Part of the Bay Area News Group

Scouring the wires

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Sunday, August 24th, 2008 at 6:47 pm in Oakland Raiders.

Quick hits from Lane Kiffin’s conference call press briefing Sunday night:

– Kiffin is expecting the Raiders to be on the lookout for potential replacements for fullback Oren O’Neal and wide receiver Drew Carter, both lost for the season with left knee injuries.

At fullback, Marcel Reece, although an intriguing talent who could have a place on the practice squad, is not ready for prime time on Sept. 8 in the backfield.

“We really only have one with Justin (Griffith),” Kiffin said. “The other guy is a project, he was a receiver a month ago.”

Aside from starting split end Javon Walker and wide receiver Ronald Curry, the seven receivers currently on the Raiders roster have combined for seven receptions for 66 yards. Six of those for 49 yards come from Johnnie Lee Higgins, while Chris McFoy had one catch for 19 yards after being promoted from the practice squad last year.

Jonathan Holland, Drisan James, Todd Watkins and of course rookie draft picks Arman Shields and Chaz Schilens have not caught a pass in the NFL.

“There’s not a lot of history there as far as guys playing in the league besides Javon and Ronald,” Kiffin said. “Really, none of those guys have really played before. Johnnie played a few, I think he had two or three catches last year so it would be tough to only go with two guys who have played before.”

– Veterans available include the perennially troubled but talented Koren Robinson _ whose best success has been on kickoff returns _ and veteran Joe Horn, who has talked his way out of his last two places of employment. Horn’s agent told ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson he expected to talk to the Raiders, but it’s not as if agents ever say, “It’s the darndest thing. No one is interested in my client.”

When it comes to players who aren’t currently employed, there is usually a reason why they’re not employed.

Not that the Raiders won’t be interested.

“There are always a few guys who have been veterans at every position that wait for things to happen like this, for teams to get injuries,” Kiffin said. “They stay in shape and they know their bodies so they know they can still come in late in camp and still contribute.

“That’s one option. There are a number of guys out there. Another option is to wait either until a couple of days for these first cuts or even more for the last cuts. The last cuts, some good people are getting let go on some of the good teams.”

– For the record, Mike Williams is available. So are Johnnie Morant, Doug Gabriel and Carlos Francis.

Never mind.

– As much as the Raiders like Shields’ skill set, his odds of making the 53-man roster appear slim.

“I wouldn’t want to put a ceiling on it but it would be pretty tough,” Kiffin said. “These guys have had so many reps of running our offense, he’s missed so much time. It would be difficult but you never want to count him out.”

Kiffin hopes Shields will be available to practice, although that has been a common theme throughout camp.

– When asked about players possibly in for tryouts, Kiffin could have said, “We’ve got some things going, but I’m not at liberty to say,” or something along those lines, because teams don’t often confirm tryouts.

Instead, (editorial comment to follow) Kiffin lent even more clarity to his current authority with regard to personnel when he said, “I have no idea.”

– OK, enough with the Darren McFadden as Jerome Bettis act. The end is apparently near, with the Denver Broncos on the horizon Sept. 8.

“All I can say on that is I have to continue to remind you guys that it’s preseason and you guys can figure out what that means,” Kiffin said.

– With Ricky Brown apparently having sewed up the job as strong side linebacker and Johnnie Lee Higgins looking to be the return specialist by default, the only real question left is starting center. Kiffin had Jake Grove in the lead last week, but said he may have information regarding a depth chart this week.

– JaMarcus Russell earned generally positive reviews for the third straight time. Russell went 14-for-28 for 140 yards, but missed out twice on potential touchdown passes _ the first when Zach Miller nearly came down with a ball in the end zone but was ruled out, the second when a pass into the back of the end zone glanced off the hands of Curry, who was being jostled by a defender.

On the Curry play, Kiffin thought it may have been worth a flag for defensive interference.

“He had one poor throw, the interception,” Kiffin said. “Other than that, he didn’t force things. He did well, especially under all the pressure he was under. He wasn’t back there setting his feet a lot. He had to move around a lot and made plays on the run.”

– Kiffin acknowledged that Fred Wakefield struggled when inserted at right tackle, where he played in place of Cornell Green for much of the second half.

