Oakland Raiders are confident, not cocky

This past week seemed like the ideal time for the Raiders to
take shots at the
49ers without fear of reprisal. No
chance. The Raiders prefer confidence over cockiness against an
opponent that’s winless

“Everybody keeps talking about (the
49ers)being 0-5,” Raiders offensive
coordinator Hue Jackson said. “I don’t look at it as an 0-5
football team. They’re a very dangerous, good defensive football
team that is well coached, with very, very good players. Our
players need to go down there, play (well) and bring our ‘A’ game
to go win a football game.”

Such a stance is to be expected. The Raiders are only 2-3,
without much room to talk and every bit as desperate as the
49ers for a victory. A win today
would get the Raiders to .500 for only second time during the Tom
Cable era.

When Cable coaches his 34th game today — the most for a Raiders
coach since Jon Gruden coached 64 from 1998-2001 — he’ll be trying
to lead the Raiders to a .500 record this late in the season for
the first time since 2002. A win also would give the Raiders
consecutive victories for the first time since the end of 2008.
That feat came after the Raiders started that campaign 3-11.

Cable likely is using those tidbits, as well as others, as
motivation for a team with a history the past eight seasons of
following up impressive victories with losses.

The Raiders would like nothing better than to use their
cross-Bay rivals as another positive step on their way up from
seven straight seasons with at least 11 losses.

Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha said he hopes the carry-over
effect from beating the San Diego Chargers a week ago will provide
a boost.

“Confidence comes from winning games,” Asomugha said. “You can
have a little bit more of that after beating the Chargers. It will
help us a lot in this game.”

The Raiders also can count on plenty of help from the
49ers, if the first five games are
an indication.

Quarterback Alex Smith has had a league worst nine of his passes
intercepted, the
49ers’ once-stout running game is
bogged down, and the defense has had far more downs than ups.

The Raiders intend to crowd the line of scrimmage in an attempt
to limit Gore’s effectiveness and put Smith in a position where he
has to throw the ball more than desired.

A similar approach brought a victory against the Chargers, even
though San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers passed for 431

The strategy worked, because the Raiders have assembled a
well-balanced offense. They received strong running from Darren
McFadden — he isn’t expected to play today — and Michael Bush,
solid play from quarterbacks Jason Campbell and Bruce Gradkowski —
he also isn’t apt to play — and superb performances by tight end
Zach Miller.

Campbell did a masterful job filling in for Gradkowski against
the Chargers, after Gradkowski aggravated his right shoulder injury
in the first quarter. Today, he gets his first start since the
second game, when he was benched by Cable at halftime of a 16-14
victory against the St. Louis Rams.

The return of left guard Robert Gallery from a hamstring injury
suffered in the opener figures to bolster the pass protection and
run blocking.

Several players said the one thing the Raiders can’t count on is
49ers attacking them in a
conventional manner.

“We’re expecting them to pull out all the stops for this game
just because we know that they need to win,” Asomugha said. “We’re
prepared for them to try anything on us.”

Raiders linebacker Bruce Davis Jr. has a unique perspective on
the matchup, given he spent most of the first month of the season
on the
49ers practice squad. He cautions
the Raiders about taking the
49ers lightly.

“They have some weapons,” Davis Jr. said. “Frank Gore is still
one of the best in the business. Vernon Davis might be the best
vertical-threat tight end in the league. Crabtree (Michael,
receiver), we’ve all seen what he’s done. So they’ve got some
weapons over there and they’re one of the best 0-5 teams I’ve ever
heard of.”