Scouring the wires


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.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • La Milicia Negra


    good to hear.. I had 4 days in the hut, doing nothing.. it was great.. Good you’re back..

  • r8dr4lfe

    Our defence got Matt Leinert benched
    Warner will be the starter.We can do ok with 1 more WR.
    lets put MBush as FB him and Dmac in the backfield at once.They are both good at receiving.Lets just get Jhorn 1 year contract

  • humbolt

    Dakota…good find. You have a linky/URL for this article? Thanks.

  • La Milicia Negra

    you all know I’m thinking McCown should be a backup QB, what about bringing him back as a receiver *giggle*

  • Brien

    arrrrrrgggggghhhh me maties how goes it?

  • r8dr4lfe

    Oh yeah is Doug Jolley still with the Jets
    if not then maybe take a look if yes than see what we can do to aquire him

  • Brien

    Time to go get Deverey Henderson as discussed last night………the saints gave up a 2nd and 5th for shockey i bet they can use another draft pick

  • Dakota
  • Brien

    I keep hearing folks talk about Joe Horn……..but why?

  • V.B.R8R

    Chris: great point. What some people are missing here is that we went for it on 4th and goal a couple of times and fell short. What I thought was a TD by Zach Miller that was unfortunately overturned (REALLY close) and one drop by Ron Curry that could have been called pass interference. Add a missed field goal by a dude who’s getting cut soon…score could have been WAY different going into the half and the first half was the only real important part of that game. We held them to no offense and made Leinart look like a 6th grader. Not THAT bad, considering…

  • r8dr4lfe

    Because he can catch the damn ball

  • Andrews Mom

    By Tony Moss, a dime a dozen newswriter

    Raiders suck cause I say so

    By Andrews mom, bigtime Raider fan

    Tony Moss blows

    Best year ever!!

  • Brien

    Harris and Green= terrible

  • Dakota

    So, if Carter and O’Neal are put on the IR, it means we only have to cut 3 guys by tomorrow afternoon. Who will get the axe? My money is on Derrick Gray, DE; Glenn Pakulak, P; and Jeff Otis, QB.

  • r8dr4lfe

    He played with Mvick strong armed QB used to catching fast balls he’s an upgrade over Rcurry keep him as #2 WR

  • Brien

    R8DR- Horn is old as hell and wont get the separation you think….we need a WR with some speed…….at this point curry and horn are on par with one another……would be pointless getting him but I wont doubt they sign him though

  • humbolt

    Thanks, Dakota.

  • Brien

    yeah horn sure did play with in 2007…….yawwwwwwwnnn he played with aaron brooks a strong armed qb…..get the facts straight buddy

  • Brien

    Joe horn hasnt been good since 2004………get over it

  • Brien

    joe never played with vick

  • r8dr4lfe

    Tim Browns old azz got seperation.Enough for first downs thats all we need him to do i know he is faster than Timmie was.

  • No Pie in the sky

    That article is the same old cheap journalistic dribble as we’ve been seeing since January. It’s based on an oft repeated and basically unsubstantiated “rift” between Al and Lane which is supposedly destroying the place.

    After buying the premise (of a self destructive rift) it’s easy to discount all the positives that happened during the off season. JR is healthy and committed and showing leadership skills, was at OTA and minicamp on time. Nmamdi showed up to camp. McFadden looks good and was signed on time. Bush looks good. Hall is an improvement and Schwiegert is gone. Most of the “departing” players were folks the team was willing to let depart.

    The raiders didn’t have the drama of the Rams, Packers, Miami, Jets, TBay, Niners, Bengals, Bears, or the significant injuries to qbs or key players as the Pats, Colts, Redskins or Bengals.

    As I said earlier, until they prove that they dont’ deserve my loyalty, this year’s team (and that includes Al and Lane) has my loyalty and patience.

    I’m still in!

  • Brien

    Horn faster than Timmy? lol in what years? like the last 2-3 of timmy’s career? come on!!!

  • r8dr4lfe

    Ok my bad no biggie honest mistake.Still an upgrade over Curry

  • mercat

    “Same old dumbass arguement, these dumbells want Mr Davis to trun over his franchise to young kid who hasn’t even though he hasn’t won a damn thing and we don’t know if he ever could if you gave the entire organization to him.

    Hey!! idiots this kid is UNPROVEN get it UNPROVEN that he even knows how to coach let alone run a draft.

