Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

July 31, 2007
There was some football involved

NAPA - With all the chatter about Daunte Culpepper it's easy to forget the Raiders did practice today.

And it featured three common things from training camp.

*Backup safety B.J. Ward impressing with his hitting and in pass coverage with an interception.

*Adimchinobe Echemandu running hard against the defense. He ran a lot today with LaMont Jordan (back), Dominic Rhodes (foot) and ReShard Lee (knee) out of practice.

*And my favorite, center Jeremy Newberry was being himself.

Newberry continues to show nastiness about his play, which was missing last season on the offensive line (Kevin Boothe showed the most tenacity consistently last year).

Today he put Anttaj Hawthorne on his back on a running play (again). The two would exchange punches later in practice after a pass play.

Actually, it was Newberry doing most of the punching, landing several shots to Hawthorne's midsection while teammates tried to restrain him.

I get the feeling this won't be the last time Newberry fights in camp.

And you can bet no one will be dancing over a Raider quarterback if he's on the field unless they want to fight Newberry.

--Jason Jones

July 31, 2007
Take a seat, JaMarcus

NAPA - It's official.

JaMarcus Russell will essentially redshirt his first year in the NFL.

The Raiders signed Daunte Culpepper this afternoon. He will join Josh McCown and Andrew Walter in training camp tomorrow.

Russell will eventually sign, but with McCown and Culpepper, there really is no reason for the Raiders to hurry Russell onto the field.

That doesn't mean the Raiders should drag their feet in signing Russell. The longer this takes, the worse the team looks, especially when the word is it's the Raiders insulting contract offer to a first overall pick that's holding things up.

This could also mean the end of Andrew Walter with the Raiders unless the team decides to carry four quarterbacks.

Once Russell is in the fold, expect the team to shop Walter for a draft pick.

--Jason Jones

July 31, 2007
Did Treu blow whistle on Raiders?

Question: I heard Adam Treu was cut because they found out he was the person who called the league office and complained about the intensity of the OTAs. Any truth to the rumor?
- Rob Young, Los Angeles

Answer: Highly unlikely. I've heard it might have been a veteran not keen on coach Lane Kiffin's approach blew the whistle, but Treu was hurt and didn't even take part in OTAs. Treu was cut because of his age and he still rehabbing from an injury.
- Jason Jones

Question: With the signing of Donovin Darius, are the Raiders admitting Stuart Schweigert isn't their man? I know he missed tackles but he wasn't that bad.
- Josh, Sioux Falls

Answer: Not necessarily. Darius, Schweigert and Michael Huff will fight it our for the two starting safety spots. The only way Schweigert gets benched is if the Raiders move Huff to free safety. Darius is a strong safety and excels in run support. Huff has the speed to play free safety, but has bulked up to 205 pounds to play better against the run and big tight ends in the passing game.
- Jason Jones

Question: What do you think the O-Line will look like this season? Are we going to see Barry Sims back at left tackle and Robert Gallery at right tackle? The success of the team will depend on how this unit performs.
- Ezequiel Castro, Sacramento

Answer: Easily the most asked question of the offseason. Gallery will play left guard. He doesn't have the foot speed to play tackle in the NFL. Playing guard might be the move that saves his NFL career.

Sims looks like the left tackle again. Jake Grove will have to fend off a determined Jeremy Newberry to hold on to the starting center job. Cooper Carlisle, a former Denver Bronco experienced in the new blocking scheme, should be the left guard. Cornell Green has been with the first-team offensive line at right tackle.

The change I could see happen is Grove being replaced by Newberry, assuming Newberry's knees are healthy.

Paul McQuistan has played a lot of guard and at this time doesn't appear to be an option at right tackle.

