By Steve Corkran
Monday, December 12th, 2011 at 6:42 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Raiders coach Hue Jackson said Monday that there’s a time to cry uncle. Despite what some might think, Jackson and the Raiders aren’t giving up on this season.
The time to cry uncle, Jackson said, comes when quarterback Carson Palmer is about to force a pass into tight coverage, as he did several times Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.
Palmer was intercepted four times by the Packers in a 46-16 loss at Lambeau Field. Jackson wants Palmer to do a better job of taking care of the ball and not forcing it when a receiver isn’t open.
“He threw some huge balls for us last night and made some plays, gave us a chance in some situations last night,” Jackson said. “There’s no problem there. The problem is, when you get opportunities sometimes you have to say uncle in this league, whether you throw it away or take a sack.”
Jackson said he and Palmer spoke about that subject last night.
“What I always tell him is, ‘Just get me to the next down with you. I’ll give you a better call the next play. Regardless of what happens, just get me to the next down and then we’ll make something good happen.’ And last night that point was driven home because he could see that he didn’t give us an opportunity to attain our goals.”
Don’t expect the Raiders to cry uncle when it comes to competing for a playoff spot despite back-to-back losses by a combined score of 80-30.
“We know we have some work to do to get this thing back,” Jackson said, “but, by no stretch is anybody throwing in the towel or decided, ‘Hey, look, we’ve given it all we’ve got.’ We’ve got more to give, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Safety Mike Mitchell says the Raiders are “desperate” now that they are behind the Broncos and little margin for error the rest of the day.
At the same time, he is confident that he and his teammates have what it takes to make the playoffs and be heard from the rest of the way.
“I’m going to feel confident regardless,” Mitchell said. “Our team is the type of team that we’re going to just keep working regardless. However it’s going to play out, it’s going to play out. We got to handle our business. We can’t worry about what Denver’s doing.”
PENALTIES PROBLEM PERSISTS
The Raiders committed 11 penalties for 89 yards against the Packers. That padded their league-leading totals to 130 and 1,116, respectively, and kept them on pace for breaking the league records.
The Raiders are on pace for 160 penalties for 1,374 yards, which would eclipse the marks set by the 1998 Kansas City Chiefs (158, 1,304).
Jackson remains convinced that the lingering issue will be resolved before season’s end.
“I got three more weeks to hold me to that and then (people) can drill me at that time,” Jackson said.
For now, Jackson is searching for better ways to get his players to understand that the task of beating a team such as the Packers become that much more difficult when they commit so many senseless penalties.
“We have not fixed the penalty issue that has hurt this team tremendously,” Jackson said.
Speaking of Mitchell, his effort against the Packers got overlooked because of how poorly the Raiders player overall. However, it’s worth noting that he intercepted an Aaron Rodgers pass and shut out tight end Jermichael Finley.
HELPING THE KIDS
Wide receivers Jacoby Ford, guard Stefen Wisniewski, offensive tackle Jared Veldheer and tight end Kevin Boss are signing autographs tonight for two hours in exchange for new, unwrapped toys.
The event takes place at the Raider Image store in Hayward from 6 p.m.-8 as part of the Toys for Tots Program.
Quarterback Carson Palmer, running back Michael Bush, fullback Marcel Reece and wide receiver Denarius Moore are scheduled to do likewise Dec. 19 at the same location, from 6 p.m.-8.
BUSH SLOWING DOWN
Running back Michael Bush averaged 115.3 yards per game (4.8-yard average) in his first four games as the primary back after McFadden’s injury.
Bush’s production has dipped dramatically the past three games, however. He averaged 55 yards (2.9) in those games, with an average of five fewer carries than the previous four contests.
Jackson dismissed the prospect of Bush wearing down, even though Bush already has 38 more rushes than he did in any of his first four seasons – he didn’t play at all in 2007.
“When people know that’s who you’re lining up back there …, you design ways to make sure you get him slowed down,” Jackson said.
The Raiders’ easiest path to the playoffs is to win their final three games and have the Denver Broncos lose two or all three of their games, or at least against the Chiefs on Jan. 1.
Were that to happen, the Raiders would win the second tiebreaker — the Broncos and Raiders split their two games, which is the first tiebreaker — based on a 4-2 divisional record, with the Broncos falling to 3-3 with the loss to the Chiefs.
Got all that? If so, here’s more.
The Raiders still can make the playoffs without winning their division. They are one game behind the New York Jets (8-5) as of now. However, the Jets still have games against the Eagles and New York Giants, and if they lose at least one of their final three games AND wind up tied with the Raiders, the Raiders would get the nod based on their win over the Jets.
Care to know why defensive tackle Richard Seymour failed to register any tackles against the Packers, and he and his linemates failed to make many plays?
Here’s coach Jackson’s explanation:
“All of our defensive linemen get double-teamed,” Jackson said. “Those are some big guys we have. So they get double-teamed. They get grabbed, they get pulled. They get a little bit of everything.”
Jackson admitted that Seymour has to find a way to be more productive, regardless how many players are blocking him — and it’s virtually impossible for all four linemen to get double-teamed every play.
“He’s got to play better,” Jackson said. “Our whole defense has to play better. Our whole team has to play better. So it’s not just Richard Seymour. There’s 10 other guys on defense and there’s 11 guys on offense, and there’s another 11 on special teams that need to play better than what we have.”
HOUSTON’S PENALTY EXPLAINED
Jackson said he continues to see things called in games that he hasn’t seen before. He has a point here.
Against the Packers, Jackson was told that he couldn’t challenge a play in which a Packers kick returner stepped out of bounds because the replay wasn’t working.
Then, a penalty was assessed against the Raiders, even though the officials determined that a fumble by Rodgers actually was an incompleted pass, which happened long before the clip by Lamarr Houston.
“Because it was a personal foul,” Jackson said.
When asked if the penalty should have been wiped out, Jackson said; “That’s what I said, too. But in their opinion it is a personal foul during a play. So, it is tacked on to the end of whoever gets the ball last. So, it was a defensive penalty. So, they got half the distance. They went from the 8-yard line to the 4-yard line. Yes, I did have a fit. But that’s the rule.”
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