8/20/06 San Fran 49ers @ Oakland Raiders 8:00 pm


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San Fran 49ers - QB Rotation: Alex Smith (1st Q+), Trent Dilfer (2nd Q+), Jessie Palmer, Shaun Hill.

Mike Nolan said he expects quarterback Trent Dilfer to play in relief of Alex Smith against the Raiders. Smith should play into the 2nd quarter. Dilfer was held out of last week's game to give him another week to solidify his rehabilitation from arthroscopic knee surgery in February. Rookie TE Vernon Davis didn't catch a pass against Chicago and the 49ers probably will try to get him more involved against the Raiders.

The play-calling in tonight's game figures to be even more basic and generic, given these cross-bay rivals play each other Oct. 8.

Norv Turner is the new offensive coordinator, the former head coach let go by the Raiders.

Center Jeremy Newberry underwent surgery on his left knee Tuesday, and will spend the rest of the season on injured reserve.

Cornerback Shawntae Spencer suffered a left-hamstring injury and is not expected to play. Rookie Marcus Hudson, Derrick Johnson and B.J. Tucker also could get increased repetitions at cornerback depending on how long Spencer is out. Johnson moves in as the nickel back.

The 49ers' starting tailback job is "wide open" between Kevan Barlow and Frank Gore, with Maurice Hicks and rookie Michael Robinson also making their presence felt. Barlow, the team's starter the last two seasons, continues to take the first-team practice snaps, though Gore also works with some first-team personnel groups. Hicks and Robinson are getting their share of work with the second and third teams.

Oakland Raiders - QB Rotation: Aaron Brooks (first half), Andrew Walter (3rd Q), Marques Tuiasosopo (4th Q).

Art Shell said he intends to go with his starters for "at least a half." They played approximately one quarter in each of the first two games.

After missing the Raiders' first two exhibition games because of a lingering calf injury, WR Jerry Porter is expected to play Sunday. Fellow WR Ronald Curry (Achilles) will not play for the third game in a row. Injured left guard Barry Sims (elbow) will be replaced by Corey Hulsey in the starting lineup Sunday against the 49ers.

The Raiders are working on starting fast this game. That hasn't happened in their two exhibitions, as the offensive and defensive starters got outplayed by their counterparts in victories against the Eagles and Vikings.

Art Shell wants more physical play.

Brooks, signed as a free agent from the Saints, will start. Brooks is the heir apparent to Kerry Collins over Andrew Walter, No. 2 on the depth chart.
Lines From Pinny

opened Oakland -3 -106 38 under -108
2:00 pm Oakland -3 +112 36.5 over -113

Sports Insights shows 57% on Oakland, line has stayed on 3 since it opened on tuesday. we see juice has moved 18 cents away from Oakland, while 57% is shown to be on them.
Sports Network) - The annual tussle between the NFL's two residents of the Bay Area is on tap Sunday night, as the Oakland Raiders play host to the San Francisco 49ers in a matchup of clubs attempting to maintain their positive preseason momentum. The Raiders moved to 2-0 with a 16-13 win at Minnesota last Monday, while the 49ers opened their preseason slate with an impressive 28-14 victory over the Bears.

Making his head coaching debut at McAfee Coliseum will be Raiders head man Art Shell, who played 14 years in Oakland (1968-81) but whose previous six-year stint leading the franchise (1989-94) came when it was situated in Los Angeles. Under Shell's tutelage, the Raiders have already dispensed of the Eagles (16-10) in the neutral-site Hall of Fame Game, before traveling to Minnesota to defeat the Vikings. Despite that success, Shell would like to see more cohesiveness from an offensive unit that has produced just two touchdowns in eight quarters. Starting quarterback Aaron Brooks, who will also be making his home debut as a Raider on Sunday, has struggled mightily thus far, completing just 2-of-9 passes for 28 yards, one touchdown, one interception, and a quarterback rating of 37.5. Brooks and other as-yet-underused first- teamers such as wideout Randy Moss (1 reception, 16 yards) and running back LaMont Jordan (15 rushes, 48 yards) should see their most extensive time of the preseason to date on Sunday. On the injury front, wide receiver Jerry Porter (calf) should garner his first action of the preseason on Sunday.

