October 23, 1960

Final statistics

Head coach Eddie Erdelatz called it “far and away our worst performance” and he wasn’t kidding. On a damp, blustery day in Buffalo, the Bills hit on big play after big play and thumped the Raiders 38-9. The lowering, gray skies and steady light rain kept attendance down to a paltry 8,876, but those who did show up saw their team at peak performance.

The Raiders, at 3-3, came into the game as one of the hottest teams in the AFL and a win, coupled with a Boston win over the Broncos, would move them to the top spot in the league’s Western Division. The Bills, at 1-4, entered the game with the league’s top defense, but with an offense that hadn’t found much success. They had made a change at quarterback just a week ago, picking up Johnny Green, a Steelers castoff, and started him in place of Tommy O’Connell, an old Browns hand. In that game the Bills lost a tight one to the Titans, but head coach Buster Ramsey was encouraged by his play and planned to keep him in there against Oakland. Read more “October 23, 1960”

October 18, 1960

The team got some bad news today when fullback Billy Lott, one of the heroes in the Patriots game, pulled a hamstring in practice. The severity was unknown, but the team said he was doubtful to play this Sunday against the Bills.

Despite the setback, Eddie Erdelatz was cautiously enthusiastic about his team. While refusing to get caught up in talk of a title run this year, he said the potential was there down the road.

Citing the youth of his team, he said, “With two years experience and added weight, they could lick ’em all. Lack of experience has hurt us this year and maybe the lack of weight, but just figure a guy like Oglesby, for instance. Right now he is 23, stands 6’4″, and weighs almost 230. In two years, he’ll be close to 260, with two full years experience behind him. And it is the same with almost all our young kids. Crow, Prebola, Goldstein, Cannavino, Fields. Right down the line we have young, first-year men in key spots. They are bound to make mistakes, but they are an intelligent bunch, so we don’t have too many men making the same mistakes twice.”

Oakland Tribune

October 16, 1960

Final statistics

 

The Patriots hadn’t lost a game on the road and the Raiders hadn’t won at home, but that was all out the window at the end. It was probably the Raiders’ best game to date, but they were also lucky to get away with a 27-14 win over the Patriots on an unseasonably warm afternoon at Kezar Stadium.

Almost immediately, things began to go Oakland’s way. On the second play from scrimmage at the Raider 13, Jack Larscheid, starting in place of Tony Teresa, took a pitch from Tom Flores and took it 87 yards for a score. And if that weren’t a rousing enough start, Ron Burton fumbled on Boston’s first offensive play and Carmen Cavalli recovered for Oakland at the Patriot 31. Flores couldn’t move his team much closer and the score stayed 7-0 when Larry Barnes’s 40-yard field goal attempt came up short.

Most of the rest of the quarter was a punting duel. The Patriots did get close enough to give Gino Cappelletti a chance to kick one from 47 yards out, but his attempt was short, too. Frustrated with Flores’s inability to move his team after the first drive, Eddie Erdelatz put in Babe Parilli late in the quarter, but on his second play Bob Soltis picked him off and returned it back to the Raider 9. Three plays later, Alan Miller took it in to score from the 2, but Riley Morris, in the game despite numerous reports saying he wouldn’t play, blocked Cappelletti’s extra point attempt and the Raiders kept the lead. Read more “October 16, 1960”

October 2, 1960

The Raiders had high hopes. They were coming off their first win of the season and the Broncos were coming off their first loss. And for a quarter, the Raiders were able to keep hoping, but Denver scored three touchdowns in quick succession in the second quarter and coasted from there to a comfortable 31-14 win.

