Heyer are competing against Barnes for the spot occupied by Langston Walker last season. Who starts and plays the most against the New Orleans Saints on Aug. 28 likely will be the opening-day starters.
*Rookie wide receiver Denarius Moore added to his growing legend by catching two passes for 28 yards and returning a kick 48 yards.
“He’s a bright spot,” Jackson said. “He’s done some really good things. The guy, when we throw it to him, he catches it. When he returns it, he’s a threat. He’s a very solid and good football player. Again, he’s got to be consistent and keep doing it week in and week out. So far, so good.”
Campbell completed passes to Moore on back-to-back plays in a sign that he knows a good thing when he sees one.
*Third-year receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey caught two passes for 40 yards against the 49ers. He did so despite tight coverage on both plays.
Heyward-Bey is making huge strides so far and showing that he is more ready than ever to be a viable option in the passing game and not best used as a decoy and downfield blocker.
*Rookie cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke made his first NFL start. Suffice, he played better than he did in a reserve role against the Arizona Cardinals nine days earlier.
Van Dyke allowed a 14-yard completion to veteran Braylon Edwards early in the game on a play in which he played too soft. Call it just another one of those teachable moments for the rookie out of the University of Miami.
“I did pretty good for my first start,” Van Dyke said. “I was nervous the first play but after that I was just playing ball. The speed of the game slowed down a lot for me the second game. I got my feet wet the first game and I was much better tonight.”
*Jackson and defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan have talked at length about the need to play better against the run this season. Bresnahan called it “an attitude.”
It’s the 49ers who played with a nasty disposition Saturday. They rushed for 239 yards on 41 carries for a 5.8-yard average. That figure soars past 6 yards a pop if you take away two late-game kneel-downs.
“I made a statement that we wouldn’t get the ball run on us like that, and we did,” Jackson said. “That’s disappointing. I guess that’s my point. The things that I want to see fixed that we talked about that, we’ve shored up a little bit, being able to stop the run, being a little more consistent in the scoring zone, doing some things our football team is starting to do, in practice, didn’t show up today in the game.
The 49ers exploited the Raiders with an array of runs out wide, with the Raiders unable to get players on the perimeter fast enough. The back-breaking run came on a burst up the middle by Kendall Hunter in the third quarter. He broke arm tackles by safeties Stevie Brown and Jerome Boyd en route to a 53-yard touchdown.
*Another area of huge concern was the Raiders inability to get much pressure on 49ers starting quarterback Alex Smith. Smith attempted 13 passes without getting sacked, one week after he was battered by the Saints.
The Raiders defensive line is viewed as the strength of the team. If Matt Shaughnessy, Richard Seymour, Tommy Kelley and Lamarr Houston aren’t able to get pressure on the quarterback on a consistent basis, it’s going to make it that much more difficult on the seven other defenders.
Defensive line coach Mike Waufle should be able to rectify this problem before the regular season starts. The same line produced 47 sacks last season, one shy of the league high.
*The Raiders committed six penalties for 55 yards against the 49ers. That’s an improvement from the 10 for 84 they posted against the Cardinals. Still, there were too many for Jackson’s liking.
*Rookie cornerback Sterling Moore just keeps making plays, just like the other Moore on the team.
It’s getting to the point where the Raiders might not be able to overlook the undrafted free agent who prepped in the Bay Area at Deer Valley High School.
Moore faces an uphill battle for a roster spot, if only because Van Dyke, Chimdi Chekwa, Jeremy Ware and Walter McFadden arrived via the NFL draft.
Moore showed once again Saturday night that he is capable of playing at this level. On one play, he read the route right away, broke on the pass and knocked it away before the reciever had a chance to make a play on the ball.
From afar, Moore has outplayed the aforementioned four other cornerbacks. We’ll see if his coaches feel the same way.
*First roster cuts are Aug. 30, when teams have to be at a maximum of 80 players. They have until Sept. 3 to pare their rosters to 53. For nine of the Raiders in tonight’s game, they won’t be around two days after the Saints game.
*Boss suffered a left knee strain and backup safety Jerome Boyd came out of the game with a bruised knee.
Boss’ injury came at the end of a reception, when a 49ers defender hit him in the knee with his helmet.
“It’s hard to tell,” Boss said of how long he’ll be out. “It’s nothing serious, that’s for sure. Take a little time to heal up.”
*Follow me on Twitter: @corkonthenfl