Getting back to the business of football wasn’t the happy event that Tom Cable probably hoped for. During Friday’s final practice, the debut of his best receiver went from definite to doubtful.
“At this point, we may know something this afternoon or tomorrow, exactly what our play will be,” said Cable after Friday’s practice. “But he’s a little sore today. So we shut him down.”
The soreness was in Schilens’ foot. It’s the foot he’s been out the entire season trying to heal. Because of that, Cable said that they’ll have to list Schilens as doubtful for the Jets game.
More disconcerting for the Raiders and Coach Cable is the status of his two veteran starting defensive ends.
Richard Seymour missed Friday’s practice due to a stomach illness similar to the flu that tight end Brandon Myers dealt with for two days. Cable, judging the situation by Myers’ quick recovery, said that he expects Seymour to be ready on Sunday. Greg Ellis, who has been battling an arthritic knee also didn’t practice on Friday and is listed as questionable. Like Seymour, Cable expects the veteran Ellis to be ready for the Jets.
Players who are out for Sunday due to their injuries are Robert Gallery (fibula), Ricky Brown (ankle), Cornell Green (calf), Darren McFadden (knee), and Nick Miller (shin). Luke Lawton (ankle), Brandon Myers (illness), Cooper Carlisle (ankle), and Nnamdi Asomugha (eye) are all probable for Sunday.
The Raiders will be facing a Jets team that has had some rough times recently and Friday didn’t make it better. Leading receiver Jericho Cotchery (hamstring), cornerback Lito Sheppard (quadriceps), and receiver Brad Smith are all going to miss a chance to face the Raiders due to injury.
Two other players that won’t be playing against the Raiders will be safety James Ihedigbo and right outside linebacker Marques Murrell. The two have been benched for throwing punches with Buffalo Bills tight end Derek Fine last Sunday. “That’s not the way we’re going to play football and I won’t tolerate it,” said first-year head coach Rex Ryan. “What they did was selfish. We want to be the most physical team in the NFL, but within the confines of the rules.”
Speaking of rules, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sounds like he’s of the mind that Cable hasn’t broken any in terms of the alleged scuffle with former assistant Randy Hanson. In an interview on Sirius Satellite Radio, Goodell responded to the decision by the Napa County District Attorney’s office on Thursday.
“Well, you know, we’ve monitored it very closely. I just got brief reports last night that the D.A. is not pursuing anything further,” said the commissioner who has become known as a strict disciplinarian for his dealings with players. “We’re going to look at and understand his decision a little bit more closely, make sure that we get all the details and if we think there’s merit, we will continue to pursue it. If not, we’ll make a decision at that point.”
Anyone who thought that Cable would be disciplined by suspension, is probably sadly mistaken. From the sounds of it, Goodell isn’t likely to rule in that manner. “I think one of the things we’ve learned from all this is you’ve got to have the facts before you start making judgments and we’ve been trying to follow that closely, making sure we have the facts before we make a judgment.”
If Cable is relieved about the decision from Thursday, he’s doing a very good job of hiding it. From the beginning, Cable has told the media that it wasn’t even a thought in his mind and that he didn’t have time to worry about the implications of a possible criminal case against him. Friday wasn’t much different when he finally responded to the Napa D.A.’s decision not to pursue it.
“OK, the whole experience was interesting to me, humbling to me. I’m obviously very thankful that the authorities did the the thoroughness that they did in terms of getting the facts and all that,” said Cable after Friday’s practice. “Other than that, really, my family and friends, really supported me through it. Never let it become a distraction because as I mentioned many times, I just had a lot of faith. I knew what happened, and it’s just amazing what happens. Like I always tell you guys, I respect what you have to do, but it certainly got made out to be more than it needed to be. But it’s done, and now the focus is even moreso on the next opponent, which is the Jets.”
Odds of the weekend: Who will throw more Interceptions Week 7 of the 2009 NFL Regular Season?
Mark Sanchez: -150
JaMarcus Russell: +120
(Odds from Bodog.com)
One guy who is oddly picking the Oakland Raiders to defeat the New York Jets is former Raiders defensive tackle Warren Sapp. Here’s the video of his pick on Showtime’s Inside the NFL: