Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

November 17, 2008
The move Bush doesn't want to make

ALAMEDA - Interim head coach Tom Cable is clear about one thing:

Michael Bush should be a fullback.

Bush doesn't want to be a fullback. Cable has approached him privately about playing the position, but he wants to be a tailback.

The pressure to make the switch has increased since Justin Griffith was lost Oct. 26 for the season with a knee injury.

But as long as Darren McFadden and Justin Fargas are healthy, Bush might have a lot of games like Sunday's where he doesn't play at all.

Bush was the only active player that didn't get in the game for the Raiders. There's been a sentiment from Raiders' brass that Bush should be a fullback.

That's something former coach Lane Kiffin fought.

But Kiffin's not around to fight that battle anymore.

"He can be a special, special fullback in this league," Cable said. "And we've talked about it with him, and I don't think it's something he's real comfortable with yet. We'll continue to do it. I think he wants to be on the field, and that may give him the opportunity to do that."

Teams like the New York Giants and Miami Dolphins have found ways to keep three running backs involved. Cable isn't interested in doing that.

McFadden and Fargas will be the primary ball carriers in his offense.

"Every runner has to get a feel for the game," Cable said. "And so if you start using three guys as the runner, none of them would get a feel for the game, and you'd probably have a lot of negative gain out of it."

Bush is the Raiders best pass-blocking back, but even that's not enough to get him on the field.

Cable said Bush would be valuable as a fullback because if the team were to motion the tailback out of the backfield, Bush would give the offense a ball carrier - not just a blocker - in the backfield.

Bush's reluctance to play the position is why he hasn't played fullback during games.

"You don't want to put a player out there unless he's kind of keyed up to go do it," Cable said. "And its just something he's not real comfortable with."

*For those wondering who will be the starting left tackle on Sunday in Denver, it will be Kwame Harris.

"He's the left tackle of the Oakland Raiders," Cable said.

Harris was benched in the second half Sunday after two false starts in the red zone.

But after being complimentary of Harris' replacement Mario Henderson after the game, Cable watched the film and received a dose of reality.

He said Henderson played "poorly" and that Harris wouldn't have to rotate with Henderson this week.

"We've got to clean up the penalties with (Harris) but he was playing quite well other than those two false starts," Cable said.

Cable said Harris' issues are physical, rather mental.

Shocking for a Stanford player, right? (And yes, that's a small jab during Big Game week)

"Kwame is a brilliant guy, a very intelligent guy," Cable said. "I think he has a tendency to over-analyze rather than just relax and play."

• Even after Ronald Curry's good game in Miami, he's no cinch to move up the depth chart and crack the starting lineup if Chaz Schilens is healthy, Cable said.

• In response to the ESPN report that Jim Fassel is already whispering in Al Davis' ear to become the next coach, Cable didn't sound bothered because he is just the "interim" coach.

But if the team improves in its final six games, Cable would like to keep his job.

"If I can get this team turned around, absolutely, absolutely," Cable said.

• DE Derrick Burgess (triceps), LB Ricky Brown (groin) and C Jake Grove are all listed as day-to-day, Cable said.

All three could return to the field this weekend.

Cable said John Wade had some struggles against Miami that were due to his barely playing this season.

Cable expects Wade would play a lot better if needed this weekend.

Quarterback JaMarcus Russell left the game briefly with an ankle sprain but is fine, according to Cable.

Backup Andrew Walter is having tests done on his knee after being bothered by a sprained ankle and a calf injury.

Cable said if the Raiders practiced today, every player is healthy enough to participate.


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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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