Read more “October 2, 1960”

September 16, 1960

Final statistics

The Raiders hosted the Dallas Texans on a cool, breezy Friday night at Kezar Stadium. The Texans were coached by Hank Stram, last seen as an assistant at the University of Miami, and were led on the field by quarterback Cotton Davidson, who had taken the field briefly with the Baltimore Colts in the mid 1950s. The Texans had gone through the preseason with a perfect 6-0 record, but lost to the Chargers in their season opener, 21-20. Read more “September 16, 1960”

August 30, 1960

Continuing to regroup following the grueling road trip, the Raiders took stock of the health of their team. Counted amongst the wounded were backs Luther Carr, Wayne Crow, and Ron Drzewiecki, all with rib injuries, defensive lineman Charley Powell with a sprained knee, guard Wayne Hawkins with a sprained right ankle, and fullback Dean Philpott who continued to nurse a knee injury. Trainer George Anderson said none of the injuries were serious and each of the players, plus quarterback Tom Flores and tight end Gene Prebola, would be available for the Houston game.

All, that is, except Drzewiecki and Philpott, who were placed on injured reserve, reducing the roster to 41 players. The league required all teams to get their count down to 38 and to comply, the team waived guard Jerry Epps, defensive end Jerry Flynn, and receiver Charles Moore, none of whom had made much of their opportunities in preseason work.[1]

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune
San Mateo Times

[1] There was some disagreement among the sources whether Drzewiecki and Philpott were waived or put on IR. The Review and the Times said IR, the Tribune said they were waived.

August 27, 1960

With one game left in the preseason, the Raiders were just trying to keep any more players from getting injured. The team’s top running threat, Jack Larscheid, was reportedly hurt with an unspecified ailment and wasn’t expected to play against Boston. Defensive back Wayne Crow was suffering from a pulled ligament that was likely to restrict him to punting duties. And the team labeled halfback Buddy Allen as doubtful to play, too.

Interestingly enough, the player least likely to play on Sunday was someone who said he was healthy and ready to go. Quarterback Tom Flores said his shoulder felt “much better” and hoped to get in there against the Patriots, but head coach Eddie Erdelatz said that probably wasn’t going to happen, both because he wanted to give his top signal-caller more time to heal and because he wanted another long look at Babe Parilli and Paul Larson.

With the end of the preseason near, some of the Raider players took time to reflect on the team’s chances for the season. Though they hadn’t seen all of the teams in the league yet, most of the players thought the Chargers were the team to beat, while a few others favored the Dallas Texans. One player who wasn’t ready to concede to anyone just yet was Larscheid.

“I don’t think you can count us out,” he said. “I think we can beat both Dallas and Los Angeles. We were just getting organized when we played Dallas and I’m convinced was can take Los Angeles.”

While the team still faced some serious holes in its lineup, the league had provided them at potentially valuable remedy. The Raiders would get the first crack at signing any players let go on the final cut-down day, September 6.

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune
San Mateo Times

The Mid-Week Take: August 23, 1960

After three games, with a 1-2 record, the Raiders were a definitively middling team. All three games were close and the team’s point totals on both sides of the ball were near the league median. The Raiders had significantly outscored their opponents in the first and fourth quarters, but the reverse was true in the middle two periods and they had yet to score at all in the third. Yes, it was the preseason and this was all meaningless, but the Raiders were thought to be under a real handicap because of their late start and to see them play competitive ball was both a relief and encouraging.

Offense

Overall, the Raider play calling on offense was balanced, with a 98 to 104 run/pass ratio, but the running game was lagging behind at this point, with the team averaging less than 3.5 yards per carry. Only Jack Larscheid, with his 6.3 yard average, was anything more than workmanlike in the run game. Billy Lott and Buddy Allen were given the lion’s share of the work in the backfield, but Lott’s pass catching ability gave him the advantage when it came to competing for a starting spot. Tony Teresa was the only other runner getting a serious look, but he, too, was more effective catching the ball and, in fact, was going to get his reps in at the flanker spot going forward, at least until tight end Gene Prebola returned from injury.

As for the quarterback spot, there was no competition. Eddie Erdelatz had to all intents anointed Tom Flores the starter and, despite his recent injury, he would presumably get his job back as soon as he returned. In the meantime, Babe Parilli and Paul Larson would fight over the scraps.

