Tag:Tom Cable
Posted on: October 18, 2010 7:35 pm

Boller could be the Raiders next starter

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

One quarterback – the starter who replaced the starter because the original starter was no good – is still hurt, out with a sprained A/C joint in his shoulder. The original starter who had to start once again was terrible in the Raiders loss to the 49ers Sunday, and in the midst of it all, he hurt his knee.

That means Oakland might be getting yet another starter.

Boller Yes, third-stringer Kyle Boller – who you might remember from his five-season, 53-game stint as the starter in Baltimore – might take over the reins in Oakland in lieu of Bruce Gradkowski (still out with a shoulder injury) and Jason Campbell (who was impressively unimpressive vs. San Francisco).

Boller could start perhaps even if Campbell, coming off an awful 8-of-21, 83-yard, two-interception performance, is healthy enough to play. That’s what happens, though, when your quarterback rating is 10.7.

“I always take the approach that it’s your job – it doesn’t matter what position you play or what position you are on the depth chart - to be prepared, because you never know when your time’s coming,’’ Boller told the Contra Costa Times. "I’ve done a pretty good job with watching tape and staying in the game plan, because it’s also our job to help out the guys that are in there. And they need you to know what’s going on.”

Campbell underwent an MRI on his left knee Monday, and there was no structural damage found. Still, coach Tom Cable said Boller absolutely has a chance to start. And, with the way Campbell has played this season, he probably should.

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Posted on: October 14, 2010 3:58 pm

Bush starting for Oakland, McFadden '50-50'

Posted by Will Brinson

Michael Bush, fresh off a very solid performance against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday, will remain the starter against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 6, according to coach Tom Cable.

Via our Oakland Rapid Reporter Eric Gilmore, Darren McFadden says he is "50-50" to play Sunday.

"I'm still feeling it right now," McFadden said of the hamstring injury. "I haven't gone out there and tried to go 100 percent."

As we wrote yesterday, it makes a lot of sense for the Raiders to take their time with McFadden -- Bush is a completely capable back and more physical than McFadden. Additionally, hamstring injuries have a way of not healing through additional wear and tear.

As for the quarterback situation, it looks like Jason Campbell will get the nod in place of the injured Bruce Gradkowski.

"That’s yet to be totally determined, but it looks that way right now until we know exactly what’s happening with Bruce," said OC Hue Jackson.

Campbell struggled early during the season but looked like the quarterback the Raiders hoped he would be while leading the team to a win against the Chargers Sunday.

And in good news, if/when he starts hearing the old boo birds chirping on Sunday, he can probably just assume it's for Alex Smith.
Posted on: October 5, 2010 10:14 am
Edited on: October 5, 2010 6:41 pm

Top Ten With a Twist: Curse of Wally Pipp

P. Hillis has taken over the Cleveland running game (US Presswire).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

We’re a quarter of the way into the season, and some players who were originally slated to be backups suddenly have emerged as starters. Maybe it was through an injury to the former starter. Maybe it was because the starter wasn’t as good as the team thought and the backup was better. Maybe it was because – and Wally Pipp could relate to this – somebody just needed an off-day.

In fairness to the old-time Yankees first baseman, who was replaced one day (permanently, it turned out) in 1925 by a guy named Lou Gehrig because Pipp had a headache, that story might not be true exactly. Instead, he might have been benched because manager Miller Huggins simply wanted to shake up the lineup. Either way, Gehrig played the next 2,130 games, and Pipp ended up in … Cincinnati (and apparently, he was also one of Sports Illustrated’s first writing hires, one of those cool but useless facts).

Anyway, there have been some impact players to emerge this season so far, simply because they, like Gehrig, were given that chance to shine. Some have won a starting position. Some are just holding it until the real starter returns. But they’re all making a (mostly good) impression. It sounds like the perfect Top Ten With a Twist list to me.

10. Lance Moore, WR/PR, Saints: The story of Moore’s career. A Saints starts gets injured. Moore steps in and makes plays. Remember in 2008 when Moore caught a team-high 79 passes for 928 yards and 10 touchdowns after Marques Colston was hurt? Obviously, when Reggie Bush returns from his broken leg, Moore will fade back into the background – maybe. But man, he looked electric against the Falcons (six catches, 149 yards, two touchdowns), and he’s become a big target for New Orleans when it’s in the red zone.

