A media throng gathers around wide receiver Chaz Schilens every time he enters the locker room these days. It's a safe bet that he's going to be just as popular with defenders every time he's on the field Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Raiders are pinning an inordinate amount of emphasis on Schilens' successful return from a broken bone in his left foot as a basis for improving their fortunes in the second half.
Time will tell. Schilens has yet to play in a game this season because of the injury he suffered during training camp. The Raiders' passing game has languished without a suitable replacement.
Yet, coach Tom Cable said the lack of production has more to do with breakdowns across the board than it does with a lack of talent with the wide receivers.
"It's on everybody," Cable said. "Sometimes it's been protection, sometimes it's been throwing it, and sometimes it's been running the route. So, did you expect it to be down? Maybe not as bad as it's been but, at the start of the season, you also thought you'd have Chaz until he got hurt."
Rookies Darrius Heyward-Bey and Louis Murphy started the first eight games. Schilens is expected to supplant one of them once he is back up to speed, perhaps as soon as Sunday.
Sitting out and observing from afar has afforded Schilens an opportunity to watch Heyward-Bey and Murphy. He said he likes what he sees.
"They're both confident guys," Schilens said. "They have been out there for eight games now, and I feel like they're making improvements. Now it's all about making plays and continually growing. It's not accepting what you did last week as being good enough. "... And they're doing it. They're working on it."
The Raiders also will honor Peter MacDonald, a renowned Navajo Code Talker during World War II and former leader of the Navajo Nation, in a pregame ceremony as part of a tie-in celebrating Veteran's Day.
The Coliseum received high marks for its array of meat-, dairy- and egg-free options, as well as garden salads and fresh fruit salad, PETA said in a news release.
"Delicious, cholesterol-free vegetarian food could help offset JaMarcus Russell—induced chest pains among Raiders fans and prevent the need for quadruple bypass surgery," PETA director Dan Shannon said in a release. "The best way that people can sack potential health problems and hit pay dirt for animals and the environment is to choose vegan foods every chance they get."