While there was some residual grumbling Monday about the inequity of the officiating in a 23-9 loss to the Cleveland Browns, Raiders coach Tom Cable thought his team could have handled the situation better.
"Defensively, we seemed to kind of lose our composure there at the end of the first half, and I thought it carried over into the second half a little bit," Cable said.
The Raiders, a middle-of-the-pack team in terms of penalties and yardage at midseason, have surged of late and are now second in penalties (112) and fourth in penalty yards (839).
Against the Browns, the Raiders had 13 penalties for 126 yards, the yardage figure the highest since they had 149 yards against New England in 2005. The number of penalties was the second-highest this season, behind the 14 accumulated against Washington on Dec. 13.
The way the Raiders dealt with those penalties Sunday concerned the coach more than the flags themselves. Defensive end Richard Seymour and Cleveland guard Rex Hadnot had offsetting fouls for a scuffle, with Seymour getting 15 yards for complaining to an official.
Thirty-five seconds later, Stanford Routt was called for a head-butt and ejected. The 30 yards of penalties contributed to a 93-yard Cleveland touchdown drive that put the Browns up 17-6.
"I don't think that you can allow that to become as big a factor as we did," Cable said. "Don't let those things get to you, because there's going to be things like that in every game."
Seymour characterized his altercation with Hadnot as a "tussle" common to virtually every game. He said he merely asked the official about the penalty and was stunned a flag was called. Seymour said the Raiders' composure was not an issue.
After the game, cornerback Chris Johnson said, "It's like when the Raiders come to town, they predetermine how many flags we're going to get."
Veteran defensive end Greg Ellis thought it was conceivable the Raiders' issues with discipline hurt them with the officials.
"I have to say we did it to ourselves because we put the referees on guard against us," Ellis said. "When we do it to ourselves, the ref looks like, 'You know what? We're fed up with these guys.' Any questionable call "..."
In plain terms, Cable explained Russell is a "classy kid" but is not meeting the standard of mental and physical preparation for an NFL quarterback.
"He has to learn how to take care of business on a daily basis consistently and prepare himself and take care of his development as a quarterback," Cable said. "We'd be here forever to discuss all those things. There's a lot of them, but all the great ones have that, and you want to impress upon him to become that."