Henderson could start


Quick hits from Thursday’s practice and session with coach Lane Kiffin, which preceded Rob Ryan’s press briefing:

— If Kwame Harris doesn’t recover sufficiently in the next two days, Mario Henderson will be protecting the blind side of JaMarcus Russell in what could be the NFL’s toughest road venue.

Henderson took all the reps at left tackle for the second straight day as Harris sat out with a knee injury sustained against Denver.

Kiffin said Henderson’s presence would be taken into account with regard to play calling.

“Part of that depends on how the game’s going. Obviously, the opening script, we will take that into account, Mario’s first time playing and being on the road,” Kiffin said. “We’d take that into account but then we’ll see the flow of the game and see how it’s going.”

Two of the worst beatings I’ve ever seen a left tackle take were at Arrowhead _ Harry Boatswain of the 49ers in the Joe Montana-Steve Young game in 1993 and Pat Harlow of the Raiders in 1998. Of course, both of those came against the late Derrick Thomas, who was virtually unblockable at home.

— Kiffin, who has been blunt regarding Henderson’s lack of progress in the past, sounded cautiously optimistic should he have to start.

“Mario’s had a good week of practice. Over the last two days, has been able to get a lot of reps with the 1s with Kwame being out,” Kiffin said. “If he has to go, I’m sure Mario will go in there and do well and last year we went in there with Paul (McQuistan) playing tackle and were able to move the ball and came out with a win. Our expectation will be the same if Mario’s playing.”

— Derrick Burgess (shoulder) and Gibril Wilson (elbow) did not practice. Kiffin said he anticipated both practicing tomorrow. Harris and Burgess both went out to practice in pads, but didn’t end up practicing.

— Javon Walker practiced for the second straight day, but he may not be 100 percent and Kiffin wasn’t sure he would start if he played.

“There’s still something there a little bit,” Kiffin said. “I don’t know that I would sya he has th ebest burst that he’s had since he’s been here but he looks like he’s ready to play.”

If Walker doesn’t start, Ashley Lelie will open at split end with Ronald Curry at flanker.

— After not getting a run from scrimmage or a pass reception in the opener, Michael Bush may get his first regular-season touch Sunday.

“There were certain plays we had ready for Michael (against Denver),” Kiffin said. “One play that we did call was a pass play where we were trying to get him open in the flat and they had him covered and JaMarcus had to come back on the goal line back to his left to Ashley. Michael has some plays in the gameplan we’ll look to get the ball to him.”

No passing the buck

You’d like to think Raiders defenders will reward Rob Ryan for his loyalty by erasing the stench of the Denver loss.

Before Ryan came to the Raiders, it was a commonplace for defenders to roll their eyes and point fingers when things didn’t go well. It hasn’t happened on Ryan’s watch, even during the worst of times, and the defensive coordinator’s meeting with the press Thursday was a prime example why.

In contrast to Kiffin, Ryan absolutely will not roast one of his own players in public. He may be all over them in the meeting room or on the practice field, but when it comes to addressing the media, he steps up and takes the blame.

There were two reasons he met with the press Thursday _ to shield his players as much as possible from the Denver debacle while preparing for what he hopes is a winning effort against the Chiefs, and to refute Kiffin’s notion the previous day regarding the involvement of Al Davis in the weekly schemes.

The second part was a tricky tightrope, because Kiffin has made repeated references to Davis’ defensive involvement. Ryan had to stick up for himself while at the same time not ruffling the chain of command, and he did it forcefully and respectfully with regard to both the media and the head coach.

Blitzing has long been the cure-all for armchair defensive coordinators. As pointed out in yesterday’s blog, according to the statistical service Stats, LLC, opponents were 9-for-12 with two touchdown passes against Raiders blitzes on third down last year.

Ryan said the Raiders sent a blitz into a max-protection against Denver and paid for it by giving up a big play.

Without ever pulling Kiffin into the fray, Ryan said the three worst plays the defense had against Denver were in a “Tampa 2,” the defense run by Monte Kiffin with the Bucs and Tony Dungy in Indianapolis.

If the Raiders get things right against Kansas City and beyond, expect Ryan’s role to reverse. He’ll recede to the background and let the players take the credit.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • I dont give any creedence to weight, speed, height. Dudes that got heart, and go out there to play the game, rise to the top in this league, because most rosters are filled with content millionaire athletes, scurred of injury and looking bad on TV.

