Raiders finally focus on football

For the first time this week Lane Kiffin didn't have to answer one question about his job security, his relationship with defensive coordinator Rob Ryan or owner Al Davis. In a welcomed respite from the drama, Kiffin was actually able to concentrate on football.

"You guys alright?," Kiffin joked with reporters after no one asked him a question in reference to his job. "Is everything OK?"

The Raiders head coach has been in defense mode for the past several days after reports surfaced that owner Al Davis was prepared to fire Kiffin. The franchise did nothing to dispel those rumors and in many ways helped facilitate them.

Regardless, Kiffin has kept a straight face while trying to prepare the team for Sunday's game in Buffalo.

The Raiders are almost certain to be without running back Justin Fargas for that game. Fargas suffered a groin injury during the win over Kansas City and has practiced since. Rookie Darren McFadden has also been slowed by a turf toe injury but was able to participate in the majority of Thursday's workout.

"We'll be on the safe side with Justin," Kiffin said. "That does hurt us in a number of things because he is the one veteran back that understands our protections the most. To me he's kind of the heartbeat of our offense by who he is. If you can be in our locker room before games and on our sidelines during games, this is a guy that keeps these guys together with his energy. He's just a dynamic competitor that we'll miss if he can't play. The young bucks will have to go and step up."

That means McFadden, if he's healthy enough, and Michael Bush. McFadden practiced with a steel plate in his right shoe and felt it made a significant difference.

"It's something that you don't think much of it at all if you don't have it," McFadden said. "You think you see a guy with turf toe, ‘Oh it's just a toe, he can go with it.' Once you get it you understand why because every move you make on it, it all revolves around your toe. It's pretty painful."

Left tackle Kwame Harris was downgraded to doubtful after missing practice due to his lingering knee injury. Mario Henderson, who made his first NFL start against Kansas City in place of the inactive Harris, continued to take the reps in Harris' absence.

On the other side of the coin, wide receiver Javon Walker looks to be getting over his hamstring injury and inched closer to making his regular-season debut for the Raiders this week in Buffalo. Walker, who did not play in either of Oakland's first two games, took part in the entire practice for the first time this week and showed no lingering effects after the workout.


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