Pre-Game Quick Hits
They have managed to enjoy each other's TV shows - Animal Planet programming for McFadden, "Entourage" and "Family Feud" for Bush - except for the time Bush looked up and McFadden was watching "Tom and Jerry."
"I was like, 'What are you doing?' " Bush said. "But mostly it's Animal Planet. And I can watch that. You actually learn some stuff. Like, we were watching how a squirrel fights a snake."
This is another indication that the "likeability" factor of the Raiders players has gone way up over the past year or two. The housecleaning could (and should) have been swifter, but there's no denying that the character of our team is rebounding. It wasn't long ago that we were getting arrogant guff from guys who couldn't even find a solid job after leaving the Raiders (Porter, Jordan, Walter, Schweigert, etc.), on top of some truly unlikeable chaps (Moss, Walker, Hall, etc.).
Now it's finally starting to feel like a team. Keep it up, guys.
2. I read this story about the Cowboys' two training camps, and thought about the sad contrast with the Raiders' own training camp.
A quote from the story:
In an unusual routine crafted by Jones, the Cowboys have split their training camp — again. After opening with 14 days in San Antonio that drew 200,989 to practices, they packed their training camp into nine 48-foot semi-trucks and moved it halfway across the country...For a franchise that has won two playoff games in 14 seasons but leads the league in aggressive marketing, it's a chance to tap into the mega-sized Los Angeles market vacated by the NFL since 1995. More than 100,000 are expected to watch practices during two weeks at fields installed adjacent to a golf course in this town about an hour's drive northwest of Los Angeles.
In other words, the Cowboys are literally going the extra mile to connect with their fans. Meanwhile, the Raiders' camp remains under lock and key. What are they protecting, the secret formula to posting 11 or more losses for seven straight seasons?
I know, I know: It's how they've always done it. But why not loosen things up a bit? Why not let fans in for a weekend? Why not embrace camp as an opportunity to bring people in to your world, not shut them out? Because that's how they've always done it?
I believe that anyone who makes that excuse on behalf of the Raiders is mistaken. The Raiders haven't always been regressive or stagnant in their operations. In fact, they used to be the most progressive and innovative team in the NFL.
3. I'm looking for two main things tonight. First, I want to see our receivers step up to the challenge and give Jason Campbell a chance to light it up. I'm bullish on our defense, but it's going to be a long year if we can't move the ball downfield.
Some people are dismissing our thinness at receiver, saying that Miller and McFadden provide ample throwing targets. These are often the same people who said that DHB was a solid pick because he would stretch the field and force opponents to respect the mid-to-long range ball. So I suppose that Miller and McFadden are going to stretch the field and keep opponents from stacking the box? Without credible threats at receiver, I think it's going to be a long slog. So we need our receivers to step up and become threats.
I also want to see our defense really build upon its early momentum. Tonight is a huge opportunity to gain mojo and confidence and self-belief. I'm looking for Wimbley to prove that last week wasn't a fluke. I'm looking for a halt to the big plays. And I'm looking for more evidence that the days of the vanilla defense are over. Make that defense taste like chocolate mint, baby, and serve it up to Alex Smith, Frank Gore and the rest of them.