    It’s one thing to give a team to someone who’s proven he can handle it. It’s totally something else to give total autonomy to someone who hasn’t.

    It’s like letting your 16 year old son who’s learning how to drive, drive the Porsche while you drive the beatup VW. Who in there right mind would do that?? but a complete idiot.

    Yet you want Mr Davis to do that with Kiffin. Let Kiffin get his first winning record then you MIGHT have a point.”

    First off, we haven’t been the Porshe since 02. And when you are senile, you shouldn’t be driving the car anyways; accidents happen, even with good intentions.

    I think a better analogy would be this. Al Davis wants Lane to cook him a filet mignon, but all he’s giving him is cold fish.

  • r8dr4lfe

    Yeah the last 2 years but Timmie still got 1st downs thats all we need him for

  • Dakota

    Brien, you want to get rid of Harris, Green and Grove…who the heck are we going to replace them with this late in the game? Henderson, McQuistan and Wade?

  • Brien

    How the phuck is horn an upgrade in 2008 over curry? he hasn’t been good since 2004!!!!

  • Scottish Raider

    Dakota, Parcels has already cut the Fish to 70 – so that he can move fast to net any swimming talent.

    If I was the Raiders GM (heaven help you), I would be tempted to cut hard tomorrow – and essentially focus on the 53 currently pencilled onto the roster, the likely practice squad members plus any upgrades/trialists I could pick up this week.

    No need to carry dead weight.

  • Big Daddy WooWoo

    I bet the Saints may want RBs and DBs too.

    The Raiders are gonna cut some talented people at both positions this year.

    If I were the Raiders GM, I wouldn’t be scouring the wires, I’d be blowing up the phone lines around the league.

  • Brien

    Wade is better than Grove Dakota…..i can feelyou on not having much better at LT….but McQ played better last season than Green when he got in

  • Kifin’s an Idiot:

    Russell’s solid opening drive, which was short-circuited by the first of four Cardinals sacks, gave way to an uneven performance which wasn’t helped by the fact that Kiffin announced his intention to virtually abandon the run and concentrate on passing.

    It was almost as if Kiffin was out to prove to anyone with a pair of eyes why complaints about opening up the offense were off base.

  • Brien

    Wad was replaced by a pro bowler in tampa……..Grove got outdone by a gimp like Newberry

  • Brien

    Kell- kiffin was test ratting the situation but dammit why do a playaction onthe four yard line on 4th down? made zero sense

  • r8dr4lfe

    Curry took to many hits now he’s scared to catch the damn ball starting to drop to many his way.Oh by the way no need to get all vulger im a grown azz man talk to me like 1 no direspect it’s only an opinion mine also counts just like yours

  • Scottish Raider

    The McQuistan situation is bizarre. He did quite well at RT at the end of last season, so why is he stuck at back-up OG, even when Green is obviously struggling?

  • Brien

    post 428? his last two years in oakland werent great because they phased timmy out for 49er bitches but you saw the end result right? god dont like ugly…….the 2002 year was some luck ass shhhhhit and we were physically beat up against tennessee

  • Brien

    Scottish…….its because as everyone says Cable is god

  • Brien

    yeah u can say your opinion all you want but IMO getting Horn will be for nothing because he wont be better than curry and we need the speed we just lost………think logically my friend

  • SC Raider

    I still say we go get K Robinson for returner depth or if JLH craps the bed and to give us some depth @ reciever. Sammie Parker is also available and only 27.

  • Brien

    McQ outta be the RT…….what the phuck Cable!! Green is horrible

  • r8dr4lfe

    Whats speed good for if you wont catch the damn ball ala Jjett i know he did ok at Carolina but Javon did good in Gbay and Denver

  • Brien

    JLH= is fine

  • Dakota


    I agree with that philosophy. Dump Condo, Boone, Reece, Rodd, Irons, Archuleta, Ech, Wand, Wagner, strong and James along with Gray, Pakulak and Otis…they are all worthless or redundant and waiting until the deadline on Saturday will only prevent us from signing players released early by other teams. See, Bill knows what he is doing.

