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McFadden as change-of-pace back?

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Friday, September 19th, 2008 at 1:45 pm in Oakland Raiders.

Quick hits from Lane Kiffin’s press briefing following Friday’s walkthrough as the team began boarding buses the airport for their trip to Buffalo:

– Rookie running back Darren McFadden did very little in practice and will need a pain-killing injection to face the Bills Sunday, Kiffin said.

McFadden will be watched closely during warmups, but Kiffin said it would possible Michael Bush could end up being the lead back, with McFadden coming in for a quicker, faster change-up.

The previous day, Kiffin noted that McFadden’s runs were coming in a “big play, little play,” mode rather than as conssitent yards against Kansas City and expressed concern about a possible fumble as his workload increased.

That indicates that for all the talk of curing McFadden’s fumbling problems at Arkansas, he still does not have the trust of the staff in that area.

– Kwame Harris did not practice and will almost certainly be inactive against Buffalo without what Kiffin called “a big comeback.”

That means another road start for Mario Henderson, who with a little help from his friends and coaches, effectively neutralized Chiefs right end Tamba Hali and was not called for a single penalty.

It gets tougher Sunday. Bills right end Aaron Schoebel has flown under the radar of national consciousness for the most part but his 53 sacks are the most in the AFC since 2003, four more than Indianapolis end Dwight Freeney.

– Wide receiver Javon Walker (hamstring) practiced for the second consecutive day and Kiffin said the Raiders hope to get him involved. Of course, “I said that last week, too. We’ll see what happens in warmups.”

– In Week 1, holder Brian Moorman, the Bills punter, threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Denney on a fake field goal attempt.

Now all the Raiders have to do is make sure they’ve got the 19 trick plays covered. The Buffalo special teams, coached by Bobby April, are considered among the best in the league and also among the most deceptive.

“They do a lot of stuff,” Kiffin said. “We’ve got 20 different fakes on film over the years from this, and so we have to be on our toes at all times. They’re not afraid to do anything.”

Kiffin said the Bills have displayed trickery even deep in their own territory.

The Week 1 touchdown pass from Moorman to Denney also included a 63-yard punt return by Roscoe Parrish and a forced fumble by Jon Corto which was later converted to a touchdown.

– The acquistion of 6-foot-6, 310-pound Marcus Stroud has dropped an anchor in the middle of the Buffalo defense, and it’s worth noting that the Raiders have had trouble getting untracked with both the run and pass against teams with elite, powerful tackles such as Albert Haynesworth of Tennessee, the Kevin and Pat Williams of Minnesota, and (when healthy) Jamal Williams of San Diego.

Kiffin didn’t attempt to hide his concern for the matchup between Stroud and Cooper Carlisle, the right guard who has been the Raiders most steady lineman since he arrived. Kiffin said Cooper sometimes has trouble holding his own against big tackles with a huge push.

“He’s on Cooper most of the game, and if there’s something that Cooper isn’t very good at, that would be it. He’s 296 pounds, so he does get pushed sometimes,” Kiffin said. “It is a concern for us and we’ve got a plan, but you can pick five plays out of each of those games where he’s just dominating those plays.”

While defending the run, Kiffin said large, physical tackles, prevent the Raiders from hooking linemen out of a play, and that zone blocking works better run away from players like Stroud then running at them.

Stretching the field on them brings in the possibility of a cut block.

“Once you put it in his head guys are going to cut, and they feel that, now they slow down,” Kiffin said.

– Former Raider tackle Langston Walker, who was part of a offensive line that gave up 72 sacks in 2006, has drawn raves from Bills coach Dick Jauron and by all reports seems to have regained the sense of humor and engaging personality he had in Oakland until things went downhill under Art Shell.

Walker even subbed for left tackle Jason Peters on Week 1 and did a solid job, switching back to his familar right tackle spot in Week 2.

Prone to having difficulties with speed rushers in Oakland, Walker will be faced with Derrick Burgess Sunday.

– In case you haven’t seen it, Kiffin has some support in the form of a web page which wants him retained as head coach.

