I've been keeping an eye on our opening game opponent. There is more than just a regular game on the line - it's the (hated) faders, it's Monday Night Football, and a very new Broncos team takes the field for the first game of the 2008 season.
But some things just never change. Kiffin is on the bubble, the faders overpaid for some talent, and as HT has pointed out in the past; If you spend a lot on a few, there isn't as much left for the rest. I'm paraphrasing, sure, but it's true. And if those high end purchases are injured (the list is below - Geez, I thought we had problems) or not producing (see Walker, Javon) it's harder still because you don't have the level of depth that you need.
Something else that hasn't changed is that thed coach of the faders hasn't got the power Shanahan wields. I know that Claus had some concerns there, but here is the polar opposite of the Broncos situation, and folks, it isn't pretty.
Unless you're a Broncos fan, of course. Enjoy!
NAPA — Cornerback John Bowie hasn't practiced for almost three weeks. Wide receiver Arman Shields has missed more practice time than he has participated in. Cornerback DeAngelo Hall is practicing with an injured right hand.
Too often in practice, players are dropping passes, missing tackles, jumping offsides and doing things that make Raiders coach Lane Kiffin ponder, What if?
What if he had free rein to cut players he deemed unworthy of being on the 80-man roster? What if he had the latitude to bring in a steady stream of players as a means of pushing those already here? What if he wasn't compelled to watch the same mistakes almost on a daily basis?
"There's not very much competition on this field," Kiffin said after a lackluster practice Sunday. "Some guys have been released at other places, and people are picking them up. You'd like to pick up some of those guys and bring them in, because they've been in other camps, and push some of our guys.
"Unfortunately, there are some guys right now on our roster that are borderline guys that, as of today, would make it just because we don't have anybody else."
This isn't the first time Kiffin has bemoaned the fact that Raiders managing general partner Al Davis is slow, or at least hesitant, to address issues that Kiffin deems glaring and unacceptable.
Davis was unavailable for comment. However, Kiffin made it clear that this isn't his call.
"No, I'm not," Kiffin said, when asked if he is averse to making roster moves.
That puts it all on Davis.
"You've got to be willing to release people," Kiffin said. "When guys are in the training room, they're not out here practicing; you've got to be willing to release them and live with it, and pick other people up for more competition."
It's a battle Kiffin's predecessors have fought, too, with little success. Yet, unlike coaches of years past, Kiffin isn't content to accept what he deems detrimental to his fielding the best team possible.
Walker on notice
Receiver Javon Walker didn't do much to distinguish himself in practice Sunday. This came one day after Kiffin criticized Walker for his poor play in Oakland's first two exhibition games.
Walker's disappointing play prompted a pre-practice meeting between Kiffin and Walker.
In short, Kiffin said, it's time for Walker to validate Oakland's decision to hand him a long-term contract that guarantees him $16 million. That means in Saturday night's exhibition game against the Arizona Cardinals.
"Yeah, I hope so," Kiffin said, when asked if he expected Walker to perform well Saturday. "I spoke with him (Sunday) morning about that, about this is a big game for him, even though it's a preseason game.
"It's Week 3, and he'll play more than he's played in the first two — and in the fourth game we don't play our starters hardly at all — so, it's a big week for him."
Walker wasn't the only receiver who struggled Friday night against the Tennessee Titans or in practice Sunday. Ronald Curry dropped two passes Sunday on one series.
"Yeah, some of the same old stuff," Kiffin said. "Inconsistency. Drops. We've got a long ways to go at that position. We need to get it figured out. We need to start playing better there so that we can have a complete offense."
— Steve Corkran