I'm still wondering if Kevin Boothe will break into the lineup somewhere. He was the team's best offensive lineman most of the 2006 season and the only player that showed some semblance of a mean streak on the line last season.
- Jason Jones

July 31, 2007
Culpepper leaves Raiders camp without signing a contract

Quarterback Daunte Culpepper, who had a try out with the Raiders on Tuesday at the team’s training camp in Napa, met with team officials but later left without signing a contract.

That leaves Josh McCown and Andrew Walter as the primary quarterbacks for the Raiders in training camp. No. 1 draft pick JaMarcus Russell is still unsigned.

July 31, 2007
Daunte's workout is over

NAPA - The Daunte Culpepper workout is over.

I saw the scouts have left the field and Culpepper is cleaning up.

Since I was told I was only allowed in the Marriott lobby about an hour ago, I killed time and kept peeking around corners until I could see if the workout was over.

No word on if Culpepper will speak with me or any other media member.

And as of now, JaMarcus Russell is still unsigned and he could stay that way for a while.

The team is having trouble figuring out the structure of the deal and how much money to pay Russell. Robert Gallery's deal has them scared because the team is paying a hefty salary to a player who was outperformed by a sixth-round draft choice (Kevin Boothe) last year.

If you don't want these kind of problems, win more than two games and you won't have to worry about signing the first overall pick.

--Jason Jones

July 31, 2007
Did you see Culpepper?

NAPA - The Daunte Culpepper watch is on.

I’ve already been told by Raider security I’m not allowed anywhere near the practice field where I’m almost sure Culpepper is right now.

The Raiders are working him out to see how his surgically repaired knee looks while JaMarcus Russell is still unsigned with no apparent end to the stalemate between his agents and team management.

So I guess I’ll wander around the Napa Valley Marriott, hopefully evade the top flight security (think Day-Day in "The Friday after Next") and bump into the quarterback that could supplant Josh McCown as the favorite to start.

Practice starts in a couple of hours.

--Jason Jones

July 30, 2007
Meanwhile back in Napa

NAPA - As for tonight’s practice, there were some interesting moments:

*Cornerback Chris Johnson tried to jam Mike Williams at the line of scrimmage while giving up at least 40 pounds to Williams. Johnson ended up on his backside and Williams made an easy catch.

*Speaking of Williams’ weight, Lane Kiffin wants him to play at 235 pounds. He’s not sure how close Williams is to that weight and neither is Williams.

*Center Jake Grove and linebacker Kirk Morrison got tangled up and scuffled briefly. Grove’s helmet came off after the two rolled on the grass, making it the most exciting dust up of camp.

*Morrison got his revenge in a seven-on-seven drill, leaping to snag an Andrew Walter pass for an interception. It was reminiscent of the pick he had in Baltimore.

I expect Morrison to have a big season and contend for Pro Bowl honors. Ray Lewis and Zach Thomas aren’t getting any younger and it’s time more new names started popping up for the honors.

Well I'm going home to watch the rest of Monday Night Raw and play some NCAA Football on the PlayStation. By time I arrive tomorrow, the Raiders could have their big, strong-armed quarterback in the fold.

But it would be Daunte Culpepper. You've got to love a guy that quotes Ghandi.

--Jason Jones

July 30, 2007
More on Culpepper

NAPA - The news of tonight's practice wasn't practice. It was Lane Kiffin announcing Daunte Culpepper will be here tomorrow morning with a workout.

The team worked him out in Florida and apparently liked what they saw.

What this means, of course, is the team doesn't believe it's close to having JaMarcus Russell in camp. If Culpepper is healthy, he would be the best quarterback on the roster.

The Dolphins released Culpepper July 17. He's played in 11 games over the last two seasons because of a knee injury in Minnesota's seventh game in 2005.

He played in four games last year and eventually had surgery on the knee again late last year.

Even after praising Josh McCown today, Kiffin is obviously serious about competition. He's not going to let anyone feel like his job is safe.

If Culpepper were to join the Raiders, I could see Andrew Walter being traded if the team doesn't want to carry four quarterbacks because Russell will join the team at some point.

