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Tim Brown, Jerry Rice accuse Bill Callahan of throwing Super Bowl; Others disagree

bill callahan raidersThe Oakland Raiders were crushed 48-21 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Super Bowl XXXVII in San Diego nearly 10 years ago. The game was one of the most lopsided in Super Bowl history, and now, almost 10 years later, accusations are surfacing that Bill Callahan may have thrown the big game.

The accusations first came from 9-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Tim Brown. Hall of Famer Jerry Rice agreed with Brown, while other former Raiders disagree.

We’ll start with the comments made by Brown over the weekend on SiriusXM NFL radio, as shared by Pro Football Talk.

“We get our game plan for victory on Monday, and the game plan says we’re gonna run the ball,” Brown said Saturday. “We averaged 340 [pounds] on the offensive line, they averaged 280 [on the defensive line]. We’re all happy with that, everybody is excited. [We] tell Charlie Garner, ‘Look, you’re not gonna get too many carries, but at the end of the day we’re gonna get a victory. Tyrone Wheatley, Zack Crockett, let’s get ready to blow this thing up.’”

According to Brown, Callahan then inexplicably changed the entire gameplan on Friday, two days before the big game. They went from planning a run-heavy attack to deciding to throw it 60 times. Brown called into question Callahan’s relationship with Jon Gruden when discussing the situation. Gruden was the coach of the Raiders from 1998-2001, so he was facing his former team in the Super Bowl in his first season with his new team.

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Matt Leinart: I deserve to start

Matt-Leinart-RaidersCarson Palmer is scheduled to miss this weekend’s game between the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers after suffering cracked ribs and a bruised lung on Sunday. That means either Matt Leinart or Terrelle Pryor is in line for his first start of the season. Rather than naming a starter earlier in the week, Raiders head coach Dennis Allen has decided to let Leinart and Pryor compete for the spot.

The former USC star does not sound overly thrilled about that.

“I just think in this situation, I think I deserve to play, I deserve to start,” Leinart said according to CBSSports.com. “Not sure what’s going to happen, but that’s all you can do — just keep preparing, keep working hard, be here, be accountable and whatever happens, whatever decision is made, that’s what’s made. You can’t do anything about it.

“So if they want to start Terrelle and evaluate him and see what he can do, then I’ll support that, and I’ll help him this week and help him during the game. But if they make me the starter, I’m just going to go out there and try to capitalize on that opportunity.”

Leinart handled most of the work after Palmer went down in Carolina, and he didn’t exactly make a strong case to be handed the starting job in Week 17. He completed 16 of 32 passes for 115 yards and an interception and finished with a passer rating of 45.7. Pryor took only two snaps.

The difference between Leinart and Pryor is that we know Leinart’s days of being an everyday NFL starter are behind him. He proved on multiple occasions that he is incapable of handling that role. Pryor is in only his second season, so we can’t be certain that he won’t morph into a starter. With the playoffs out of reach and one game remaining, the Raiders have nothing to lose by giving him a chance to state his case.

H/T Pro Football Talk

Terrelle Pryor or Matt Leinart to start for Raiders at quarterback

Terrelle Pryor or Matt Leinart is expected to start at quarterback for the Oakland Raiders at the San Diego Chargers in the team’s season finale on Sunday now that Carson Palmer is hurt.

Palmer got hurt during the team’s Week 16 loss to the Carolina Panthers and is out with cracked ribs and a bruised lung. Raiders head coach Dennis Allen says Palmer was in the hospital for observation after the team returned to Oakland Sunday night, and that he is out for the game.

Leinart was 3-for-3 for 31 yards passing in place of Palmer on Sunday. Pryor completed a pass, caught a pass, and ran for two yards in his action.

“I think we’ll stick with Matt and Terrelle for this week,” Allen said Monday. “We’ll get both those guys reps in practice with the first-team this week.”

Allen wants to see how the two perform in practice during the week before naming a starter.

“We’re not ready to make that decision. Our plan is to work both of them this week and then we’ll see how practice goes. Later in the week we’ll be ready to name a starter.”

Allen said that he thought Pryor “did a nice job” on the three plays he had against Carolina. He also called Pryor a work in progress, and indicated the second-year player may not be ready to lead the team.

“I think he’s still a work in progress,” Allen said of Pryor. “He’s worked extremely hard in practice. I don’t know that he has full command of everything that we’re doing, but I wouldn’t expect a lot different out of any other young quarterback. He’s got to continue to work, and he’s done a nice job.”

Allen did cite Pryor’s athleticism as an intriguing factor.

Based on what the coach was saying Monday, if I had to make a guess, I’d say Leinart will probably start the game, with Pryor still seeing plenty of action. What unfolds at practice during the week could change that. If I were Oakland, I would just give Pryor a shot. You know Leinart is only a second-string QB in the league, so why not give Pryor some game experience to see what he can do?

Below is video of Allen’s comments on Monday:

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Bengals OL Andrew Whitworth calls Raiders cowards for fight

Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth described most of the Oakland Raiders as cowards a few days after being involved in an on-field fight with them that led to three ejections.