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  • K-Rock

    Kiffin saga just part of five-year abyss

    By Jason Cole, Yahoo! Sports

    The height of Rich Gannon’s NFL career was with the Oakland Raiders. As league MVP, he led the team to Super Bowl XXXVII during the 2002 season. He played alongside stars Jerry Rice and Tim Brown for one of the most storied franchises in sports history.

    Yet, for all the glory Gannon enjoyed, he can tell everyone what a struggle it was to play for the organization.

    “It’s like I’ve said many times, every day was a fight inside that building to do what we did,” said Gannon, now a TV commentator. “We had to overcome adversity in the building and then get on a plane to go try to beat Denver.

    “When I played in Kansas City, all I had to do was walk in the door. I didn’t have to worry about guys showing up late for practice or meetings, guys being out drinking until 3 a.m. or missing curfew the night before games. In Kansas City, that stuff didn’t happen. In Oakland, it was an everyday occurrence.”

    Photo Gannon, with Davis, in 2004 – his last season with the Raiders.
    (Getty/Jamie Squire)

    Considering that, it should be no surprise that in the five years since Gannon and Oakland were at the top of their game, the franchise has fallen into a deep abyss. Since the end of 2002, which culminated in a lopsided loss to Tampa Bay in the Super Bowl, the Raiders have lost at an unprecedented rate.

    The net result is that the Raiders have suffered five consecutive seasons with at least 11 losses, going 20-62 in the past five-plus seasons in a league that is designed around the principal of parity.

    Part of the problem has been that on-the-field leaders such as Gannon, Rice, Brown, Trace Armstrong, John Parrella, Lincoln Kennedy and Bill Romanowski have been replaced by … well, they haven’t been replaced.

    “What you have left is all these guys (owner) Al (Davis) loves; these disaffected, talented guys who are only marginally productive and weren’t really even all that productive in college,” one unnamed former Raiders employee said. “They don’t care about winning, but (those are) the guys who are supposedly the leaders.”

    While the team has lacked consistent production from players on the field, the franchise has been the epitome of instability on the sidelines. Current head coach Lane Kiffin is the fourth since Gruden was essentially traded to Tampa Bay after the 2001 season.

    Barring an out-of-body experience by Davis, there will be a fifth coach very soon. It’s not that Kiffin is simply on the outs after refusing to step aside in January when Davis reportedly drew up a resignation letter for him. Kiffin, repeatedly taking verbal shots at the owner in the media, wants out faster than investors can dump their AIG stock.

    “That’s the funny part about people asking if he’s worried about getting fired,” said a source close to Kiffin. “He’s worried that he might be stuck there the whole season.”

    So sometime in the next few days or weeks, Kiffin will be fired. While such a move addresses the short-term issue of an owner getting rid of a coach he doesn’t want, it doesn’t solve the bigger problem: The Raiders are an institutional mess.

    “They say there are 32 organizations in the NFL, but really it’s only 31,” one former Raiders player said. “The Raiders aren’t an organized team.”

    Or as former Cowboys and Dolphins coach Jimmy Johnson, now a FOX analyst, said last weekend: “I don’t know that there’s a lot of people who would want to work there. It’s a mess and it’s been a mess for quite some time, I just don’t know how anybody functions in that type of atmosphere. They do have some good young players and they showed that (against the Broncos). I think eventually this team will be one to be dealt with but as far as being a coach there, being an assistant coach, being someone in administration, it really is a mess.”

    If there is a center to the dysfunction, it’s Davis. The former coach-turned-executive is a Hall of Famer and has long been considered a brilliant football strategist and football businessman. The problem is that at a time when the NFL has become increasingly sophisticated, Davis is too old school and hands on.

    “You want to know how far behind the times he is? He still signs everybody’s expense forms,” another unnamed former employee said. “Not a dollar gets spent in that place that he doesn’t have a say about.”

    While that may have been a functional way to do business in the NFL 20 years ago, it’s unfathomable at a time when a majority of the NFL’s teams are worth more than a $1 billion.

    Davis’ control goes well beyond monitoring if someone has gone over per diem. Davis makes nearly all the personnel decisions and has systematically eliminated people who used to disagree with him.

