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Day-after wrap-up

News, notes and observations from Lane Kiffin’s season-ending press conference Monday:

– One of the most telling comments from Kiffin Monday was that he may have underestimated the effect that four years of double-figure losing had on the organization.

“It’s a difficult mentality to have when people are so used to losing that it’s just what they know,” Kiffin said. “It’s what happens. You lose gmes. You find a way to lose them. It is difficult. It’s more difficult than if you had a team that just had one year of it. With a team that’s pretty oyoung, that’s kind of all that some of them know.”

You’d never hear anything like that from Bill Callahan, Norv Turner or Art Shell. You’d either get blinders (Callahan), confused rambling (Turner) or press-release nonsense about all the talent on the roster and the tradition of the Raiders (Shell).

Kiffin, while respecting the past, has never bought into any of it with how it impacts the present. He understands where the Raiders reside in the NFL food chain. He understands that besides the woe-is-us mindset, there is a dearth of talent that must be addressed.

– Same goes for the poor, abused Raiders when it comes to the officials.

“You mean am I finally gooing to buy in that everyone’s against the Raiders in this league?,” Kiffin said, flashing a smile. “No, I’m not. There’s calls that go both ways and I’m never going to buy into that theory. You always see the ones that go the other way. Trust me, we had a facemask (by Tony Stewart) yesterday that wasn’t called and they go the other way too and their fans think they got the bad end of the deal.”

Kiffin vowed to get his team to play smarter, make better decisions and not put themselves in position for penalties.

I’ve always thought the fixation on officials, while merited when the team was strong and losing a playoff game in the snow, is impossible to justify when your team is poor and constantly committing pre-snap fouls which have nothing to do with judgement.

– Sorry, Robert Gallery bashers. He stays. And he stays at guard. He may never live up to the hype of a No. 2 overall pick and he’ll be forever trashed by a segment of the population that considers themselves budding O-line coaches, but it appears he has won over Kiffin.

Gallery’s penalties concern him, however.

– Kiffin negotiated a quarterback minefield pretty well considering everything that went into it. His caretaker quarterback (Josh McCown) struggled and got injured, Daunte Culpepper arrived late, and Russell really late.

Andrew Walter remained on the roster and didin’t complain. When it was all over Russell ended the season feeling good about his performance, Culpepper put some good work on film for free agency and McCown was hoping to land a job in Oakland as the backup quarterback.

– Typical scene in the back parking lot of the Raider facility as a handful of fans attempted to get autographs. With player after player pulling out of the gated area and past the fans with little more than a wave, McCown pulled over, rolled down his window and signed _ for a fan wearing a Culpepper jersey.

– As much as I’ve admired everything Ronald Curry went through to become an NFL starter, he had the worst of his three mostly-healthy seasons. He was prone to drops and penalties and looked as if he lost some speed as the year went on.

Curry caught 11 passes in his last give games. Kiffin said he met with Curry Monday “and we have a good plan on how he is going to improve and what he needs to do to get beter because we expect him to have a big year next year.”

– No official word regarding the fate of Rob Ryan, but when Kiffin talked about his expectations going into the season, he noted 11 returning starters on defense, nine players who were either new or in new positions on offense, and that the plan was “to run the ball and stop the run. And to build off the defense with 11 returning starters.”

– “I have talked to Warren. I am not going to comment on that until Warren talks to you guys. Warren has already made it known what he’s doing but I’m not going to take that from him. He’ll tell you guys whenever he’s ready _ ” Kiffin on the status of Warren Sapp.

Sure doesn’t sound like the way he would answer the question if Sapp were returning, does it?

– It’s hard not to like Ryan, and it’s fair to criticize the players for Oakland’s defense. Kirk Morrison said as much Sunday, that it was their fault there was speculation over Ryan.

Using that logic, you hold on to Jackie Slater and Irv Eatman and blame the offensive line, rather than bring in Tom Cable.

– Kiffin said Tommy Kelly’s rehab from knee surgery is going likely and that he is very interested in bringing back special teams player Jarrod Cooper.

– There was no promise to franchise cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, mostly because the hope is the two sides can work out a long-term deal. If that doesn’t happen, expect Asomugha to be franchised.

– The Raiders will probably be more than willing to let Jerry Porter test the free agent market, figuring 44 catches and 705 yards isn’t going to bring him anything out of the ballpark and they’ll be able compete for a reasonable price.

– After detailing to the team Monday morning what he expected this offseason, Kiffin said “a couple” of players tell him afteward, “I guess that means you’re staying.”

Wonder if they were the same guys who asked me over past few weeks if Kiffin was staying.

I always told them there was no reason to think Kiffin was leaving. If Kiffin would have been as emphatic a few weeks ago as he was Monday, there never would have been any questions.

– Have the Raiders finally come to the realization that the slender Michael Huff may not be suited to be the heavy-hitter at strong safety?

“We’re going to look at some different things with Michael,” Kiffin said.

– Rich Gannon’s NFL record of 418 completions, set in 2002, was broken by New Orleans Drew Brees, who finished with 440.