The biggest area of uncertainty, though, was at wide receiver. Prebola was the tight end, by default, and Charlie Hardy seemed to be taking the split end spot as his own, but the other side was still up for grabs. Teresa was working there for now, but the team’s long-term plans for him were still unclear. He had thrown a few halfback passes and was adequate catching passes coming out of the backfield, but he was woeful in the running game, averaging just a couple of yards per carry and was often stuffed behind the line.

On the offensive line, only 5’9″ Don Manoukian was mentioned with any regularity in press dispatches, so it was hard to tell what was going on there. It was clear, however, that the offense was still very much a work in progress.

Defense

The Raider defense was in the same boat. They were good at getting the ball from their opponents—eight turnovers in three games—but they were giving up a lot of yards otherwise. Opponents were averaging nearly a yard more per run and better than six yards a clip through the air, and the Oakland rush had sacked opponent quarterbacks only once for a paltry five yards.

On the defensive line, end Carmen Cavalli was getting the most attention, but it was clear that the unit wasn’t getting it done. Among the linebackers, Bob Dougherty and Tom Louderback seemed to be doing a fair job, but still needed to get stouter against the run. And in the secondary, cornerback Joe Cannavino was rising above the crowd in pass coverage and was showing a nose for loose balls.

Special Teams

Erdelatz appeared to have settled on linebacker Larry Barnes to do the placekicking. He was true on extra points and was okay so far on field goals as well. Halfback Wayne Crow had laid claim to the punting job with his 45-yard average. The return and coverage teams were performing within expected norms.

The consensus among observers was that the Raiders had beaten expectations so far. They held their own in preseason losses against the Texans and the Chargers, teams that were thought to be title contenders and, above all, they hadn’t embarrassed themselves. And it was clear that many people thought they would. They were about to face a pretty stern test of two games in five days, but they were also in a position to get a good feel for the players who, to this point, hadn’t played all that much. After that, they would have two full weeks to get ready for the Oilers in the regular season opener.

July 26, 1960

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, who was practicing with a bruised shoulder, exacerbated the injury and was pronounced doubtful for the upcoming 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.

Oakland Tribune

July 16, 1960

Hard work continued at Raider training camp. As the first week came to a close it was evident that getting the players in shape was the first goal of the coaching staff. Eddie Erdelatz was happy so far. “We’ve got our toughest week behind us now,” he said, “I’m satisfied with the improvement and I think we have accomplished our mission this first week. These players want to play and they have a great attitude, which is very important. They are hearing me, so to speak, and from what I observed they like this type of camp. After one week I think we have good backfield speed, which will improve as our timing is perfected. Our line has average speed, but again, this will improve as the big guys get into better shape, and the squad is beginning to work as a team.”

Tom Flores, who was the early frontrunner for the starting quarterback position, and end Charlie Hardy were standout performers on offense, while Wayne Crow and Tony Teresa were looking good on defense.

Still, the injuries kept coming. This time around it was running back Brad Myers. Myers, who hadn’t been mentioned in previous reports, was a 6’1″, 195-pound back out of Bucknell. He ended his collegiate career as the Bison’s career leader in rushing yards and points and made honorable mention Associated Press Little All-America in 1952. He was picked in the ninth round of the 1953 draft by the Rams and had a nice rookie season, but went into the army afterward. Upon returning to Los Angeles in 1956, he couldn’t quite regain his old form and an injury ended his season early. He was traded to the Steelers, but was cut in camp, then ended up with the Eagles in 1958, but played sparingly. Now with the Raider, he joined the many players who had succumbed to a muscle pull and was unable to practice for now.

There was also one defection on the day. Idaho end Walt Denny (misidentified in the Tribune as Idaho State end Jim Denny, of whom there is no record) decided he had had enough and left camp voluntarily.

Bucknell football media guide
Oakland Tribune