Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

August 27, 2008
Kiffin playing it very safe

ALAMEDA -- Don't tune into Friday night's exhibition finale in Seattle expecting to see anything that resembles the Oakland Raiders that will open the regular season against Denver on Monday Night Football.

Raiders coach Lane Kiffin isn't taking any chances of losing any players.

Players that are No. 2 on the depth chart will probably play the whole first half with third-stringers finishing up the game.

None of the starters on offense will play and most of the defensive regulars will have the night off.

"This roster can't afford any more injuries right now," said Raiders coach Lane Kiffin. "We've got enough things that we've got to figure out at enough spots at the end of this, the 53 to figure out, to lose somebody else. I just don't see the value of putting these guys out there and losing one of these guys."

Andrew Walter will start at quarterback with John Wade playing center.

The team will worry about training Wade to play guard in practice rather than risk trying another center and having botched snaps in a game situation.

Fred Wakefield will play defensive line in the first half and go to offense in the second half.

He could make the team just because he can play so many spots. Using Wakefield on both sides of the ball could allow the Raiders to keep an extra receiver or defensive back.

The Raiders will have to cut 22 players on Saturday. Kififn said that's not as hard as it appears.

"Some guys will make it break it in that game but for the most part you know your team right now," he said. "The variables, when you come back the next day, are knowing all the guys, that are getting cut, having them evaluated and whether they're better than guys on the bottom of your roster."

*P Shane Lechler (quadriceps) will hold on field goals and extra points for Sebastian Janikowski, but won't punt.

*LB Robert Thomas (knee) is still being evaluated. CB Nnamdi Asomugha (ankle), S Rashad Baker (ankle) are also out. S Hiram Eugene "most likely won't play" Kiffin said.

*Johnnie Lee Higgins will handle kickoffs and punts in the first half. Michael Waddell will return punts in the second half and Louis Rankin will handle kickoffs.

--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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