Looking to build on a fine performance in the opening week of the preseason will be quarterback Alex Smith, the 2005 No. 1 overall pick out of Utah who struggled as a rookie. Smith looked nothing like his former self versus the Bears, instead completing 16-of-21 passes for 137 yards in a half of work. Smith hooked up regularly with new No. 1 receiver Antonio Bryant, who caught five balls for 54 yards in his preseason debut as a 49er. Smith is expected to be followed in the lineup this week by quarterback Trent Dilfer, who was obtained in the offseason via a trade with Cleveland but did not play against the Bears following offseason knee surgery. Elsewhere in the backfield, running back and possible No. 1 starter Frank Gore also played well against Chicago, rushing 10 times for 49 yards and a touchdown and also catching five passes for 32 yards in a winning effort. Kevan Barlow, who is battling Gore for the No. 1 job, had just one carry for two yards in the win. Cornerback Shawntae Spencer (hamstring) and offensive lineman Adam Snyder (biceps) are among the notable 49ers who will miss the Battle of the Bay due to injury.
Similar geography has made this one of the most played preseason rivalries in NFL history, with Oakland holding a 17-16 edge in the all-time series. The 49ers won last season's installment, 21-13. Oakland, which will travel to Monster Park for a regular season meeting on Oct. 8th, leads that series by a 6-4 count.
Low expectations mean glass is half-full

Already, the Raiders and 49ers, near the bottom of the standings a year ago, have become the leaders in the NFL for 2006. They have, in combination, achieved the nearly impossible. They have made the preseason seem practically relevant.
It certainly says something about the Raiders that the most aggressive part of the Oakland offense so far has been Randy Moss' statement of disapproval after he was removed too fast for his liking in Minnesota last week. Compounded with Jerry Porter's trade demand, the Moss commentary constitutes high drama.
In fact, discontent in the preseason says a lot more than pronouncements of unhappiness in a dismal December. By then, a cranky quote is more redundant than informative. The standings have already spoken. For the last three Decembers in the Bay Area, they have pronounced both teams utterly unfit for the playoffs.
On the field, the Raiders' two preseason games have sent the mixed messages that everyone expects from August in the NFL. They have played torpid football and won both times.
So no one would dare bill tonight's meeting between the Bay Area teams as a battle of unbeatens. The won-loss column for the preseason will never be significant.
Before last week, I'd have said the final scores didn't matter, either, but after watching the 49ers' offense score 28 points (more than the team scored in Games 12, 13 and 14 combined last year) in its opener against the Bears, I realized that a shutout would have been considered very meaningful.
The stats generally say very little, especially from veterans biding their time and protecting their bodies for the real thing. But can anyone seriously argue that Aaron Brooks' total of two completions over two games carries no weight? At the very least, the number is rather suggestive, certainly enough to trigger a case of déjà vu among anyone who followed his career in New Orleans. By the time Brooks left the game in Minnesota last week, the chance of a renaissance in Oakland looked more distant than ever.
So all the typical caveats about the preseason aside, tonight ought to be very interesting.
If Alex Smith duplicates his performance against Chicago, 49ers fans will have every right to feel the kind of euphoria that comes with the first breath after a long spell under water. The Raiders' defense lacks the credentials of the Bears', but has looked better in the two preseason games than it did most of last year. Smith, on the other hand, didn't look better. He looked completely different.
His stats, 16-of-21 passing for 137 yards in the half he played, were impressive, but they weren't the reason Smith received so many raves last week. He met the Supreme Court jurist's definition of porn as applied to quarterbacking legitimacy: You know it when you see it.
Even Smith's five incompletions held promise; he knew when and how to get rid of the ball.
Now, does that make him Joe Montana? No. Steve Young? No. Jeff Garcia? No.
It just makes him quite possibly not the kid who could barely hold onto the ball last year, or a potential sinkhole for millions in salary-cap money.
The 49ers' defense has almost nothing to gain from this game. If the Raiders' offense plays as poorly as the last two weeks, and as most of last season, the 49ers won't get credit for much. They won't even get much of a learning experience. A video-game simulation might test them more. But if Moss and Brooks and Lamont Jordan take off, nobody will be able to give the 49ers the benefit of the doubt that used to come with being roasted by Randy Moss. He has been too consistently invisible in Oakland to retain his status as the receiver who can make any defense look weak.
Of course, Art Shell may make a point of flushing Moss out of hiding, setting him up as the centerpiece of the game plan. It wouldn't be a bad idea, but Shell may resist creating even the appearance that he has yielded to a complaining player. Unlike the past two Raiders coaches, Bill Callahan and Norv Turner, he doesn't aim for dull diplomacy. When he canceled practice on Thursday, saying that the team wasn't working hard enough, Shell added another layer of interest to tonight's game. Let's just hope the regular season has as much drama.
49ers approach Raiders game with new confidence

