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Instant Raiders

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Raiders getting the run-around?

Earlier this week, Raiderfan posed a good question: How do running backs who gash the Raiders do the following week? In other words, do the Chester Taylors and Kolby Smiths of this world run just as well against other team as they do against the Raiders? I combed through game summaries from 2007, taking the opponents’ leading rusher in each of Oakland’s 10 games and examining his yardage in the games just before and after playing the Raiders. The chart… Read More »

One step forward, one step back

One of the recurring issues facing the Raiders this season has been their propensity to give up points immediately after scoring. Every big touchdown, it seems, is followed by a defensive letdown. It was a factor again Sunday, when the Chiefs scored all 17 of their points on drives that directly followed Oakland points. But how much is perception and how much is reality? Data from the first 11 games reveal a fairly stark trend. The Raiders have scored 39… Read More »

Should JaMarcus be starting?

Press Democrat columnist Lowell Cohn was at Lane Kiffin’s press conference Monday, and for Tuesday’s paper he wrote about the possibility of starting rookie quarterback JaMarcus Russell. If you don’t get the print edition, you can check out Lowell’s take on-line. Personally, I think the Raiders should resist temptation to start Russell. Maybe they shouldn’t even play him at all. I realize that’s not necessarily a popular opinion. Fans (and believe me, writers, too) are dying to see what Russell… Read More »

Lane’s got questions, and answers

A lot of NFL coaches and players would love to make the media go away. (Fans criticize the media, too, but presumably don’t want their newspapers and airwaves devoid of team news.) Raiders coach Lane Kiffin seems bent on eliminating reporters entirely. It isn’t that Kiffin has been rude or hostile or evasive (well, maybe a little evasive on occasion). Apparently, he simply would prefer to eliminate the middleman and interview himself each week. A common Kiffin rhetorical device is… Read More »

Kiffin comes clean on Walter

I give Lane Kiffin a lot of grief for the subterfuge in which he cloaks a lot of his decisions. He’s no different than Art Shell, or Norv Turner, or pretty much any other coach in the NFL in that way, of course. But it was sort of comical to watch Kiffin dangle Josh McCown and Daunte Culpepper earlier in the season, refusing to name a starting quarterback until Sunday each week. Likewise, it has been nearly impossible to get… Read More »

Raiders need to get into recovery

The Raiders’ 4 1/2-year downturn has reached such epic proportions that it’s easy to overlook some of the details. It seems wrong to nitpick, in other words, when the team you cover can’t block and can’t tackle. But there have been some fascinating footnotes to the crash. One of them is the Oakland’s inability to create and recover fumbles. Over the last season and a half ” that is, all of 2006 and the first half of 2007 ” the… Read More »

Bending the rules

Should an NFL starter lose his job because of an injury? For some reason, it has become a litmus-test question that every coach must answer – along the lines of “Do you draft for need or take the best available athlete?” Benching a guy because he had the misfortune of getting hurt and his understudy took advantage of the situation seems unjust, even creepy. On the other hand, consider Tom Brady and Kurt Warner. Both became starting quarterbacks when the… Read More »