By Steve Corkran
Wednesday, September 21st, 2011 at 2:22 pm in Oakland Raiders.
New York Jets cornerback received a call from Raiders managing general partner Al Davis before re-signing with the Jets, according to a story in the New York Post.
Davis reportedly offered Cromartie far more money than the $32 million he received over four years for the Jets. Why? Easy, Cromartie said.
“It was about being able to win now, having a chance to win the Super Bowl,” Cromartie said. “Oakland is an up-and-coming team, and coach (Hue) Jackson is doing a great job. They’re a team that, in the near future, is going to be a great team.”
Davis rewarded cornerback Stanford Routt with a three-year contract that guarantees Routt $20 million over the next two seasons. He also opted against making any kind of an offer to retain the services of perennial Pro Bowl cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, who signed with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Cromartie said Davis put on the hard sell during their conversation.
“They were trying to sell me that I could be one of their No. 1 corners,” Cromartie said, “but here, with the Jets, I feel like we have two No. 1 corners — 1A and 1B.”
Cromartie teams with Darrelle Revis to give the Jets, perhaps, the best cornerback tandem in the NFL.
*Raiders cornerback Stanford Routt is No. 1 in the league in the so-called “burn rate,” which calculates how many passes have been completed against defensive players.
Opposing quarterbacks completed only 4 of 14 passes against Routt in the first two games. That places Routt at the top of the list in terms of completion percentage for defenders targeted at least 10 times.
Teams have completed 3 of 9 passes against Revis and 3 of 6 against Asomugha.
The early success is nice, Routt said, but he is more concerned with the Jets talented receiving corps.
“Man, this is the game right here,” Routt said. “I don’t really pay too much attention to who’s on the other team’s defense. I just pay attention to the who’s on the offense. We got Plaxico (Burress), Santonio (Holmes), Dustin Keller and Derrick Mason. So, that’s all I focus on.”
*Wide receiver Louis Murphy (groin/hamstring) said he won’t be able to play against the Jets, even though he was hopeful for the longest time.
Team doctors have told him that he isn’t ready to practice or play in a game just yet as he recovers from a surgery that was performed during training camp.
“Yeah, slowly just moving forward, listening to my body and just doing what the trainers are telling me to do,” Murphy said.
He added that it was difficult watching the Bills game, knowing how much fun it would have been to be involved in a game that featured 33 passes from Campbell and numerous big plays.
“Oh, man, it’s hard to even watch the games,” Murphy said. “Guys went out and they played great. We just fell short in a couple areas. It was good just to see them out there and be able to sling the ball around like that.”
*Jackson said he isn’t caught up in all the fuss being made over Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez eating a hot dog on the sideline at the Coliseum during the Jets’ 38-0 victory over the Raiders in 2009.
At the same time, that doesn’t mean Jackson can’t have a little fun with the non-issue.
“I don’t eat hot dogs during the game,” Jackson said. “It sounds like somebody did. So, that was his prerogative back then. I wasn’t here. I hope we can make it more interesting for him so he doesn’t have to eat hot dogs. Hopefully, we can take the mustard and the relish and the onions and all that and put it away and play a little football.”
When asked if he might use the incident as motivation among his players, Jackson again took the humorous approach.
“I can’t let all my secrets out,” Jackson said. “I can’t do that. The guy had a hot dog. Was it Der Weinerschnitzel? Where did it come from? I don’t know. It looked to be pretty good the way he was eating it. So, I’m sure we’ll have some fun this week.”
Don’t be fooled by Jackson’s words, though. He knows an opportunity to fire up his players when he sees one. Cue up the video, fellas.
“Yeah, coach showed that to us,” defensive tackle Tommy Kelly said. “It was just a reminder. We’re going to remind him of that during the game.”
And, will Kelly have any words for Sanchez during the game?
“Oh, most definitely,” Kelly said. “I’ll say a lot to him.”
Routt said it’s incumbent upon he and his teammates to play better and not let the Jets get in a situation where they are comfortable enough to do behave in an unconventional manner on the sideline.
“If we let him go out there and do what he did back in ‘09, and they’re up by whatever, then him eating a hot dog, we shouldn’t take that offensively,” Routt said. “We should take it offensive why we let him have that comfort level to go on the sideline and eat a hot dog. Because it was a blowout game. So, nah, I don’t take offense to that. Just like somebody dancing in the end zone. If you don’t let him get there, you don’t got to worry about him dancing.”
*Jackson said Nick Miller is not a shoo-in to return kicks against the Jets if Jacoby Ford (hamstring) isn’t able to play for the second straight game. Ford missed practice Wednesday.
