"That question is going to be asked, it was asked last night and it
will continue to be asked," Turner said Monday. "And I'm sure the whole
thing will be evaluated and be dealt with at the end of the season."
Oakland's 4-10 record is a breeding ground for uncertainty.
"We all have lessons to learn -- the players have lessons to learn,
coaches have lessons to learn, the organization has lessons that need to
be learned," running back LaMont Jordan said. "Whether we'll all be here
to learn those (lessons) together, I don't know. I hope so, but I don't
Unlike the departures of Joe Bugel in 1997 and Bill Callahan in 2003,
there appears to be little in the way of revolt among the rank and file.
Players seem to genuinely like Turner and for the most part have
played hard for him, if not always well.
"We're staying together as a team, we keep working hard, and no one
has thrown in the towel and quit on us," left tackle Barry Sims said.
"We've got to keep fighting to get out of this losing streak. I haven't
thought things out much farther than that."
In contrast to the previous Raiders teams which grew old and played
with the frustration of veterans who were at the end of the line and
knew it, the 2005 Raiders have built a decent group of young players
which could pay off in the near future -- whether it's for Turner or a
"When you are struggling like this it is easy to look and say, `Where
is the future?'" Turner said. "There is an outstanding nucleus of young
players who have continued to improve and will be very good football
players. Things can change fast in this league. There are too many
examples over the last three or four years of teams turning it around
real fast. I would think, in terms of that message, a lot of these young
players provide a bright future for this organization."
Jarrod Cooper, a former special teams player who has been playing 60
snaps a game as a safety in addition to kick coverage responsibilities,
sees a team that can still look itself in the mirror.
"You show up to work, and as long as you give everything you have to
give, it doesn't matter," Cooper said. "I don't care if you lose 50-0.
If you're giving everything that you've got, that's what you've got.
That's the man you are, and people are manning up in here. If you start
doubting yourself, it's over."
In the end, any support Turner has in the locker room may not be
enough if accompanied by a 4-12 record.
"There's some guys that have been around that know we're doing
everything we can to do things right," Turner said. "Guys who have been
on good football teams, guys who have been on teams that have been
competitive. They know the approach we've taken in all areas.
"The whole key, obviously, is this league is about wins and losses.
That ends up being the issue."
Running back LaMont Jordan became the first Raiders running back to
gain 1,000 yards since Tyrone Wheatley (1,046 yards in 2000), and
credited his college position coach with helping him get his mind right.
Jordan, who gained a career-high 132 yards on 25 carries, received a
phone call from Mike Locksley, the offensive coordinator at Illinois and
the former running backs coach at Maryland.
Locksley read about Jordan's criticisms of the Raiders' approach
against the Jets, and felt it was time to show a little tough love.
"He basically ripped me a new one," Jordan said. "He told me a couple
of things I need to work on. He said don't worry about the amount of
carries you get. He said I was dancing around too much. He told me my
pass protection sucked."
With that in mind, Jordan, despite a case of turf toe he picked up
some time in the first quarter, took it out on the Browns.
"My mindset was just to play power football, pound, pound, pound,"
-- There was a Randy Moss sighting, and it was in the end zone. Moss
caught a 28-yard touchdown pass from Kerry Collins -- his first
touchdown in a month. The 28 yards marked the second-longest gain since
suffering rib, groin and pelvis injuries Oct. 16 against San Diego.
Collins threw to Moss only four times, with two passes missing badly
and with Moss catching another one out of bounds.
As has been his season-long custom, Moss declined comment.
-- On the same day LaMont Jordan broke 1,000 yards rushing, the
Raiders went over 1,000 yards in penalties on Doug Gabriel's false start
in the first quarter.
With two games to play, the Raiders lead the NFL with 133 penalties
for 1,037 yards. Their penalty-free game two weeks ago against San Diego
will make it difficult for Oakland to reach the NFL records of 158
penalties and 1,304 yards set by the Kansas City Chiefs in 1998.
