Darting here and there ...

ı New name for the Raiders this year: The Silver and Blackouts. Could be looking at 0-for-8 this season if they don't beat the St. Louis Rams on Sunday, or even if they do.

ı Yes, the blackout rule might be the height of NFL arrogance in this economy. Then again, it's easy to see why commissioner Roger Goodell isn't reaching for the remote. Of last year's 22 blackouts, 18 were restricted to three cities -- Oakland and Jacksonville (seven each) and Detroit (four). That's not a crisis ... yet.

ı The San Diego Chargers being blacked out this week is the real alarm bell. But unless you see 50-60 blackouts this year, don't expect change. Once the dark veil is lifted, no way the NFL will be able to drop it again.

ı As good as Darren McFadden was at Tennessee, the Raiders could still be utilizing him a lot more creatively. You're running him into the line behind that offensive line? Just because you're blacked out doesn't mean you can't throw a screen pass once in awhile.

ı Oh, and now Robert Gallery's already hobbling again. Somebody named Daniel Loper, who has five starts in five years (with the Lions, no less), might start in his place. When they say O-line, the O stands for zero in the Raiders' case.

ı Al Davis won't blame his almost total neglect of that area of the team, of course. He'll just hang it on Tom Cable for not coaching them right.


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ı Figures a guy named Figurs wouldn't last long on the Raiders.

ı Mike Singletary smells a rat. What, only one? Last Sunday in Seattle was a veritable Ratatouille.

ı And Jimmy Raye is asking "What's a Yahoo?" Doesn't he ever look in the mirror? Said it on Day 1 of his hiring, the 49ers will go nowhere with that guy in charge of the offense, and we're sticking by it more than ever.

ı From this view, in fact, it might be more worrisome that Raye IS getting the plays in on time.

ı Don't know who'll be the NL West winner and who'll be the wild card, but the teams will be the Giants and Rockies. Tough luck, Friars.

ı Aubrey Huff hit a three-run jack a day after his wife gave birth to the couple's second son. The kid's name is Jagger. Hope he doesn't scream like Mick, because Aubrey needs to be getting all the sleep he can right now.

ı Brian Sabean has made some nice moves this year, but his best one was calling a closed-door summit of his starting staff at the outset of September and reading it the riot act. The turnaround for Giants' pitching has just been too dramatic to dismiss it as coincidence.

ı And sorry, Timmy, but right now, Matt Cain is the unquestioned ace.

ı If it isn't tough enough for the A's to deal with what the Giants are doing right now, Billy Beane and Co. have to watch Santiago Casilla, a guy they simply cut loose rather than go to arbitration with, become an absolute 98-mph stud in the Giants bullpen.

ı Say sayonara to Trevor Cahill's AL Cy Young Award candidacy. But that's OK, he's still had a great year.

ı Word is that the A's might be able to land their flagship radio station KTRB (860-AM) for around $10-11 million. Hey, if they can toss that kind of money at a risk like Ben Sheets, it seems a small and logical price to pay for 50,000 watts of long-term air-wave stability.

ı What a send-off for Bobby Cox in Atlanta: The Braves lost two out of three to the Washington Nationals at home this week. And they still have six left with the Phillies, who once again are looking like the inevitable NL champions. Believe it, what's happening with the Braves is just as important as keeping up with San Diego and Colorado if you're a Giants fan.

ı Whatever happens, I still give NL Manager of the Year to Bud Black in one of the most competitive fields ever.

ı Finally, when quarterback Neil Lomax was at Portland State in 1978, the football team beat Delaware State 105-0. Don't know why I thought of that, other than that Portland State plays at Oregon today.

Contact Carl Steward at csteward@bayareanewsgroup.com.