Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

August 17, 2008
Making the best of what you've got

The Raiders wore a little more than irked when former receivers coach Fred Biletnikoff said in a radio interview part of the team's problem was it was using backup players in starting roles.

Lane Kiffin added to that today by noting the Raiders have "borderline guys that as of today would make it just because we don't have anybody else."

The makeup of the Raider roster is always an issue because of the involvement of owner Al Davis, who has a penchant certain players that are jokingly deemed "scholarship" Raiders.

Kiffin said a team has to be willing to release players that are always hurt in order to bring in new players.

When asked if he was hesitant to do that, Kiffin said: "No, I'm not."

LB Grant Irons, CB John Bowie and S Greg Wesley are Raiders that have spent more time hurt than practicing.

Irons returned to practice last week. After being out since the second day of camp.

Wesley was finally cut to make room for Adam Archuleta. Wesley a lot of practice time, too.

Bowie was the player selected with the draft choice for Randy Moss, so he won't be getting cut. He's been out since July 29.

Kiffin has continued to be open in discussing his relationship with Davis and defining what aspects of the job he controls.

The complete makeup of the roster is something Kiffin wants the world to know falls on Davis.

So with backups as starters and fringe players that wouldn't make another NFL team on the 53-man roster, who is blame?

Kiffin clearly doesn't want to be the fall guy.

Speaking of the roster, the development of LB Ricky Brown is a credit to his hardwork and the coaching staff.

"When we first got Ricky on the field, I went back into our meetings with our coaches and I couldn't even understand why the guy was here, watching him," Kiffin said. "But he's completely different."

Brown has the strongside linebacker job locked up provided he doesn't have a major setback on the field.

Brown was Kirk Morrison's backup last year.

"Once you play (middle linebacker) you're calling the defense, " Brown said Friday night. "You really understand how the defense works ... (now) it's about recognizing the formation and doing my job."

Kiffin said he told WR Javon Walker that Saturday's exhibition game against Arizona is "big" for him.

"I expect Javon to have a big game," Kiffin said. "I'm putting in a game plan and he should see some balls early in this game. Hopefully he'll make some plays."

Kiffin said Walker isn't the No. 1 receiver and that Ronald Curry and Drew Carter aren't battling to be No. 2.

They're fighting to be the "Z" and Walker is the "X" in the offense.

But the X in the offense is essentially the No. 1 because he needs to be dynamic and a playmaker.

It's the spot Randy Moss would have played if he weren't traded to New England.

"In the end if it becomes something where Javon is not playing as well as we need him to play, both of those guys have learned 'X' so they can go over there," Kiffin said. "I don't feel the need to do that right now."

*Raider receivers were dropping passes again in practice. Curry had two on one series. TE John Madsen had a drop, too. The inconsistency continues to hinder the passing game.

*TE Tony Stewart (toe), Bowie (knee), S Hiram Eugene (hip), S Michael Huff (ankle) and WR Arman Shields (knee) did not practice.

Shields and Huff came out to practice but were bothered enough to be pulled.

*P Shane Lechler and K Sebastian Janikowski are still out with leg injuries and could be out the rest of the preseason.

They aren't expected to play this week and Kiffin said if they're healthy, he would like to use them in the final exhibition game.
*CB DeAngelo Hall and S Tyvon Branch both practice wearing casts on their right hands.

*The team is off tomorrow and will treat this weekend's exhibition game like a regular season contest by planning for the opponent as opposed to running plays and not focusing too much on the opposition.

--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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