Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

August 19, 2008
So far, so good, handling the ball

ALAMEDA - Lane Kiffin didn't really want to mention it.

The subject made JaMarcus Russell knock on wood.

Through two preseason appearances Russell hasn't "come close" to a turnover Kiffin said.

Russell said he's been made aware of ball security for a long time and Raiders coaches have emphasized that when he's on the move.

"The thing coach told me in high school was, the best play is the next play, when you still have the ball," Russell said. "... As far as being on the run, just try not to make any dumb decisions, just have the ball for the next play, keep the chains moving, and get some positive yards."

The Raiders are going to do their best to keep it simple for Russell similar to how Pittsburgh handled Ben Roethlisberger.

Rely on the running game, the defense and don't force the young quarterback to win games by himself.

It's not always the most exciting football to watch, but it's a good way not to put too much pressure on Russell.

So far, Russell understands his role and is happy with it.

Kiffin said the last doctor to examine X-rays of CB DeAngelo Hall's hand found no break.

Hall is still practicing with a cast covering the index and middle fingers of his right hand.

And it's clearly bothering him. He tried to intercept a pass from Marques Tuiasosopo and when the ball hit his hand, Hall didn't catch it and shook his hand before leaving the field.

Hall said during a television interview he had torn tendons. Could be ligaments. Who knows?

"There's nothing telling us that there's going to be surgery," Kiffin said. Everything tells us that he's going to be OK for the opener. The problem is he's got to wear that cast throughout all these practices and probably will still have to have it on this week. It's hard to tackle. It's hard to be a corner with a cast on, but it's the situation that it is and we'll make the best of it."

Kififn would like to see Hall play this week.

Kiffin was asked about his comments about the lack of roster movement. He didn't have much to say today.

The team still hasn't made any changes.

"I think that's kind of a dead issue," Kiffin said. "I said what I said and it's the situation it is. To keep dwelling on it is not going to do us any good."

He was then asked if he sought advice from his father, Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.

"No I don't really talk to him too much about it because unless you've been here, you don't understand it so he doesn't really have any advice for me," Kiffin said.

Practice notes

*WR Javon Walker had the chance to make an easy catch. He dropped the ball. The he dropped his head and walked over to the sidelines for 10 punishment push-ups.

Earlier in practice Walker made a nice play on a pass behind him.

*Robert Thomas took snaps with the first-team defense at outside linebacker. After the Tennessee game Kiffin said that job was Ricky Brown's to lose. Brown took snaps with the first team and was also the backup middle linebacker.

*Hall and the other player wearing a cast, S Tyvon Branch, did not catch passes during interception drills for defensive backs.

*WR Chaz Schilens continues to look good in practice.

*The Raiders ran a couple of two-minute drills at the end of practice. The first-team offense lost to the first team defense when after a Russell run for a first down put the ball at the offense's 49, there were four straight incompletions.

The second-team offense had a better time. There was a 17-yard completion from Andrew Walter to Todd Watkins followed by a 45-yard touchdown pass to Johnnie Lee Higgins on the next play.

That led starting right tackle Cornell Green to decry the playcalling.

"Y'all give them a go route?" he bellowed after watching Higgins score easily.

*K Sebastian Janikowski (hamstring), P Shane Lechler (quadriceps), CB John Bowie (knee), LB Grant Irons (back), S Hiram Eugene (hip) and WR Arman Shields (knee) did not practice.

--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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