ALAMEDA – I don’t have to answer the get rid of Mike Williams questions since he’s already gone.
I didn’t get around to answering any questions in Nashville because I was too busy eating barbecue and checking out the Country Music Hall of Fame (and know I can’t get George Jones’ “He Stopped Loving Her Today” out of my head).
The Ray Charles exhibit was nice. And I saw that country music artists were into bling and pimping out their rides long before Xzibit on MTV.
So I have my Ipod set to music that isn’t country to answer some questions, even though I’m sure I’ll download that George Jones song pretty soon.
Question: Are there any plans for the Raiders to bring in JaMarcus Russell anytime soon?
Answer: No. Unless there’s a rash of quarterback injuries, Russell won’t play soon.
With the offense as bad as it’s been lately, there’s no need to put Russell on the field now.
Raul, Los Angeles
Question: Late in Sunday’s game, after Barry Sim’s had committed his third false start (he also had a critical holding call that wiped out a first down), the play-by-play announcer asked Rich Gannon: "When is enough, enough ...at what point does the head coach face reality"?
I don’t recall Gannon’s response, because he ducked the answer, not wanting to annoy his old buddy I suppose, but I’ll ask you...When is enough, enough? We’ve watched Sims do this for years ...and his response is "lack of focus, I guess. YOU GUESS????
Answer: Enough is enough when there’s a left tackle on the roster better than Barry Sims.
There’s no one on the team better than Sims right now. Robert Gallery can’t play in his spot. Paul McQuistan can’t and rookie Mario Henderson isn’t ready to help as he’s been inactive every game this season.
Help won’t come until the offseason, when the Raiders might be able to find some help on the offensive line.
Until then, barring injury, Barry Sims is the Raiders’ left tackle, lack of focus or not.
Question: Can the Raiders ever become a good offense this year without having an "all-star" type running back or receiver?
Jason, Bloomfield, Iowa
Answer: I don’t think so because the Raiders’ issues on offense go beyond just running back and receiver.
The Raiders problems start with the offensive line in the passing game.
It doesn’t matter who’s at receiver if the quarterback isn’t protected. But the Raiders do lack a receiver that consistently stretches the field to help open things up for the running game.
The Raiders still need another receiver. But it’s Week 9 and players like Chad Johnson aren’t sitting at home so that can’t be fixed until next season.
The Raiders don’t need a superstar running back. The backs they have will work. If the Raiders could pass with consistency and not hurt themselves with penalties, the running game would open up again.
Question: Can we bring in Bill Parcells - and start winning with some good players?
Aaron, San Diego
Answer: No. There’s no way Bill Parcells leaves his cushy job at ESPN for the Raiders. Well I shouldn’t so no way, but I’m 99 percent sure that won’t happen.
I doubt Parcells could win with this group, anyway.
I’ve had a few readers ask if it’s time to get rid of Lane Kiffin – after seven games?
Know this much, Kiffin didn’t inherit a good team. The Raiders haven’t been good since 2002.
The key you mentioned is “good players.” The Raiders still need an influx of talent on offense.
No one in the NFL wins with bad players. It all begins with the draft, where the Raiders haven’t been good, particularly in picking offensive players, in recent years.
Owner Al Davis admitted as much when he hired Kiffin by stating Kiffin’s role as lead recruiter at USC would help the Raiders evaluate talent better.
Give Kiffin some time. If the Raiders are 2-5 to start 2009 (yes, it might take that long), then it’s time to question the direction Kiffin is leading the team in.
Question: With no pass rush and the fact that we can’t stop the run, I can’t understand why we won’t blitz more. Seems everyone else does it to us. Also, any news on us picking up Grady Jackson since Atlanta let him go? That would REALLY be a plus on the D-line!
Answer: I have no idea why the Raiders don’t blitz more. I’ve asked players that don’t know why either.
If you noticed in Sunday’s game, Derrick Burgess’ sack was aided by a Thomas Howard blitz.
The Raiders like the way their linebackers patrol the field in passing situations and don’t want to blitz them too much. The Raiders have blitzed a little more lately (They even brought Nnamdi Asomugha on a corner blitz), but they just don’t do it a lot as to no deviate from their base defense.
Blitzing to stop the run wouldn’t hurt, but the linebackers actually do a good job diagnosing and stopping the run when the defensive line doesn’t get pushed into them.
And as you have probably seen, Grady Jackson signed with Jacksonville. So your run defense is left up to Warren Sapp, Terdell Sands, Tyler Brayton and Gerard Warren (whenever he returns).
And for an interesting take on Sapp against the run, check out footballoutiders.com.
It’s definitely worth the read.