ALAMEDA — Raiders managing general partner Al Davis waited three games before he stripped fired coach Lane Kiffin of the play-calling duties. Kiffin shared that responsibility with offensive coordinator Greg Knapp in Oakland's fourth game.
Knapp assumed the role upon Kiffin's firing Sept. 30 and held it through Oakland's game against the Atlanta Falcons on Nov. 2. Well, you don't have Knapp to kick around anymore.
Knapp was stripped of his play-calling responsibility last week and told that he won't be used in that capacity for the rest of the season, a person in the front office said Monday.
Raiders coach Tom Cable presumably is in charge of the play-calling. However, he made no mention of the switch at any point last week, after Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers or in his weekly news conference Monday.
The move came as a result of the Raiders' 77-yard, three-first-down effort against the Falcons. In that game, the Falcons amassed 313 yards offense and 17 first downs in the first half while the Raiders entered halftime with minus-2 yards and no first downs.
Someone had to take the blame. Knapp was the obvious target based on his job description. A phone call to Knapp was not returned.
The Raiders averaged 19.5 points the first four games this season. They've averaged 7.0 in the five games since Cable replaced Kiffin. The Raiders are last in the league with 113 points through nine games.
On Sunday, the Raiders managed only two field goals in a 17-6 loss to the Panthers. Afterward, Cable said he didn't find any fault with the play-calling.
"It wasn't really about play-calling," Cable said. "It was our inability to stay out of those third-and-longs. "... It's just too much to overcome. We're not there yet. So, we'll continue to go to work on it and keep working our tails off to score touchdowns."
The Raiders completed 15 of 34 passes and allowed five sacks. Their running backs averaged 4 yards on their 30 carries, but the offense converted only two of 17 third-down plays.
Only two of the 15 completions were caught by a wide receiver. Eight passes were caught by running backs.
"The same issue: not the ability to score points offensively," Cable said Monday.
Cable rattled off a host of reasons for the ineffectiveness of his offense Sunday. Poor pass protection. Penalties. Rookie running back Darren McFadden's absence because of injury. Lack of production by the wide receivers. And so on. No mention of play-calling.
"I've got to manufacture some ways to score," Cable said, when asked if he has enough talent offensively. "I like the players we got. Are we getting them in the best position to do it? That's really what I've been looking at.
"I felt much better about it. I felt like we were much better on first and second down, but we got ourselves in some ridiculous third-down plays (Sunday) due to penalty."
Notes: Center Jake Grove (calf) will not play Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, Cable said. Chris Morris replaced Grove in the Panthers game, but John Wade will start against the Dolphins, Cable said. Quarterback JaMarcus Russell (tendinitis, bone bruise) said Monday that his right knee is "a lot better than it was. I'm just trying to get the strength back into it and be able to push off. Hopefully (I'll) get ready this week and be ready to go (Sunday)." Andrew Walter played in place of Russell against the Panthers. He sustained a sprained right ankle in the fourth quarter. Walter said Monday that X-rays were negative but that he is sore. Cable said he won't know until Wednesday how his quarterback situation looks for the Miami game. "... Defensive end Derrick Burgess (triceps) and McFadden (toe) said they are feeling better and stand a chance of playing Sunday. Burgess missed the past five games, McFadden the past three. "... Starting receivers Chaz Schilens (ankle) and Javon Walker (ankle) are questionable for the Miami game. Walker underwent an MRI on Monday.
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