That would give Kiffin two experienced quarterbacks (Culpepper and McCown) and allow him to let Russell sit all year like Cincinnati did with Carson Palmer.

So when Russell does show up, he might find the player a lot of scouts compare him to in the same locker room.

--Jason Jones

July 30, 2007
Is Dante on the way?

NAPA -- The San Francisco Chronicle, citing an unnamed source, said the Raiders worked out quarterback Daunte Culpepper in Florida today on its web site.

The Raiders looked into trading for Culpepper last year, but were scared away by his injured knee. The injury ended his 2005 season and hobbled enough to force a second surgery last season.

With JaMarcus Russell not in camp, the Raiders already signed Cody Pickett to help out. But Russell will get here eventually, so working out Culpepper would be another example of the team's "due diligence."

The team's three quarterbacks will be Josh McCown, Andrew Walter and Russell, unless there's an injury. With all the help the Raiders need at skill positions on offense, the team can't afford to carry four quarterbacks.

If the Raiders aren't proactive in signing Russell, it might take other top-5 picks to sign, specifically Calvin Johnson at No. 2, to get the parameters for a deal done. Third overall choice, tackle Joe Thomas, signed a six-year deal worth up to $42.5 million, $23 million guaranteed.

--Jason Jones

July 30, 2007
Going, gone, gone?

NAPA - Duane Starks has a hamstring injury.

Sure hope he didn't hurt it during the team's makeshift home run derby on Sunday.

Starks is an old pro and didn't limp off the field yesterday. But a sure way to end the fun the team is having is to have someone get hurt while having fun.

By the way, the dent Jerry Porter put in the crane machine is visible from across the field. I guess that would make him a power hitter.

--Jason Jones

July 30, 2007
More from the morning workout

NAPA - More musings from the morning practice:

A familiar face showed up, Chester McGlockton, the team's first round pick in 1992 and was with the Raiders through the 1997 season.

The massive defensive tackle watched defensive line drills and scrimmages (shoulder pads and shorts) from the sidelines.

Nowadays, McGlockton is a businessman. Among his endeavors is being a franchisee of a Fatburger restaurant with rapper E-40 in Pleasant Hill.

If you haven't had a Fatburger with egg, cheese and chili, you're missing out.

*Safety B.J. Ward, who knocked Ronald Curry's helmet off with a hit yesterday, is still hitting hard. He and Donovin Darius have been the thumpers of camp.
*Jeremy Newberry is still putting defensive linemen on their backs.

*Rookie fullback Oren O'Neal had a few spirited collisions with linebacker Kirk Morrison.

--Jason Jones

July 30, 2007
Memory of Bill Walsh

NAPA - In this business, you're not supposed to be in awe of meeting someone.

But when I was a grad student at Cal in 2001, I couldn't help being excited when I met Bill Walsh.

As a Southern California native, I grew up rooting for all Los Angeles teams, which meant I fostered a healthy hatred for Walsh's 49ers as a youngster.

How many times did I have to see Jim Everett embarrassed by the team from the Bay?

But as I got older, I couldn't help but appreciate what Walsh did as a coach. That's why I hurried to shake his hand that spring day in 2001.

I was the 49ers facility working for Cal's student paper, The Daily Californian. The Niners had drafted Andre Carter and I was there for the press conference.

But I made it a point to meet Walsh, because in addition to being a journalist, I'm a huge football fan and always into the history of the game.

Our photographer took a picture of me speaking with Walsh, one that I have stored away to this day.

At only 28, I lack the memory of "The Catch" but you don't have to be long in the tooth to feel the impact Walsh had on football.

In fact, I saw it today. Lane Kiffin is just one of many coaches that are descendants - directly or indirectly - of the Walsh coaching tree. Walsh, who onced coached for the Raiders, changed the way football is played for a generation of players to young to ever see Jerry Rice in his prime.

How could you not be in awe of that.