"There's always a little something extra because it is the cross-bay rival,'' strong safety Tony Parrish said. "People want to see the game. There's a little something added to it because we play them in the regular season this year.''
The teams will skirmish for real on Oct. 8 at Candlestick, at which time the 49ers will have had four regular season games and the Raiders three after an early bye week.
Thus, San Francisco will not show all tonight, preferring instead to trot out a more conservative ensemble for its second preseason game.
"It's about not showing them some things,'' Nolan said. "That's true for everybody.''
In these practice games where the starters' time on the field is limited, looking good at the outset is more important than the final score. Against Chicago, San Francisco's starters posted 17 points before the backups entered the game.
"We want to build on last week and we want to continue to develop our identity for the season and to be consistent,'' Parrish said. "We want to be a sound, attacking defense. We want to create turnovers as we did last week.
"Especially for a team like us that's continuing to develop, we know we're going to need to go out and perform well in the preseason. It will help us grow and achieve our goals.''
Nolan said the starters on offense and defense will play about the same as they did last week, about 25-30 plays. Backup quarterback Trent Dilfer, who has slipped so easily into the role of Wise Elder, will play for the first time in the preseason after being held out last week. He will take over after Alex Smith exits and probably play the first drive of the second half before giving way to Shaun Hill and Jesse Palmer.
"It will be my first time seeing him play (live),'' Smith said. "I've seen him play on TV before. It will be nice to see him run around and do things.''
Smith said he can already see the benefits of struggling through his rookie season as the point man of a losing team. After completing 16-of-21 passes for 137 yards and no interceptions against the Bears, he will look to play well again tonight and lend validity to the assertion that he is a greatly improved player.
"I'd be lying to you if I said to some degree you don't get frustrated,'' Smith said of last season. "It would be tough for anyone to go through that. It was very frustrating at times. You do doubt yourself at times. I'm probably still going to make mistakes. There are probably some frustrating times ahead. But I'm definitely a better player.''
This year's top rookie, tight end Vernon Davis, would like to catch his first pass as a 49er as he shares time with Eric Johnson. Davis did not have a pass thrown his way last week as the coaching staff wanted to see how he fared blocking for the run and pass. In that regard, Nolan said he was pleased.
"I wouldn't be disappointed (not to catch a pass) as long as we won,'' Davis said. "That's all that matters. If we lose and I didn't get any, I'd be disappointed.''
Now three weeks into training camp, Davis said he's beginning to catch on to this pro football thing after relying on his superior athletic ability at Maryland.
"It's beginning to slow down for me a bit,'' he said. "I'm learning more and more each day.''
Davis credits offensive coordinator Norv Turner for his progress, saying, "He's a genius when it comes to that stuff. He just wants his players to do well. If he sees me making a mistake, he wants to get it corrected.'' More than winning or losing, that's what training camp is for. If you can look good in the process, so much the better.
Shell relishes return to Oakland


Shell's pet project, the power running game, has come along slowly. The passing game, in particular when the starters were on the field, has been slipshod. Offensive line play, Shell's primary area of expertise, has not jelled, most in evidence at Shell's old position of left tackle, where 2004 first round pick Robert Gallery has struggled.
Tonight, the goal is to give that first unit some extended playing time in hopes of rectifying that. Shell does not expect the 49ers, who were impressive in their 28-14 victorious exhibition opener, to be easy prey.
"I am sure we are aware we are playing a pretty good football team," Shell said. The rivalry, though, doesn't enter into it, according to the coach.
"It's special because we want to win," Shell said. "They (the 49ers) are in the Bay Area, so we want to win. But it's no big deal. We still have to get our team ready for the regular season."
Like the Raiders, the 49ers are coming off a 4-12 season and trying to establish momentum. In their win over Chicago, they achieved that by dominating the first down total (26-9) and racking up nearly 400 yards of offense.
Under new offensive coordinator Norv Turner, who coached the Raiders the previous two years, second-year quarterback Alex Smith looked like a new man, completing 16 of 21 passes for 137 yards. The running game accounted for 150 more yards . And since the 49ers defense allowed the Bears only 1.8 yards a rush, Shell's desire to pump up the Raiders rushing total will get a challenge from a 3-4 defense similar to the one the Raiders will see in their regular-season opener against San Diego.
Three games into the Shell-redux era, few expect a finished product to appear — and that goes for the 49ers as well. But a few signs of advancement are a must, especially for an Oakland team that has played one more game and will be using starters for an entire half. "You know mistakes are going to be made," Raiders quarterback Aaron Brooks said. "At the same time, the overall goal is to win. That's the habit we want to create ... even if we're winning ugly."
Sunday`s games

