By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Monday, August 29th, 2011 at 6:41 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Not a lot of new information to be had during a conference call with coach Hue Jackson with Bay Area media, but here some updates and impressions:
– Jackson won’t yet name a backup quarterback, saying he’s pretty sure he knows which way he’s going but isn’t yet willing to share the information.
Makes sense, really. That way, if the backup gets hurt against Seattle, he isn’t publicly going with No. 3 to be next man up behind Jason Campbell on Sept. 12.
Kyle Boller was much more decisive than Trent Edwards in going 5-for-7 for 69 yards and is the odds-on choice to be the backup.
– Jackson wouldn’t name a starting offensive line (sensing a trend here?), but did say of the unit featuring Jared Veldheer at left tackle, Stefen Wisniewski at left guard, Samson Satele at center, Cooper Carlisle at right guard and Khalif Barnes at right tackle, “I’m not going to tell you I’m set, but I’m definitely moving in that direction.”
The Raiders offensive line play has been a pleasant surprise.
– If there were any injuries coming out of the New Orleans game, Jackson kept them well-hidden. Cornerback Jeremy Ware limped off after a kickoff return, with Jackson saying it was a sprain they would work through this week.
– It will be interesting to see how much leeway injured draft picks get as cutdown day approaches. When sitting down with the head coach to formulate the roster, Al Davis hates to cut fairly recent draft picks.
At this point, it’s hard not to make a case for undrafted cornerback Sterling Moore over Walter McFadden, Derek Hagan over Chaz Schilens and Jerome Boyd over Mike Mitchell. In Mitchell’s case, it hardly seems fair _ he hasn’t been healthy enough to practice. But when cutdown day comes, the Raiders have to make the call whether to put a rusty player on the roster who may not be ready or put him on injured reserve _ ending his season.
– Amusing to see so many people willing to sell DeMarcus Van Dyke down the river because he couldn’t cover Larry Fitzgerald and got roasted by Drew Brees. Is it possible the standards may be a tad high for a third-round draft pick?
Fact is, on four or five of those plays against Arizona and New Orleans he was very close to being able to make a play. If he gets a hand on a couple of them, things look much different. If the Raiders are smart, they’ll put him out there for three quarters against Seattle and just let him play.
– Jackson duly noted the offensive positives _ four scoring drives in the first six posessions, touchdown drives of 91 and 80 yards. A 20-17 lead in the third quarter.
– As for the leaky pass defense, Jackson believes the issues are easily fixable through hard work. There aren’t a lot of trades to be had at this point, so he has little choice but to believe that.
Keep in mind it was Brees doing the damage, and he always torches the Raiders. Killed them in the preseason in 2009. Killed them in the regular-season in 2008. Killed them with some near-perfect games while quarterback of the San Diego Chargers. Business as usual.
– Since I’m going to assume Jacoby Ford will sit out the preseason finale along with Darren McFadden, it remains to be seen what Jackson will do as far as a punt return specialist. Looking at the roster, you’ve got to think Denarius Moore has a lead because it’s going to be difficult to keep Nick Miller around assuming that Darrius Heyward-Bey, Louis Murphy, Derek Hagan and Chaz Schilens all make the 53-man roster.
– As for DHB, his problems adjusting to a ball in flight were on display early as he twisted, turned and ultimately couldn’t find a Campbell deep throw in the first quarter. Later, on the kind of slant pass he has caught routinely in camp, came a drop. To be fair, the New Orleans defender appeared to hit him before the ball came out, but it still could have been caught.
The Raiders practice Tuesday and Wednesday at 11:15 a.m. in Alameda (closed to the media) before leaving for Seattle Thursday.