Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

September 17, 2008
Is there a game this week?

ALAMEDA - Anyone want to talk about the Buffalo Bills?

There are plenty of Raiders that would love to do that instead of answer questions about Lane Kiffin's job status.

But without owner Al Davis saying anything publicly in support of his coach, the questions continue to come about if/when Kiffin will be fired.

"We'll just keep plugging along until we hear different," Kiffin said. "I said before, the only thing that I don't like is for our players, they have to deal with this and it's a distraction. It shows a lot about our group because if you had some different guys, they could take advantage of the situation, all the stuff in the media and the paper, all the reports from our front office that there's going to be a firing yesterday and today, all that stuff. They could take advantage of that situation. 'We're not listening to you. We've been told, according to the paper, from our front office, that you're being fired. It's just a matter of when.' So, it shows a lot about our guys."

And Kiffin appears to be on to something about the locker room.

It's always interesting when you hear players talk about their coach. Some think once the players start talking like their coach, that means the message is sinking in.

Then again, the Raiders are probably so used to all the talk of a coaching change, it doesn't bother them anymore.

But here is how a few Raiders responded to more questions about Kiffin:

"You can only control what you can control," said running back Justin Fargas. "And that's your effort, your approach to your game and your work. That's what I try to do. That's what the team tries to do, come in here, and go to work. We know we have an opponent coming in to play the next week, and regardless of whatever has gone on outside, with the outside distractions, the ball's going to be kicked off and we've got to go out there and perform."

Here's Tommy Kelly on the rumors:

"I really don't pay attention," he said. "That really ain't my business so I worry about whoever I'm lined up in front of. Because the business between them, that's their business. I can't worry about that."

Kelly on if that's something you learn playing for the Raiders:

"Yeah," he said with a laugh. "You just got to worry about what you can control. I can't control that. I think Lane is doing a great job and guys are playing hard and playing together. I think everybody in the locker room on the same page. I don't see the problem but hey, I don't know what's going on between them, so hey."

Speaking of Kelly, he talked about is arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence on Sunday night.

"'(Kiffin) was like, you can't take that risk,'" Kelly said. "'Don't even do it.' He understood. What you do in your off time, you do it but understand the risk you're taking. It was a dumb decision on my own. If I could go back I would have probably just left my car at the hotel and came back and got it the next day."

Kelly went out without the usual designated driver that accompanies he and his friends for a night out.

He doesn't plan to make that mistake twice.
"I doubt if it'll ever happen again," Kelly said "I severely doubt it. It won't happen again."

Kelly said his lawyer is handling the legal matter. The team won't discipline Kelly and he will play Sunday in Buffalo.

RB Darren McFadden (toe) and Fargas (groin) did not practice. Fargas doesn't think he'll be able to play on Sunday.

Kiffin said if he had to, McFadden could have played in a game today.

WR Javon Walker (hamstring) didn't finish practice.

Not having Walker is hindering the passing game's development.

"Here's a guy that is supposed to be the No. 1 receiver when he comes in," Kiffin said. "Unfortunately, he's had some issues and had the injuries, and here we go again. We're warming up for the game on Sunday hoping that finally this was going to be the time that he would get to play. He didn't feel very good then. Today, he comes out, we talked about it being a big week for him. He played really well against Buffalo (for Denver) last season at the start of the year, had a good game against these guys. I started talking to him yesterday about it, about a big week, this team needs you, and, unfortunately, halfway through practice he can't go anymore."

LT Kwame Harris (knee) did not practice. He worked on the side and could return to the practice tomorrow.

If Fargas and McFadden were unable to play, the Raiders would lean on Michael Bush, Justin Griffith and possibly elevate Louis Rankin from the practice squad and cut someone to make room for Rankin.

But it sounds as if McFadden will be fine. Kiffin said Sunday McFadden could have returned to the Chiefs game if needed.

Bush is ready for the challenge of being the top back if needed.

"I've been waiting to play for a long time so whatever they come up with I'm ready for it," Bush said.

--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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