It's hard to go from the enjoyable, upbeat banter of the Bronco's blogosphere to the San Francisco Chronicle's long suffering staff writer, David White, and his joyless write-ups on the state of the raiders. Actually, scratch that – he’s a bubbling cauldron of jollies compared to the podium presence of Coach Kiffin. Two days after ‘final cuts’, Kiffin is looking – wondering, hoping – for some help on the waiver wire. Right now, to hear him tell it, things are looking pretty bleak.
"That's the unfortunate thing about it," Kiffin said Sunday, less than 24 hours after 21 players were waived on the NFL's roster due date. "That's why we didn't have a big team meeting today or anything. Talked about, 'When I see you guys next time, for the most part, we'll have our final 53 and we'll talk about our plan for the season.' "
The Raiders, it seems, hope to glean a few capable backups from the 600-plus players fired over the past week. DT Josh Shaw was the lone bubble player to miss the cut. He lost out to William Joseph.
"As of right now, we went with William based on his ability to play the run," Kiffin said brutal honesty. So, how set is the roster then?
If that seems like he’s having all the fun of a fellow making his appointment with the guillotine, you have the general flavor of the interview. Kiffin, apparently, didn’t have much to say about his team, and what he had to say wasn’t particularly pretty. Was it hard to make cuts this time around?
"It was pretty easy."
Were there any bubble players who played their way onto the roster in Friday's exhibition finale at Seattle? "No, there really wasn't," Kiffin said. "There wasn't anybody (who) shined in the last game that moved (himself) above that number.
Although they kept 10 offensive linemen, Kiffin doesn't see that number sticking. "That is the way it is today," Kiffin said. "I wouldn't anticipate it being the way it is later in the week, but we'll see."
They also kept nine defensive linemen. Some of that is necessary because defensive tackles Tommy Kelly and Terdell Sands are still working their way into the proper shape and/or weight. They can play only so many uninterrupted snaps. Is 9 too many?
"This isn't finalized yet." Kiffin said.
Raiders must sign another fullback because starter Justin Griffith is all alone of the depth chart. Griffith knows they won't ask him to play every down of the season.
"I don’t know how this system could operate without another fullback," Kiffin said. "I would hope by our next practice we would have a second fullback."
Griffith said with a smile, "They'll find somebody."
Still, it’s not all doom and gloom by the Bay. They do have a solid stable of running backs, although the O line is sometimes considered suspect. Darren McFadden has been everything that was advertised in his first preseason. When the season starts, McFadden will be available to carry the ball, catch passes out of the backfield, even line up at receiver.
"You're so excited with what the guy can do -- all these special things outside the formation," says Coach Lane Kiffin, who was the offensive coordinator for the similarly versatile running back Reggie Bush at USC. "But you've got to be careful because all of a sudden you can find him doing a bunch of things but nothing really well. We screwed that up with Reggie."
You have to love this guy’s honesty. As to the rest:
Said Kiffin, "We'll see."