--Jason Jones

July 30, 2007
Day 4, morning practice update

NAPA - Pro Bowl defensive end Derrick Burgess is still on the physically unable to perform list after hernia surgery, but that doesn't mean the Raiders offensive tackles have caught a break.

The terror off the edge making the most noise is rookie Quentin Moses. He was disrupting pass plays again this morning. At one point, he took rookie tackle Mario Henderson and guard Paul McQuistan with him to the quarterback.

I can already hear the cynics. Of course he looks good - he is going against the Raiders offensive line.

But that doesn't take away from the burst the third-round pick from Georgia has shown consistently.

He's not stout against the run like most pass rushers out of college, but after the Raiders got almost no production in terms of sacks at the end spot opposite Burgess, if Moses can be a pass rush specialist early in his career, he'll get plenty of playing time.

--Jason Jones

July 30, 2007
Raiders Day 3, afternoon blog

NAPA - Al Davis visited practice.

When that was brought up to Lane Kiffin, it didn't seem like a big deal to him.

That's a good thing.

For Kiffin to do his job well, he has to focus on the team. If players perceive he is worried about Davis, mutiny will be around the corner the first time trouble hits.

Art Shell was loyal to Davis, and it still got him fired and blamed for not drafting a quarterback last year when he was told when he took the job the team planned to draft Michael Huff.

So if Kiffin is going to run the team, he's going to run it his way. Not that he doesn't like Davis or value his opinion, but Kiffin isn't going to be seen going out of his way to please Davis in a public manner.

Nor does he plan to consult with Davis on every decision. That's obvious because Robert Gallery is still playing left guard.

And if it works out with Kiffin, Davis will be glad he hired a head-strong young coach out of USC.

That's what Davis was back in the day, and he's in the Hall of Fame.

--Jason Jones

July 30, 2007
Raiders Day 3 - Newberry edition

NAPA - If Jeremy Newberry's knees hold up, the Raiders have to find a spot for him on the field.

Newberry, the former Pro Bowl center with surgically repaired knees, drove defensive tackle Josh Shaw at least 4 yards off the ball before putting him on his back.

It was a combination of power and aggressiveness not seen by a Raiders offensive lineman since ... well, you tell me.

All the coaching in the world can't give a player the mean streak Newberry plays with.

I can assure you if Newberry were a Raider last year, Shawne Merriman would have gotten his face put in the Coliseum dirt for dancing over Aaron Brooks.

If anyone is going to fight someone during camp, it's Newberry.

If there are four other linemen that would have his back, that might be your starting offensive line.

--Jason Jones

July 30, 2007
Raiders Day morning blog

NAPA - There are players leading pre-practice cheers.

Jerry Porter carries a penalty flag at practice to throw during scrimmages.

There was even a "home run derby" after practice.

Yes, these Raiders are having fun.

After Day 3 of training camp, the Raiders don't have the look of sadness they wore most of last season. Yes, it's only Day 3, but the mood is lighter all the way around, which should help because most players detested coming to work last year.

While Randy Moss was vocal in his unhappiness, he did have a lot of other players that felt the same way. They just didn't drop passes because of it.

As for the home runs, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan lobbed overhand pitches with a softball with a fence about 300 feet away.

Cornerback Duane Starks nearly took out Ryan with a line drive.

Porter, sporting a black No. 84 Giants jersey, put a dent in the crane that holds the team video camera during practice.

LaMont Jordan and Sam Williams both hit cleared the fence.

"When I was a little kid I used to drop bombs," Williams said.

--Jason Jones

July 28, 2007
Cody's back in the Bay

NAPA - There was quarterback news at the evening practice. Well, not really news, unless you consider a player that won’t make the team being on the field news.

The new red jersey tonight belonged to a quarterback, but not the anticipated arrival of JaMarcus Russell.