– The Raiders will flip a coin with the Falcons to see which team will get the No. 3 pick in the NFL draft. The coin flip will take place at the NFL scouting combine.

– The Raiders 2008 home opponents will be Denver, Kansas City, San Diego, New England, the New York Jets, Houston, Atlanta and Carolina.

The road opponents will be Denver, Kansas City, San Diego, Buffalo, Miami, Baltimore, New Orleans and Tampa Bay.

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • JB

    Mike Singletary has been mentioned as a high probability choice for the Atlanta HC position.

  • Huff24

    What is everyone’s playoff picks?

    Redskins at Seahawks: Seahawks
    Jaguars at Steelers: Jaguars
    Giants at Buccaneers: Buccaneers
    Titans at Chargers: Titans

  • Huff24

    JB – Just wishful thinking.

  • KD

    Huff24…

    Blank doesn’t know shit compared to Al Davis, Al can and has held down every job with-in an organization. Not to mention help build a league, merge two giant leagues, and lead innovation in the present league. The Raiders problems usually occure when Al backs off from making the choices, not when he is involved. aka…Turner and when Lombardi crapped out with a few big names, Al got stuck with Shell. Al personally hand picked our coach now, most love this guy. I’m glad Al finally stepped back in. Blank to AL??? By no means equal!

  • KD

    Redskins
    Jags
    Bucs
    bitch ass Chargers

  • KD

    Would love to have Singletary as DC.

  • Huff24

    ESPN.com – Jeffri Chadiha

    Whats next for the non-playoff teams?

    Oakland Raiders (4-12)

    2008 playoff potential: Please What they need to do to get there: First, they have to make sure rookie quarterback JaMarcus Russell spends an entire offseason at the team’s complex so he can be ready to start next season. They also need to re-sign Justin Fargas, the team’s leading rusher this season, and cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, who could capture a nice payday on the open market once he voids the final year of his contract. Finding a way to address a defense that dropped back to the bottom of the NFL this season would be a nice step as well.

    The reality, however, is that none of these moves would ensure the Raiders a chance of moving up in the NFL ranks. They don’t have enough talent or direction, and that will always be their undoing. It’s too bad, really, because head coach Lane Kiffin really believes he can make a difference in that franchise. Eventually, like most of his predecessors, he’ll realize he can’t.

    (Ouch. No Love from ESPN)

  • KD

    East Coast chumps! Bet they said the same about Gruden. Idiots!

  • Huff24

    KD – I picked the Seahawks because I think they’re better coached and well rounded every single year. They are smart and they always come to play in the playoffs. The Redskins got in through the skin of their teeth and they beat the Cowboys because the Cowboys had nothing to play for at that moment. Maybe the team is playing for Sean Taylor right now but I don’t think they’re talented enough to match up.

    Part of me chooses the Titans because I hate the Chargers but the Titans are a pretty solid team and Norv is terrible when it comes to decision making the playoffs. The talent got the Chargers to the playoffs, not Norv. I think Jeff Fisher can outsmart him and the Defense of the Titans is nasty in crunch times and Vince Young is big in big games. The Chargers beat the Titans in the regular season but I think the Titans comes back knowing the Chargers more and capitalize on it.

  • JB

    Unfortunately, I think the Chargers may just get through the first round thus time. As I understand it, Vince Young is hurt and Kerry Collins is at QB. If this is true, just not enough horses for the Titans to get it done.I agree with your Seahawks & Jaguars picks. NY & Tampa is a toss-up. Just depends which Eli shows up. Just goes to prove that all Mannings are not created equally.

    San Diego screwed up when they let Drew Brees go to N.O. Rivers is way over his head and folds like a cheap umbrella whenever he gets any pressure. Formula to beat the Chargers: Stop LT, Pass rush & blitz Rivers.

  • Huff24

    Regarding the Article from ESPN – The guy may be right regarding the talent level of the Raiders but hes wrong regarding the direction. I believe Kiffin gives the Raiders direction as a team and with all the mishap coaching in the past, its going to take some time. Kiffin played everything extremely conservative because he needed to re-teach this team the basics and fundamentals of football. He’s made alot of promising player changes and he has an eye for talent. The offensive staff is comprised of experience with Greg Knapp and Tom Cable. Those are 2 of the best coaches Kiffin could have ever received and that was probably his biggest recruitment job.

    Kiffin had to choice but to go into this season with the Defensive Staff. They were the #3 defense so they had to be given an opportunity to prove that they were for real but that experiment failed. The good thing is that it happened after year 1 and it gives Kiffin an opportunity to recruit some defensive coaching talent and it helps to have guys like Knapp, Cable and Darren Perry on the team because I think they have some pull around the league and some contacts. It just occurred to me…

    What do you guys think of Jim Mora Jr? He was with Greg Knapp in S.F. and brought Knapp with him when he became the Head Coach of Atlanta. Once they were both fired, Knapp and Cable came to us and Jim Mora Jr. went to Seattle to coach the Defensive Backs. He could easily come to us and be the Defensive Coordinator but I don’t know what type of defense he runs but its obvious he had some success and he obviously knows Knapp and Cable real well. What do you guys think?

