Monday, January 31, 2005

Colletto is new OL coach.

The Raiders hired Jim Colletto on Thursday to fill the offensive line coach vacancy created by the departure of Aaron Kromer eight days ago, the team announced in a news release.

Colletto, 60, coached the Baltimore Ravens offensive line the past six seasons. In all, he has coached 38 years in college and the NFL.

"Jim brings an attitude and mentality about the run game that will help us," Raiders coach Norv Turner said in the team release. "What Jim has done in Baltimore speaks for itself as he's helped the Ravens produce one of the top running attacks in the NFL. With his experience and background, Jim will be a great addition."

The Raiders finished last in rushing yards per game last season. Running back Amos Zereoue rushed for only 425 yards in amassing the lowest team-leading total in franchise history.

Colletto was fired by the Ravens on Jan. 10, one week after offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh resigned under pressure. The Ravens ranked 31st in total offense this season.

Oakland's offensive line did a respectable job protecting quarterback Kerry Collins despite the presence of rookies Jake Grove and Robert Gallery in the starting lineup for a large portion of the season.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Radiers EX Shot

Former Oakland Raiders center Barret Robbins was shot and critically wounded during a struggle with a police officer investigating a burglary at a South Beach office building.

Robbins, a former All-Pro known best for going AWOL during the 2003 Super Bowl and other erratic behavior, was hospitalized in critical condition.

The former All-Pro sustained multiple gunshot wounds to the torso during a ``violent struggle'' with a Miami Beach detective Saturday night, police spokesman Bobby Hernandez said.

``The officer was literally fighting for his life, trying to get Mr. Robbins from getting his gun. That's when the shots rang out,'' Hernandez said.

Robbins, 31, was confronted in a second-floor office in a building that also houses a nightclub, gym and jewelry store. He was considered a burglary suspect, though no charges had been filed, Hernandez said.

``We just have to figure out what he was doing there,'' Hernandez said.

Hernandez said authorities had not been able to interview Robbins, but that the former offensive lineman was expected to face a charge of battery on a police officer. Hernandez also said police were trying to determine whether he would face trespassing or burglary charges.

Detective Mike Muley, who fired the shots, had minor head injuries from the scuffle and was treated at a hospital and released.

Robbins was taken to Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Hernandez did not immediately have Robbins' condition Sunday, and a hospital official did not immediately return a page.

Robbins was arrested last month in San Francisco for hitting a security guard at a night club.

The often-troubled player is best remembered for disappearing the night before the 2003 Super Bowl in San Diego. He spent Super Bowl Sunday in a hospital and later acknowledged that he had stopped taking his medicine for depression and bipolar disorder. The Raiders lost 48-21 to Tampa Bay.

Robbins was released by Oakland in July, a week after he and two other players were fined three game checks for testing positive for the steroid THG.

Robbins played all nine of his pro seasons with Oakland and made the Pro Bowl after the 2002 season, but did not play in the game. A year after missing the final 14 games of 2001 with an injured right knee, he was a pivotal part of an offensive line that helped the Raiders produce the league's top offense.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Season ender was not too pretty.

The Jacksonville Jaguars didn't know their season had ended until they made their way out of the rain and into the long tunnel that leads to the visiting locker room.

That's when they learned that the Denver Broncos beat Indianapolis 33-14 to knock them out -- the third and last scenario that determined the Jaguars' fate on the season's final day.

Byron Leftwich looked out of sync in the muddy, rain-soaked field, but did enough to send the Jaguars into the offseason on a positive note with a 13-6 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday for their first winning season in five years.

It was disappointing finish for a club that hoped to extend its season the year Jacksonville hosts its first Super Bowl next month.

``That kind of put a downer on the day,'' coach Jack Del Rio said of learning his team was eliminated. ``I didn't see anything on the board during the game.''

Leftwich threw for 149 yards a week after sustaining a mild concussion and Greg Jones scored on a 1-yard run for the game's only touchdown, which broke a third-quarter tie.

The Raiders had a chance to send the game into overtime in the final seconds, but Kerry Collins fumbled the snap on fourth-and-goal at the 2, picked it up and was tackled for a loss.

``Guys have to make plays. Guys have to really commit themselves as to what it is they really want to do,'' Oakland running back Tyrone Wheatley said. ``The last two years here, we've had some guys who think they can just line up on Sunday and play football. It doesn't work that way. You have to commit yourself and stop thinking that your job is a sacrifice.''

By beating the Raiders in the teams' first meeting since 1997, the Jags established a winning road record for the first time since the '99 season when they went 14-2, 7-1 away from home.

But Jacksonville (9-7) certainly will be haunted by last Sunday's 21-0 home loss to the Houston Texans.

``Our season has been disappointing,'' Leftwich said. ``We had our opportunity to be playing last week. We had the opportunity slip away. If I played better, we'd be playing next week at Indy.''

Collins capped his up-and-down season with a statistically disastrous finale: three interceptions, one lost fumble, no touchdowns and a 17.3 passer rating.

``I made some stupid throws and some stupid decisions, things that hurt us,'' Collins said.

Donovin Darius intercepted two passes by Collins, including one in the end zone with 4:07 left in the game.

Zack Crockett had a big day for Oakland (5-11), which finished with just one more victory than the team's flop a year ago that led to the firing of coach Bill Callahan.

Crockett, a career short-yardage man, carried 11 straight times in the fourth quarter and finished with 22 for a career-high 134 yards -- his most rushing attempts since the 2002 season finale against Kansas City.

After making an 11-yard completion and being knocked down by Oakland safety Marques Anderson -- who immediately flexed his muscles -- receiver Ernest Wilford spiked the ball inches in front of Anderson and was hit with a 12-yard taunting penalty.

Jacksonville punted four plays later.

But Wilford made up for it with a leaping, one-handed reception for a 46-yard gain that set up Jones' touchdown.

It was a dreary homecoming for Del Rio, who grew up in nearby Castro Valley rooting for the Raiders. This was his first time in the Oakland Coliseum as an NFL head coach.

Collins threw interceptions on consecutive passes in the second quarter, sending the drenched fans into a booing frenzy.

``The only people that don't respect us are opposing teams,'' Raiders safety Ray Buchanan said. ``The only way you get that is by going out there and fighting against them.''

The Jaguars couldn't capitalize on either turnover and didn't exhibit a sense of urgency expected from a team fighting for a playoff spot.

Collins also fumbled three times, including deep in Oakland territory in the third quarter that was recovered by John Henderson, giving the Jags the ball on the 21. Josh Scobee kicked a 22-yard field goal five plays later that made it 6-6. Scobee also had a 26-yard field goal.

Jacksonville again struggled without star running back Fred Taylor, who missed the last two games with a knee injury.

The Raiders played without both their starting cornerbacks, four-time Pro Bowler Charles Woodson (knee) and Phillip Buchanon (tailbone).

Linebacker Napoleon Harris started for the Raiders but hurt his left leg on Jacksonville's first drive. Raiders center Adam Treu injured his left leg late in the game.