San Francisco 49ers at Oakland Raiders
Line: Oakland –3
Total: 37
49ers: Dilfer back as Smith’s backup
After missing last week’s game to rest his rehabilitated knee, Trent Dilfer will be back as the No. 2 quarterback for San Francisco.
Dilfer may enter the game in the second quarter.
Sophomore quarterback Alex Smith will make the start, and may play a quarter and a half, leaving the remaining three to Dilfer, Jesse Palmer and Shaun Hill.
Raiders: Will Brooks show up vs. Niners?
Quarterback Aaron Brooks struggled Monday night against Minnesota, completing only one pass.
Art Shell says he wants to see an improvement Saturday or Brooks may be pulled early.
"We need better production out of the quarterback position overall," Shell said to The Mercury News We are trying to improve our football team." Shell is undecided about when Andrew Walter will enter the game, but said the backup quarterback could play up to two quarters if Brooks does not perform well.
Brooks hopes he's not half bad vs. NinersBy Bill Soliday, STAFF WRITER
Inside Bay AreaNAPA — Aaron Brooks will be coach Art Shell's starting quarterback Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, and he has the go-ahead to play the entire first half. That means he'll get the chance he's been looking for to establish a little rhythm before heading for the sideline.
Shell made the announcement after Friday's practice. The news pleased Brooks.
"It will be nice," he said. "Any time we get a chance to go out there and play for the duration like that, it's good. We'll try to get something out of it, get a better rhythm going and put more points on the board.
"But it's still preseason. We just want to continue to get better in all phases, whether it's running or passing."
In the Raiders' first two exhibition games, Brooks played eight series — four in each game — and was in for one touchdown. At the time he left, the Raiders were tied 7-7 in a game they eventually won 16-10 and led 3-0 in a game they eventually won 16-13.
During that time, the first-team offense under Brooks never got untracked, accounting for just four first downs. There were five three-and-out series.
Brooks was 2-for-9 passing for 28 yards and was sacked three times for 21 yards in losses. The running game with Brooks under center wasn't much better with 16 carries for 56 yards, meaning in roughly a half a game the offense produced just 63 yards of total offense.

BACK TO WORK: Thursday's cut-short practice forgotten, the Raiders went hard in their one Friday practice. Shell said he was pleased.
"I thought practice today was very good," he said. "A lot of attention, a lot of focus, a lot of intensity."
The day before, Shell ordered the team off the field when he didn't like the effort that was being expended.
"It was just the slightest things," Brooks said. "It's part of camp. We had a nice meeting (Thursday night). We all talked about it, and we came out here for a better day today.
"I think at a time like that, you don't want to overemphasize yelling — yell, yell, drill and do this. All the fatigue, mental (and) physical sets in. A lot of mistakes will happen, a lot of sluggishness. You're not going to be as sharp.
"I think we kind of needed to step away from it and refocus ourselves. It was like hitting that wall. You want a break. You just want to go play an opponent. I thought it was the right approach."
Asked what had prompted the early conclusion of Thursday's practice, Shell said, "I just decided to give them the rest of the day off, that's all."

SIMS OUT: Left guard Barry Sims will be held out of Sunday's game against the 49ers because of a sore elbow.
"He should be ready to go next week (against Detroit)," Shell said, noting that results of the MRI Sims had on his ailing elbow showed no tear. "We were worried about the triceps, but it's not a problem."
The starting left guard Sunday will be Corey Hulsey, the coach said.

EXTRA POINTS: Shell said WR Jerry Porter has been cleared to make his 2006 debut. ... C Jake Grove was held out of Friday's practice with a sore heel. Shell said he expected Grove to be ready to face the 49ers. ... WR Burl Toler, a rookie free agent from Cal, had his own cheering section Friday as his father, Burl Toler Jr., and grandfather, Burl Toler, were present to watch. The senior Toler played for USF in the Dons' glory years of the 1950s and was the first black official in the NFL. Toler's father also played for Cal in the 1970s. ... The Raiders' game against the 49ers will be broadcast in Spanish on KLOK-AM (1170). The station will also air Raiders games in Spanish during the regular season with Armando Botello and Ramon Diaz doing the announcing.
I like Oakland in this game. I was pretty impressed with the 2nd and 3rd string QBs the other night.
Lines From Pinny

Oakland -3 -106 38 under -108
2:00 pm Oakland -3 +112 36.5 over -113
5:00 pm Oakland -3 +111 36.5 over -114

Sports Insights still currently showing 57% on Oakland, line hasnt changed, juice has moved 1 cent towards Oakland. Money Line opened up at -159 for Oakland, down now to -133. somethin maybe to keep in mind.
Ahh, Sooner, I like Oak as well, but we're not supposed to post picks here, only in the in-game thread. now the jinx is on, and we'll have to fight for this one.
jimmyd said:
Ahh, Sooner, I like Oak as well, but we're not supposed to post picks here, only in the in-game thread. now the jinx is on, and we'll have to fight for this one.

I just said I "liked" them, I haven't made a "personal" post with my picks. I've posted my likes in threads like this before, but NO personal pick threads on my own.

I'm staying strict to superstitious protocol here, Jimmy!