Fisher expects Raiders to run

Four games into the season the Raiders were the NFL's top-ranked rushing team, but the ground game has come to a screeching halt over the last two weeks.

Things won't get any easier this week against Tennessee, which has the league's best run defense so far, yet don't expect Lane Kiffin to have Oakland come out passing the ball like he did against San Diego two weeks ago. The Raiders, who were averaging 194.3 yards per game on the ground after beating Miami on Sept. 30, have suddenly been stopped cold running the ball each of the last two games and has managed just 108 yards since the win over the Dolphins.

That's dropped Oakland's average to 145.8, fourth in the NFL, but Kiffin says Oakland will have to continue to run the ball if the offense is going to get on track.

"Every week's going to change a little bit, obviously, because of your game plan and what you're looking at and what you believe you're going to do well against a team," Kiffin said Wednesday. "But this offense … has to run the ball or you won't see good results. That's part of our philosophy and that's part of our make-up.

"We'll continue to run the ball. We just need to be better at it."

Tennessee enters the game having allowed only 358 rushing yards all season. That's an average of 59.7 yards a game, numbers that seem impressive to just about everyone but Titans coach Jeff Fisher.

Fisher said Tennessee has gotten big production out of Albert Haynesworth and the team's starting defensive ends but says the Titans have benefited from opponents preferring to throw the ball rather than run.

"We haven't been rushed against very much," said Fisher, whose team has been ran on only 104 times in six games this season. "Last year at this time we had twice as many running attempts against our team than we do now."

Fisher expects the trend to change against the Raiders, who are averaging more than 32 rushing attempts a game.

"There's no doubt that they are one of the top five rushing teams in the league, up there with an elite group (like) Jacksonville and Pittsburgh," Fisher said. "So defenses are going to load up and occasionally they're going to give you everything they got and they're going to win some of the things on the line of scrimmage. That's what's happened. But the commitment is there, and once you make the commitment you usually see results. We're very impressed with the way they're running it, and certainly the scheme's completely different than it has been in years past.

"This is a different team. This is a disciplined team, a well-coached team, a team that's got a winning philosophy in place, and that's running the football and playing good defense."

-- Raiders quarterback Josh McCown practiced fully Wednesday for the first time since injuring his left big toe against Cleveland but Kiffin isn't saying where McCown will be on the depth chart. McCown took most of the reps with Oakland's scout team in practice and even took snaps with the starting offense. Daunte Culpepper took the majority of reps with the starting offense but Kiffin said he's holding off making a decision on who the starting quarterback will be until he sees how well McCown holds up.

"We'll see how he feels in the morning," Kiffin said. "It's by far the most he's worked since the injury."

-- Center Jeremy Newberry and right tackle Cornell Green were both given the day off but are expected to play against Tennessee.


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