Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

September 24, 2007
Ryan's plan questioned

ALAMEDA – The questions are already coming in.

What’s up with Rob Ryan’s playcalling?

I can’t answer that because Ryan wasn't available for comment today.

After a pretty stellar performance by the defense the Browns piled up yards in the fourth quarter.

Head coach Lane Kiffin said assignment breakdowns were the problem late against Cleveland.

I hope that explanation helps.

I have no problem with Ryan mixing in some zone coverage. That’s why the Raiders had two interceptions.

The problem with going zone late in the game is it’s only effective if you have superior pass rushers on the outside.

The Raiders – especially without Derrick Burgess – can’t pressure the quarterback consistently off the edge.

The Raiders have five sacks in three games. Only two are by a starting defensive lineman, Gerard Warren. And Warren didn’t become a starter until yesterday.

Without a pass rush, Raiders are exposing their cornerbacks, who have to cover receivers too long.


Mike Williams said last week everyone wanted to cut Sebastian Janikowski and he knows this week, it’s his turn.

Saying Williams had a bad day is being nice

His big play – a 24-yard reception – ended with a fumble.

He almost had a touchdown until Cleveland safety Sean Jones separated the ball from his hands with a big hit. Kiffin said Williams should have caught the ball.

Kiffin is tough on Williams and didn’t bite his tongue when asked if he were “pleased” with Williams.

“The word ‘pleased’ isn’t anywhere near Mike Williams right now,” Kiffin said. “And I’m sure Mike would be the first to tell you. Mike did not play well at all. And he’s in position to make plays, but that doesn’t do you any good to be in position if you don’t make them.”

The Raiders need Williams to play well and hope yesterday was just one of those days for him.

The Raiders’ primary receivers are Ronald Curry and Jerry Porter. Rookie Johnnie Lee Higgins doesn’t play much on offense. The situation is set up for Williams to succeed if he makes plays.

If Williams, a first-round pick in 2005, were going to have success in the NFL, it would be under Kiffin.

When Williams was a star receiver at USC, Kiffin was his position coach.

But he’d better start doing more to please Kiffin.


Cornerback Duane Starks was released to make room for JaMarcus Russell on the 53-man roster. Don’t be surprised if Starks is back as soon as this week if Andrew Walter is traded.

Starks was cut last year but his locker was never cleaned out. He showed up a day later back on the team.

No word on whether Derrick Burgess will play on Sunday in Miami. He was in the locker room briefly without the sleeve on his right calf he wore last week.

No word on Josh McCown yet. He now has two bad feet. But if he surprised us all and played with one bad foot in Denver, I know McCown will try to play against Miami if he can walk.

--Jason Jones

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About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

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