– Safety Rashad Baker (ankle), cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha (ankle) and safety Hiram Eugene (hip) could all miss practice Monday. Shane Lechler probably will not kick, meaning Glenn Pakulak may be retained on the roster through Tuesday cutdowns. Sebastian Janikowski could be available, meaning Aaron Elling could be seeking employment.

– Maybe “Super” Mario Henderson is the answer to the receiving woes. He lined up as a tight end on the left side, and was even announced as an eligible receiver. Michael Bush ran behind him to get a first down.

Kiffin said he was just giving opponents something to look at.

– In Oakland, Kiffin ran a two-minute drill for no apparent reason in the first half other than to get a look at it. He abandoned the run, went for a touchdown when normally would attempt a field goal and attached absolutely no significance to the supposedly most important week of the preseason other than the fact he lost two offensive players for the duration of the season.

Elsewhere, Tom Brady and LaDainian Tomlinson aren’t likely to play until the lights go on. Teams continue to charge full price for half-(bleep) games.

You’ll never hear me trashing Raider fans for failing to show up in August. It’s an instance where they’re showing their good sense. Even a lot of people buying season tickets aren’t bothering to show, because the 39,000-plus announced crowd was pretty much a joke.

The Raiders were offering up partial season ticket plans Saturday night, and seem to be actually making some headway in marketing which would really pay off should the team finally be worth watching.

Come up with a full season ticket plan in February that doesn’t include the preseason and then they’ve done something.

I know. Lots of money at stake. Can’t be done. Blah, blah, blah.

It’s never a bad thing to tailgate on a Saturday evening in the sunshine. But paying full price for the scrimmage to follow is an insult to the paying customers _ not just in Oakland, but throughout the league.

  • Share/Bookmark

[You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.]

  • http://ibabuzz Wiz 76

    Yes, we are.

    It aint dead yet.

  • McRaider

    While Al may make mistakes with FA and draft picks, He does it with the intent to make the team better. His big flaw is is that he does not respect coaches as much as many of the other owners.

    Aside from that what is the problem with the organizations. Our players are not out there getting arrested and putting a black eye on the NFL like many other players. And Al Davis follows the rules that are set by the NFL even when he does not agree.

  • http://ibabuzz Wiz 76

    The more we lose, the more I drink.

  • Quagmire’d

    What’s up Wiz, you sound down and out. What gives?

  • Exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    Just Win Baby Says:
    August 25th, 2008 at 11:35 am
    You guys still beating that same old dead horse in here?
    ————————————————-
    Over and over again!

  • Quagmire’d

    Losing O’Neal and Carter is gonna hurt.

    Joe Horn anyone? Or how bout Koren Robinson?

    If we can get the league minimum I say why not.

  • http://ibabuzz Wiz 76

    Q,

    it is just a bad day in toon… I mean Raider town.

    I want to get rolling, but this damn injury bug has our a$$.

    One step forward, two steps back.

    Madden save us.

  • http://erikapodaca@yahoo.com Riverside Raiders Fan

    So many different opinion have been expressed yesterday and today in regard to what we can and cannot do. From positive to negative.

    Overall, I my opinion, just another one of many, I do believe that Al Davis wants to win now, or expects an above 500 season with the final touches being put into place next year during the draft and free-agency. However, AL has already made a substantial move thru the money paid in free-agency and I believe his intentions will be shows when the final cuts are made. If Al makes a couple more picks up, at least three (3), and those being an “offensive-tackle,” another “wide
    receiver” and a “defensive-lineman,” then we’ll have the proof, and the additional pieces to make a decent run towards a positive win season and maybe play off contention. However, if Al doesn’t do thinging further in regard to substantial help in are areas of need, then he can’t expect Kiffin to perform magic and it will be a clear message that Kiffin will have to do with what he has…upgrade and develope those rookies and secondary players. At what cost, at a sub-par 500 season at best.

    I hope it’s the addition of players with above average skills who can contribute this year, even at the expense of giving up some next year drafts and digging into those money pockets again.

  • http://ibabuzz Wiz 76

    Doug Gabril may be worth another look.

  • http://ibabuzz Wiz 76

    Randy Moss anyone?

  • Batman

    Ok, It is what it is. Change will come, when it comes. Other than that, we just sit here, and be cheerleaders. None of us hate our beloved raiders, but who wants to sit through another year like the last five. At least head in the right direction ! Oh I forgot your cheerleaders, so dont forget to change your sanitary napkins.

