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Will Kiffin poach Raiders’ staff?

It’s all over but the ink on the page: Lane Kiffin will be coaching the Tennessee Volunteers next season. Hey, going from Oakland to Tennessee worked pretty well for Kerry Collins; maybe Kiffin is looking to reproduce the formula. Some Raiders fans see Kiffin as a martyr figure who never got an honest chance to overturn the team’s culture of losing. Others tired of his public griping, and bid him good riddance. Forget for a moment your feelings on the… Read More »

A little pass rush makes a big difference

The Raiders didn’t get a sack against the Broncos today. And that’s about as misleading a stat as you’ll see this season. The biggest difference in today’s stunning 31-10 victory and the 41-14 blowout loss to Denver in Week 1 was pass pressure. Yes, JaMarcus Russell probably had his best NFL game, completing 10 of 11 passes for 152 yards and a touchdown. He threw a deep ball on the money to Ashley Lelie (a glaring weakness in his game… Read More »

Burgess returns, and the defense gets — worse?

The Raiders should be getting a long-lost defensive starter back this week. Which means the run defense should get – even worse. Yes, it’s sad but true. The long-anticipated return of defensive end Derrick Burgess could actually have a detrimental effect on this team’s ability to stop the run. Burgess has missed six games with a torn triceps muscle, and there’s no doubt the Raiders have missed him. He is clearly the team’s best pass rusher, with 36 1/2 sacks… Read More »

Al Davis steps in to clear things up with Curry

Ronald Curry was disappearing from the Raiders’ landscape, and no one would tell him why. Wide receivers coach James Lofton said the explanation would come from coach Tom Cable, but Cable never said a word. As Curry went from unused to officially inactive, someone finally talked to him: owner Al Davis. “I guess I came out in the paper saying nobody has talked to me, I don’t know what my situation is, I go from starting to not even playing,… Read More »

Some silver linings (really)

I must be going soft. I’m about to hand out praise for a team that fell to 2-8 and hasn’t scored an offensive touchdown in 13 quarters. Actually, I won’t praise the team as a whole, because it’s pretty bad. But I’m singling out several Raiders who managed to shine amidst the muck in Sunday’s 17-15 loss at Miami. LB Thomas Howard: He had one of his better games of the season, with seven tackles. I’m guessing it’s because the… Read More »

An uncomfortable position

If there is one position on the Raiders that typifies the way this team has struggled since Super Bowl XXXVII, it’s left tackle. You may remember Tampa Bay defensive end Simeon Rice running circles around Barry Sims during that game in January, 2003. Little did you realize that it signaled the beginning of the end of the Raiders’ title aspirations. Since then, no one has been able to lock down the job at left tackle. Sims certainly held his own,… Read More »

Knapp frustrated about loss of duties

Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell said it was still Greg Knapp’s voice he heard in his radio earpiece on Sunday. But Greg Knapp, the offensive coordinator, confirmed that coach Tom Cable has taken over play-calling duties in Oakland. And judging by the transcript, Knapp seemed taken aback by the loss of responsibility. “Yeah, I was surprised,” he said. “I was very surprised. Felt like we had a pretty good game against the New York Jets, we were… Read More »

The Talking Wounded

Even at full strength, the Raiders wouldn’t exactly be overwhelming favorites to beat anyone in the NFL right now. As it stands, they have been missing some key components. Here are updates on three of the highest-profile members of the Raiders’ hospital ward, all of whom spoke Monday. DERRICK BURGESS: Burgess traditionally hates to talk about his injuries, but he broke his silence to say that he’s “very close” to returning after missing five consecutive games with a mildly torn… Read More »

Walter beats the Panthers!

Somehow, between Friday afternoon and early Saturday evening, JaMarcus Russell has gone from questionable to not-a-chance for Sunday’s game against the Panthers. Officially, Russell remains questionable, which equates to a 50-50 chance of seeing the field. But ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, citing an unnamed source (who might not even be Lane Kiffin this time), wrote Saturday morning that Russell’s odds had gotten worse, along with the tendonitis in his knee. Now I see bloggers writing as if it’s a done deal… Read More »

Nnamdi on Hall’s release: I can’t make any sense of it

At the risk of beating a dead horse, you need to see some of the comments Nnamdi Asomugha made after practice Wednesday. (Thanks to my media-jackal colleagues for sending me transcripts; I wasn’t in Alameda today.) Supposedly, part of the reason the Raiders cut DeAngelo Hall was to ensure they had enough money to throw a big long-term contract at Asomugha, who is playing like a Pro Bowler. But Nnamdi isn’t grateful. He’s frustrated at losing a teammate, and perplexed… Read More »