It was Cody Pickett, out of the league last season after being cut by Houston (which probably saved him a beating behind their offensive line) and coming off a season in NFL Europa with the Rhein Fire

He’ll be an extra arm for drills with the Raiders, sparing Jeff Otis’ arm.

The arms the Raiders would really like to save now are Andrew Walter’s and Josh McCown’s by getting Russell in camp.

It looks more and more like that won’t happen until early next week, unless he’s on a plane right now from Alabama to finalize the deal.

Until then, Pickett’s all the quarterback news for now.

--Jason Jones

July 28, 2007
It's only Day 2...

NAPA - Computer issues prevented me from checking in earlier. This morning featured the first practice in pads (the first practice that counts for my viewing purposes) and the high tempo Lane Kiffin loves was still in effect.

With the pads on, the offensive line was able to really apply the new scheme being taught by offensive line coach Tom Cable. There were some good moments such as Adimchinobe Echemandu bursting through a huge hole.

There were also the moments that looked like last season where the defense was able to slice through in pass protection. But it's Day 2 of camp so I won't condemn the line yet.

The day wrapped up with an evening practice in the OTA mold -- shorts, jerseys and not so much contact. The players love the late sessions that start at 7 p.m. They get plenty of rest between practices because the morning session ended about 11 a.m.

But of course everyone is happy. It is just Day 2

--Jason Jones

July 28, 2007
He's Treu to him

NAPA - One cut that hurts right now, even if today is only Day 1 of training came, is that of Adam Treu.

He'd been the team's long snapper since being drafted 10 years ago and the Raiders are looking at a few options to replace Treu, who still isn't fully recovered from a quadriceps injury from last season.

Punter Shane Lechler said Treu's knowledge of special teams was impeccable and he hoped people don't realize how good he was when something went wrong.

In watching some of the practice snaps, it was evident Treu wasn't the snapper because you could tell when a ball went wayward.

You never noticed anything with Treu because the ball never seemed to do anything unusual.

Lechler praised Jon Condo, a linebacker and long snapper for his velocity. He worked with Chris Morris, a seventh-round draft choice last year, when Treu missed the final five games.

While most worry about the quarterback situation early in camp, who wins this job is probably most pertinent to early victories.

The offense will likely struggle early and the defense will have to hold things together. The last thing the Raiders need is a wayward snap to put an overworked defense in a bad situation, or worse, lead to a touchdown.

--Jason Jones

July 27, 2007
Long snapper limbo

NAPA - One cut that hurts right now, even if today is only Day 1 of training came, is that of Adam Treu.

He'd been the team's long snapper since being drafted 10 years ago and the Raiders are looking at a few options to replace Treu, who still isn't fully recovered from a quadriceps injury from last season.

Punter Shane Lechler said Treu's knowledge of special teams was impeccable and he hoped something didn't have to go wrong before people realized how good Treu was.

In watching some of the practice snaps, it was evident Treu wasn't the snapper because you could tell when a ball went wayward.

You never noticed anything with Treu because the ball never seemed to do anything unusual.

Lechler praised Jon Condo, a linebacker and long snapper for his velocity. He worked with Chris Morris, a seventh-round draft choice last year, when Treu missed the final five games.

While most worry about the quarterback situation early in camp, who wins this job is probably most pertinent to early victories.

The offense will likely struggle early and the defense will have to hold things together. The last thing the Raiders need is a wayward snap to put an overworked defense in a bad situation, or worse, lead to a touchdown.

-- Jason Jones

July 26, 2007
Random thoughts from Day 1

Some musings from reporting day:

*Michael Huff said he weighs about 205 pounds, five short of his goal. He's also sporting a shag -- that's right -- a shag hair cut. Low on top and the sides and growing in the back. He said it's a Dallas thing and it's training camp so why not. I'm glad I'm not from Dallas.

*LaMont Jordan had the best entrance of the day. He rolled up in a Lincoln Navigator. Well, he was driven in the Lincoln while sitting in the back seat.

