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Instant Raiders

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If you must watch, close one eye

The Raiders-Browns game will be televised tomorrow, and I still don’t know if that’s good news or bad. These two teams have combined to ignite two of the worst stink bombs of the last three years. First came a game at Cleveland in October of 2003. The Raiders were defending AFC champions but sinking fast, and this may have been the low point of the season. They quickly went out to a 7-0 lead, but would not score again in… Read More »

Raiders crunched by numbers

It is one of the many reliable old propaganda pieces in this team’s portfolio, along with “The Autumn Wind Is a Raider” and phrases such as “Commitment to Excellence” and “Just Win, Baby”: The Raiders are the winningest team – if you can excuse the made-up sports term – in the NFL. Al Davis used to call his squad the winningest team in professional sports. But the lean years since the Raiders returned to Oakland in 1995 – only three… Read More »

Browns game sold out

IT’S SOLD OUT! No, really. Despite the prospect of an 0-2 team hosting an 0-3 team, the Raiders have sold out their game against the Browns this Sunday. It will be televised locally on CBS. Apparently, the Raiders weren’t blowing smoke about improved ticket operations since they took over the duty from the Oakland Football Marketing Association this year. Last year’s game against the Browns – a similarly lackluster affair – officially drew only 41,862 fans, and it looked like… Read More »

And in other melodramatic news…

You think reporters work themselves into a lather over gossip and hearsay? You should see NFL players in action. Wednesday, it seemed the only thing anyone in the Raiders locker room wanted to talk about was Terrell Owens and his latest episode in Dallas, which may have been a suicide attempt, or an unfortunate combination of medication and supplements, or a brilliant P.R. ploy by the league’s most attention-hungry player. “Ain’t you guys covering the T.O. thing?” smiling quarterback Aaron… Read More »

Fargas still waiting

Remember this quote? “You can’t have enough good running backs. Justin was told when I first got here that he’ll have a chance to share the load. He’s got to show me that he can do it, that he can carry the load, and pass protect and do all those things. And he’s been doing very well in the offseason with the OTAs and the mini-camps. I expect him to do well.”That’s what coach Art Shell had to say about… Read More »

Cheap shots and medicine balls

Before Wednesday, the last time I had spoken to Nnamdi Asomugha was Sept. 11, in the locker room after the Raiders’ dismal loss to San Diego. I approached Asomugha at his locker that evening, but he shook his head and said, “Not tonight.” I figured he was simply depressed about the 27-0 defeat, but it turned out he had another reason – he had sprained his left foot, an injury serious enough to keep him out of the Ravens game… Read More »

Too many rushers, not enough ushers

The sportswriter’s game-day experience is admittedly pampered. We don’t always see what the real fans are dealing with as they enter the stadium. So I’m not exactly sure what happened at McAfee Coliseum on Sept. 11, but I know it must have been ugly. It was bad enough that the Oakland Coliseum Joint Venture – a private company contracted to operate the stadium on game day – fired the subcontractor that was handling the parking, Classic Parking, and sent a… Read More »

Gallery wrestling a calf

The prognosis for Robert Gallery’s recovery from a calf injury was two to four weeks, and the big left tackle is doing everything he can to make sure his return falls closer to the “two” than the “four.” Tuesday, he surprised coach Art Shell by asking to take part in individual drills at practice. Trainer Rod Martin gave Gallery the go-ahead, so he suited up and pushed some pads around. “Obviously, I’ve got a lot of work to do, we… Read More »

Brooks is out, and maybe Sims, too

OK, can we panic now? The Raiders haven’t been close to competent on offense in two games this season. And now comes the news – you’ve probably heard already – that quarterback Aaron Brooks is out two to four weeks with a strained pectoral muscle, and left guard Barry Sims has a “hip situation” that was worrisome enough to justify an MRI exam. I know, I know. One possible reaction is “What does it matter when things can’t possibly get… Read More »

Snap judgments

So who was responsible for all those grounded snaps against the Ravens? Was it the center, Jake Grove, or the quarterbacks, Aaron Brooks and Andrew Walter? Coach Art Shell broke it down Monday, and there was blame enough for everybody. “First one, just talking to both of them on the sideline, the center and quarterback, Jake, when he’s making calls at the line of scrimmage, he’s moving around, squatting and pointing out people,” Shell said. “On the first one, his… Read More »