It’s get-away day for most of the Raiders, with the last of this week’s practices in the books and four days off between now and the next practice.
Most of the players wasted little time showering, throwing on clean clothes and jumping in their vehicles for a mad dash to far reaches of the country. They did so only after receiving a message from coach Hue Jackson.
“Most important is, one, that you represent this organization and this team and don’t do anything stupid that will cost you not to be a member of this football team,” Jackson said. “That’s first and foremost. Number 2 is, make sure you spend time with loved ones, family, friends, people that are important.”
Jackson said he also wants his players to return with clearn minds, refreshed bodies and a burning desire to finish strong the final nine games.
“You got to take a day or two, let your body heal and all those good things,” Jackson said. “But we got to be thinking about what we’ve got to do when we get back, which is Denver, and getting ready for the Denver Broncos.”
Quarterback Carson Palmer is among those sticking around during the days off. He intends to work with some, if not all, of the wide receivers in an attempt to get down the plays, the timing and in better synch with each other.
Jackson said that he will instruct Palmer in advance on some things he wants accomplished, given coaches aren’t allowed to oversee practices or workouts the next four days.
“I feel like I’m back in high school studying and cramming for the SATs or something like that,” Palmer said. “But it’s a lot more fun. Football is a lot more fun than that. It’s been a lot of work. It’s been some long days but great days. I’ve enjoyed a lot of it. I still have a ways to go. I still have a little bit of time to get it down before we really get into next Wednesday’s work.”
JACKSON WON’T SPECULATE ABOUT CAMPBELL
Quarterback Jason Campbell’s season changed dramatically 10 days ago when he was tackled by Browns linebacker Scott Fujita on a play that resulted in a broken right collarbone.
Many players would be in seclusion, going through the rehabilitation process, wondering “Why me?” and not surfacing until fully healed. Not Campbell. He was on the sideline last Sunday, consulting with the other quarterbacks, making himself available and cheering on his teammates.
On Wednesday, Campbell was right in the middle of things once again, walking around on the field during practice, with his arm in a sling, and at the ready in whatever capacity.
Jackson said Campbell also has taken part in team meetings and everything else he was accustomed to doing before the injury.
That’s just part of Campbell’s makeup as a leader, team player and consummate professional. It’s part of what endears him to Jackson and his teammates.
“I see all these reports and all the things that get said,” Jackson said. “(Everyone) knows how I feel about Jason, what I think about Jason. He’s a huge reason why this team was 4-2, and I wish nothing but the best for Jason.”
Jackson was referring to reports about Campbell’s days as a Raider being all but over, even if Campbell returns to full health before season’s end.
“I know everything that gets said,” Jackson said. “I don’t subscribe to that. As I told (everyone) before, we’ll see where he is when we’re healthy. He’s a ways away from being healthy. He needs to get himself back to where he was, and that’s going to take some time. Nobody knows how long that’s going to take. It could take for the rest of the season. It could be five weeks. Nobody knows. So we’ll conduct business that way.”
Campbell underwent surgery Oct. 17. The prognosis is for the recovery to take six weeks or so. Therefore, he conceivably could be back in time for the final month of the regular season.
And what happens when Campbell returns?
“I’ll tell you that when we get there,” Jackson said. “I can’t answer that right now, because he isn’t healthy. So that’s all speculation. I’m not going to speculate on anything until I have to make that kind of decision, and that’s not one that needs to be made right now.”
Campbell has not been made available to the media since his injury. He has granted interviews to several radio stations, though.
The smart money says, Jackson will stick with Palmer at quarterback if Palmer is playing well when Campbell is healthy. If Palmer is injured or struggling, Jackson might feel compelled to go back to Campbell for the stretch run.
Palmer is under contract through 2014. Campbell’s contract expires at the end of this season.
Tonight, Campbell is on Comcast. During the interview, Campbell says, “I’m a starter in this league. … I’m not ready to accept being in a backup role.”
RAIDERS WORK OUT PLAYERS
Three players worked out for the Raiders as soon as practice ended. Jackson declined to identify the players and said the workouts weren’t anything “major.”
“Nobody’s been added to the team,” Jackson said. “We’re just trying to, again, find a way to improve the team here and there. Legs; we need some healthier legs, just for practice purposes, whatever that is. We got a couple of guys in today we’re going to take a look at and see where they are.”
The players wore Nos. 14, 15 and 38. Rookie quarterback Terrelle Pryor threw passes to the first two players listed, given the appearance that they are wide receivers. The third player appeared to be a veteran defensive back.
Teams fresh from a bye are 3-9 this season. Combine that with the fact the Raiders have lost in the game after their bye each of the past eight seasons, and it doesn’t bode well for the Raiders against the Broncos. Then again … it is the 2-4 Broncos.
Wide receiver Chaz Schilens was among the seven players deactivated for Sunday’s game against the Chiefs. No reason was given.
On Tuesday, Schilens said he was healthy. Jackson painted a different picture.
“Chaz had a groin (injury),” Jackson said. “I know somebody told me he said, ‘I’m fine.’ I guess you say he’s not fine, he hasn’t been doing too much. He has a groin and, again, I’m going to take care of those guys and do everything I can to make sure it’s not something that lingers.
“Sometimes, when he gets an injury, it lingers for a while, and we don’t want that. We want to make sure he gets a chance to get back healthy, so that he can come out here and compete. He’s a very important member of this football team, so we’ve got to get him healthy and get him back out here.”
JACKSON WEIGHS IN ON JAMARCUS
The Raiders released quarterback JaMarcus Russell last May, only a few months after managing general partner Al Davis hired Jackson to be his offensive coordinator. The transaction also came on the heels of Jackson seeing Russell in a full-team setting for the first time, in a three-day mini camp.
Here’s Jackson’s take on his brief time with Russell:
“I was involved in knowing what was going on,” Jackson said. “Obviously, coach Davis made the ultimate decision there. When that was all said and done, it was done. We wish JaMarcus well. I want him to do what he needs to do.”
Jackson said he was aware of Russell being affected by sleep apnea, something Russell kept to himself, for the most part.
“When I got here, he told me about his sleep apnea and some of the things he’d gone through, and I understand that and respect that,” Jackson said. “But I also think that’s not the reason he’s not here. There were several other factors, and those things I don’t think we really need to get into.”
Through it all, Jackson sounds as if he wants Russell to get another job in the NFL, just not for the Raiders.
“JaMarcus is a good young man,” Jackson said. “Hopefully he’ll get another opportunity to play. But my time with JaMarcus was one of watching him grow. I thought he got better, but was he as good as we needed him to be at that time? Obviously not, because we made the decision to move forward. But I wish him nothing but the best. He’s a good young man and hopefully he’ll get another chance in this league.”
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