9. Max Hall, QB, Cardinals: Look, we all know Derek Anderson isn’t a very good quarterback. But I didn’t think he would have a chance to lose his job this early. Hall, meanwhile, was a 2010 undrafted free agent (seriously, how poor is Anderson to lose to an undrafted free agent?). Not that Hall was great when he replaced Anderson on Sunday, because he wasn’t, but he might be Arizona’s best option at this point. Coach Ken Whisenhunt, meanwhile, isn’t talking. “I think we're going to go without [a quarterback) this week,” he joked Monday. “I think we're going to go with all Wildcat."

8. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, Patriots: He averaged about eight carries per game his rookie year in 2008, but with Kevin Faulk lost for the season – and Fred Taylor unavailable for the Miami game Monday – Green-Ellis (47 carries this year for 215 yards) has already nearly doubled his attempts from last year. He had his breakout in Week 3 against Buffalo when he carried the ball 16 times for 98 yards and a score, and vs. the Dolphins, he was impressive with a 16-carry, 78-yard, one-touchdown performance.

7. Shaun Hill, QB, Lions:
The reason Hill is so low on this list is because there’s no way he’ll take the job from Matthew Stafford. But still, how impressive has Hill looked the past few weeks? After Stafford went out with the shoulder injury in Week 1, Hill was terrible. But the past three weeks, he’s completed 61.9 percent of his passes for five touchdowns and six interceptions (he’s also averaging 301 passing yards per game), and he really impressed me in Detroit’s two-point loss to Green Bay.

6. Bruce Gradkowski, QB, Raiders: It didn’t take long for Raiders coach Tom Cable to figure out that, in order to save his job, he’d take his chances with Gradkowski instead of Jason Campbell. This is not to say Gradkowski is an elite quarterback, because that’s a laughable notion. But he played well at times when he was in Tampa Bay after Chris Simms ruptured his spleen in 2006 (Gradkowski failed to win the starting job in 2007). For now, though, Gradkowski is entrenched as Cable’s guy. As long as Cable is around.

5. Koa Misi, LB, Dolphins: Ikaika Alama-Francis was supposed to be the starter, but the night before the season opener, he caught some kind of illness and he’s been recovering ever since, losing 15-20 pounds in the process. Misi, the team’s second round Draft pick this year, has taken over his starting spot with consistent play and a smooth transition to the pro game. It was originally thought that Misi’s main objective would be as a situational pass-rusher – he was, after all, a defensive end in college – but he’s proven his worth as an every-down back with two sacks and a fumble recovery TD. In the meantime, he’s also Wally Pipp’d Alama-Francis.

4. Taylor Mays, S, 49ers: Mays so Wally Pipp’d former starter Michael Lewis that San Francisco released Lewis Monday, the day after Mays’ huge game against Atlanta. Mays had taken Lewis’ starting job already, and it sounds like Lewis asked for his release, but still, that’s pretty impressive for a rookie. Mays, in case you didn’t see it, had a phenomenal touchdown (both feet down!) after a punt block to give San Francisco a 14-0 lead. He also made 11 tackles.

3. John Carney, K, Saints: Carney, who will turn 65 later this year (I’m kidding, he’s 46), has returned once again to the NFL, and after making three kicks this past week, you have to wonder how much longer Garrett Hartley will stay on the roster – or why he’s on the roster at all at this point. Obviously, Carney isn’t the future kicker in this organization, and maybe the Saints are keeping Hartley around, because they’re hoping he can overcome what’s been a terrible start to the season for him. Otherwise, he’d already have been Pipp’d.

2. Ryan Torain, RB, Redskins:
Torain and Clinton Portis have split carries, but it seems that if this was the 100-meter dash at the Olympics, Torain would be Usain Bolt and Portis would be the other seven guys. Meaning Torain is pulling away and eventually will take Portis’ starting role. It could happen this week actually as Portis hurt his groin Sunday. Let me also briefly mention San Diego’s Mike Tolbert, who replaced first-round pick Ryan Mathews when he was injured and rushed for 255 combined yards the past three games (including a 100-yard performance Sunday when Mathews was in the game). But coach Norv Turner says he’s committed to keeping Mathews as the starter, so Tolbert doesn’t fit on this list all that well.

