The Raiders are a mysterious franchise under the best of circumstances, and these aren't the best of circumstances in Oakland. Still, it's hard to imagine a more strained relationship than that of coach Lane Kiffin and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.
After his first season with the Raiders, Kiffin attempted to fire Ryan but was overruled by team owner Al Davis. What's more, Kiffin doesn't have the authority to order Ryan to call blitzes on defense. Neither Ryan nor Davis advocates blitzing.
"I'm not going to really get into if I was the defensive coordinator what would I do because that doesn't really matter," Kiffin told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I'm the head coach. I control what I can control. For the most part, I let Rob do his thing over there. He has a belief in certain things, and he has a conversation with the owner about that."
Around the league
Fallout lingers from the Green Bay Packers' tampering charges against the Minnesota Vikings in the Brett Favre saga. Vikings coach Brad Childress avoided the post-game handshake with Mike McCarthy after the Packers won Monday night. Said he needed to talk to his quarterback, Tarvaris Jackson. ... How bad are things in Seattle? Split end Nate Burleson (knee) became the fourth wide receiver to go down this season when he suffered a season-ending knee injury opening day. The Seahawks are so desperate they might start versatile Seneca Wallace, the backup quarterback, at split end today. They signed two receivers this week, Billy McMullen and Samie Parker, to shore up the position.
There are no guarantees that troubled Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young will get his starting job back when he returns from a knee sprain in two to four weeks. Speaking to Young's virtual meltdown after being booed at home, coach Jeff Fisher told The Tennessean , "He has to put some things back in perspective, and first and foremost he has to get healthy." ... Kansas City Chiefs coach Herm Edwards should be used to changing quarterbacks in midstream by now. When Damon Huard replaces injured Brodie Croyle today, it will mark the 15th quarterback change in Edwards' 51 games as coach, or one change every 3.4 games.
Based on opening-day rosters, the Packers tied the Chiefs as the youngest teams in the league, averaging 25.72 years. It was the third straight year the Packers had the youngest roster. The Ravens ranked as the second-oldest team in the AFC with an average age of 27.04. The New England Patriots were the only older team, at 27.32 years.
Going into tonight's game, the Pittsburgh Steelers have beaten the Cleveland Browns nine consecutive games and 15 of the past 16 meetings. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, nursing a sore shoulder from opening week, has never lost in his home state of Ohio. He is 4-0 against the Browns and 5-0 against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Stat of the week
The Detroit Lions' streak of 49 consecutive home sellouts - 48 at Ford Field - was kept alive this week only when a sponsor volunteered to buy tickets to about 3,000 seats before the Thursday deadline. That's how devastating a 34-21 loss to the Atlanta Falcons was. The Falcons rushed for 318 yards.
Compiled from Sun news services and other NFL beat writers.