Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

December 10, 2008
Who runs the Raider defense?

ALAMEDA - Remember the fuss the Raiders made about Lane Kiffin saying owner Al Davis has input when it comes to the defensive gameplan?

Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan spent nearly 20 minutes denying Kiffin's statement in a profanity-laced rant.

So can someone with the Raiders explain the statement made by New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick on his conference call with Raiders beat writers today?

Belichick was asked if the Raiders played man coverage exclusively or if they mixed in more zone coverage than one expects.

"They play a lot of man to man," Belichick said. "Sometimes it's with four guys rushing, sometimes it's with five, sometimes because of the formations they've seen they have to make a little bit of adjustment in their coverage because of receivers being bunched together, stacked together, things like that. But I think Rob Ryan, the defensive staff and Mr. Davis all do a good job of making those kinds of adjustments."

Why would Belichick say Davis does a good job of making those adjustments if he has no input?

Ryan was a coach under Belichick so he'd have a good idea if his former employee was working with Davis in running the defense because he could just ask him.

And considering Belichick is a defensive coach and interviewed for the Raiders job when it went to Jon Gruden, he'd have an idea of how Davis might run things.

So the next time you call for Ryan to be fired, remember there's a senior member of the staff that's been around a lot longer than him.

It's only fair to spread the blame because it seems Kiffin wasn't lying about that.

*Apparently enough is enough and Kwame Harris has been benched.

He leads the NFL with 15 penalties. Of those, 11 are false starts, which is also tops in the league. No player has more than six false starts. The Patriots have eight false starts as a team.

Cornell Green is still the starting right tackle. Harris will backup both spots.

*I made the drive down to San Jose to try to catch Randy Moss if he spoke to the media (he didn't). Moss ran by the media without his gear right before practice started.

Belichick did say Raiders tight end Zach Miller reminds him of San Diego Pro Bowl tight end Antonio Gates because of his ball skills.

"It just seems like he's always open," Belichick said.

Belichick added that when he interviewed with Davis about 10 years ago, it was unique because meeting the owner normally doesn't include going over Xs and Os and scheme.

*Quarterback JaMarcus Russell (ankle) and center Jake Grove (calf) were limited in practice. LB Ricky Brown (groin) did not practice and is out for this week.

Russell is expected to play against the Patriots. A decision on Grove will come later in the week.

*No decision has been made on who will start at receiver this week. Interim head coach Tom Cable reports Ashley Lelie and Chaz Schilens are looking healthy.

*The Raiders added offensive lineman Robert Felton to their practice squad. He's a rookie that was a teammate of Darren McFadden's at Arkansas.

No move has been made to replace cornerback Michael Waddell on the 53-man roster. Waddell was waived Tuesday.

*Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel left the team to be with his family after his father, Greg, passed Monday night.

His status for the game is unknown.

--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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