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.”