  • KD

    Huff24…

    I like the seahawks as well, but the Redskins are playing like some savages right now. They don’t have the QB, but this team reminds of the Pats, that first year they won the SuperBowl.(After that robbery in the snow) But they are playing fast on defense and scary. I don’t see them winning it all due to a lack of talent on the offense, but I feel they will beat the Seahawks with pure violence.

    I believe the Chargers have enough talent to overcome Norvs draining demenor. They won’t win it all, but I’m not sold on V. Young as a thrower, and in my opinon, they will need a thrower to score some points against the rainbow chargers. Would love to see Norval lose first round, but I think talent will carry him a step further.

  • KD

    I like Mora Jr…his dad is irritating, but I like the son.

  • KD

    gotta roll…peace nation!

  • Huff24

    JB – You have to admit that Brees wasn’t playing well until Rivers got there. Then all of a sudden, Brees turned into a Pro Bowl player. It cost the Chargers alot of money to draft that high and they were in a tough position and I would have done the same thing. Brees was also coming off of a shoulder injury so that was another thing to consider. The Chargers had no choice but to go with Rivers who had an opportunity to sit for a year. The Browns are going through the same exact thing but Derek Anderson isn’t hurt. Drafting Brady Quinn and trading the other QB they had lit a fire under Anderson but now they have alot of money invested into the future and Quinn has looked good in spot duty. I’d go with Quinn if I were them as well. You just have to take the chance.

  • Huff24

    Also want to note that Al Davis interviewed Jim Mora Jr. and Greg Knapp for the Head Coach positions in the past so he has some history there.

  • Huff24

    Interesting note on Wikipedia.com

    On the XBox 360 version on Madden NFL 2008 if you select Mora as your head coach his head will appear silver.

    Silver huh? Hmmmmmm.

  • Huff24

    http://www.fannation.com/blogs/post/83543

    With Mora in charge of the defensive backs, the Seahawks have gone from 26th last season to fourth this season in opponents’ quarterback rating and the Hawks have allowed the fewest touchdown passes in the NFL.

  • RaiderDogg

    Huff24 -

    I mentioned Jim Mora jr a few weeks back and caught a little heat for it. I like his intensity, he would make an excellent DC for the Raiders. I think he will probably be the head coach of the Seahawks within 2 years or sooner if the Seahawk’s win the Super Bowl (not going to happen). If the NFL(WWE) actually decided to let the Seahawk’s win the SB for some strange reason, Holmgren will retire as a head coach and be hired by another team in a similar capacity to the Parcells deal.

    Sorry started to get ahead of myself there. But I do like the connections with Knapp. I just think Mora’s heart is in Washington, it’s well known that UW is his dream job if it doesn’t work out as the HC of the Seahawks.

    I have a feeling the new DC is going to be a young up and comer that we are not too familiar with. It will be up to you Huff24 to do the research for us, you always come up with the goods.

    Raiders for Life…I’m In!

  • Huff24

    RaiderDogg – I searched a little bit for what type of scheme Jim Mora Jr. runs but I haven’t found the answer yet. I have some paperwork to do for my work unfortunately so I’ll have to get back to it later but damnit…I’ll find the answer unless someone tells us on here first.

  • RaiderDogg

    Huff24 -

    It’s all good, priorities my brother. I believe Mora Jr ran a 4-3 but I will have to ask my 9er buddy, to find out what they were doing when he was there as the 9ers DC. I do remember him making the 9ers defense much better at the time.

    My 9er buddy Slade, who coincidentally is now a Seahawk fan now that he lives in Seattle, said that he ran a 4-3 with an emphasis on team speed, especially in the secondary and lb’s. He also just told me that not only is he the secondary coach for the Hawks he is also the Assistant Head Coach. He seems to think that if Mora was to go anywhere it would be UW. Slade seems to know what he’s talking about but then again we are talking about a former 9er fan/current Seahawk’s fan. Just kiddin ya Slade!

    Now get to work Huff24! :)

    Raiders for Life…I’m In!

  • JB

    New Thread at Last!

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  • Chris in NY

    – Why would Mora make a lateral move from Seattle to Oakland when he’s in line to become Seattle’s next HC?

    – The Raiders should definitely take Chris Long in the draft. Barring injury, he’s the most sure thing in this draft. He has all the physical skills and the motor to match. Plays a lot like Howie, probably even more polished with more moves at this stage though. I think he’s the best d-lineman on the board. He could be as good as Jarred Allen … and I’m talking right away too.

    – I’d think about OT Jake Long from Michigan too. I watched him for the first time vs. Florida on New Year’s Day and he looked like a man among boys at times. The announcer said he only allowed one sack and had no penalties all season or something ridiculous like that. Barry Sims can’t go five minutes without a stupid penalty and two blown assignments. Either way, we definitely need a new LT in 2008. The Gallery bust pick scares me off on JL a little, but that’s really not a logical way to evaluate the guy.

    – The way Jordan, then Fargas, then Rhodes were able to run the ball tells me McFadden would be a luxury pick — especially with M. Bush in the fold now. Oakland needs to fix its flaws in the trenches first.

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