  • http://erikapodaca@yahoo.com Riverside Raiders Fan

    Batman: You know Parcell’s has a big contract in Miami and that his ego is bigger than Al’s…that would and could “never” work. Madden has made so much money at what he’s doing that, in my opinion, there is no upside whatsoever for him to take a GM position. The only way Madden would consider coming in…would be complete and total ownership after Al’s demise, and then only if Madden has family that he could leave the franchise with, who would carry on the tradition and legacy. I don’t believe Madden has those things in place. Nice dream, though, minus Percell and his giant ego and fat belly.

  • http://ibabuzz Wiz 76

    I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.

    I can’t drink enough.

  • Batman

    Wiz, I understand your gloom, word of advice, use smoke , not drink, no hangover then, thats What I do in times like these.

  • Florida Pete

    Silver Blood … Black Veins Says:
    August 25th, 2008 at 11:31 am
    No doubt that Al has a big problem with letting go of some players that he’s high on, but I think Kiffin is a real prima donna and defeatist. So many people think he’s this great young coach, but he’s only good in some aspects of coaching. He has little feel for the game and hasn’t shown he can be successful unless he has an overpowering team like he had as an O.C. at U.S.C. I think it’s obvious that Kiffin is making excuses for his own incompetence and inability, so he can get another job when his tenure in Oakland patty melts. Everyone in the league knows there are difficulties with Davis. That’s part of the job. He should have know that when he took it. And kiffin does have a right to be upset about some personnel issues, particularly on the offensive and defensive lines. But at some point you just have to coach and do your best. If he didn’t try to take over the team last year and spit in Al’s face ( firing Rob Ryan without Al’s approval was a boneheaded move) then he would have a much better working relationship with him. Norv Turner applauded Al’s ability to get him the players he wanted ( it didn’t do much good, because Norv is……..well, Norv ). So it can be done.
    And so what if a receiver doesn’t have experience playing in the league. No one does starting out. McFadden hasn’t played a single game and despite what everyone says we really don’t know how he will turn out. With every negative comment or veiled attack on the organization, Kiffin is just making it obviously clear that he’s not a good N.F.L. caliber coach and he doesn’t know how to handle or motivate players on the professional level.

    :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

    100 percent agree…

    the biggest mistake Al has made over the last couple of years is hiring an immature, smartassed, still wet behind the ears punk…

    al shoulda fired his ass after last season…

  • http://ibabuzz Wiz 76

    Batman,

    I havn’t had a hangover in 10 years. I just live in a constant booz induced fog. and I can’t say I don’t like it.

  • McRaider

    I don’t like Parcell at all. A great coach, but the jury is out on whether he could be a GM.

    Like riverside said, his ego is bigger than Al’s.

    he already got rid of a great player for no good reason. Al would never do that,I that is what I like about Al. He really does care about 99 percent of his players.

  • http://ibabuzz Wiz 76

    My problem is when my RAIDERS lose I kinda get out of control. I think some of you understand.

    Yes, I have a problem, it aint my drinking, it is my RAIDERS!

  • http://none MR

    Bo Schembechler Jackson Says:
    August 25th, 2008 at 9:54 am

    Yes Dakota, Kiffin is building this team. How, you ask?

    > Drafting McFadden. I believe Kiffin wanted DMAC from the beginning, and his pre-draft smokescreen was smooth. Good thing Al wanted him too.

    ……

    LOL. Bo, listen to yourself, man. How can we know for sure it was Kiffin who made the decision to draft McFadden when the owner of the team, who, in this team’s case, is always involved in personnel decisions, wanted him, too?

  • Los Malosos

    I think Kenny Shed and Alvis Whitted are available. Go get em Al!!!

  • garthraider

    POST303 Amen

  • Batman

    Wiz, Hang in there buddy, things will get better eventually. I hope the next time the raiders make it to the super bowl, Im not watching from up above, it may take that long, Raise a glass for me.

  • http://erikapodaca@yahoo.com Riverside Raiders Fan

    Silver Blood….Black veins…post 296:

    I hear you, but you have no direct proof that Kiffin tried to fire Ryan, you’re apparently making the assumption though media bull crap, also, you know nothing about Norv applauding Al Davis for getting him players or not getting him players requested. Although, Norv kissing up to Al, being a total yes man…was probably the case.