  • Nation

    I agree RR has to go if he can not turn things around. Seems his system is based on winning one on one matchups. But, when you don’t have the best personal you have to scheme better. Our front 4 need help to be effective.

  • NATION Collective – Thec

    Hayes, thanks for proving my point yet again… Trying to discredit someone on a blog is non sense……
    I would like to ask you though what dept do you work in for the Raider org? Is it marketing?

    I am not the “self appointed leader” of anything. I am just tired of the product we have on the field.

    Said it before you have a GOD complex, but i cant be controlled by you or your thoughts. I am not one of the shepple that will shrink when a blog professional questions them or says something i dont agree with.

    I think and do for myself. I love this team but my head is not in the sand.

  • Twocents

    You remind me of an ass kicking platoon leader in Nam.
    I’m ready, let’s go!
    If we lose, let no one come back alive!

  • HayesDaze#37

    I’m surprised nobody has brought up what RR said about (Ryans) being in six Super Bowls, and winning five of them. It’s a cool thing to hang his hat on, but a stat that should only be used if he had won one as a D-coordinator himself.

    I think RR should’ve been let go before Kiff was even brought aboard, yet I also understand Al thinking the continuity on at least one side of the ball would be a good thing. It hasn’t worked out that way, and now we need to see if he can salvage his defense — and his reputation — because the players will soon start to revolt otherwise.

    Kiffin and Ryan need to man-up, get together, and start acting like the leaders of men they were hired to be. Talking AT each other through the press will quickly lead to an even more ruinous state of affairs — and yes, it can certainly get worse).

    Al laid his bed, and he’s certainly not sleeping comfortably in it. Now he (and we) need to ride out the storms brought by his decisions, as painful as it is to do so.

    Another 40+ points put on this defense anytime soon, and continuity be damned, RR’s got to go — or we’ve given up all hope for improvement.

    No matter how great a job Kiff’s done with JaMarcus (yes, great — he’s taught him very well, and it shows every time we see him…mistakes and all) — he needs to start acting like a head coach, and stop acting like a pouty child. This team needs confidence and character — something the head coach should be overflowing with; Something Kiff seems to be unwilling or unable to show an alarming amount of the time.

  • NATION Collective – Thec

    HayesDaze#37 Says:
    September 12th, 2008 at 11:14 am
    Thec — The simple “definition” of insanity that you are apparently alluding to is just that…a very simple definition of very complicated mental diseases. There are many ways to be labeled insane, and just supporting a team through thick and thin is not one of them. Instead of asking if I’m insane, you should ask if I’m loyal. Then the answer would be a big YES, thank you very much.

    Hayes, sorry Bro but you nissed the whole point on this one. I wasnt alluding to your insanity, but to the insanity of us beleiving things are going to change with this organization. Sorry I think you over thunk yourself on this one….LOL

  • Twocents:

    I’m not a leader my brother, just a soldier standing side by side my with my Raider Nation brothers and sisters. Wear your gear and colors with pride this weekend by brother. I am side by side with you to fight!!


  • Joey Bee 1

    Henderson better step up a have a good game. He’s due like a book. The man is a giant. Can he play football? Is the question here. Make the most of it kid.

    Good luck.

  • We need a DC in the mold of Jim Johnson. Eagles D might not always be the best but they are always aggressive and nasty. With our secondary being very similar to theres we could apply same pressure as they do. We need to act not react. Could hire away seconday, or linebacker coach and make DC.

  • Al needs to hire Matt Foley as the head coach. They don’t need anybody to call plays, Al has that handled. That team just needs a damn motivational speaker to light a fire under their asses.

  • NATION Collective – Thec

    Insanity is the raqiders organization doing the same thing over and over again……

  • Ron

    I have never seen a head coach estrange himself from his team like Kiffin has done this year. From publicly humiliating players to disavowing any responsibility for the defense, his actions are hard to fathom. I can’t tell if he is just immature or if he is trying to draw fire from Davis. What team would want this guy coaching after this gig?

  • HayesDaze#37

    Won’t tell you where I work (for myself, by the way), but you’re not even close.

    408 — Grammar and spelling are very important when addressing educated people with your argument. Mistakes on a blog/forum are one thing, and not such a big deal — but, misunderstanding and misusing words in writings to corporate offices, commissioners, and journalists immediately diminishes the message.

