Starters to sit against Seattle

JaMarcus Russell won't play. Neither will Ronald Curry and Javon Walker. For that matter, Nnamdi Asomugha, Derrick Burgess, Jake Grove and nearly all of the Raiders starters will be held out of the preseason finale against Seattle.

Still reeling from the season-ending injuries suffered by fullback Oren O'Neal and wide receiver Drew Carter, in addition to linebacker Robert Thomas' own knee injury, Oakland head coach Lane Kiffin said the team is taking no chances with the start of the regular season less than two weeks away.

"This roster can't afford any more injuries right now," Kiffin said Wednesday. "We've got enough things that we've got to figure out at enough spots at the end of this, the 53, to figure out. I just don't see the value of putting these guys out there and losing one of these guys."

Nearly every NFL teams limits their starters to less than one quarter in the fourth preseason game anyway, so the Raiders' decision to not play most of their regulars at all is hardly surprising.

The losses of O'Neal and Carter were significant blows and left Oakland extremely thin at positions where depth was already a concern.

Fearful that something similar could happen to one of his cornerstone pieces -- quarterback JaMarcus Russell, for example -- Kiffin opted to take a more cautious approach to the final preseason tuneup.

"There are some guys we'll be looking at that we'll be moving on the depth chart," Kiffin said. "Some guys also have the ability to make or break the end of the roster. There are a lot of opportunities for other guys."

Kicker Sebastian Janikowski will handle the kicking chores while Shane Lechler will hold on any field goal or extra point attempts but Glenn Pakulak will do all the punting.

Johnnie Lee Higgins will pull double duty early in the game as a punt returner and kick returner while running back Louis Rankin will get a look returning kicks and cornerback Michael Waddell will field punts later in the game.


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