  • Brien

    Deverey Henderson got speed and can catch……..what good is having great hands when you can’t run any damn more? remember last year how we had zero separation on the WR? You want a Walker,Horn, and Curry dynamic huh? boy oh boy

  • Brien

    They cant dump Marcel Reese yet………he isthe backup FB now

  • The Terrapin’s assessment of the team insofar this preseason:

    DEFENSE – The 1st unit defense has dominated each opponent it has faced. THIS is the most important point I can make here and should not go unnoticed. No one has passed successfully on it. Even the mighty Cardinal WR corps has proven unworthy.

    Huff looks at home – has had 2 opportunities for INTs in as many games, on virtually identical intercepts, and cashed in on one. He’s visibly making plays out there.

    Wilson has heightened the level of play on defense exponentially. He will likely eclipse Morrison in tackles – the dude is just everywhere – and that should push Morrison even further to focus more on tackles vs the glamorous INTs. Wilson = the most valuable addition to the defense.

    This secondary is the best in the league but suffers from lack of depth. Nnamdi, Hall, Huff, Wilson, Routt …you can’t get much better than this.

    The run defense looks improved. How much is the main question? TKelly sure looks worthy of the doe. He’ll only get better during the season. Remember he’s coming off injury and still getting into shape.

    We still need another stud NT/DT. Warren and Sands are just not as consistent or diverse in their usage. Diverse in their usage? I’m talking about diversifying the defense by switching to a 3-4 which Rob Ryan has shown he wants to do. Someone needs to be able to play NT. Ideally Sands would fit that mold, which is what he was paid for, but he’s proven to be inconsistent. Warren is just not stout enough for that.

    Another stud LB would help. That goes without saying.

    The pass rush can get better, but I expect a lot of coverage sacks. We are already witnessing “coverage pressure”.

    Depending on how much they’ve improved in the run, this defense could be ranked very highly this season. How high? We’ll see. I don’t see bottom dwellers in their future.

    Offense to come soon….

  • r8dr4lfe

    Well then sounds like pro bowler lets sign him now why wait

  • Brien

    the saints gave up a 2nd and 5th for shockey…….they need a pick most definitely…….we need to trade for that guy pat kirwan spoke on this guy as well……he would help us big time

  • The Black Clouds and Silver Linings

    BC – The Raiders lost their 2nd game in a row.
    SL – The Raiders outplayed SF (4 quarters), Tenn (4 qrts) and Arz (2 qtrs) in general this preseason. They did so when they were obviously not playing to win. The scores were meaningless.

    BC – The starting offense has scored only 1 TD in roughly 6 quarters of play. The red zone offense has struggled greatly.
    SL – Kiffin obviously tested red zone passing packages against Ariz when a run might have scored. Also, obvious regular season FG tries were not attempted in order to give the offense more work. Kiffin has obviously not opened up the playbook as evidenced by no Fades, Boots or othe red zone staples.

    BC – Russell looks like a rookie at times. He sacked himself 2 times versus Arz. Once by holding the ball way too long and his last sack he was slipping down at the top of his drop before the D got there. He has forced passes into double coverage. He has yet to connect on any deep pass.
    SL – JR may have auto-sacked twice but he escaped pressure many more times. He is mobile and if Oakland establishes the run, he can be deadly in play-action as his only TD drive showed. He had only 1 INT and NO fumbles which is huge. As Kiffin has preached, given the supporting cast he can be really good.

    BC – ONeal. This injury is by far the worst for what the Raiders want to do.
    SL – Griffith is a starter quality FB and does Wakefield want to add FB to his resume’?

    BC – Carter. The #2 guy is a double problem because Curry is a better slot #3 type. It hurts 2 players.
    SL – Despite the “castoff” label, the reality is guys like Carter would be bubble players on teams like NE, Indy, Cinn and so on. That means a cut buble player from a top team could easily come in and have the same potetial “castoff” Carter did.

    BC – The O-line gave up 4 sacks and many pressures.
    SL – Kiffin all but told the D in Arz “we’re passing” in the media and with empty backfield formations. He gave the D an advantage and told his o-line to handle it. Considering, they actually did well. This following a solid game gainst a top-tier Tenn D. With the threat of running plays, you can bet speed rushers will have to slow down or get gashed. Cable seems to be making a solid if not great line out of these guys. Provided they don’t have to pass every play – a big challenge for even the best lines in the NFL.

    BC – W R’s
    SL – Walker looked better and the RB and TE are solid. Remember, 1 solid WR is all that’s needed if you have a solid ground game and a receiving TE like Miller.

    Defense Breakdown later.