  • HayesDaze#37 Says:
    September 12th, 2008 at 11:38 am

    “Kiffin and Ryan need to man-up, get together, and start acting like the leaders of men they were hired to be. Talking AT each other through the press will quickly lead to an even more ruinous state of affairs — and yes, it can certainly get worse)”


    Time for everyone to man up and FIGHT. Our coaches need to STFU and lead their soldiers into battle and FIGHT!! LEAD THE NATION, LEAD THE SILVER AND BLACK.

  • Joey Bee Post 761:


    “Make the most of it kid” and FIGHT MAN, FIGHT WITH PRIDE.

  • We love the shutdown corner, but we dont call the plays to take advantage of their skills. With having people they can play man we should be able to get creative with the other players they are freeing up by playing man. Pressurre breeds mistakes. Fear makes other teams game plan different. Under RR they could watch any tape over the last five years and game plan off of it because we never change.


    NC – Moved on to another conspiracy theroy huh NC?!! Sure, Big AL is involved with player selection and evaluation. However, I’m sure you just conviently forgot that after both drafts Kiffin, your self appointed hero and your #1 ant-Big AL guy specifically said we got the guy’s we wanted not Big AL got the guy’s he wanted. Yet the lies continue. Art said he got the players he wanted after the draft, etc. Getting Randy Moss was a deal that Big AL made and Art said that Moss was finished and Kiffin told Big AL that he didn’t want Moss so Big AL traded Moss for basically nothing. Big AL works with his coaches to get them what the want and need. Look at the wholesale changes to the roster from Art’s year to this year. We have basically a new roster of players and Kiffin is still whining. Kiffin was hired based on his supposed knowledge of offense yet the offense still stinks. I wouldn’t have given him control over the defense either. Kiffin hasn’t fixed the offense so why would Big AL trust him to handle the defense?

  • NATION Collective – Thec

    Trust me hayes i dont care where you work…. you post to me say raiders coporate head qtrs. Does not matter to me one bit. Right now you hold zero weight with me.

    I notice you put a lot of thought time effort into your post nice. Still doesnt change the fact that we are 19-62…

  • I agree with HayesDaze if you are going to address people in a professional manner you will need to mind your syntax.

    I also agree that when blogging you shouldn’t be concerned with grammar as much as you would be in writing a business letter.

    Imagine if lawyers were as lazy as us bloggers and legal contracts were written with bad grammar?

    back to the problem at hand:

    What I saw from RR reminded me of the famous Joe Bugel speech when he was on his way out.

  • new thread dorks!!!!

  • The biggest problem that I see with our defense is that it does not match our offense. That is why you have a head coach to coordinate both sides of the ball (and ST’s). We are a running team, that plays a conservative ball control offense, to counter that we need an aggressive defense that can stop the run. Instead we have a defense that is built to slow down offenses, rather than attack them. That kind of defense is suited to a quick-strike, high scoring offense. Furthermore our defensive personnel aren’t suited for this scheme. The D-line is just dreadful, not suited for any scheme, they can’t blitz and they can’t stop the run. The LB’s are quick, excellent blitzers, but they never do, instead they are left to stop the run, even though they don’t excel at that. DeAngelo is a cover corner, he needs help from the safety to be at his best, but we are putting him on an island, which doesn’t sit well with his risk-taking style.


    NC – For the record I am pretty certain that you are nothing more than a pathetic Charger fan attempting to get the greatest football Nation in the World up at arms against one another. How is not supporting my life long favorite team going to make my team better? I love football to much and I love the Raiders to much to fall for some hair-brained scheme cooked up by some jealous Charger fan. No SB’s, no winning tradition yeah I’d be bitter too. The Nation doesn’t need you our your schemes. Once Ryan and Kiffin are fired we will start getting back on the right track.

  • chuck

    They look confused and lost in that secondary to often in the game.Ryan in a man of pride,but the defense has not been very good for a long-long time.
    Why can’t we bring Huff on a blitz.He did very well in college.

  • NATION Collective – Thec

    Big Al, sorry wrong answer… Been a member of the NATION since 1970. 1 favorite player of all time Kenny “THE SNAKE” Stabler. Favorite team of all time the 76′ RAIDERS. BEST team of all time in my opinion the 76′ RAIDERS. I will allways bleed S&B, even if we go 0-20. lol ….nice reach but wrong.

