Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

August 11, 2008
Archuleta "jazzed" to be a linebacker

NAPA - The newest Raiders linebacker made his debut in practice.

Adam Archuleta said after being released by Chicago in May he decided he wanted to make a team playing linebacker rather than safety, where he'd been much of his career.

"It's been in the back of my mind for a while," Archuleta said. "I enjoy playing in the box and that's what gets me jazzed so I decided I was going to try to make a run at linebacker."

Outside of Kirk Morrison and Thomas Howard, the linebacker situation with the Raiders is unsettled at best.

The team has looked at Ricky Brown, Robert Thomas and Sam Williams to play strongside linebacker. The team now has 11 linebackers on the roster not including longsnapper Jon Condo.

"There's two guys that have made this team," said Raiders coach Lane Kiffin. "The rest of the guys are battling."

Archuleta's best shot at starting would be at strongside linebacker even though Kiffin said Archuleta would play the strong and weakside.

"Anybody we can add, especially somebody that's got some experience and that's played that can make us better, deeper, add more competition ... I'm all about that," Kiffin said.

Archuleta has tried to add weight to play linebacker but said he basically played linebacker for St. Louis even though he was listed as a safety and was a linebacker in college.

He's listed at 5-11, 225 pounds.

"You've just got to make plays," Archuleta said. "You've got to be smart, use your speed ... played four years at (Arizona State) at 200 pounds. I played inside the box my whole career in the NFL. I basically played nickel linebacker for four years so it's really a matter of just learning the keys. Being down there with the big boys is really nothing new to me."

Archuleta is on his third team in three years after being a first-round pick of St. Louis in 2001.

He was traded to Chicago in 2007 after signing a big contract with Washington in 2006.

"It was just a matter of not taking advantage of my opportunities and here I am, so it just didn't work out," Archuleta said of his last two stops. "I just didn't play very well."

CB DeAngelo Hall returned to practice after an MRI this morning showed he had a sprained right hand.

He wore a cast on the hand and will continue to do so.

The injury seemed to energize Hall tonight. He put a hit on WR Johnnie Lee Higgins on a pass and a diving interception off a pass that slipped out of JaMarcus Russell's hand around the goal line. Hall also showed up big against the run.

"A lot of guys would have pulled themselves out of that goal line period with the cast on but he stepped right up and there was play right there where he stepped up even though we weren't live, hit as hard as he could," Kiffin said. "... Our team needs to feel that. From a corner to go up and fit inside the C gap like that on the goal line and make a hit like that, I'm not going to slow that up."

Offense didn't look great tonight. The passing game continues to rely on underneath passes with not much going on with the wide receivers.

Part of that is due to the Raiders' cornerbacks. But if the offense is to be successful, there has to be completions to someone other than tight ends and running backs.

The team tried a two-minute drill featuring Russell and the backup offensive line and backup receivers.

Russell couldn't complete passes, missing the likes of Chris McFoy badly.
As you can imagine, it wasn't pretty.

*RB Adimchinobe Echemandu (hand) left practice and his injury. Kiffin said the injury could keep him out of Friday's exhibition game at Tennessee.

*RB Michael Bush left practice with a stinger but is expected to play.

*WR Javon Walker practiced tonight. It's the second time he's taken part in both practices on a day where there are two.

*WR Ronald Curry, OLs Cornell Green and Robert Gallery and DLs Terdell Sands and Derrick Burgess had the night off.

*LB Ricky Brown worked with the first-team defense along with Morrison and Howard.

*S Tyvon Branch is still getting used to the "club" better known as his right arm in a cast. He came out of practice briefly shaking his right arm after a collision with Bush.

*Howard picked off a pass that bounced of RB Darren McFadden's hands.

*Tonight's penalty runners were:

T Kwame Harris
DT Tommy Kelly (twice, and he went nice and slow on his jogs)
Walker (twice, even though he didn't finish the second lap)
DT Jay Richardson
T Mario Henderson

*International practice squad player DT Mauricio Lopez nearly took a handoff intended for McFadden.

He came through the line and QB Marques Tuiasosopo attempted to give the ball to McFadden on a draw but Lopez was in the way. The ball came free and Tui fell on it.

--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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