    “If he had his way, we’d have taken Jordan Beck instead of Kirk Morrison, but we wouldn’t let him,” former Raiders personnel man Mike Lombardi said, recalling a draft-day debate he had with Davis in 2005 over which linebacker to select in the third round. “He wanted Beck, but we had coached Morrison at the Senior Bowl and the whole coaching staff believed that Morrison was the best player we had seen there. We all told him, no, Morrison is the guy.”

    Photo Morrison makes a play during the Senior Bowl.
    (AP/G.M. Andrews)

    Beck was waived by Atlanta after 2006, played part of 2007 with Denver and is now out of football after being waived by the Broncos in August.

    Morrison has been a starter since he was a rookie.

    While second-guessing Davis on one draft pick is being picky to say the least, what has happened since is indicative of Davis’ desire to control and his lack of understanding what works in the modern NFL.

    “Everything is about, ‘Remember when …’ ” said Lombardi, making an open-ended remark about how Davis is trying to conjure past greatness.

    For instance, before the 2007 draft, Davis told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen that quarterback JaMarcus Russell reminded him of Jim Plunkett, another chunky-bodied quarterback who won two titles with the Raiders in the 1980s. Plunkett was a No. 1 overall, although long before Oakland picked him up as a reclamation project.

    Likewise, Davis’ fascination with defensive backs (the Raiders have used a first-round pick on either a cornerback or safety in five of the past eight years and this offseason signed safety Gibril Wilson as a free agent and traded for DeAngelo Hall) harkens to the days when the Raiders won titles with Mike Haynes, Lester Hayes, Jack Tatum and George Atkinson.

    Perhaps even more significant, Davis allows players great latitude. Former Raiders lineman Adam Treu recently wrote a column on nationalfootballpost.com about the blatant uniform violation by the Oakland defensive backs in the season opener. Treu derided it as an affront to league rules and sign that the players had no respect for authority.

    That should be no surprise. Davis has often reportedly overruled coaches when they have tried to fine players or told coaches who needs to play. On the way to the Super Bowl in the 2002 season, the Raiders would regularly fly on a Friday before a Sunday game. According to multiple team sources, the reason was that a large number of players would get drunk on the plane ride to a road game.

    “We needed Saturday to get sober so we could play on Sunday,” one former player said.

    How does the problem get fixed?

    “The first step to rebuilding the team is to tell the owner not to walk in the door ever again. The next is to get rid of the front office and then all the personnel people … There’s no structure in place. That’s why nothing is going to change,” said another former Raiders player.

  • http://none MR

    My computer crashed today. God says you’re welcome, Oakglenn. But back to our little conversation earlier. Did you ever explain what you meant when you said that you’d rather have Parcells or Polian running the Raiders than Al Davis? Because gee, Oakglenn, that’s exactly what your sworn adversaries in here have been saying all along. You know, the ones you’ve been destined to discredit since they’ve gotten here. Now, looking down the barrel of 1-2 and another coaching change, you’re starting to express your true wishes for Al being replaced? If so, shouldn’t you be done holding Kiffin accountable, then? If you want Al replaced with Parcells or Polian, it has to be for a reason. Any chance that reason is the same reason Lane never could get his first foot forward in this hell hole? Do bother responding, Oakglenn.

  • http://none MR

    A.I. (“Jim Lofton”), great article by Silver at Yahoo.com. Thanks for the heads up. Probably the best punch up I’ve seen on this situation. I tried posting it in whole but the mods aren’t having in. Here’s the url, in case anyone hasn’t read it yet.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=ms-thegameface091908&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

  • http://none MR

    K Rock, your yahoo link is interesting, too. They don’t let me post long s’t anymore. Wonder why. Did I ever offend anyone?

  • Kiffin In

    http://nfl.fanhouse.com/2008/09/19/denny-green-is-not-walking-in-that-door-al-davis-oh-wait-w/
    Stews: “It’s obvious that some time during the course of the year, Lane Kiffin is probalby going to be dismissed from his job. If that happens and your phone rings and the caller ID says ‘Al Davis,’ do you answer that phone call, Coach?”
    Green: “No I do not.”

