ALAMEDA – Time for the early injury update:
Cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha (knee) and Fabian Washington (calf) were both in sweats at this morning’s practice. The walked out to the field as special teams practice was underway.
Warren Sapp (knee) also wasn’t at practice. The three have missed both days of practice this week.
Coach Lane Kiffin indicated all should play on Sunday when he spoke on the injuries yesterday.
Also not practicing was reserve center Jake Grove (knee).
Music from the practice field can be heard several hundred feet away from the practice field. It’s normally a tactic coaches use to prepare a team for crowd noise on the road.
But Kiffin has resorted to using music with the offense in hopes of correcting the false start problems the offensive line has had this season.
So the team stretched to Big Pun’s “I Don’t Want to be Player” and as I walked in from picking a cold soda, Lil Wayne’s voice from Playaz Circle’s “Duffle Bag Boy” was blasting for all to hear.
Maybe if that played on Sunday, the false starts would stop.
Now on to some reader questions.
Question: Hi Jason, could the Raiders do worse than drafting Chris Long next year? He seems to have all the traits and physical ability of Howie and it would be a legitimate link to the glory days. I enjoy your column and your perspective.
Patrick, Burlington, Ontario Canada
Answer: Drafting Chris Long wouldn’t be bad at all. The defensive end from Virginia can play and I’m sure Al Davis wouldn’t mind a connection to the days of old.
But the Raiders need a lot more help on offense than defense. Lane Kiffin’s offense lacks what he calls “explosive” plays. That leads me to believe the Raiders will look to add players at receiver. Running back might also be an option, depending on the team’s offseason moves.
Cal’s DeSean Jackson and Arkansas running back Darren McFadden would make sense. Both are underclassmen, but would be high draft picks.
Also, the Raiders need help along the offensive line. So as nice as a fit Long would be on the defense, offense is where the team needs to upgrade most.
I really enjoy your work and coverage of the Raiders. I think the elevation of Justin Fargas to starting RB was a wise move especially considering LaMont Jordan will be a free agent after the season.
My question to you is do you believe Fargas will be the #1 RB for the remainder of the season or will Michael Bush be a factor? Has Bush looked decent in practice, does he have any "juice" and do you see him overtaking Fargas and Lane Kiffin starting two rookies in the backfield along with QB JaMarcus Russell to build upon the future?
Joe, Southhampton, Pa
Answer: I think Fargas probably will finish the season as the starting tailback. He reads openings in the run scheme well. He’s also a good pass blocker, which might outweigh his running in the decision.
The Raiders don’t allow the media to watch all of practice, so it’s tough to gauge Bush’s progress except to take the word of coaches and players.
The Raiders have until next week to put him on the active roster, which I expect they will do. It would be hard for Bush to become the starter, though. He’s only practiced for two weeks so injuries would be the only way I see him starting.
As for Russell, I expect him to play in the next few weeks, if not on Sunday. I don’t have any concrete evidence, just a hunch based on conversations, how bad the offense has looked and some of Kiffin’s comments the last two weeks.
Question: Do you take Jordan’s stance as to “get along, get paid and I am just here to work.” I have heard that from Warren Sapp, Dominic Rhodes and Jordan. Is it the true sign of lack of leadership on the team?
Rod, Rancho Cordova
Answer: I assume you’re referring to what Jordan said yesterday about being a backup. I don’t see that from Jordan. He wants to win and wouldn’t conduct himself in that manner. He prides himself on not quitting and working hard, and that would go against everything he says he is. I’ve never heard that specifically from Rhodes or Sapp. If there’s a link to it, feel free to send it to me.
I heard Sapp say in Tennessee (and I’m paraphrasing) that as long as a team isn’t mathematically eliminated, you’ve got to go all out. He didn’t say he would quit if the Raiders had 10 losses. I took him to be saying you can’t give up because things aren’t going well. I’ve never heard him say anything about just being around for a paycheck. Sapp loves football and has to stick around and not retire while playing for a struggling Raiders team.