Cable goes back to O-line roots

With injuries to two starters throwing his offensive line into a bit of disarray, Raiders head coach Tom Cable spent part of Thursday's practice working with the front five in hopes of shaking things up.

The Raiders will be without left guard Robert Gallery (broken leg) and right tackle Cornell Green (calf strain) for Sunday's game in New York, meaning Oakland will have to jumble its offensive line around.

With the unit coming off back-to-back disappointing performances against Denver and Houston, head coach Tom Cable – the team's former offensive line coach – went back to his roots and spent a portion of Thursday's practice working with the O-line.

"I think I can help some of those issues that are going on," Cable said. "That's the responsibility of the head coach. If it's a position that is kind of your background and it needs some help, needs some work to problem-solve some of those issues, then you gotta jump in and do it."

Cable made it clear this is not a permanent thing and that Jim Michalczik, the former line coach at Cal, will continue in his capacity as the Raiders' offensive line coach.

"I just want to get it straightened out and help those guys do that – the players, the coaches and everybody this week," Cable said. "(When we) start to get healthy back there, hopefully, with Robert in a week or two and same with Cornell, then it, to me, should get back to where it needs to be."

News and notes from Thursday:

-- Tight end Zach Miller took part in some limited individual drills during the afternoon practice but did not participate in any of the team work. Miller suffered a concussion during Sunday's loss to Houston and will undergo a routine medical test on Friday that he must pass the test in order to be cleared to play against the Giants.

"Most all of the symptoms are gone so I'm almost 100 percent," Miller said. "Not quite there but almost. They're just going to try to keep me out of contact (drills). We'll see about tomorrow."

-- I noticed cornerback Stanford Routt engaging Willie Brown in a one-on-one discussion early in camp and it was clear Brown was giving the former first-round pick tips on playing. As far down the depth chart as Routt has fallen, it was impressive to see him seek out a Hall of Famer for advice instead of sulking. Now he's got to translate what Brown told him onto the field.

-- Mike Mitchell appeared to tweak his knee while blocking during a special teams drill, but it wasn't a big deal. Mitchell limped back to the huddle and continued practicing, and Cable later said the rookie is fine.

-- Safety Hiram Eugene seems to be getting better, though it's still uncertain whether he'll start against New York. Eugene spent time with the defense and also returned punts during the early portion of practice. If he does play, Eugene will likely go back to splitting time with Michael Huff. The combination has worked fairly well so far, with Huff recording a team-leading four takeaways.

-- Backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski and reserve wide receiver Todd Watkins worked out together after practice, which to me is always encouraging. It's one thing to practice and it's another to put in the extra time, on and off the field. Some of the team's other younger players would be well-served to follow suit.

-- The Giants have made it clear they plan to throw at Nnamdi Asomugha, something many teams have been hesitant to say before going up against the Raiders' Pro Bowl cornerback. But Cable says many teams actually do go at Asomugha … initially.

"They all do early in the game and then it kind of stops," Cable said. "Everyone has an ego and some of that bravado, if you will. So everyone likes to challenge. And they'll go for it. It'll be up to him to take care of business."

-- New York quarterback Eli Manning missed his second straight day of practice with an injured right foot and Giants coach Tom Coughlin said he will wait until Sunday to determine if Manning will play. David Carr is Manning's backup and practiced with the first team on Thursday.

"They'd probably tailor their game plan a little bit to (Carr) if he was the guy," Cable said. "But really, they run their system, they do what they do. It might mean a little more run game, but by in large, they've got to stick with it. They have 10 other guys who have been used to doing this, this and this. They'll just kind of lean it to what David's abilities are."

-- Pressed again on the subject of the assault case involving former assistant Randy Hanson being turned over to the Napa County DA's office, Cable held to his pattern and didn't say much. "I don't think about it. It doesn't come to my mind," Cable said. "I don't talk to them. I haven't been contacted so I just do my job and let the process take care of itself."

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