Observations on a day away from team headquarters:
*This is a big weekend for Johnnie Lee Higgins.
He was dogged by mental errors last week and Lane Kiffin has made it clear Higgins is only returning kickoffs because there are no other options.
His confidence was an issue last year. He needs to show up this weekend and play with confidence.
*It would be nice to see Michael Bush work a lot with the first team. Justin Fargas won't play a lot, leaving Bush and Darren McFadden as the primary ball carriers.
With the team expected to pass a lot, Bush should be able to showcase his good hands.
*TE John Madsen is another player that should play a lot with the first team. Zach Miller isn't supposed to play a lot against Arizona.
*I can't see DeAngelo Hall or Tyvon Branch playing a lot tomorrow. The casts they are wearing clearly bother them.
*I'm keeping an eye on Shawne Merriman's knee injury. The Chargers defense will still be good without him, but Merriman makes the unit special.
No matter how deep a team is replacing an All-Pro isn't easy.
The Chargers are still the favorites in the AFC West, but if Merriman has to miss a lot of time, the talk of a Super Bowl might calm down a little bit.
For the first time in a long time, I answer a few reader questions.
Question: Do you have any info on the status of Nnamdi's foot?
408Raider, San Jose
A: Nnamdi Asomugha hasn't been mentioned as being injured lately and he's looked fine in practice so the assumption is his foot is doing fine. I don't expect him to play a whole lot tomorrow night, but that's more to do with him being a veteran with nothing to prove than an injury.
Question: Way to go Jason ruin your 15 minutes of fame by hanging up on ESPN (Wednesday)!!! Anyway, what were you going to say about the Raiders in that time?
Nick, Evansville, IN
Answer: Good one. I didn't hang up on ESPN. We lost the connection. Good thing is there wasn't much else to say.
Question: Is there a possibility that Seabass may be replaced by our free agent pickup and the Raiders saving some money maybe to sign players?
Da Postman, Vacaville
Answer: No. Sebastian Janikowski will be the Raiders' kicker until Al Davis says otherwise. I can't see a scenario where the Raiders bring in a kicker to compete for the job.
Question: Anyway the Raiders can go get Anquan Boldin? The Cards need help at RB. We could give them a package including Bush or Fargas and a draft pick.
Answer: Can't see that happening under that scenario. As much Boldin would help the Raiders, it's not as easy a player for player deal with a draft pick thrown in.
Boldin is one of the best receivers in the league so I there's no way they'd make a deal like that for the Raiders' No. 3 back or for Fargas when they have Edgerrin James.
NFL trades can be complicated in terms of what team wants in return. And I also would be shocked if the Cardinals traded Boldin.
And by the way, don't let the preseason convince you the Raiders don't need Fargas. Without him, the Raiders backfield is young and unproven.
Question: Jason, Love the blog! You are by far more informative on the Raiders than anyone else. Earlier in camp I had read that Al's son was taking a more involved role. Is that true and is it possible could lead to some more level-headed decisions at the top? Thanks
Dave, San Carlos
Answer: Mark Davis has been at more practices this offseason. He's worked on the business side a lot but appears to be taking a bigger part in the football season. But Mark isn't going to be stepping in to overrule his dad anytime soon. And there's no way to know exactly what kind of football decisions he'd make.
Question: Hey Jason. What is going on with Lane and Javon? This is the second week in a row that he's had problems. I think that Al should fire Lane and get over with too much problems with him and Javon.
Answer: I spoke with Javon the other day about Kiffin's constant criticism of him. He doesn't seem bothered at all by anything Kiffin says.
Walker knows his dropped pass was against Tennessee was bad. But he also wants more than two passes thrown to him.
"When you look at it guys drop that many passes in a game," Walker said.
He hasn't complained to Kiffin, he said, but just wants the chance to make plays.
One of Kiffin's ways of motivating players is to call them out publicly. Maybe it will work on Walker.