Sep 072016
 

The Texans got into town at 2pm and it looked like the game was really going to happen. There was a modest panic earlier in the week when it looked as if the Raiders wouldn’t have anything to wear. The team’s jersey manufacturer made a shipping error that resulted in the uniforms being sent from Kansas City to a location on the East Coast. There they languished unnoticed for several days while anxious team officials put out a dragnet. Eventually the missing jerseys were discovered and were shipped to a San Francisco company for numbering before being delivered to the team.

Now that disaster had been averted, optimism was in the air. The Raider front office expected attendance for the game to surpass 25,000 with some suggesting the number might go as high as 35,000. Locals were hoping the Raiders would beat the Texans, but the real competition was with the 49ers. Team owners knew that playing in San Francisco put them in direct competition with their NFL counterpart for ticket sales and hoped the Oakland community would cross the bay to provide enthusiastic support for their team.

Oakland Tribune

Sep 062016
 

Raider players engaged in a light workout as oddsmakers judged the Dallas Texans as at least two-touchdown favorites over them in the opener. “Considering their advantage in having a week’s more practice, I think the odds are just about right,” groused head coach Eddie Erdelatz, “I’d gladly pay (the $1,000 fine imposed by AFL commissioner Joe Foss) for an extra week’s work.”

Oakland Tribune

Sep 062016
 

Anticipation continued to build in Oakland as the Raiders approached their first game. Head coach Eddie Erdelatz named Tom Flores and Paul Larson as offensive captains and said that, on defense, the middle linebacker would serve in that role. Tom Louderback, who would normally fill that spot, was a definite scratch for the Texans game and Bob Dougherty would take his place. Meanwhile, two guards, Don Manoukian and Charlie Kaaihue, were back at practice after spending a couple of weeks sidelined with pulled muscles and were expected to play on Sunday.

Oakland Tribune

Sep 052016
 

Four days from the preseason opener, the focus was all on the Dallas Texans. Getting the most press was the Texans’ early start to training camp. They, along with the Chargers had broken a league rule starting camp a week earlier than allowed. Each team paid a $1,000 fine, but otherwise suffered no penalty.

“We go against the Texans minus a week’s preparation,” said head coach Eddie Erdelatz, “Those seven days mean a great deal. With us, they could mean the difference between a reasonably skilled club and one merely adequate. Right now we are rounding into shape, but we haven’t completed the full circle. The boys are beginning to get the real feel of my style. I’m not building alibis, I’m not crying the lowdown blues, I’m merely emphasizing facts. We’ll do our best, and our best may be pretty good, but Dallas figures to give us trouble.

“We will learn much from this first game and I’m sure we’ll have a better idea of just what we have when it is over. I’d sure like to be starting even with Dallas. They got that week’s jump in practice which means they are just that much further along than we are. I can’t understand coaches and club officials doing something like that. This game is supposed to teach sportsmanship and fair play.”

Regardless, most observers agreed that Hank Stram’s Texans were formidable. They had three 1959 All-Americans on offense, including Oakland native Chris Burford at end, fullback Jack Spikes, and guard Marvin Terrell. Also in the backfield with Spikes were Johnny Robinson and Abner Haynes, who had been with the Raiders briefly in the spring. Cotton Davidson, who had appeared in a few games in the mid-1950s for Baltimore was at quarterback.

Haynes, though, was who had everyone excited. “He has looked like a million dollars, said Dallas PR man Bob Halford, “Even better than we anticipated. He runs like Willie Galimore of the Chicago Bears.”

On defense, the Texans had seven players with previous NFL experience, most notably end Paul Miller formerly of the Rams, and ex-Niners tackle Ray Collins.

The Raiders would be down one more man on game day. End Ron Beagle, an Erdelatz favorite, hadn’t yet healed from his knee injury and was sent home for 30 days rest, after which the team would re-evaluate him.

Oakland Tribune

Sep 052016
 

Now that two-a-days were done the players had time to indulge in a little team promotion. With an afternoon practice scheduled, the Raiders bused from Santa Cruz to Jack London Square in Oakland to participate in a “Welcome Raiders” parade. The front office expressed satisfaction with their local popularity in general and said tickets for the Texans game, a benefit for the Children’s Hospital of the Eastbay, were selling briskly with more than 20,000 already sold, according to PR man Gene Perry.

Head coach Eddie Erdelatz said the team appeared to have been inspired by the event and looked particularly crisp and spirited during their workout. Only non-contact blocking and tackling drills were performed, as the coaches hoped to prevent further injuries before the game.

Their hopes weren’t realized, though. Middle linebacker Tom Louderback came up with a bruised shoulder and was pronounced doubtful for the contest. On the other hand, the Raider quarterback picture brightened immeasurably when Tom Flores was able to return to practice following treatment of his pulled calf muscle and third-stringer Bob Webb was seen on the field as well.