  • McRaider

    MR Says,
    LOL. Bo, listen to yourself, man. How can we know for sure it was Kiffin who made the decision to draft McFadden when the owner of the team, who, in this team’s case, is always involved in personnel decisions, wanted him, too?

    The words came right out of kiffen’s mouth.

    I heard Kiffen say that they were looking at DMAC the entire time. That he was the highest player on the there board and that they wanted him all along. Each time he said it, he had a sparkle in his eyes.

    Also, look how vocal he has been, if he did not like DMAC, he would have dropped hints like he has about everything else.

  • http://CJ CJ Legend 34

    I understand everyones concern at the receiver spot but remember we have McFadden that can slide over to flanker and catch passes. Zach is a great down filed receiver that I feel has the talent to make the probowl possibly this year. Bush can catch out the backfield so we will be mixing it up. I really like sanchez and Watkins as rookies that can mix it up. Watkins has really shown allot of promise.

    Do you all remember when we had Randy Moss, Jerry Porter, and Curry. Sounds like the best receiving package in the league. What happened, 2-3 wins, who’s counting? A running game with some check downs can really help a passing game. Don’t get me wrong I would love a probowl cast of receivers but we had that and they were a toilet bowl cast of receivers except for one performer who we kept Curry. It is early, he will step up.

  • http://www.Raiders.com Oakglenn

    I don’t know McRaider, Parcells did a pretty good job building this here Dallas Cowboy team.

    You guys I said this a ton of times. Why bring in a bunch of guys right now that don’t know the offensive system, don’t know the defensive system, that you are going to cut anyway??? All it’s gonna do is disrupt practice more than Kiff thinks. Even tomorrow there is not going to be anyone on the wire. Wait til finals and there are going to be some guys there. FB can be had. Someone said Lo Neal is on the Ravens. Well, if he is they have McClain, Green and Neal. They are not gonna keep three FB’s.

  • http://ibabuzz Wiz 76

    Batman,

    Will do.

    I fell the same, just one more SB before I die.

    When it happens I might drink myself to death so I dont have to wait another 30 years for it to happen agin.

    When it happens it will make all the pain well worth it.

  • http://erikapodaca@yahoo.com Riverside Raiders Fan

    Scottish Raider…post 293:

    What can you directly attribute “negatively” towards Amy Trask, our CEO, that she’s responsible for (decisions made that were not ordered by Al Davis) that you would want to sack her??????????????????????????????

  • http://CJ CJ Legend 34

    By the way I am glad Carter broke down now than in the season. He is to injury prone, he was like that in Carolina as well.

    Lets see what kind of receivers Al can drum up. I hope he does not get Hron because he was hurt in Atlanta, but you know Al he always bene able to get those old classic cars up over 80 mph on the freeway.

  • http://ibabuzz Wiz 76

    Good mournin Oakglenn, welcome to the party.

  • http://none MR

    Parcells a worse GM than Al Davis? Guys, come on. Al’s biggest flaw building football teams is that he relies too much on athletic ability and tends to overlook pure football ability. Wherever Parcells goes, he builds a team full of football players and they always compete. He’s done it as recently as this decade. I honestly believe the last team Al Davis primarily built, that won, was in the ’60s. Al’s a good owner but he is no GM, at all. If he didn’t own the team, I’m certain 19-61 in the past 5 years would have him canned. That’s why, IMO, there’s no way Kiffin can “overstep his bounds”. I wish Kiffin would go as far to overstep his bounds as Davis did with Wayne Valley.

  • Thec

    Again post 329 illustrates the amount of laughter generated in this blog……..priceless ROFLMFAO

  • http://none MR

    Got it, McRaider. Kiffin’s definitely telling the truth when taking the buck on McFadden, because, why, he had a twinkle in his eye. Thank you.

  • McRaider

    Oakglenn Says:

    I don’t know McRaider, Parcells did a pretty good job building this here Dallas Cowboy team.

    Oakglenn, you know as well as I that Jones is just like Al in regards to personel decisions. He has the final say. I don’t think it was all Bill. Bill didn’t seem to like TO and I bet he would have released TO is given the chance. JMO

  • http://none MR

    McRaider, you’re right. Jones is like Al Davis in regards to personnel decisions. Neither of them know what they’re doing. Both of them hire coaches like Parcells and Gruden to pick their brains, then send them packing…then, eventually take credit for their success. The only difference between Jerry Jones and Al Davis is that Jerry likes the camera more.

