Raiders look forward to football weather

Lane Kiffin went ahead and took a Lambeau leap of faith. It's supposed to be in the 20s with the possibility of snow flurries when the Raiders visit the Green Bay Packers on Sunday at Lambeau Field.

Bring it on.

"You're playing one of the best teams in the league, at their place. It's supposed to be so hard to play that time of year," Kiffin said. "I don't know how, as a player or coach, you don't get up for that. I like it because I like getting people when they're at their best. The competition of it is intriguing to me. I think you always challenge your players that way."

Kiffin compared it to the challenge of kicking to Bears return specialist Devin Hester, whom the Raiders bottled up in a 17-6 loss on Nov. 11.

Of course, the Raiders played Hester in the comfort of the McAfee Coliseum, on a typically clear California day.

The fabled frozen tundra is another matter.

"It will be a new experience for me," conceded strong safety Michael Huff, who played at Texas. "Played in Nebraska when it was about 40. That was bad. So I guess I've never been in anything too bad."

The handful of Raiders who have been around since 2004 were involved in a 25-24 win over the Denver Broncos on a snow-covered Invesco Field.

Oakland prevailed that Sunday night through the air, with Kerry Collins finding Jerry Porter for three touchdowns and Ronald Curry for one.

But there is little in the Raiders' past to indicate they're a cold-weather team. They've lost 10 consecutive road games in December. Green Bay, meanwhile, is 26-8 in December since 2000.

If the Raiders are to prevail, they're likely to take a different tact than the team that beat Denver in a November snow.

The 2007 Raiders come equipped with snow tires.

"I think we're built for it," Kiffin said. "We're a team that runs the ball, a team that can put bunch of guys in the box because we have really good corners. We're not a big, spread-out team. We're an in-tight, running, play-action team. If you're going to build a team over a period of time for cold weather, that's what you'd do, in my opinion."

The Raiders are coming off back-to-back wins against AFC West opponents Kansas City and Denver, running for 328 yards in the two games, with running back Justin Fargas running for 285 yards.

Although Kiffin wasn't sure if Daunte Culpepper or Josh McCown would start, their approach didn't change much other than a few additional perimeter plays with the more mobile McCown.

The Raiders ran the ball 70 times in the two games and threw 43 passes, with Culpepper throwing it 22 times and McCown 21.

"We're a running team anyway," Fargas said. "We expect to run the ball. Knowing it will be a (cold) weather game, we'll commit to the run a little more. It's all the better."

Many Raiders believe snow is preferable to no snow. A wet field and freezing wind can be more chilling than snow on the ground. "If it's snowing, it's probably about 40 degrees," Culpepper said. "If it's not, then it's much colder."

Kiffin said he spoke with his dad, Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, about mentally preparing his team -- although he wondered if the advice was sound.

"I talked to him this week, and he had a lot of answers," Lane Kiffin said. "Then, I remembered, 'Wait, you went 0-17 in your first 17 games under 40 degrees.' So he's got ideas, but I'm not sure they're very good ones."

Kiffin said his dad told him to approach the game with a certain mind-set, and told him to watch how Warren Sapp gets prepared.

"He said to be ready for Warren to have 10 layers of clothing on," Kiffin said. "He said it's a sight just to watch him dress and get ready for the game."

If the Raiders are affected by the cold, Sapp said it would show itself early.

"If you aren't (ready for it), we're going to show it in the first quarter," Sapp said. "We were sitting around talking about it today, and I'm looking around the room thinking maybe three guys have been up there."

As an offensive lineman who played in college at Iowa, left guard Robert Gallery was unconcerned.

"It doesn't bother me," Gallery said. "You've got a heated bench to sit on when you come off the field. If it's snowing and stuff, maybe you're forced to run the ball a little more. That plays right into what we like. ... I'll be out there wearing the same stuff I wear if it's 100 degrees out."

Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha said whether a player is experienced in the cold isn't the primary issue.

"It's one of those things if you don't have it on the inside, you probably won't get it," Asomugha said. "It's football weather."

SB Report Top Stories