Rookie Taiwan Jones is an option, as are Denarius Moore, Rock Cartwright and, perhaps, others.
“Hey, everybody’s an option right now,” Jackson said. “Whatever it takes to get this ball matriculated down the field or score touchdowns, that’s what I’m going to do. If a guy can help us win, he’s going to play.”
*Same goes for punt returns, Jackson said. Moore split time with Miller in that capacity in practice Wednesday, and he is a candidate to replace Miller at some point, if not Sunday.
Here comes the obligatory Jackson quote, and note his unprompted reference to recent criticism for deactivating wide receiver Derek Hagan.
“You never know,” Jackson said of Moore perhaps replacing Miller. “Absolutely. I keep telling you guys – I know I get frosted sometimes by saying I’m going to put the best guys out there. That’s what I’m going to do. The guys that can win games for us, they’re going to play. And I’ve been true to that, regardless of what you guys say about Derek Hagan. I’ve been true to that. Our good players are going to play.”
*The Raiders haven’t played a home game since Aug. 28, when they hosted the New Orleans Saints in an exhibition game. The players and Jackson, naturally, are fired up at the prospect of playing before a friendly crowd.
“Excited about it,” Jackson said. “We have been away from our fans. We want that place filled up, silver and black, screaming and yelling for this football team. I keep saying, the time is now. We’re 1-1, we’re right at the top of our division. We need to keep playing and keep winning. We need to get back in that winning mode, like I know we can, like I know we will. But we got to go play a really good football team this week.”
There is no official word on whether the Jets game is sold out and, therefore, televised locally. Campbell apparently also is hearing that the game is sold out, or it’s going to be.
“I hear we got a sold out crowd; that’s exciting,” Campbell said. “Our fans respect the way that we are playing. It’s not like we lost last week because we didn’t show up. We showed up and played hard, Buffalo just kind of caught fire at the end.”
As a result, Campbell said, fans have even more reason to rally behind the Raiders in their regular-season home-opener.
“They understand we’re laying it all on the line for them,” Campbell added. “We’re trying to do everything we can to get this program turned around and get it going in the right direction. It’s not a short process, but we’re going to do everything we possibly can to keep this thing going in the right direction.”
*The Bills scored five touchdowns on the Raiders in the second half Sunday in a come-from-behind, 38-35 victory. They managed most of their yards through the air via an attack that spread out the Raiders defenders.
They can count upon seeing more of that, Jackson said, until they show that they can succeed in defending against such an approach.
“If I was some other team, I would,” Jackson said. “I’d find out if we’ve got it handled, got it fixed. That’s just the nature, this is a copycat league. What one team sees that worked against you, people are definitely going to try to see if you got it solved. And our players understand that, but we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
*Tight end Kevin Boss said his injured knee is getting better every day. As evidence, he made it through an entire practice for the first time since he got hurt against the 49ers.
Given that, he is hopeful of making his Raiders debut against the Jets. He’s more than hopeful, actually. He said he intends to play.
“Yes, I do,” Boss said. “I’m looking forward to it, too.”
Boss was hopeful of playing against the Bills, too. In the end, Jackson opted to sit down Boss for an extra week as a precautionary measure.
“I thought I had a chance of playing last week, and they kind of decided to give me another week of rest,” Boss said. “It was frustrating but probably better in the long run. But I definitely wanted to be out there.”
*Sunday’s game isn’t just another game, Routt said. This is a measuring-stick game for the Raiders, a chance for them to assess where they stand in comparison to a team that played in the AFC Championship Game each of the past two seasons.
“Somebody said in our defensive meeting this morning that, if we want to go to the AFC title game, we want to go to the playoffs, if we want to go to the Super Bowl, we’re going to have to go through this team,” Routt said. “Or the Patriots, or the Steelers. Whatever. But we’re going to have to get through this team. So, we might as well go ahead and see where we are right now, rather than try to hold it off and just wait till January or February, if it gets that far.”
*Campbell said he injured his left foot early on in the game against the Broncos. It’s severe enough to limit his availability in practice of late but not so severe that he can’t play.
“It’s something that you work through, you continue to push yourself through it,” Campbell said. “It’s going to be sore the first couple of days in the week of practice but by Sunday, you’re usually ready to go.”
If Campbell can’t play, which is unlikely, or he gets injured against the Jets, veteran Kyle Boller is the only regular quarterback on the roster. Punter Shane Lechler is the emergency quarterback.
*Follow me on Twitter: @corkonthenfl