ALAMEDA – Lane Kiffin’s first loss as a head coach gave him an unusual feeling.
It's not that he never lost at USC. But Kiffin hadn’t lost a home game in six years, he said after Friday’s practice.
With his decision to stick with Josh McCown, he might not feel like he has a home-field advantage as he’ll hear boos for the decision.
Kiffin had never lost a home opener, either.
So going 0-3 would definitely be a blow to Kiffin.
More importantly, Kiffin needs to win to make sure players don’t tune out his message. That could happen if the Raiders are 0-3 again.
Kiffin won’t call Sunday’s game a “must win” because that’s not part of his vocabulary after two games.
But he knows he’d better win soon. Kiffin is seen as the young coach who thinks he must be smarter than everyone else, especially if he can justify starting McCown over Daunte Culpepper.
Without any wins, he won’t look smart at all.
*One thing I forgot to mention earlier is JaMarcus Russell will be moved to the active roster on Monday by 1 p.m.
Chances are good this will be Andrew Walter’s last game with the Raiders. Whether he’s traded or simply released, the Raiders aren’t inclined to keep four quarterbacks.
The Raiders passed on Matt Leinart because their scouts believed Walter was better than Leinart.
Not that Leinart has proven he’ll be a star, but Walter was a third-round pick in 2005. The Raiders can’t keep missing on high draft picks if they expect to turn the team around.
*With Derrick Burgess questionable because of a calf injury, wouldn’t Quentin Moses be nice to have around to help with the pass rush?
*I’ve heard rumblings the Raiders are looking to shake up their secondary for Sunday’s game. Cornerback is a chief concern. Only Nnamdi Asomugha is playing at a high level.
Two things could help the secondary out. Giving Chris Carr more plays as the third cornerback would be one. He’s strong and quick near the line of scrimmage – two necessities when covering the slot because the ball gets to the receiver quicker. He's also smart and reads defenses well.
Carr's skills are better suited to cover the slot than Stanford Routt, who has good speed, but isn't as adept at manning the slot as Carr.
Secondly, I’d play Duane Starks if he’s healthy. Starks is a veteran and could be a big help in dime packages.