A Press Democrat Blog

Instant Raiders

Just another Press Democrat Blogs weblog

Random observations from the Steelers game

The Raiders’ lingering issues on offense – temporarily crowded from the picture by a brilliant defensive effort – can be summed up sublimely by consecutive questions thrown at coach Art Shell during his Monday press conference. Individually, neither question would be noteworthy. Taken together, they were priceless. Question No. 1: Are you happy with offensive coordinator Tom Walsh’s play-calling? Question No. 2: Was Chad Slaughter the intended receiver on that third-down play at the goal line? Other random notes from… Read More »

The knock on Gallery

Last November, I wrote an article about Raiders tackle Robert Gallery and his failure to live up to the sky-high expectations that accompanied him into the NFL. In that story, I quoted an NFL team personnel director who said: “I just don’t think he’s playing that well. – He’s not consistent with his hands, and he’s still not good with technique. He has a hard time with power (rushers), which is surprising at his size. – He’s more of a… Read More »

Porter returns, Steelers survive

Jerry Porter was back in Raiderland on Thursday, and it seemed he was never gone. The prodigal wide receiver wore a big smile, pranced in and out of the locker room a couple times, and declined to answer even a single question from reporters. When a cameraman turned on his machine and made toward him, Porter said, “Please go away,” and ducked into the players-only area. He was on the practice field at 2:00 p.m., preparing to resuscitate his job… Read More »

Porter’s back!

Jerry Porter has plea-bargained. Well, nobody is officially describing it in those terms, but his reinstatement has the distinct aroma of compromise. Coach Art Shell got a call Tuesday night informing him that Porter would be reporting back to the team. And the Raiders had nothing to do with the decision. The NFL Management Council and NFL Players Association – the yin and yang of pro football labor relations – negotiated Porter’s four-game suspension down to two games, then delivered… Read More »

Random notes from the Cardinals game

The Raiders are the best team in the NFL! Don’t believe me? Well, a week ago, everyone was calling the Chicago Bears the league’s No. 1 team. Then the Cardinals played them to a virtual standstill, actually outperforming them until giving away the game with several late blunders. So you can make the argument that Arizona was on a par with the NFL’s best. And we all saw what the Raiders did to the Cardinals on Sunday; as Al Davis… Read More »

The wrath of Shell

When you’re 0-5 and showing few signs of a turnaround, it’s only a matter of time before the kettle starts to boil. It happened dramatically in 2003, the Raiders’ first-to-worst year, when Charles Woodson began sniping at coach Bill Callahan right around this time of year, and Callahan wound up blowing his top and calling his players “the dumbest team in America.” So far this season, there is no evidence pointing to a spectacular meltdown. But the Raiders’ frustration is… Read More »

Breaking the code

Nothing like the threat of a dirty bomb to liven up your Wednesday. Revelations that McAfee Coliseum was one of seven stadiums marked for possible terrorist attacks had the electronic media scrambling to Alameda for information, and there wasn’t much. This hubbub had all the earmarks of some guy in Milwaukee making an Internet boast in the privacy of his living room, forgetting that it could eventually result in the FBI kicking in his door and pulling all the stuffing… Read More »

Jordan hurting… and so are Raiders’ stats

Running back LaMont Jordan was added to the Raiders’ official injury list with a back problem Wednesday. He exited the locker room in sweats about 20 minutes into practice, and began a slow, almost painful walk to the field. He is listed as probable for the Cardinals game. The timing of the injury couldn’t be worse, with Jordan’s backup — Justin Fargas — questionable with a subluxated shoulder. If neither could play, Zack Crockett would probably get most of the… Read More »

Missed signals and flat tires

The Raiders are gradually improving in several areas, and were more or less competitive with a good Broncos team at Denver on Sunday. But they aren’t even close to the crisp offensive rhythm demonstrated by the league’s elite teams – or like the Raiders in the Rich Gannon era. After the game, coach Art Shell and a couple of the offensive linemen admitted that miscommunication led to many of Oakland’s eight false start penalties. Quarterback Andrew Walter would audibilize to… Read More »

Masters of deception

From the vantage point of the chalkboard, the Raiders’ defense couldn’t have drawn a tougher assignment this week. Mike Shanahan’s Broncos are a team that relies on motion and misdirection – bootlegs, screens, play-action passes, etc. Those are exactly the types of plays that have killed the Raiders recently. The Browns punctured Oakland with draws and screens two weeks ago, and Charlie Frye’s three-yard touchdown pass to tight end Darnell Dinkins came after a play-action fake. It was more dramatic… Read More »