  • Kiffin In

    post 345 – that’s why we need a real GM! Can’t trust Al’s judgement on talent.

  • Andrews Mom

    “That is the worst I’ve ever played; that is probably going to be the worst game I ever play.” The 24-year-old Cromartie played Sunday with a tender hip, without the benefit of practice and with his mind elsewhere. The results were a day on which he was flagged four times, including once for unnecessary roughness and once for a face mask, both of which contributed mightily to Broncos touchdown drives in the second quarter. And, according to STATS, Inc., Cromartie was burned 10 of the 11 times he was targeted on Sunday, which contributed mightily to the Broncos’ 350 receiving yards. –”

  • WVRAIDER

    AL thinks we are stupid, but his plan is obvious. He is looking at the schedule and sees that we play at Buffalo and then we have San Diego. He probably is assuming that we will start 1-3 and then he’ll fire Lane during the bye week and use the record as an excuse. I wish this guy would go to the old folks home and drift off into the heavens. We got ANOTHER good young Coach that will be kicking our asses with another team someday because Al is a moron. I support you Lane and so does the majority of the Raider Nation. I have had it with this idiot and his bad decisions. He is ruining OUR franchise!

  • WVRAIDER

    SOMEONE NEEDS TO START A WEBSITE http://WWW.FIREALDAVIS.COM

  • Ghost2Post

    From, Adam Schefter |
    Continually looking to improve JaMarcus Russell’s targets, the Raiders signed tight end Ben Troupe on Friday. A former Florida standout, Troupe failed to make his mark in Tennessee or in Tampa Bay this past summer. Oakland has been looking for help at tight end and it has seen enough of Troupe to think he could provide it.

  • http://ibabuzz 4evaRaider

    If I were Kiff I would bench Dmac,4 the whole season if need be,to make sure this most gifted athlete has the carrer he most definetly deserves.Turf-Toe,I guess,is a weird kind of injury,one that can take from no time 2 all time 2 heal.If Kiff benches Dmac it looks as if he is looking out 4 the long term of our beloved TEAM and Dmac.How could AD fire him then???

  • http://fixthebold.com Terrapin

    Hoping for a win. Am I confident? To be honest – nope! Are the Bills overrated? To be honest – yep! But they still are good.

    Honestly, if we win and the offense shows up strong; Al must reconsider everything and give Kiffin what he wants. Fire Herrera and Taylor for leading him astray and let Kiffin have input on the defense and more input on personnel if he doesn’t have much already.

    The Bills are fully healthy and we are not. Walker has yet to suit up, Fargas is down and DMC is bruised. If Walker can somehow perform at full speed this game I think he and Lelie starts. That will be an interesting combo for JR. Kiffin should strike deep first to loosen the defense up (midrange at least).

    Flying cross-country for a 1pm game is brutal. If these boys are focused and end up putting it on the Bills then Kiffin is the f’n man!

    Of course, this game will depend on what is suppose to be the strength of this team: DEFENSE! Stop or serverly slow Buffalo’s attack and we have a shot.

    If you ask me Marshawn Lynch is an overrated NFL back.

  • was a fan

    who ever started the web site keep kiffin has there head up there azz , first of all he should of never been hired in the first place, second they should just fire him right now , he is a bad cancer for this team,and believe me i know, just wait and see later today when you see who he released, what a joke , any way the raiders will get blown out by the bills with him coaching, but all you kiffin azz kissers better be watchting because thank god this will be his last game he coaches, and yes i have the info. just cant say it. sorry. i would love to.

  • ian

    Thanks for the petition link. Everyone should sign this thing. Did you Jerry?

  • http://view.playlist.com/12165303563/standalone NATION Collective-408RAIDER

    Morning NATION

    The bills are going down! I took the 9.5 and the over! Yeah! $$$$$$$$$$$$

    4eva no concerts this weekend just some classic car show.. :( I hate when summer
    is over.. anyway me and the princess are gonna try to make the best of it!

