Speculation shifts to Boller


Speculation is shifting more than the Hayward fault with regard to the Raiders’ quarterback situation.

ESPN reversed field on its report earlier this week that Carson Palmer was “expected” to start and is now saying he isn’t ready. The NFL Network Friday has Kyle Boller as the “likely” starter.

As for Hue Jackson, he said he’ll sit down and determine the starter tonight over an Irish Coffee but later said he knows who is going to start. Almost forgot _ Jackson also at one point said someone “would run out there first,” which naturally leads to speculation about another quarterback running out there second. Or even third, should the Raiders put in some Wildcat for Terrelle Pryor.

More news and notes:

— Should Sebastian Janikowski be unable to play against the Chiefs, it would mean more than junking their under-the-leg pitch play from holder Shane Lechler which worked so well against the Chiefs a few years back.

It would mean considering going for more fourth downs near the 50-yard line, or possibly playing for field position and having Lechler attempt to pin the Chiefs back in their own territory.

— Middle linebacker Rolando McClain didn’t practice for the third straight day with a sprained ankle. He wasn’t working with the rehab crew along with Marcel Reece, however, staying near the defense as if he may still be a part of the game plan.

Still, Jackson conceded McClain, injured against Houston, is “not as well as he was a week ago. I want to make sure we’re very cautious with him.”

Darryl Blackstock is the backup at middle linebacker.

— Dave Rayner is by far the most experienced of the three place kickers who were brought in for tryouts Friday as insurance for Janikowski.

Rayner is 55-for-75 on field goal attempts for his career and was 13-for-16 last season with the Detroit Lions. In 206, Rayner was 26-for-35 against Green Bay.

Rhys Lloyd has primarily been a kickoff specialist, although he does have a 56-yard field goal for the Frankfurt Galaxy. Ricky Schmitt, who has been in Raiders camp before, was 2-for-3 in field goal attempts with the 49ers in 2009 and was most recently in San Diego’s camp as a punter.

— Jackson didn’t seem overly concerned about Richard Seymour appearing on the injury report with a knee injury and sitting out practice.

“I think Richard will be fine,” Jackson said. “I think those lists are what they are . . . I mean, we have to put out that information, but I think Richard will be fine and ready to go.”

–Speculation that Palmer’s velocity and arm strength has been an issue was refuted by Jackson.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Jackson said. “He’s throwing the ball like you wouldn’t believe. Trust me, if he’s out there _ I mean, we wouldn’t have signed him if he couldn’t throw.

“I get surprised at those kinds of questions because I would never put the guy on the team or (trade) draft picks like that if he couldn’t throw the ball or he could not do or be what I think he has the potential to be.”

— Four games, four sellouts. Yes, there have been some giveaways in terms of tickets, but it’s impressive considering there was a season ticket base probably in the 27,000 range at the beginning of the season.

— Defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan had this to say about linking the Raiders’ blitzing frequency to the absence of owner Al Davis:

“Some of the comments about with the passing of coach Davis that now we’re free to do more things and all that, that’s not really the case. If you go back to when I was here before, we mixed the zone pressures, the man pressures, the zone coverage, the man coverage, and it gives you an opportunity to create turnovers because you don’t always have to cover people playing with their back to the ball.”

And this:

“Hue is a big believer, and coach Davis always said it, take your play-makers and put them in play-making positions.”

— Interesting to see how new acquisition Chinedum Ndukwe fits in with a team that already has a pair of classic strong safety-types in Tyvon Branch and Mike Mitchell.

“Chinedum’s a physical player,” Bresnahan said. “When he hits you in the middle of the field you know it and he can make some impact hits.”

How much will he play against the Chiefs?

“To what level on defense and special teams it’s still to be seen as the week goes on and the game goes on,” Bresnahan said. “But he’s a guy who could step in and not miss a beat.”


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer