Raiders notebook: McClain misses another practice

Raiders notebook: McClain misses another practice

Dec. 3, 2010

ALAMEDA -- Rookie Rolando McClain's ailing left foot took a turn for the worse Friday morning as the middle linebacker missed his second consecutive day of practice.

Raiders coach Tom Cable said McClain, 22, has arthritis in his foot and he is listed as "questionable" for Sunday's game at San Diego. If McClain cannot play, fifth-year veteran Ricky Brown will start in his place.

"He was better last night, but worse this morning," Cable said of McClain. "So it will be day-to-day and we'll probably wait until Sunday morning."

RELATED: Rolando McClain stats

McClain, the No. 8 overall draft pick out of Alabama in April, has 57 tackles, the third-highest mark on the team, with half of one sack and an interception. He has started every game thus far this season.

And while he may not be the instant play-making disruptive force so many imagined, he is an important cog of the Raiders defense.

"He's gotten better, I think, as the year went on," said cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. "In training camp, we knew that he was going to be a good player and a guy that we could put a lot on. Throughout the games, I've noticed from him that he's got a lot of confidence.

"If there is something that the coaches might be hesitant in calling, or a certain play because it puts him in a tough spot, he always tells them, 'No, I can take care of it.'"

"So he shows that maturity on the field - 'I'm not a frightened rookie. I can make plays.'"

Asomugha said his sore right ankle, sprained on Halloween, has improved and he has no doubt he'll play against the Chargers.

Receiver Chaz Schilens (knee) practiced limited for the third day in a row -- a feat he has not accomplished since late last season, by all accounts -- and he is a gametime decision, according to Cable.

"We"re getting more and more work each day with no setbacks, so that's a positive," Cable said of Schilens, who has yet to play this season. "You definitely have to take (Schilens) day-to-day.

"The limited amount of work he's working, he's at full speed."

Schilens declined to speak to reporters following practice.

Cable re-affirmed that Jason Campbell is the starting quarterback. The coach was asked, with Bruce Gradkowski done for the season on IR if he would hesitate to pull Campbell in favor of Kyle Boller against the Chargers.

"Well, Kyle will be the back-up quarterback," Cable said, "and he's ready to go if needed."

Not exactly a ringing endorsement of Campbell, no?

Cable also would not commit to Darrius Heyward-Bey starting at receiver, even as he is healthy.

"I don't know that," Cable said. "We'll get to all that as we know the health (of the rest of the team) there."

Cable, when asked if the Raiders can beat the Chargers without running the ball effectively: "No."

The Raiders injury report - practiced limited and questionable: WR Chaz Schilens (knee), TE Zach Miller (leg), DT Richard Seymour (knee), CB Nnamdi Asomugha (ankle), SS Tyvon Branch (shoulder).

Did not practice and questionable: MLB Rolando McClain (foot).

Did not practice and doubtful: CB Chris Johnson.

Will a Gruden-Lynch partnership work? ‘Guys like him interest me’


Will a Gruden-Lynch partnership work? ‘Guys like him interest me’

Jon Gruden asked to speak with Marshawn Lynch several times but got turned down.

His job title earned an automatic veto. The enigmatic running back doesn’t talk to the press, even a Monday Night Football analyst with Gruden’s street cred. No production meetings, no insight flowing outside the inner circle.

Lynch must honor the next request. Gruden’s his boss, after all.

“I’m anxious to sit down with Marshawn and meet him,” the new Raiders head coach said Tuesday during his introductory press conference. “We’ll talk about his future and the Raiders. I can’t wait. He came back to the Raiders for similar, I think, reasons that I did. I think he loves Oakland. I think he loves the Raiders and guys like him interest me, so I’m looking forward to talking to him.”

The veteran running back and Oakland native has a year left on a two-year deal struck last April. The 2018 payouts, per, include a $4 million base salary, a $250,000 workout bonus, a $1 million roster bonus and $750,000 in per-game roster bonuses. There are also significant performance-based incentives.

Marshawn is under contract, but also has some say in this matter. He could post an image of cleats hanging on a telephone wire like he did after the 2016 Super Bowl and call it a career. Lynch made it clear in a rare press conference that he didn’t miss football. He returned for the opportunity to play in front of a East Bay community he champions and bring attention to his significant charitable efforts.

