As it stands right now, Jason Campbell will be the starter at quarterback when the Raiders face the San Francisco 49ers this Sunday — but don’t bother asking him about it. Reporters asked the would-be quarterback that question when the Raiders brought him to the podium this morning, but with little information given up.
“The main thing for this week, you always prepare like you’re the starter,” began Campbell the first time he was asked about being this week’s starter. “Even over the last couple of weeks because it’s a physical game that we play and you always have to be ready. Whether you’re the starter or the backup, you always have to have that same type of mindset.“
As you can see, anyone could have answered in that way. So the question was posed again, ‘Are you starting?’
“Um, I am just coming out today and working hard and practicing,” he said with a smile.
You have to understand, every week the Raiders bring the starting quarterback to the podium on Wednesday’s — at least so far this season they have. So, a reporter brought that up to Campbell, basically saying that the starter normally talks to us on Wednesday’s…
“I am just here to practice,” he responded laughing.
So, the answer would seem to be that Campbell starts if Gradkowski can’t go…which is already what everyone has assumed.
Out at practice, Campbell was taking first-team rep’s while Bruce Gradkowski, wearing his jersey, looked on from the sidelines. The only other quarterback taking rep’s was Kyle Boller, who is NOT going to start this weekend unless an unfortunate injury makes him the only healthy quarterback at game time.
There was no sign of John Henderson (foot), Thomas Howard (knee) or Chaz Schilens (knee) on the practice field. Henderson isn’t expected back anytime soon with a stress fracture in his right foot. Fans of Schilens should begin to worry a little bit.
Back on August 25, Cable was asked if he had a timeline on Schilens’ injury. Cable responded, “No. It’s just a scope. Looks like a couple of weeks. We’ll have to re-evaluate it and see where it’s at that way. Doesn’t appear to be real major or anything like that. It’s just a matter of how fast he can get back and the swelling is down and start to work and strengthen the knee.”
Today marks the seventh week since that comment.
Nick Miller and Johnnie Lee Higgins were taking turns practicing punt catching, but after last Sunday expect Miller to get the call again.
Travis Goethel was seen at practice working out with a trainer off to the side. From what I could see everyone else on the squad was out on the field.
The big news is that Robert Gallery and Darren McFadden were on the field working with the team — at least for the half hour that I was allowed to watch. Gallery looked pretty good taking rep’s with the first-team offensive line, and it’s a pretty good bet that new fan-favorite Daniel Loper will be back to the bench this Sunday. As far as McFadden goes, didn’t see him run at full speed, but he didn’t seem to be favoring the pulled hamstring to where you could notice. It wouldn’t surprise me if McFadden received some rep’s this Sunday, but I would expect that Michael Bush would get the bulk of the carries.
Bruce Davis will get to face his former teammates this week. Up until eight days ago, he was wearing the red and gold. Much will be made this week about his former team falling apart at the seams, but Davis said they are still holding it together.
“They’re holding it together, it’s just, I mean, that’s the most important thing. You hold it together and you’ll be fine. They believe in each other and those coaches over there. They’re still very capable and a very dangerous football team.”
Davis might not admit it, but Nnamdi Asomugha is enjoying the calm serenity side of the Bay. Normally, all of the stories are about how dysfunctional things are in Silver and Black land, but this year it’s all about how messed up the Niners are. Asked if he likes being on the quiet side, Asomugha smiled before saying, “Oh, absolutely.”
One thing the Raiders have yet to prove they can do is win two games straight. Much has been made about the team buying into their press coverage after a win. Asomugha doesn’t believe that it will be too difficult for them to put their emotional victory over San Diego behind them.
“It’s not that difficult for us because what we do after Monday, after we watch the film, we try to just put it behind us, whether it’s a win or a loss, so then the week starts all over again. It’s like at a regular job, after that weekend and then the week starts again and everything from the past is the past. So once we hit Tuesday then a Wednesday, we start all over again, and we forget everything that happened.”
Bruce Campbell, the predicted first pick of the Raiders in the 2010 draft, has been playing exclusively at right guard so far in practice. They do have him working on special teams on field goals and kick returns. So, playing on kick returns has been his only chance to actually get physical on the playing field. “Kickoff return, yeah, running downfield. Send somebody spinning,” said the rookie lineman. Asked if it matters to him that he’s playing at guard, Campbell responded the way Cable would want to hear, “It don’t matter. I’m a team player. It don’t matter.”
When it comes to planning and preparing, Louis Murphy says rookies get highlighted in preparation. Asked if Taylor Mays was being looked at, Murphy laughed and said, “Of course man, rookies always got a star on them. Hey, me and Darrius [Heyward-Bey] had a star on us all last year, and we gonna’ put the star on him too. You know? It is what it is.”
Michael Huff is the AFC Player of the Week this week for having 11 tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble. The sack and the fumble occurred on the same play — the one that also made the NFL’s play of the week — where Huff get’s to Phillip River’s arm, forces the fumble, Chris Johnson nails a Charger trying to recover said fumble, and Tyvon Branch picked it up and streaked down the sidelines for the game-clinching score.
He is the first Raiders defensive back to win the award since PHILLIP BUCHANON in 2003 (Week 11).
Cable is coming in to speak with reporters soon, and I’ll more from today’s locker room chats and the Cable presser later tonight.