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Chiefs and Raiders Coach Mum on Starting Running Backs

There's an interesting scenario unfolding with the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders as they prepare to meet on Sunday inside the Coliseum. 

Generally, eight games into the season you know what you're getting with a particular team.  Enough games have been played that you know who the quarterback's favorite target is, how the offensive line run blocks, defensive tendencies and so on.

However, the Chiefs and Raiders haven't publicly named a starter for one key position: Running back.

The Chiefs, of course, are playing their second game without Larry JohnsonJamaal Charles started last week but only carried the ball six times, albeit for a very healthy 6.0 yards per carry.  Head coach Todd Haley was non-committal when asked who the starter would be this weekend.

"Either Savage, Smith, or Charles," he said. "Depends what play we decide to open with probably."

OK, to Haley, appointing a starter is just semantics at this point since they'll all likely see time.  I imagine the ratio would work out similar to last week (6, 4, 2) with the three running backs.

The Raiders head coach on the other hand is holding his cards close to the vest.  Darren McFadden has missed the last four games after having knee surgery.  His status is up in the air at this point.

Tom Cable responded "absolutely" when asked if it's important to keep a lid on things so their opponent, especially a divisional opponent, doesn't have any advantages.

"I just think for this game, coming out of the bye, it’s better to wait ‘till we start the game," he said.

McFadden pulled a Haley/Pioli and said, "It's just a process you have to go through."

Back to the Chiefs, most of you know I expect Kolby Smith to be the closest thing there is to a replacement for LJ.  However, Haley cautioned yesterday that expecting him to come in as the unquestioned No. 1 workhorse is unrealistic right now.

"I said earlier in the week, and I don’t think a couple of days changes it, but this is a major injury that he’s come back from and I think it would be unrealistic to believe that a guy after 12 months of surgery, rehab and all the things he’s done, would be expected to come in and be at the top of his game."

The Raiders are also expecting Chaz Schilens to return for this game.  The Raiders had been employing their rookie wide receivers, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Louis Murphy, often this season.

The Raiders have only gone over 100 rushing yards on three occasions this season and are currently ranked 26th in rushing yards and 21st in attempts.  The Chiefs have gone over 100 yards rushing four times and are ranked 24th in rushing yards and 13th in attempts.