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Prepare Thyself: Week Five

October 3, 2008 | By Andy Goldstein | comment on this post

For the second week in a row, the most compelling mid-week NFL story line is something that happened off the field. Al Davis and the Raider organization planned a little presser for Tuesday. Here’s my reaction in real time:

“Okay, Lane Kiffin is gonna be fired. It’s crazy what was going on, but it’s kind of been brewing for a while. Nothing unexpected. Alright. There’s Al. He actually looks good compared to the last couple times I’ve seen him. Okay, he seems a bit mad. Oh, a letter. That sounds nice…Holy Crap.

(23 minutes later)

Holy Crap.”

After digesting the full briefing (and re-watching it about six times, purely for research purposes, of course) I think I can give my honest assessment. People will come down pretty hard on Davis and say, well, things like this or this. I understand those reactions. Davis has been a comical train-wreck for some time now. That said, I think both sides should take equal blame. I think it’s obvious Davis was telling the truth about a lot of what he said. Kiffin wanted Brady Quinn and not JaMarcus Russell. Kiffin wanted the Arkansas coaching job and probably never got over the fact that Atlanta allowed Bobby Petrino to leave mid-season and Davis didn’t let him do the same.

At the end of the day, Davis is still off his rocker, but at least he has a passion for the Oakland Raiders. It was clear to me that Kiffin wanted no part of that team or his job. So, Davis may never be able to rebuild a winning organization, but he was right to part ways with Kiffin. Just my two cents. On to Week Five.

Sneaky Starts

Steve Breaston and Jerheme Urban, Arizona Cardinals (vs. Bills) – Yes, we all saw the hit that Anquan Boldin took last week. I was obviously inconsolable and, yes, I’ve been doing Google news searches for Boldin about 20 times a day this week. He should be okay, eventually, but probably won’t play this weekend. That means Breaston and Urban are both interesting plays. Buffalo has a solid defense all around, but Kurt Warner can chuck the ball. Breaston will assume the starter role, and I expect a solid 60 receiving yards from him.

Rudi Johnson, Detroit Lions (vs. Bears) – I have no idea why the Lions need so many running backs, but if any of them have a chance to succeed this week, it’s Johnson. You can’t expect a huge day against Chicago’s somewhat stingy defense, but a cheap score could be in order. Also, Johnson flashed some receiving potential as well, something the Bengals never afforded him. In this bye-stricken week, Johnson could be a decent plug in.

Jerious Norwood, Atlanta Falcons (@ Packers) – This is another bye-week-only kind of guy. If you’re deciding between Norwood and someone like Selvin Young, go with Norwood. The couple games where Michael Turner went ballistic, Norwood went for more than 100 total yards both times and scored once. Again, it’s a risk since Norwood isn’t the top option, but it’s a decent risk against the Packers’ woeful run defense.

Bo Scaife, Tennessee Titangs (@ Ravens) – With the Browns, Jets, and Raiders on bye, the position most hurt is probably tight end. That’s sort of an indictment of the teams that aren’t playing this week, but it does mean that I have to find a sneaky start at the position. Scaife has been streaky with two good games and two bad ones, but this game should result in a cheap score. Besides, you don’t get many chances to start a guy named ‘Bo’ anymore.

Good luck in Week Five.

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