    So big Al what Dept do you work for in the Raiders org?

  • Mike J

    A different take on Ryan and his “approach” to his players- it is the same one with Al Davis and the players, IMHO. That leaves THE PLAYERS WITHOUT ACCOUNTABILITY. This has gone on too long with the Raidahs. Maybe it’s just Ryan’s modus operandi but it is also the Davis way and it has run its course in Oakland. No player accountability, lack of discipline, not enuf talent, ? work habits- these are the 4 things that Kiffin’s been trying to change and he’s not allowed to. This team and franchise are going no where under Al Davis. It is the laughingstock of the NFL. Sad……

  • RaiderRockstar

    Screw Al:

    I would start Maroney, Turner & Fargas. Ricky Williams is going to steal a lot of Brown’s carries this season. Brown was a stud before the injury last year, but he’s got a whole new coaching staff and team around him this season. Plus Fargas ripped the Chiefs both times we played them last year. He looked good Monday night, but we weren’t able to run very much because Denver got a lead. 27-0 at halftime means a lot of passing in the 2nd half!

    I expect the Raider to run early and often. Hopefully we score first and keep scoring, because our defense looked terrible! Curry’s drop, Russell’s fumble, the bad calls & ball spots certainly didn’t help either… I like what I saw from Chaz & Ashley though

  • GuamanianRaider


    Good points, all. Thanks for throwing down.


    Keep touting the family theme, baby, till we get back to “just winning.”

    And for the folks thinking about the Raider personnel/staff posting on here… I WISH I WORKED FOR THE RAIDERS. I would do my damnedest to keep that job till we won at least one more Super Bowl. Can you imagine being paid to be a Raiders fan, and having opportunities to hear things from inside those closed walls? Of course things would have to be confidential, and when discussing confidential things you necessarily have to be vague and obfuscating.

    Two more days till we have a chance to show up as a football team.

    Raider on,

    Guamanian Raider

  • Mike J

    Guamanian Raider,

    Good points. I never looked at it like that. Hafa adai!

  • Rebel2124

    As far as what Ryan said…

    Hell yeah it’s on you Ryan. Tell us something we don’t know. And spare us your resume because right about now it ain’t worth the paper its written on. Tampa 2? Are you serious? We have corners who specialize in man to man coverage and your playing Tampa 2? When have the Raiders ever been a zone defense team. We play MAN TO FRICKIN MAN and its up to our guys to win their match ups. Stupid MF! if we haven’t gotten to the QB ALL GAME, you need to adjust and start blitzing. You blitz young QB’s right? Force them into errors right? Moron! Our LB’s are still soft against the run and so is Huff when it comes to tackling. No one was anywhere good enough defensively or along the O-line and they owe us more. And damn it I for one want whats owed to me. They owe it to themselves and their team. Work smarter and harder period or spare us and quit.

  • McRaider


    I was at the game on Monday. What happen Monday has not happened to our pass defense in a long time. I was pissed and could not understand what the hell was going on.

    I will say this, Ryan run d has been suspect, but the pass d has been good (not great).

    During the game I was asking Ryan’s job. Let’s see what happens on Sunday against the chiefs. If it is anything like Monday, I am writing to Al myself.


  • CAP

    Henderson starting at LT is not the type of uplifting news I was hoping for after last weeks debacle. Sounds like it will be a bad day to try to pass. Hopefully we’ll keep a FB/RB on that side to help out on pass protection and not get Russell killed. Fargas and McFadden running to the right should be our bread and butter on offense this Sunday.
    Im also hoping that Wilson will be ok for sunday. KC will be running the ball a lot and we’ll need his help tackling in the box.
    Hoping for a better showing by our boys this Sunday…

  • Virginia Raiderfan

    even tho its all f***ed up and Kiffin is acting like a little schoolgirl in the media we should beat the chiefs because Herm Edwards is an overrated coach and we will all go to bed with smiles on our drunken faces Sunday night…………but it still wont make anything change, I’m prepared to ride this Al Davis thing out….he might be outta touch, but I know he cares, he just wont let this team win anymore, just make Al watch old games from the seventies while the real games are being played it will all get better in a hurry….>>

  • Virginia Raiderfan

    Al to self “dammit when did Sistrunk unretire”

  • edug09

    Great Post, good work!