1. Peyton Hillis, RB, Browns: It was supposed to be Montario Hardesty and Jerome Harrison running the ball in Cleveland. Hillis – who was traded from Denver in the Brady Quinn deal this past offseason – was supposed to be just an afterthought. Baltimore’s Terrell Suggs had never heard of the guy until he ripped off 180 total yards (144 on the ground, the most Baltimore has allowed in five years) against the Ravens. With Hardesty out with a season-ending injury and with Harrison failing to make an impression on the Cleveland coaching staff, Hillis has taken advantage, tying the league high with four touchdowns and averaging 4.9 yards per carry. Like Gehrig, it appears that Hillis has no future plans to give up his starting spot.

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Posted on: September 28, 2010 10:38 am

Hot Routes 9.28.10: Schwartz' auspicious record

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  • Jim Schwartz is rather improbably one game away from the worst 20-game start by a head coach in Detroit Lions history, according to Tom Kowalski of the Detroit Free Press . This isn't improbable because the Lions are good, clearly. It's improbable because Schwartz is, in my estimation, a very good head coach who'd done a pretty good job making lemonade out of the rotted out lemon seeds that Matt Millen left hanging around the greater Detroit area. Additionally, Schwartz has dealt with injuries to Matthew Stafford in two straight seasons, a total lack of an offensive line and one of the worst defenses in NFL history last year. The simple fact that he's won a few games is actually impressive; even if he starts off with the worst record in Detroit history (through 20 games) it seems unlikely that the cautious optimism permeating the Lions organization and fanbase these days will cease to exist.
  • Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic believes that the Cardinals need to change quarterbacks "immediately" even though they're 2-1. There's no argument against the fact that Derek Anderson isn't "great" or even "good" but right now he's at least winning (even if it's not deservedly), and considering how high Ken Wisenhunt is on BYU product Max Hall, you'd certainly think that if he thought he could get the job done as a starter, he'd be getting the opportunity.
  • The possibility of Michael Vick getting injured after such a hot start has to be terrifying to Eagles fans. Bleeding Green Nation points out that Vick is "still taking too many hits" which is probably symptomatic of a porous offensive line. But Vick also holds the ball longer than a normal quarterback too, and that creates some danger. (Like that he might also score rushing touchdowns for my fantasy team!)
  • Ryan Grant wanted to know if he could tweet during the Packers-Bears game on Monday night. Apparently, that's totally legal -- Brian McCarthy of NFL PR let him know (via Twitter, duh) that as long as he wasn't on the sidelines or locker room, he was fine to hit up the social media during games.
  • Did the Dolphins blow a chance to "make a statement in the division?" That's what the Phinsider believes -- I'm inclined to agree, especially considering the way in which the defense got pure-tee shredded by the Jets on a nationally televised game.
  • And of course it's not a party without some discussion of the junk-grabbing Shaun Smith -- Arrowhead Pride has video of the "incident" and a nice little recap of Smith's awkward little problem.
Posted on: September 24, 2010 11:20 am

Raiders issue gag order for Campbell to press

Posted by Will Brinson

Jason Campbell was officially benched by the Oakland Raiders on Wednesday. Naturally, people in the press were curious what he thought about being benched for Bruce Gradkowski after playing like JaMarcus Russell.

Campbell, however, wasn't talking. But not because he was just being a jerk about things -- according to Vittorio Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle , Campbell was "asked by the team not to talk to reporters."

That is, naturally, absolutely ridiculous.

And totally unsurprising -- this is the Raiders we're talking about after all. The problem for Campbell given the circumstances is that if Gradkowski falters against the Cardinals (and how embarrassing would that be?), then the quarterback controversy gets ramped back up and Campbell gets put in a position to win his starting job back.

So, if he decides to go against team rules and talk to the press, it's highly unlikely that he'll get to take starting snaps again. Plus, Campbell's not that type of guy; look no further than his team-first behavior in Washington while he was being treated like the unwanted step-child whenever another quarterback (Jay Cutler, Donovan McNabb) became available for trade.

