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TallySaint 08-30-2005 10:52 AM

Oakland Raiders

Fade To Blackout

Since the Raiders returned to Oakland in 1995, 53 of their 80 regular-season home games have been blacked out in the Bay Area, according to a published report in the San Francisco Chronicle on Aug. 21, 2005. An NFL game is blacked out unless it is sold out 72 hours before kickoff. The Chronicle also reported that the Raiders have approximately 29,000 season tickets for the 2005 season, and only 12,000 current Personal Seat License holders.

Turner: Don't let record deceive you

Raiders coach sees positives despite 0-3 exhibition mark
By Bill Soliday, STAFF WRITER

Concerned about that 0-3 exhibition start, Raiders fans? Never fear. Coach Norv Turner says the glass is half full. Maybe more.
Turner likes the way his starting unit has played in games the Raiders led 6-0, 17-7 and 13-11 at the half before being outscored 39-10 in the second half.

Here's what has pleased the coach after he crunched some numbers:

- Rushing defense by the first team.

Last year, the Raiders ranked 22nd in the league, allowing 3.7 yards a rush. In three games vs. opponents' starters, there has been significant improvement.

"Teams have run for 2.1 (yards) an attempt," Turner said.

With only 24 rushing attempts, statistically that's not quite enough for a meaningful sample.

"That's not enough rushes, but we have played awfully good run defense," Turner said.

- Kerry Collins' passing.

"If you are going to be a goodteam, your quarterback has to play good," Turner said. "Kerry is completing 70 percent of his balls, has thrown three touchdowns and one interception. He has 55 attempts, so there are some (meaningful) numbers there. His rating is 105.

"I just feel encouraged by his accuracy, by the plays he is making. Last night he throws one touchdown in his 40 snaps but he could have thrown four easily."

What could have been touchdowns were dropped by Ronald Curry, Randy Moss and Courtney Anderson.

"He (Collins) is playing at a level that we'd like to see him play," Turner said.

- Third downs on offense and defense.

Last year the Raiders had the worst third-down defense in the NFL. They were also low on the food chain in third-down offense.

In the first halves of three games so far, the Raiders offense has had 22 third-down opportunities and converted 11 for 50 percent. Last year, the Raiders converted 35.5 percent on offense.

The real difference, though, comes on defense. There, opponents have converted just 5 of 18 third downs for 27.8 percent, Last year, Oakland was gouged for 47.4 percent.

How good is 27.8 percent? No team in the NFL compiled a third-down defense of less than 30 percent.

However, there is also the half-empty syndrome to consider. In particular, it involves Collins, who fumbled three times Friday night against Arizona, leading to eight Cardinals points in a one-point loss.

Turner said on two of the three, there wasn't anything Collins did wrong.

"If a blind-side hit is a hit on your arm as you are starting your throwing motion, that's real hard to hang onto the football," he said.

On the other fumble, which the Raiders recovered, Turner said Collins probably should have thrown the pass a little sooner.

"But I think Kerry has worked real hard at protecting the ball this camp," he said. "John Shoop (quarterbacks coach) has done some nice drills that have helped him in his pocket presence."

Also on the negative side was Collins' protection. The pocket was collapsing on him regularly — specifically from the outside from Cardinal ends Chike Okeafor and Bertrand Berry.

Turner said the problems there were correctable, more mental than physical.

"They were things that happened in the opener against Pittsburgh last year," he said. "Having it happen last night, the red light went off, and I think got all our guys' attention. It will be something we focus on the next two weeks."

Right tackle Robert Gallery had to deal with Okeafor. Turner said he was not worried.

"If we said Robert Gallery can't block that guy (it would be one thing)," Turner said. "Well, he blocked him almost all night. He had a bad set on the play on the safety. I think he will learn from that."

EXTRA POINTS: Rookie guard Pete McMahon may need arthroscopic surgery on a knee he damaged on Wednesday. ... Chris Carr is firmly in control of the punt-return duties, rendering Fabian Washington strictly to defense. Turner said Carr was "one of the best punt catchers I have ever been round." ... The coach said Zeron Flemister and Teyo Johnson were even in the battle for the No.2 tight end spot. ... The Raiders must cut to 65 players by Monday ... Turner said barring a setback in his recovery from a hamstring injury, WR Jerry Porter would play against New Orleans in the exhibition finale Thursday.


TallySaint 09-01-2005 07:32 AM

This one really doesn't matter
Relief efforts in place for Raiders-Saints exhibition finale

By Bill Soliday, STAFF WRITER

OAKLAND — As the Raiders (0-3) bid a grateful, if not graceful, farewell to their garish exhibition schedule tonight, they need not feel sorry for themselves.
There's the plight of the New Orleans Saints to consider.

Due to the ravages of Hurricane Katrina, thousands are believed dead. Many no longer have homes, the Saints included. They might not have a stadium to play in this year, at least not one in the Crescent City.

They barely have a city left.

Given all that, the Raiders and their fans can feel blessed with riches.

"I hate to even comment on it," Raiders coach Norv Turner said, citingfootball as a trivial issue in the wake of one of the worst weather disasters in American history. "When you see all those (homeless) people, the loss of life and all the millions and millions of dollars of damage, I don't know if you can even start to talk about how it affects an NFL team or season."

The Saints have been in the South Bay, practicing at San Jose State after evacuating town along with their families before the storm hit. After the game, they will relocate to San Antonio where they will wait it out for news on what comes next.

With them has been a ghastly pall.

Story continues...


ScottyRo 09-01-2005 04:24 PM

So, Oakland is winless in the preseason so far. Do the Saints stay true to form and allow a winless team their first win as we did twice in '04? My opinion is that even without the katrina distraction our boys would have let this one slip away. With it, there's only one obvious pick to win.

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