Raiders notebook

 

The popular notion is that the NFL exhibition season does not mean zilch.

            Well, that's still true for the Oakland Raiders, who head into their exhibition finale at Dallas tonight.

It would behoove the Raiders, however, to play well tonight. Oakland has gone 1-2 in its exhibition contests and not looked good in any of them. The Raiders, however, plain stunk in a 21-6 loss to Minnesota Friday.

For the record, this story is not a Raiders 2003 eulogy. Oakland's preseason performance is no reason to panic because it would be no surprise if they had similar success as last season once the real games start.

The Raiders game tonight in Dallas prepares them in another way -- weather. Oakland opens its regular season Sept. 7 at Tennessee, where they figure to face similar conditions as Dallas – hot.

Romo decision not a huge surprise

The Raiders decision to limit linebacker Bill Romanowski's suspension to one day after punching and injuring backup tight end Marcus Williams should not come as a big surprise.

More so than any other sport, football is a "what have you done for me lately business?" While Romanowski was clearly in the wrong to injure Williams, if he can stop running backs and pressure quarterbacks, he'll play on Sundays regardless of his history of incidents.

If you need a further example, look at center Barret Robbins after his much-discussed Super Bowl eve disappearance. The team has shown ample compassion to Robbins, and rightfully so.

Robbins, however, has been recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery. If Robbins, a Pro Bowler, were able to block defensive tackles and linebackers, he would be the hands-down starter. Robbins, however, may not be in a Raider uniform come Sunday after the final cuts.

Roland Williams became expendable

The Raiders also showed more than enough willingness to see if tight end Roland Williams would recover from a serious knee injury he sustained in last year's regular season finale.

At best, Williams would have been ready at the end of training camp. Oakland released Williams Monday, which was a likely fate all along because of his cap figure and the emergence of second-year man Doug Jolley and rookie Teyo Johnson. The Raiders also did not have the luxury of keeping an expensive backup.

 Vince D'Adamo can be reached via e-mail at vdad7@yahoo.com

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