Looking ahead, the team provided a provisional depth chart for the game that included few surprises, aside from the absence of Flores and Webb. On the offense, Chris Plain and Don Churchwell were at tackle, Lou Byrd and Ron Sabal were at guard, and Jim Otto was at center. At the ends were Alan Goldstein and Gene Prebola. In the backfield behind Paul Larson were Buddy Allen, Tony Teresa, and Billy Lott.

On defense, the front four consisted of Carmen Cavalli and George Fields at the ends, Joe Barbee and Ramon Armstrong on the inside, Louderback at middle linebacker, flanked by Billy Ray Locklin and Bob Dougherty. In the defensive backfield were Joe Cannavino, Alex Bravo, Eddie Macon, and LC Joyner. Larry Barnes was the placekicker, while the punting job was up for grabs among Barnes, Wayne Crow, and Bob Fails.

The complete depth chart

Oakland Tribune

Sep 052016
 

The Raiders suffered a significant blow on the last day of two-a-day practices. Quarterback hopeful Tom Flores, in a neck-and-neck contest with Paul Larson for the starting job, went down with a pulled calf muscle. Trainer George Anderson wouldn’t put a number on how many days he might miss and head coach Eddie Erdelatz was faced with the possibility of having only one quarterback, Larson, ready to go against Dallas. Third-team signal-caller Bob Webb was still out with a bad knee and Tony Teresa was firmly installed at halfback.

The team had seen fewer new injuries in recent days, but Flores’ setback was a reminder that luck could change. Others who could miss game action because of injuries were defensive end Charley Powell, who was definitely out for the contest because of his strained Achilles tendon, and guards Charlie Kaaihue and Don Manoukian who were still being treated for pulled muscles.

Oakland Tribune

Sep 042016
 

With the preseason opener just a week away, the Raiders took a break from the two-a-day practice schedule and held only a brief stretching session allowing the squad to recover from yesterday’s scrimmage. For a couple of players, though, the respite was going to be a bit longer as the team cut halfbacks Carl Gordon and Wayne Schneider, reducing the player count to 52. The Raiders still had another month to get down to the league’s first mandated roster limit of 43 on August 23.

Off the field, Chet Soda hired former Oakland Oaks and Stanford University public address announcer Stan Easterling to occupy the same post at Kezar Stadium.

Oakland Tribune

Sep 032016
 

The Raiders held their second scrimmage of camp and this time owners Don Blessing, Ed McGah, Chet Soda, and Wayne Valley were there to observe. Tom Flores led the first-string “gold” squad while Paul Larson ran the second-string “blue” team. Observers thought Larson’s group performed slightly better, with Larson showing a knack for the bootleg run, but also thought both units showed real improvement since the first scrimmage, four days ago. Head coach Eddie Erdelatz singled out offensive linemen Wayne Hawkins, Jim Otto, and Ron Sabal, along with cornerback Joe Cannavino, for praise, and thought the defense in general showed good speed to the ball.

“It was a better scrimmage than last Tuesday”, according to Erdelatz, “but overall I would have to say it was just fair. The running was improved but we dropped too many passes. The defensive line pursuit was fine. We are getting better in all departments and, considering the short amount of practice, we don’t look too bad.”

Oakland Tribune

Sep 032016
 

The Raider coaching staff began to turn their focus toward the first preseason game, against the Texans. To that end, head coach Eddie Erdelatz added a final set of plays to the offense’s playbook so Tom Flores and Paul Larson could work with the complete offense installed. The defense was still working with just two of the planned four defensive sets and the full defense wouldn’t be in place until the regular season opener against Houston.

In injury news, the team finally gave up any hope that defensive lineman Jim Woodard would recover from his knee injury in time for the start of the season and sent him home to Texas. That decision left Carmen Cavalli in possession of a starting defensive end spot.

Oakland Tribune

Sep 022016
 

With the first preseason game just ten days away, the Raiders were still far from deciding on a first-team quarterback. Both Tom Flores and Paul Larson were proving to be highly accurate passers in practice and were making the coaching staff’s decision as difficult as possible. A favorite target of both men was Tony Teresa, the former San Jose State quarterback, who had recently moved from defense to offense. Head coach Eddie Erdelatz said the move was only temporary and was intended to give Teresa experience at multiple positions.

It wouldn’t be a camp report without injury news and today was no exception. Middle linebacker Tom Louderback and defensive end Larry Barnes each sustained mild shoulder bruises and would probably have light duty for a few days. More seriously, end Ron Beagle and defensive lineman Jim Woodard were entering their second week off with no end in sight. But on the plus side, halfback Jack Larscheid had fully recovered from his hamstring pull and guards Don Manoukian, Charlie Kaaihue, and defensive lineman Charley Powell were expected back on the field any day.

Oakland Tribune