Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

November 3, 2008
Finding some balance

ALAMEDA - Tom Cable referred to robbing Peter to pay Paul when describing how the team has gone away from running the ball in recent weeks to get the passing game going.

In case you hadn't noticed, it's not working.

JaMarcus Russell's passer rating has dipped to 69 and his completion percentage is now at 48.6 percent.

His touchdown-to-interception ratio is now 6 to 4.

The Raiders have trailed big in three of the last four games, but passing was still going to be emphasized under Cable, who wanted more balance.

The only balance the Raiders have found on offense is both parts of the game are equally bad.

"I think a little bit getting behind (hurt) but more importantly trying to develop a passing game," Cable said of the lack of running. "Where's that happy medium? Where's that balance at? Maybe we went too far with it."

The Raiders have run for at least 100 yards only once in Cable's four games as interim head coach. It was the only game the Raiders won, against the New York Jets.

And take away Russell's two runs yesterday fir 46 yards, the Raiders ran nine times for 21 yards.

Justin Fargas had 23 yards in six runs with a long of 13. He's now averaging only 3.6 yards a carry on the season.

"I think we've got to block better and Justin would be the first to tell you he's gotta maybe make some cleaner, sharper cuts and all that," Cable said. "But I think he's got to have some better blocking than we've given him. We have not run the ball in terms of number of runs lately like we used to so that has something to do with it too."

*Then there's the run defense ... the very bad run defense.

Cable said there isn't a problem with Rob Ryan's scheme, rather execution.

"It's not necessarily that what we're doing is wrong, it's a little bit of how we're doing in terms of our integrity, staying in gaps with integrity, fitting it," Cable said. "If you're a hard fit (in a running lane), you should fit it hard. Don't be soft about it. If you're a secondary fit, you better be second. Don't try to be first. Otherwise, you vacate or you void that gap. It's really execution. It really comes down to execution."

Cable also said tackling is a problem. But haven't we heard all this before.

Like in 2007. In 2006. And in 2005 ...

What's wrong?

"It isn't for a lack of effort or lack of toughness," said defensive end Jay Richardson. "Guys are playing their butts off. But it's just, playing smarter, understanding what they're trying to do to you and being ready for it. We watch a lot of film, but a lot of times what you see is, you watch the film you get one thing, but on Sunday you get something different. Teams self-scout so they understand that. So you have to be really, really sat in your base disciplines and your principles, and just play 'em, and just believe what you see out there."

*Fullback Justin Griffith was in the locker room briefly today. He had surgery to repair his torn right ACL on Friday.

He admitted watching Sunday's game was tough.

"(I watched) as much as I could, before the Percocet set in," Griffith said.

He still believes the Raiders can make progress. He's a big believer in Cable and offensive coordinator Greg Knapp.

"This team, I think, is still a good football team," Griffith said. "Got keep into account, this team is young. Once this team finds its niche and starts playing the way we know it can, you're gonna see this team win football games. A lot of football games."

That niche probably needs to be running the football and allowing the passing game to come along with it.

*Derrick Burgess is able to workout but his triceps tear isn't completely healed.

The Raiders are being careful because they don't want to have to eventually put Derrick Burgess on injured reserve.

"You feel good but after taking some pictures, it's still not healed enough - the actual tissue." Cable said. "It's easy to tear again."

*There are still tests to be done on safety Tyvon Branch's shoulder.

LB Robert Thomas (hamstring), LB Jon Alston (foot), LB Ricky Brown (groin), RB Darren McFadden (toe) and Burgess are all considered day-to-day.

McFadden did workout today and wasn't wearing a walking boot on his left foot.

--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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