Meeting John Henderson for the first time, one can see why he needed a member of the coaching staff in Jacksonville to slap him before games to get fired up. Because Henderson is a laid-back cool customer who seems impossible to get a rise out of off the field.
The Jaguars cut the 6-foot-7, 335-pound Henderson in April - despite finishing seventh in the league against the run - and Henderson went to the team offices to shake hands and say thanks for drafting him years ago.
Some scouts say the 31-year-old is washed up after eight years of getting mauled in the trenches. Ask Henderson if he has anything left, and he smiles.
"I got it all, baby," he said.
The Raiders don't necessarily want it all. They signed Henderson and just want him to rotate inside with Richard Seymour, Tommy Kelly and Desmond Bryant and improve a run defense that was 29th in the NFL last season.
Oakland coach Tom Cable was asked if Henderson looked like the anchor he was hoping for, and Cable replied, "Yes, definitely."
Henderson doesn't need to start.
"You put me in there and rotate us, and you got something," Henderson said. "You can take me out on third down and long. I live for the short-yardage plays."
Henderson has always preferred hitting running backs to quarterbacks.
"Think who talks the most," he said. "Running backs. I want to shut them up. Quarterbacks, he's down there, he's looking like ... (dazed). ... Running backs talk; I want to shut them up."
A first-round pick in 2002, Henderson averaged 63.5 tackles a season and 4.6 sacks during his first four seasons. The two-time Pro Bowler averaged 42.3 tackles and 2.6 sacks the last four years and was let go by the Jaguars as they cut costs and went younger, drafting Cal defensive tackle Tyson Alualu in the first round.
While in Jacksonville, Henderson had the famous pregame ritual where he let assistant trainer Joe Sheehan slap him hard across the face to get him riled up. That ended last year when Sheehan left to join the Browns. Henderson was not about to hold auditions for a replacement.
"I just went back to the headphones and tried to get mentally fired up," he said.
Henderson heard that Cable volunteered for the job, but his application was turned down.
"Not with those big hands of his," he said. "I can't get knocked out before the game. I'm trying to find a soft-hand man."
Briefly: After returning to practice this week after suffering from a concussion, receiver Louis Murphy was out Thursday with a sore foot. It was stepped on in Wednesday's practice. ... Third-year receiver Jonathan Holland was carted off the field after coming down bad on his ankle. ... Rookie receiver Jacoby Ford was out with a sore quad, and Nick Miller stepped in and stretched out for a beautiful, diving catch. ... Offensive coordinator Hue Jackson was unavailable to the media, making it 191 days since he was hired that the team has turned down interview requests. The weird thing is that Jackson is very personable, and players - offense and defense - gush about the emotional coach and his impact on both the offense and team morale.