Oakland is 25 penalties and 267 yards shy of the records with Denver
and the New York Giants left to play.
-- Of the seven penalties for 45 yards against Cleveland, five were
Amazingly, none of the false starts were on offensive linemen -- two
were on wide receiver Randy Moss, one on wide receiver Doug Gabriel, one
on running back LaMont Jordan and one on running back Zack Crockett.
-- Oakland's lone personal foul was the key to its downfall. With the
Browns facing third-and-3 at the Oakland 43 and 1:23 to play, defensive
end Derrick Burgess sacked Cleveland quarterback Charlie Frye for nine
Burgess, however, was whistled for a major facemask penalty, giving
the Cleveland a first down at the Oakland 37.
Burgess said he barely brushed the helmet of Frye with his hand.
"That ain't nothing," Burgess said. "A crucial penalty, a crucial
time. It's over with now, right?"
Moments after the Burgess penalty, Bobby Hamilton ripped the ball
from Reuben Droughns, with Tommy Kelly recovering the ball at the
It was reversed on replay, with Mike Carey ruling Droughns' knee was
clearly on the ground. The Raiders were incensed, feeling the replay was
inconclusive at best and flat-out wrong at worst.
"Man, we're the Raiders. That's pretty much how it goes, right,"
Burgess said. "I was thinking it was our ball, but something told me
they were going to overturn it."
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
-- QB Kerry Collins will start against Denver Saturday, coach Norv Turner said.
REPORT CARD VS. BROWNS
PASSING OFFENSE: D -- Quarterback Kerry Collins had more
(16) than completions (14). Inaccurate both short and long, Collins'
28-yard touchdown strike to Randy Moss was the lone bright spot. His
primary target, Jerry Porter, had six catches for only 31 yards and a
drop which glanced off his hands and into the hands of Leigh Bodden for
an interception. Collins threw just four times in the direction of Moss.
RUSHING OFFENSE: B-minus -- Career day for LaMont Jordan (25 rushes,
yards) as the Raiders controlled the clock (33:38 to 26:22) and the line
of scrimmage by pounding it inside. The running game softened up the
Browns on the touchdown drive. With John Paul Foschi back at fullback,
Zack Crockett got four carries for 10 yards. No rushing touchdowns.
PASS DEFENSE: B -- Pressure on Browns rookie QB Charlie Frye was
so-so, with Frye using his mobility to get away. The Raiders managed to
keep Browns receivers in front of them for the most part with Frye's 21
completions accounting for 198 yards. Stanford Routt had what could be a
breakout game in place of injured cornerback Fabian Washington. Renaldo Hill had Oakland's fourth interception of the season.
RUSH DEFENSE: B-plus -- Running back Reuben Droughns, who had 38
carries for 176 yards as a Denver Bronco in his last game at McAfee
Coliseum, had just 53 yards on 18 carries -- a 2.9-yard average. Defense
was stout both inside and on the edge. Goal line stand in the first
quarter, with Cleveland starting at the 4, finishing at the 1 and
running it four times into the heart of the Oakland defense, was of
SPECIAL TEAMS: D -- Disaster. Sebastian Janikowski missed from 51
-- into the notoriously difficult south end of the stadium -- and had a
second attempt blocked from 46. The latter miss set the Browns up at
their own 37 with 3:15 to play. Following their only touchdown, the
Raiders let Joshua Cribbs get loose for a 46-yard kickoff return that
enabled the Browns to get a last-second field goal from Phil Dawson and
steal the momentum.
COACHING: C -- The Raiders had the right idea in terms of running
LaMont Jordan early and often against the Cleveland defense, but five
false starts are the sign of a poorly coached team. Defensively, there
isn't much to quibble with. The defense gave up no touchdowns for the
second time this season, holding an opponent under 10 points for the
first time since a 24-0 shutout of Kansas City in the 2002 season