Inside Slant, Notes, Quotes, Report Cards

S&BI
Posted Oct 4, 2005


The first major in-season injury came at the right time for the Raiders. They will lose center Jake Grove for between three and four weeks with torn cartilage in his right knee. The good news is that one of those games will be eaten up by this week's bye.

Adam Treu, last year's starter, steps back into the center's role. Treu will continue to long snap.

Coach Norv Turner was relieved that he had an experienced starter such as Treu available to fill in. He has now been thrust into the breach four times in his career, in which he has the longest club tenure among all Raiders (nine years).

"There's obviously differences (between Grove and Treu)," Turner said. "Adam brings a lot more experience and I think some of the things that, at times, have gotten to us (are) calls in terms of protection... Adam's a lot more comfortable with (them)."

Treu has been the consummate team man during his many ins and outs as starting center.

"When we moved Jake in there and had the conversations with Adam about it, he handled the thing extremely well," Turner said. "He knows in the National Football League that there are going to be opportunities where you are going to be asked to get back into action. He handles it extremely well."

While Treu's attributes are based on experience, Grove's are aggressiveness and a sturdier base of operation, translating into power for run blocking.

Before Grove was injured, LaMont Jordan rushed 16 times for 80 yards. During Treu's period, there wasn't much of a drop-off. He gained 46 yards in 10 carries.

NOTES, QUOTES

--When the Raiders' defense finally came through with the big stop, it may have helped an image that was fostered off last year's sickly statistical compilation.

Not only did the Raiders hold Dallas -- which had scored four touchdowns against both San Diego and San Francisco in the first three weeks -- to one touchdown, they came through in the closing two minutes when faced with a Dallas challenge inside their 5-yard line.

"That is how I want it," defensive tackle Warren Sapp said. "If we come down to every game with us on the field and a chance to seal it, I will take my chances with the 11 guys I line up with. No doubt about it."

"Every defense I've ever been on wants that challenge. Give us the lead and let me make it stick. This is big for the whole team. We just want to keep giving ourselves chances to be in games and then the offense will win it for you. That's exactly what happened. On that last drive (leading to a Raider field goal and a six-point lead), that 4:22 (taken off the clock) was big.

"After that, I just lined up the guys and said whatever they give us here, we've got to make it stick. No matter if they give us two points out of this drive, it's enough to win."

--Charles Woodson had his first interception of the year at the end of the first half and the big stop on Dallas' final play of the second. In between, he fully admits he made some big mistakes.

On a 63-yard touchdown catch and run by Dallas receiver Patrick Crayton, Woodson let Crayton slip by him instead of finishing off the play.

"I allowed myself to relax," Woodson said. "I thought he was about to run out of bounds, but he gave me a quick stiff-arm and ran for the touchdown. I take full responsibility for that play. That's not the way I play football."

Later in the game, Terry Glenn got behind Woodson for a 57-yard gain and only Woodson's shoestring tackle from behind prevented Dallas from scoring and erasing a 19-13 Raider lead.

"I should have been deep," Woodson said. "I'm mad at myself for both plays."

PLAYER PERSONNEL NOTES

--CB Charles Woodson is not only playing safety on occasion, he also is being freed up to be isolated on a specific receiver when the situation calls for it, and that includes tight ends. In the past three weeks, he has covered K.C. TE Tony Gonzalez, Philadelphia WR Terrell Owens and Dallas WR Terry Glenn. "I'm everywhere," Woodson said. "I don't have a position right now."

--The use of Woodson in varied spots throughout the course of every game has led to the rise of rookie first round pick CB Fabian Washington to near full-time duty. Washington, who had a slow start in training camp and was passed over in the nickel and dime defense by No. 2 pick Stanford Routt, has now passed him by.

--Coach Norv Turner said that CB Nnamdi Asomugha played "as well as he can play" against Dallas. He limited WR Keyshawn Johnson to one catch.

--With C Adam Treu replacing C Jake Grove, the backup center will be all-everything lineman Brad Badger until Grove is able to return from surgery on his knee.

--DE DeLawrence Grant committed two neutral zone infractions in the Dallas game, one of which came on a third-and-5 and led to a first down. In the previous game, his personal foul on QB Donovan McNabb extended an Eagles' drive. He had no tackles.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

REPORT CARD VS. COWBOYS

PASSING OFFENSE: B -- Kerry Collins didn't need a perfect game and didn't have one by his own admission. He was in charge of game management, which he performed as ordered (no turnovers). Coach Norv Turner said this was the offensive line's best game. Randy Moss' 79-yard reception in the first quarter didn't result in a touchdown, but it got the Cowboys' attention, and they played so deep the remainder of the game that it opened up the running attack.

RUSHING OFFENSE: A-minus -- No rusher had gained 100 yards against Dallas over a 14-game span until LaMont Jordan went for 126 in this game. For contrast: LaDainian Tomlinson had just 19-for-72 for San Diego three weeks ago. The only quibble -- the Raiders didn't run well enough to exert clock control. Dallas led in time of possession, 30:46 to 29:14.

PASS DEFENSE: B -- Win some, lose some. It was an "A" considering four sacks and that on 25 passes, the Raiders gave up just 67 yards through the air. It was nothing close to "A" work on two other pass plays -- one for 63 yards and a touchdown, one for 57. Very high marks for DE Derrick Burgess, CB Nnamdi Asomugha and DT Warren Sapp.

RUSH DEFENSE: B -- This is a case where statistics don't tell the whole story. The Cowboys had 116 yards and averaged 3.6 yards, right around the NFL average. What was significant was that the Cowboys seemed determined to run and couldn't. Tommy Kelly, Bobby Hamilton, Ted Washington and Danny Clark played outstanding ball.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A -- Sebastian Janikowski got the game ball for his 4-for-4 field goal effort, and the four kickoffs he kicked into the end zone that were not returned. Credit PR Chris Carr for field position leading to a touchdown off a 22-yard return. His average returning kickoffs was 29.5 yards. Thanks to the kickers, Dallas only had one return of any kind all day. Shane Lechler dropped a 59-yard punt inside the 10 and Kirk Morrison downed it on the 1-yard line.

COACHING: A-minus -- Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan made good use of periodic blitzes and had his forces on top of Drew Bledsoe's rear most of the game. As long as Dallas was going to play so deep on defense, the Raiders took advantage and pounded them. When they cheated up, Oakland threw. All in all, it consisted of an excellent mix in what passes as a nearly complete game by a Raider team that had wild swings up to then.


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