  • La Milicia Negra

    when people started to predict how our season would go.. I was continuously the one who said Bills, Texans and Bucs games would be much more difficult than you should expect..

    I’m afraid we will get a whooping tomorrow night..

  • La Milicia Negra

    “I took the 9.5 and the over! Yeah!”

    what does that mean?

  • http://ibabuzz 4evaRaider

    post 361: S A D

  • http://view.playlist.com/12165303563/standalone NATION Collective-408RAIDER

    Lynch is the real deal.. I hope the defense has another game like last week!

  • K-Rock

    Was a fan…

    No hint on who the next coach will be?

    How about the position of the player cut?

  • http://view.playlist.com/12165303563/standalone NATION Collective-408RAIDER

    LMN

    I bet the raiders would win with the 9.5 points that bills are favored dy and the game would have a total of more then 36.5 points… $50 on each bet

  • http://fixthebold.com Terrapin

    This team has really improved if you think back to ’06 or prior years. Now we look to be a mid-range team that came from the bottom of the gutter. Kiffin has done a great job. Through 2 games the offense is ranked 13th in the league and the defense is ranked 18th; and we are 1-1 – just what a mid-range team by definition should be (i.e. a .500 team).

    Maybe Walker & Lelie w/ Jam getting more experience puts us above this mid-range category before long.

  • S&B – Nation Collective

    Terrapin, You are right on. The team is making the right kind of progress. They are building intelligently. Sure beats 2006 when teams didn’t even have to game plan against us. Why can’t Davis just allow Kiffin to at least get the program back to .500 before bringing in his typical retread du jour.

    Hopefully, Kiffin can stay and teach long enough so that the players can coach themselves once Davis fires Kiffin

  • Dakota

    WHEN DOES THE NBA SEASON START? I need to watch the way a real franchise is run….

    goooooooo LAKERS!

  • La Milicia Negra

    Was a Fan..

    if Lane is a cancer, Al is Aids.. when a very sick body, gets the cure, the body starts by rejecting the cure.. Lane is that cure, some might reject him, but we all know he will last to laugh.

    If Fired, he will become OC or something like that.. and most likely for the broncos.. and then the patient is stuck on life support..

  • La Milicia Negra

    408..

    ahh now that makes sense.. I thought it was some train or transportation you took =)

  • http://fixthebold.com Terrapin

    By the time we face the Chargers they could be looking mighty desperate if they lose to NYJ. There defense is hurting and hurting bad. The Raiders have a good chance of beating them; but chances are Ryan will get outcoached by Norv and Kiffin will have to bring it with the offense – in particular, the running game will need to keep Norv’s O off the field. I expect that to be a more grind it out kinda game to further wear that defense down and keep SD’s O off the field.

  • http://view.playlist.com/12165303563/standalone NATION Collective-408RAIDER

    NBA sucks! well the playoffs (or what ever they call it) & finals are cool but the rest is garbage unless you got to the game then it kinda rocks! IMO

  • Dakota

    Terp, you really think Kiffin will be around for the SD game? I don’t…mainly because the Raiders sent this to be posted in local papers on Monday:

    Post Date: 09/22/08
    Job Title: Head Coach Oakland Raiders
    Salary: $1,000,000.00 to 2,500,000.00
    Location: Alameda, California

    Requirements: 5+ years experience in kowtowing, or a Master’s Degree in sycophancy.

    Responsibilities: Provide lineup changes and time out management 17 weekends a year. Opinions are not welcome and all staff shall be provided without your input.

    Contact: John Hererra

    About the Company: We are a dying, non-traditional NFL team, looking for weak-minded coaches to join our team. We offer an unstable work environment for a competent, creative coach with good communication skills. Our long-term goals vary at the whim of our managing general partner.

    Website Address: http://www.raiders.com

  • Dakota

    408,

    Aren’t you a Jazz fan or something?

  • Dakota

    Even McAfee Inc. has dropped the Raiders…lol.

  • Dakota

    But I hear DEPENDS is trying to get the naming rights to the stadium…but the face stiff competition from Ensure.