There are several possible outcomes from the Gruden/Lynch tete-a-tete. Gruden might not consider him worth the while. Lynch may walk away, for good this time. Or, the two could traverse 2018 together.

Predicting Marshawn’s movements is a fool’s errand. We can, however, make an educated pros and cons list. Let’s take a look at some factors influencing the ultimate outcome.


-- The phrase in Gruden’s last sentence above may have tipped his hand: “Guys like him interest me.” Lynch is an intense presence, one of his generation’s most physical runners. Gruden can use on-field talents like him, though it’s uncertain whether he’s a perfect fit in an offense that has certainly evolved during nine years in the broadcast booth.

Also, Gruden loves Oakland. Lynch loves Oakland. That may be a good starting point.

-- Marshawn still has it. The 31-year old was the Raiders’ most productive skill player in 2017’s second half. He averaged 4.6 yards per carry over the last season games, totaling 625 rushing yards and five touchdowns. He also had at least 92 yards total offense in five of those contests. When he’s motivated and healthy – he didn’t miss a single practice with injury – Lynch can be a force on the ground

-- Gruden reportedly hired Tom Cable as offensive line coach a few days back. That’s probably a plus from Lynch’s perspective. Cable was Seattle offensive line coach, and heavily involved in the running game, during Lynch’s best seasons. He ran a system that fit Lynch well, though Gruden said schemes will be based around team strengths. Lynch and Cable reportedly get along well, and could be a major reason why Lynch finds it appetizing to return.

-- Lynch carried locker room clout. Last year’s coaching staff didn’t love him, but player certainly did.


-- Lynch comes with some baggage. He’s an eccentric sort who does his own thing, at times without regard for small rules. That may rub Gruden and staff the wrong way. It certainly bothered Del Rio’s crew, especially when he seemed to have his own set of rules.

The Raiders tolerated Lynch’s choice to sit during the national anthem all year, despite being vocal against such actions the year before. He also had a production crew following him around quite often, especially in camp.

He got suspended for sticking up for the other team in Week 7, protecting great friend, Oakland native and Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters in an on-field altercation. He then practiced with his old high school during the suspension.

Gruden may not love the prospect of dealing with extra weight, depending on how strict he plans to be during this coaching tenure.

-- Lynch turns 32 in April. While Lynch might be an exception, running backs often fall off a production cliff in their early 30s. Can the Raiders get good value from Lynch at that age, knowing full well another running back might be added to the roster?

-- Lynch may simply not be into another year in Oakland. He enjoyed taking 2016 off, travelling the world and increasing charitable and business endeavors. Is his drive still strong?

Report: Former Raiders head coach returning to join Gruden's staff


Report: Former Raiders head coach returning to join Gruden's staff

Jon Gruden isn’t the only Raiders head coach returning to the Silver and Black.

Tom Cable’s on the way, albeit in a lesser role. Gruden already has the top job. Cable’s coming back, NFL Network reported Saturday afternoon, as offensive line coach.

He occupied that role in Oakland from 2007 until he assumed the head coach role when Lane Kiffin was fired five games into the 2008 season. The interim tag was lifted in 2009, and he coached the Raiders to an 8-8 record in 2010.

He followed that feat with the now famous quote, “We’re not losers anymore.” The Raiders had seven straight losing seasons before finishing .500 in what would be Cable’s last season with the club. He was 17-27 in two-plus seasons as Raiders head coach.

He went to Seattle after that, and spent seven seasons as Seahawks assistant head coach in charge of the offensive line. He also worked extensively with Marshawn Lynch during the rusher’s salad days in Seattle.

Cable returning to the Raiders seemed highly unlikely after late owner Al Davis detailed Cable’s misgivings in a post-firing press conference. Cable was allegedly involved in a 2009 incident where then Raiders assistant Randy Hanson was left with a broken jaw. ESPN also aired a report where three women accused Cable of domestic violence. One of Cable’s accusers sued Cable and named the Raiders as a co-defendant. Davis docked Cable’s pay in relation to that litigation.

Cable is a respected position coach, though the Seahawks offensive line has fallen on hard times. He and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell were fired after a disappointing season where the Seahawks missed the postseason.

Offensive line coach was a top priority as Gruden built a staff. Cable is known for using a zone blocking scheme, though it remains uncertain what he’ll use in Oakland with a powerful, expensive offensive front locked in place save the right tackle spot.