  • McRaider

    MR Says:

    Got it, McRaider. Kiffin’s definitely telling the truth when taking the buck on McFadden, because, why, he had a twinkle in his eye. Thank you.

    What makes you think that he was not 100% on board with DMAC? It sounds like you doubt he wanted him.

    If he was lying then, maybe everything coming out of his mouth now is a lie also. Maybe he really does call the shots. THANK YOU!!!

  • Batman

    I was twenty the last time the raiders won the SB. I thought with that team, we would of won three more, before 1990. Where did the time go? The football time. What the hell did we do with it ? After thought dont remind me. The seventies raiders were awesome, dont forget we got screwed with the immaculate deception bullsh$t and if you remember back in 1977 with bronco fumble, that they said wasnt, effin refs/roselle/nfl bastards. Exuse me I have to go and make myself numb.

  • McRaider

    I agree MR. Jerry loves the be seen. I think he does have more respect fot the coaching though

  • Voldemort

    wow, I just found out that Osi Humanurine is out for the season. Sucks for the giants! From best pass rush to no pass rush…ouch.

  • La Milicia Negra

    Hey guys..

  • http://none MR

    That’s why this Cowboys training camp show on HBO is just hilarious. Jerry Jones sashaying his ass all over the screen pretending that he was the one who built this team. As far as I know, there hasn’t been a mention of The Tuna, yet. This show is a pure sham. It’s a Jerry Jones PR stunt.

    I’ll give Jerry credit for TO. But Romo? Roy Williams? Jason Witten? Don’t make me laugh. I’ll bet you’re going to tell me next that Jerry Jones was the brain behind Aikman, Emmit, and Irvin, too.

    McRaider, I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever seen anyone credit Jerry Jones for making Dallas’s successful personnel decisions. You’re taking a long, embarrassing road to downplay Bill Parcells.

  • La Milicia Negra

    just got home from a trip from sweden..

    Man this is depressing news.. to lose 2 starters within the first 2 minutes..

    For those who (severeRaider) still mourns the loss of Quintin Moses, prior to me leaving for Sweden, he had played 40 snaps for Miami and was still without a tackle..

    I’m glad we didn’t waste a roster spot on him, Richardson was better still is, and Scott may be too..

  • http://www.dontbotherresponding.com Bo Schembechler Jackson

    Dakota/MR,

    You can trash Al all you want, but he HIRED the guy (Kiffin) who is building the team, as I noted above.

    Kiff and his staff are teaching good new habits and developing young talent. Coach can whine about depth to the media ad nauseum, but his results on the field in 07 and 08 show we are improving. And I believe Kiff when he tells the media he wanted DMAC all along. Our GM did well to listen to him. WTG Al!

    Every time the team hits a bump in the road, you (and KK and COW) have a hissy fit at Al’s expense.

    No way to be a fan, or a man.

  • McRaider

    Look, you guys may be right. Parcells may be a great GM, but being a GM is not the same as being a coach. Everywhere parcells has coached, he had success but only the Giants were SB winners. Let’s see what Miami does in the next few years and then say how great of a GM he is.

  • http://none MR

    Bo, most Raider fans feel the same way about Al as we do. Every poll ever taken. At least 70% want Al to retire.

  • http://none MR

    19-61, WTG Al!

  • http://none MR

    And, Bo, what “bump” in the road have we hit? Is this your sub-conscience confessing to us that you know we’re right? If you can admit we’ve hit a bump in the road, then you know something is wrong.

  • McRaider

    it is just amazing to me that success is because of everyone not named Al Davis, but failure is because of only Al Davis.

    Most of us are not saying that Al Davis has done a great job this last five years, but when we had success in was not all because of Gruden. Al Davis brought in some great in order to make a run. It was Gruden job to coach that team to SB. Just like it’s lane job to coach this team to at least a winning record.

  • http://www.Raiders.com Oakglenn

    McRaider there is a difference between the Cowboy situation and the Raider situation. While Jones literally fathoms himself as the new Al Davis, being the maverick owner, playing by his own rules, getting troubled star players to perform for him, the difference is Jones listened to Parcells for good reason. Parcells had a hand in building some of the greatest football teams in NFL history. Kiffin has not.

  • McRaider

    MR, I would not disagree with Al Retiring. The Raiders do need a fresh mind making some of these decisions. But I don’t think that everything is Al fault either.