  • Dakota

    they…

  • http://view.playlist.com/12165303563/standalone NATION Collective-408RAIDER

    Dakota I really don’t care for b-ball but I root for the Warriors.. Now you know why I don’t get hyped for NBA

    Later NATION BE back after the car show….

  • http://ibabuzz 4evaRaider

    In the summer in the city Hey 408

  • RaiderDogg

    MR Says:
    September 20th, 2008 at 12:49 am
    “My computer crashed today.”

    That’s a complete lie. We all know that you were holed up in your basement watching your Entourage DVD collection. Maybe, just maybe, someday you too can be part of the Hollywood “scene” MR.

    LMFAO!

  • RaiderDogg

    Warriors!

    Although Dakota is the only persaon that has ever gotten me to root for the Lakers in the playoffs. I think he is some sort of sports svengali.

    Speaking of which, Dakota do the Lakers have any spare point guards lying around that they can spare? I still have no idea what happened to Monta Ellis, I just know it wasn’t a basketball injury.

  • Dakota

    You can have Sun Yue for Turiaf straight up Dogg.

  • Exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    Anyone besides me thinking that Kiffin is putting up a smoke screen and he unleashes JaMarcus Russell’s passing game this week. He has nothing to lose. If he doesn’t, the Bills will shut down the ground game. Just needs to make them play us honest.

  • Dakota

    Here is what happened to Ellis…lucky he just hurt his ankle, lol:

    http://media.ebaumsworld.com/picture/username101/15facts.jpg

  • http://none RaiderNation

    La Milicia Negra Says:
    September 20th, 2008 at 7:57 am
    “I took the 9.5 and the over! Yeah!”

    what does that mean?

    It means you are a total ignoramus.

    Go Raiders.

  • RaiderDogg

    Dakota

    I think we will hold on to Turiaf, thanks again for that. Who the hell is Sun Yue? We’ll take that dude with the long, greasy hair that always trips when a foul is called on him. That kid is pretty good.

  • Nation Collective-Delicate Flower

    as long as the WRs can hold on to the freaking ball

  • La Milicia Negra

    RaiderNation..

    yeah, but at least I know what strong side is.. =)

  • http://ibabuzz 4evaRaider

    wow

  • RaiderDogg

    I never, ever once thought I would ever type the following sentence.

    I think that Ashley Lelie is going to have a big impact on Sunday for the Raiders. Don’t ask me why, call it a hunch.

    Morning LMN

  • RaiderDogg

    or should I say afternoon?

  • Nation Collective-Delicate Flower

    hey ghost! i dont see anything on the ben troup signing?

  • Nation Collective-Delicate Flower

    DMAC did win the ground player of the week!

  • http://fixthebold.com Terrapin

    I don’t think the Bills will “shut down” the run game. They may make it tougher but I don’t think they’ll be able to actually shut it down. Its like trying to “shut down” Micheal Jordan. This run game is just too dominant for that. Its in the realm of possibilities, but I doubt it.

    I still see the run game churning out over 100yds.

    The rushing attack has faced 8 man fronts since that Miami game last year on a consistent basis. How many teams were able to stop it? KC had 8 and sometimes 9 man fronts the whole game and they couldn’t do squat except get pulverized and lit up for 300yds.

    Buffalo’s defense will have to play lights out to shut down the Raiders run game. They will have to.

    Believe it or not Fargas is our best runner in so far as decision making and always getting the tough positive yardage. I don’t think Fargas was stopped for negative yardage all season. He is a damn good runner and you all are overlooking him. He has been really impressive so far.

    Now with that said, DMC is the most dynamic and talented runner we have who can break it with any touch. He’s a lot tough to bring down I see than I initially thought – a lot more physical than initially thought and runs a lot harder than initially thought.

    Bush has that make you miss ability but requires a bigger hole for that bigger body and he’s tough as nails to bring down up high. That’s why you see everyone go for his legs. Many times he just falls forward for that extra yard or two.

    Suffice to say, we have the best group of backs in the League. That’s not easy to stop.

    Its the passing attack that you all should be worried more about.