Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

August 16, 2008
The receivers leave much to be desired

Took a break from Madden 09 to take part in Lane Kiffin's conference call to discuss Friday night's exhibition game in Tennessee.

The conference call, like the Monday press conference during the season, usually provides more insight because the coach has reviewed game film.

And in case you didn't watch the game or choose to ignore the obvious: the Raider wideouts weren't very good last night (except for rookie Chaz Schilens).

Kiffin was able to resume criticizing Javon Walker after he let a third-down pass on the Raiders' opening drive hit him in the hands and fall for an incompletion.

Walker also didn't come down with a catch on a fade route.

"For him to not go out there and make those plays, it's discouraging," Kiffin said. "He was paid an awful lot of money, paid like one of the top-5 receivers in the NFL so we need him to make those plays."

To recap, Kiffin has critiqued Walker's weight, desire, mental stability and effort. Now he's reminding Walker he's already cashed an $11 million check.

Kiffin said there wasn't enough from the Titans game to decide whether Ronald Curry or Drew Carter will start opposite Walker.

Curry had three catches for 19 yards. Walker and Carter failed to make a catch.

Kiffin noted any problems in the passing game last night weren't Russell's fault.

"Either things weren't there or a guy wasn't making a play for him," Kiffin said. "I thought he played really well."

Kiffin said mental errors by Johnnie Lee Higgins like last night's running an in route when he was supposed to run an out were reasons why he didn't play a lot last season.

The only receiver to receive any praise was Schilens (three catches, 45 yards).

The Raiders also remain undecided about their starting center after Kiffin said Jake Grove and John Wade both played well.

But it looks as if the starting defense is set with Ricky Brown taking the third linebacking spot.

"In that case it's Ricky's job to lose," Kiffin said.

Raider fans and defensive players aren't the only people that want to see more blitzing this season.

Add Kiffin to the list.

"We need to (blitz)," he said. "It's something that especially with as good as our back four can cover with our two corners and out two safeties. The more we can do to create more sacks and turnovers which were categories we weren't very good at last year."

I've always found it hard to believe the son of Buddy Ryan who also worked under Bill Belichick, Raiders defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, was against blitzing. But a certain Raiders owner isn't fond of too much blitzing.

So it's good to see more of Ryan's personality coming out in the playcalling.

Tackles Kwame Harris and Cornell Green "held their own" against Tennessee defensvie ends Kyle Vanden Bosch and Jevon Kearse, Kiffin said.

There weren't a lot of five and seven-step drops and JaMarcus Russell's mobility helps, too.

Kiffin said DeAngelo Hall won't be a candidate to return until he's no longer wearing a cast to play.

Darren McFadden remains the option if Higgins can't hold on to the ball on 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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