*Jarrod Cooper's friends haven't heard from him in the last few days. He isn't returning phone calls since being released yesterday following his suspension for steroids. He expected the suspension, knowing he'd taken something on the banned substance list, but was stunned to be let go.

Coach Lane Kiffin said the suspension wasn't the only reason Cooper was released, but you have to believe he'd at least be in camp without it.

--Jason Jones

July 26, 2007
Moses in the fold

NAPA -- I'm sure just as soon as my last entry posted, Quentin Moses signed his contract.

The defensive end from Georgia was a third-round draft pick that could challenge for the starting defensive end spot opposite Derrick Burgess.

That leaves JaMarcus Russell and Zach Miller as rookies with no contracts.

That means as soon as this hits cyberspace, Miller will be here.

--Jason Jones

July 26, 2007
Time to go camping

NAPA - It's check in day for training camp. And the pertinent news is according to coach Lane Kiffin, JaMarcus Russell is in Mobile, Ala.

That means unless Russell is at the airport right now, he'll miss the first mandatory meeting tomorrow at 7 a.m.

Kiffin said negotiations are going "extremely well" but that won't really be the case until Russell is on the practice field.

Two other rookies, tight end Zach Miller and defensive end Quentin Moses remain unsigned.

Miller's presence is almost as important as Russell's because he has a real chance to begin the season as a starter.

But all the focus will remain on Mobile until Russell is on the field.

--Jason Jones

July 25, 2007
Too bad about Bing

I admit I was rooting for Darnell Bing.

He comes from Long Beach Poly, which in addition to producing several NFL players, also produced a certain Raiders beat writer for The Sacramento Bee.

But with the addition of Donovin Darius, the Raiders had a more experienced version of Bing.

Bing lost last season when he was put on injured reserve with a neck injury that he says was fine. He was also put at linebacker, and was clearly undersized for the spot.

Bing was feeling good playing safety and I expect he'll get a call from another team at some point this summer.

But it has to hurt more when a coach that knew you in college lets you ago. If anyone wanted to see Bing do well, you'd assume it was Lane Kiffin, who knew him from their time at USC.

As they say, it is a business.

--Jason Jones

July 25, 2007
A true Raiders fan

I have a couple of tattoos, but none like Stacy Posey.

The Napa resident had a portrait of Jarrod Cooper tattooed on her thigh in an attempt to win Cooper's Raider tattoo contest last year.

Now that Cooper has been released following his four-game suspension for steroids, you have to wonder what becomes of Stacy's thigh.

Maybe the next player to wear No. 40 will resemble Cooper and save face for Stacy, so to speak.

--Jason Jones

July 25, 2007
Must be too much idle time

Back from some much-needed (and deserved, I'd say selfishly) vacation, it's almost time for training camp.

Of course, there was news in between my being heckled by Giants fans for wearing my blue when the Dodgers visited and swept the boys in orange a couple of weekends ago and taking in WWE Monday Night Raw last night at Arco Arena.

Special-teams stalwart, team comedian and a fun guy to talk to, Jarrod Cooper, was suspended for the first four games for violating the steroid policy.

That makes two suspensions (running back Dominic Rhodes and Cooper) and one player cut (defensive end Bryant McNeal) after being arrested in July.

Yep, the Raiders need to start practicing to give us media folk something else to focus on.

So when does JaMarcus Russell get his $30 million guaranteed?

- Jason Jones

July 12, 2007
Raiders toss out bad seed

The Raiders, historically the NFL's haven of bad boys, hadn't been mentioned with many of the league's off-field conduct problems.

Then again, it's hard to get in that discussion when Pacman Jones and Tank Johnson have the market covered.

Well, the Raiders dealt with their latest bad boy yesterday by waiving Bryant McNeal.

The defensive end, who spent all of 2006 on the practice squad, was arrested last Thursday in South Carolina. When police stopped McNeal, they found he was driving with a suspended license and is wanted in Florida for pawning an SUV that didn't belong to him.

