|Kiffin wants to unleash passing game against Cards|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 22 August 2008 11:14|
After adding Darren McFadden to the fourth-ranked rushing offense from a year ago, the Raiders have shown through the first two preseason games that they could be even better on the ground this season.
That's why the focus of the third exhibition game against the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday night will be on what JaMarcus Russell and the receivers can do through the air.
our first unit throwing the ball.''
Russell threw only five passes in the first exhibition game before having a little more success last week in Tennessee. He went 10-for-17 for 75 yards and a touchdown against the Titans, with most of the yards coming in one good drive in the second quarter.
After making only one start as a rookie following a lengthy contract holdout, Russell has much to prove this preseason. With the main goal of the fourth exhibition game being to avoid injuries, this is the final real chance for him to do that.
Russell and most of the first-team offense are expected to play into the third quarter against the Cardinals as Kiffin hopes to expose his young quarterback to as many different scenarios as he can.
``Hopefully we get a two-minute drill at the end of the first half,'' Kiffin said. ``If not we may manufacture that at some point so JaMarcus will have a two-minute drill there with our number one offense live. It won't happen in the last game.''
Kiffin also wants to see something out of Javon Walker and the rest of the receivers, who have struggled for much of training camp. The Raiders have been plagued by dropped passes and receivers unable to get open in practice as well as games.
That's forced Russell to rely more heavily on his running backs and tight ends, an important lesson for a quarterback being taught that checking down to an outlet receiver is better than forcing a ball downfield.
``It's better than the deep ball sometimes, letting the back breaks a few tackles, get a first down or a big run,'' Russell said. ``We kind of forced that in my head, and I'm just kind of living by that right now.''
The Cardinals need to see less out of their quarterbacks because starter Matt Leinart and backup Kurt Warner are much more experienced than Russell.
Leinart is expected to play into the second quarter and then be replaced by Warner.
``I'd like to see us have some consistency early,'' coach Ken Whisenhunt said. ``The last couple games we haven't started especially well, on both sides of the ball.''
The game is a reunion of sorts for Leinart and Kiffin, who spent five years together at Southern California as quarterback and coach.
Leinart said the two often joked around together at USC and that he expected a little bit of trash talk in the game.
``My dad was at an SC practice the other day and he was talking to Pete Carroll,'' Leinart said. ``Lane had told Pete to tell me that he's coming after me this weekend. We'll see.''
Kiffin smiled when that was relayed to him this week and joked he would do just that on Saturday.
``Yeah, we're going to go old school Buddy Ryan, as they call it around here,'' Kiffin said. ``We'll come after him every snap and put a bounty in the locker room on him.''
While there won't be any bounties, Whisenhunt would like to see some pressure put on his quarterback in order to get the offense ready for what will undoubtedly come once the season starts.
``We'll see some things that we're not ready for because Oakland is a team that likes to put pressure on you, their defense on our offense,'' Whisenhunt said. ``But it's good for us. It's a good test for our receivers, our quarterbacks and our line, as far as picking things up and trying to operate efficiently.''
AP Sports Writer Tim Korte in Flagstaff, Ariz., contributed to this report.