It's just sad that he finally got out of a nightmarish situation in Washington ... only to end up in a worse one in Oakland. But the fact that the Raiders are presenting him with a shiny, happy opportunity to enjoy himself isn't that shocking either.

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Posted on: September 22, 2010 2:50 pm

Report: Gradkowski named starter in Oakland

Posted by Will Brinson

Well, the Jason Campbell Era wasn't exactly a big success in Oakland -- just two games into the season, coach Tom Cable (with a lil' help from Al Davis, one would imagine) has pulled the plug on Campbell and inserted Bruce Gradkowski into the starting lineup for the Raiders.

That's according to a report from Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network , who cites a source with knowledge of the situation.

The news isn't that shocking: Campbell's been awful this year, inspiring comparisons to JaMarcus Russell. He's been so bad -- think about this -- that he got pulled in the middle of the game against the Rams and replaced by Gradkowski. That's really bad.

People will point to the fact that Campbell's had nearly a different offensive coordinator per year during his time in the NFL and the fact that the Raiders actually inspire anyone who gets near their complex to be more mediocre, but there's little excuse for being as ineffective as he's been.

If Gradkowski can lead the Raiders to a victory over Arizona Sunday (and, wow, can you imagine being forced to watch that stinker?) you have to imagine that Cable will keep using him until Davis wakes up and demands that he "puts Plunkett back in there ... NOW!"

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Posted on: September 21, 2010 10:04 am

Hot Routes 09.21.10: Don't touch me there

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

- You can’t like it when a dude grabs your junk in the middle of a football game. Yet, that's exactly what Cleveland C Alex Mack says his former teammate, Chiefs DL Shaun Smith, did during Sunday’s game. “Not cool,” says the all the world’s men. “Not cool at all.” Smith said he didn’t recall doing anything like that.

- Patriots coach Bill Belichick wasn’t a fan of the way Jets DB Eric Smith hit New England WR Wes Welker in the head during Sunday’s game. “I don’t think that’s really what the league is looking for with those kind of plays,” Belichick said. “I can’t imagine that they are. We’ll see what they want to do about it.”

- Titans coach Jeff Fisher expects Vince Young to respond to his benching last Sunday by returning next week and playing better. Fisher said Young doesn’t have to look over his shoulder at backup Kerry Collins, but then again, Fisher showed why Young should look over his shoulder if he plays poorly in a game.

- A little less high profile than Braylon Edwards’ DWI arrest this morning, but still important to know nonetheless. Ravens assistant offensive line coach Andy Moeller is facing drunken driving charges again. He was stopped just before 1 a.m. Saturday. He was charged with the same offense in May but ultimately was acquitted.

-`At this point, it doesn’t seem like Ken Whisenhunt knows too much about Arizona’s football team. Which is strange because … you know … he’s the coach.

- Raiders coach Tom Cable seems to know who will start at quarterback – either Jason Campbell or Bruce Gradkowski – for Oakland next Sunday. But he said he’s not going to inform the world until Wednesday.

- It’s shocking that a team that kept just two running backs on the initial 53-man roster – and three fullbacks! – is having problems running the ball. Yet, after Ryan Grant’s season-ending injury, that’s exactly where Green Bay finds itself.

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Posted on: September 19, 2010 6:05 pm

Cable pulls Jason Campbell from game

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

It didn’t take long for QB Jason Campbell to remind Raiders fans about JaMarcus Russell. After a so-so performance last week – 22 of 37 for 180 yards, a touchdown and an interception – Oakland coach Tom Cable benched Campbell in the third quarter of today’s game against St. Louis.

He wasn’t the only starting QB to get pulled from a game today – that honor also touched Tennessee’s Vince Young and Carolina’s Matt Moore.

Compared to No. 1 overall pick Sam Bradford – who’s been extremely efficient through the first two quarters – Campbell was a slouch. He’d led the Raiders to a FG and was 8 of 15 for 87 yards, an interception and two fumbles. As the first half ended, Oakland fans chanted, “Bruce! Bruce! Bruce!”

In the second half, the crowd got what it wanted. Cable inserted backup Bruce Gradkowski, who completed 3 of 5 passes 38 yards on a drive that ended in a field goal and pulled the Raiders to within 7-6.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com