He's also accused of writing a bad check to a dentist.

McNeal probably wasn't going to make the team. But it would have been better to just get cut in August, not cuffed in July.

- Jason Jones

July 3, 2007
For starters, it's on Jordan

For all you Raiders fans who lament LaMont Jordan, it looks as if you'll be seeing a lot of him to start the season.

With Dominic Rhodes shelved for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, it appears Jordan will shoulder the burden at running back.

You can fantasize about Michael Bush, but chances are he won't be ready to start the season and will have to prove he is 100 percent after nearly a year of rehabilitation.

Jordan grudgingly took a pay cut this offseason and said it didn't matter that the Raiders signed Rhodes since Jordan has not gotten the ball consistently in his two seasons with Oakland.

Now Jordan - who looked good in workouts this offseason after last season's knee injury - gets to show his third head coach in three years he is a No. 1 tailback, not just the back who impressed as Curtis Martin's backup for the New York Jets.

I don't know why so many people hate Jordan. Jim Brown or Barry Sanders could not have run behind the Raiders' offensive line last year with success.

Well, Jordan will have four weeks to change the perception he's just a backup.

- Jason Jones

July 1, 2007
They won't go into Tank

We're a little less than a month from training camp. I plan to get some more vacation in and check out the WWE show at Arco before most of my free time is devoted to all that is Raiders.

Before I get to some questions, I think I can say with 99 percent assuredness the Raiders will not bring in recently deposed defensive tackle Tank Johnson. I've heard from some media outlets the Raiders would be a logical place for Johnson once his eight-game suspension is over.

The Raiders have been absent from the NFL police blotter in recent years and Lane Kiffin isn't looking to bring in anyone with the baggage Johnson carries.

Dominic Rhodes had a DUI case when the Raiders signed him, but his contract was structured to protect the team should he face league discipline (only $1 million of the deal worth up to $8 million is guaranteed). Plus, Rhodes doesn't have a rap sheet like Tank.

Now on to some questions:

Question: Do you think signing Donovan Darius is worth the risk? He's 32 and has suffered numerous injuries in recent years. I say we can always use the depth but Darius isn't going to come cheap.

Tom G., Las Vegas

Answer: Darius is worth it at the right price. Having played in only 12 games over the past two seasons, an incentive-based deal for the veteran's minimum makes sense. You never can have too many solid defensive players. The concern I would have is where Darius would play. Do you take snaps away from Stuart Schweigert or Michael Huff? Do you give up on Darnell Bing and Jarrod Cooper as backups? Rob Ryan definitely would find a way to use Darius, but the Raiders shouldn't add him and sacrifice the growth of their young players.

- Jason Jones

Question: Is a new look in order? Will the Raiders ever get new uniforms? It just seems like with the beginning of a new era, new uniforms would cap it off. What do you think?

Reddit Andrews III, Elk Grove

Answer: I would hate to see the Raiders change their uniforms. I think they have the best uniform in football. I'm not sure what you could do. Those stripes down the side of the jersey don't work for me. Nor does changing the style of the number like Tampa Bay has.

I collect jerseys, but I think I've overstepped my boundaries by playing fashion expert.

- Jason Jones

Question: What kind of guy is Lane Kiffin? Is he upbeat like Jon Gruden? Does he curse a lot with his mouth?

Dean Diebel, Carmichael

Answer: I can promise you I've never seen Kiffin curse with his fingers.

Seriously, Kiffin has been pleasant to speak with. I find him candid and engaging. He's definitely upbeat and competitive. Watching him challenge the defense is fun, and he's rubbing off on the team in a positive way - but it's still June.

Does Kiffin like to yell sometimes? Definitely. But his profanity is easily drowned out by the rants of Rob Ryan and offensive line coach Tom Cable.

- Jason Jones

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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