Whitworth jumped in to defend quarterback Andy Dalton, who was slammed to the ground by Raiders DE Lamarr Houston after a whistle had already blown in the fourth quarter. Whitworth, Houston, and Raiders DL Tommy Kelly were ejected for their roles in the fight.

On Wednesday, Whitworth reportedly had marks under his eye and called the Raiders cowards for their cheap shots and attempted eye gouging..

“I thought it was pretty cowardly. Those guys know who they are. It doesn’t shock me,” Whitworth said, via the Cincinnati Enquirer. “You’ve got guys that want to make names for themselves and can’t, and then they get frustrated. It’s their opportunity to do something they feel and be tough, but that ain’t tough. Face-to-face is tough. Most of those guys, they are what they are — they’re cowards. And if they really wanted to have an issue with you, they’d address you. But they obviously don’t.”

Whitworth did not regret entering the fight, saying after the game he had a contract to protect his quarterback.

If we’re basing things on the scoreboard, then the Bengals beat the Raiders on both fronts. They won 34-10.

Chiefs LB Tamba Hali: The Raiders are a dirty team

Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali is expecting some extracurricular activity on Sunday when his team takes on the division rival Oakland Raiders. Rivalry games — even ones between teams who have not been very good in recent history — have a tendency to be spirited, but Hali said the Raiders take it a step further.

“It’s a tradition,” Hali told the Kansas City Star on Wednesday. “The Raiders, they come in, they cheapshot, they hit you. I’m not saying (any) names. It is what it is. We’ve got to be ready to play and keep our composure, stayed poised and be able to get this win.

“The core guys that have been here, they understand what we’ve got going on Sunday. (The Raiders) are coming in and they’re a good team and a fast team and they play dirty. We’ve got to come out swinging.”

The Raiders have been known as an aggressive team for years, and that is particularly evident when they step inside the Black Hole in Oakland. However, Richard Seymour said there is a difference between playing dirty and playing hard and insists his team focuses on the latter.

“Any time you play the game, you should play with a chip on your shoulder,” Seymour said. “You should play with an attitude. But in terms of being dirty, going out to hurt guys, I don’t think I play that way or any of my teammates (play that way). I don’t stand for it. But we do play tough and physical. I do believe that’s the way the game is supposed to be played. I respect guys that play the same way.”

If the Raiders have been playing dirty on defense, it hasn’t been effective as they are giving up over 28 points per game. Oakland has yet to find its identity, which was evident when they nearly lost to the Jaguars last weekend after hanging tough with the Falcons the week before. If the cheap shots Hali speaks of exist, they haven’t exactly given Oakland an advantage.

Photo credit: AP Photo/Paul Spinelli

Denver appliance store offering free appliances if Broncos shut out Raiders

The Broncos have not been very good defensively to start out the season. They haven’t really played well in general, but their offense has scored over 25 points per game through the first three weeks. However, their defense has allowed more than three touchdowns per game, which has resulted in a 1-2 record.

Appliance Factory Outlet in Denver has decided to roll the dice on the Broncos’ shaky start, as the store recently announced it will be giving away free appliances worth up to $3,000 per person if Denver shuts out the Raiders this weekend. Fans can purchase appliances from now until Saturday, Sept. 29 and bring in their receipt for a full reimbursement if the Broncos hold Oakland to a goose egg.

While the Broncos will have the luxury of playing at home in front of their electrifying crowd (all pigeon poop aside), shutting out the Raiders will be no easy task. The Raiders are also off to a 1-2 start, but they rank 7th in the NFL in passing and Darren McFadden may have had his coming out party against the Steelers with 113 yards rushing and a score. If I had to guess, I’d say Appliance Factory Outlet won’t be giving away any free stuff. But if you’re in the market for a new washing machine, what do you have to lose?

Thanks to Peter Burns for the tip

Raiders botch three punts as stand-in long-snapper Travis Goethel struggles

If ever there was an incredibly underrated position on the football field, it has to be long-snapper. Throughout the course of a game, we rarely find ourselves wondering something like, “What if the snap is bad?” Unlike quarterbacks, running backs, receivers and cornerbacks, we take the duties of a long-snapper for granted. If your quarterback goes down with an injury, at least you have a backup. The same is not always true at the long-snapper position.

Raiders long-snapper Jon Condo left Monday night’s loss to the Chargers with an injury, forcing linebacker Travis Goethel to take over his position. Goethel had to fill in for three punt attempts, two of which he literally rolled the ball to punter Shane Lechler and one of which was a good snap but the punt was blocked.

“He’s worked on snapping the ball, and actually he’s done a nice job in practice, but it’s obviously a lot different when you get in a game-like situation,” Oakland coach Dennis Allen said after the game, according to Around the League. “He was put into a tough situation, and it hurt us.”

According to Contra Costa Times writer Steve Corkran, Goethel had not long-snapped in a game since high school prior to Monday night — a seven-year break in the action. Corkran also pointed out that Lechler’s and Allen’s recollection of Oakland practices seems to be a bit different, as Lechler said Goethel gets “zero” reps at long-snapper during a typical practice week.

Between Monday night’s ugly turn of events and the Redskins lineman who played an entire half with a broken arm, perhaps this will be the year where we start to appreciate the importance of the long-snapper.