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News » Oakland Raiders Inside Slant 2008-10-29


Oakland Raiders Inside Slant 2008-10-29


Oakland Raiders Inside Slant 2008-10-29
The Raiders started the season secure in the feeling they had two quality fullbacks.


Seven games into the season, they're both gone.

Veteran Justin Griffith sustained a torn ACL catching a 2-yard touchdown pass from JaMarcus Russell, and he will have surgery soon and be placed on injured reserve.

Griffith was the mentor for the Raiders' fullback of the future, Oren O'Neal, a sixth-round pick in 2007 whose strength was power blocking for the Raiders running game.

O'Neal had a torn ACL in the Raiders' third preseason game and was lost for the season.

That left Luke Lawton, signed on Sept. 3, as the lone fullback on the roster before the Raiders signed Jason Davis off the Bears' practice squad on Tuesday.

According to coach Tom Cable, Griffith injured the knee a play or two before the touchdown, but he essentially finished the job after catching the pass from Russell and taking a blow from Ray Lewis at the goal line.

Griffith, a smallish 230-pound fullback with good receiving skills whose strength is in cut-blocking and knowing the offense, was brought in last year in part on the recommendations of Cable and offensive coordinator Greg Knapp, who were with him in Atlanta.

He is regarded as a positive locker room leader and was one of the players former coach Lane Kiffin counted on to "change the locker room culture."

After the game, Griffith said he wasn't sure of the severity of his injury and insisted he saw better days ahead for the Raiders after a 29-10 loss to the Ravens in which they trailed 19-0 at halftime.

"I know we lost the game, but if we had played the first quarter like we played the third, the game is very close," Griffith said. "We've just got to continue to grind every day. Soon we'll start moving the ball the way we know we can."

Cable said moving running back Michael Bush to fullback probably was not an option because of the on-again, off-again status of Darren McFadden with turf toe. McFadden was inactive against Baltimore, and his condition could stretch deep into the season.



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: October 29, 2008

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