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Where Lane and Al went wrong

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Update: Talking to reporters on the field following the Senior Bowl, Lane Kiffin sidestepped questions regarding his status with the Raiders.

“I’m not going to comment on that. That’s got nothing to do with this game, these guys’ last game here, and I’m real proud of the way they played and competed,” Kiffin said. “It was a fun week.”

Asked if he will be coaching the Raiders in the fall, Kiffin said, “I hope so.”

There are a lot of different ways Lane Kiffin could have shot down reports regarding his demise in the eyes of Al Davis, and reasonable people can agree that saying “I’m not going to comment on anything that transpired in the last three weeks” is not one of them.

Nor is coaching the Senior Bowl in a black Under Armour windbreaker, with the name “Raiders” nowhere in sight. The rest of the staff is adorned in Raiders gear.

It reminds me of the time Jon Gruden showed up to his season-ending press conference the day after a playoff loss to New England in a maroon polo shirt instead of his usual Raiders garb.

Not long afterward, he was on his way to Tampa Bay.

During Saturday’s Senior Bowl broadcast, field reporter Charles Davis said Kiffin told him he didn’t want to comment on rumors that Davis asked for his resignation, essentially the same thing he said the day before.

“He said he didn’t want to comment on anything that happened in the last three weeks to a month, but what I do want to focus on is this game today,” Davis reported Kiffin as saying. “We focused on these kids all week long and coaching them, we’re going to focus on them today in this game. We don’t want to cheat them at all.”

NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said he believed the Raiders and Kiffin were negotiating a settlement of his contract, the end result being Oakland would be the first team since the Minnesota Vikings in 1984 (Les Steckel) and 1985 (Bud Grant) to have consecutive coaches who lasted a single season.

A year ago, Kiffin was hailed by Davis as superior to Jon Gruden, glossing over the fact that his first choice was actually Steve Sarkisian, the co-offensive coordinator along with Kiffin at USC. Davis raved about Kiffin’s grasp of the total game and his value as a personnel man because of his background as recruiting coordinator.

It wasn’t just Davis’ refusal to part with Rob Ryan that fractured the relationship, although that was part of it.

The fact is, it became apparent as the season went on that Kiffin and Davis differ philsophically, and many of the things Kiffin did and said no doubt rubbed the boss the wrong way.

Davis believes he has stocked the Raiders with enough talent to be consistent winners.

“We’ve got good players. What I worry about is injuries,” Davis said during a training camp press conference.

Kiffin, looking at the 15-49 record upon his arrival, never bought it. He admitted making final cuts wasn’t all that difficult because the Raiders didn’t have enough good players to make it difficult.

When the Raiders finished the season by facing Green Bay, Indianapolis, Jacksonville and Denver, Kiffin, when assessing how his team had held together, said, it was difficult “when you’re not playing anybody like yourself.”

While perhaps not meant as a jab at Davis’ acquisition of talent, go ahead and assume Davis felt that way.

The week the Raiders played the Colts, Kiffin talked with admiration about a roster stocked with the type of players Davis wouldn’t want.

“Their linebackers are 5-11. They’ve got a 5-9 safety, a 6-foot defensive end,” Kiffin said. “They get a lot of people later in rounds that other people don’t take because of size or because of what they evaluate. They see what other people don’t. In that system, tackling is one of the first things you evaluate, and you can see it. They take people, because they’re really good players, and they tackle real well.”

Davis made it clear during training camp that dealing Randy Moss was Kiffin’s idea.

“If Lane felt that was best for the team I was going to do it,” Davis said. “And we did it. We didn’t get near what we should have. Randy Moss, if he’s well, can still play, in my opinion. Our coaches didn’t think so.”

It couldn’t have set well with Davis when Kiffin blamed him for breeding the culture which Moss wanted no part of.

“Randy had made it very clear to me, his statement was, ‘Coach, this has nothing to do with you. I have already heard great things about what you are doing there already, but I am not going to play for that organization, and I don’t want any part of it. I don’t like the way I have been treated there,’ ” Kiffin told Minnesota writers on a conference call.

“It was out of my control. Randy wasn’t going to play here and he made it very clear, so it was a direction that this organization needed to go because he wasn’t happy and he wasn’t going to play here for whatever reason, the things that happened before I got here.”

Getting rid of Moss was a big part in another Kiffin belief not held by Davis _ team chemistry.

Kiffin made repeated references over the course of the season to “cleaning out the locker room” and ridding it of bad influences.

Davis is on record as saying he doesn’t believe in team chemistry.

Where Kiffin stood on the drafting of JaMarcus Russell is not clear. Leading up to the draft, I was told Kiffin preferred Brady Quinn, but I never heard it from Kiffin himself and misinformation is rampant where the draft is concerned.

When the season was over, Kiffin was no longer a Davis prodigy. He was a 4-12 coach, the same as Bill Callahan and Norv Turner in their final seasons. Kiffin was just two games better than Art Shell who had no right to ask for his own choice as defensive coordinator.

To make matters worse in Davis’ eyes, Kiffin did little to refute rumors which connected him to college jobs at Arkansas, Michigan and UCLA.

A Contra Costa Times poll asked readers “As a Raiders fan who would you rather get rid of, Al Davis or Lane Kiffin?

At last check, Davis had 1,112 votes to be shown the door and Kiffin 31.

When Kiffin accepted the job, he made it clear on several occasions it was on the condition that certain things were in place. He never specified what those things were, but implied it had to do with the makeup of the roster and coaching staff.

Hope he got that in writing.

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • snake

    i love the fact that he can no longer throw around the most winning team in all of sports, and no more…the greatest monday night team, by the time hes done non of these things will be true, hes ruined his own legacy

  • Vicky

    What do u guys think about Al Saunders? He is supposed to be an offensive mind and his playbook is supposed to be over 700 pages. he also follows the “vertical game” rather than the west coast offense

  • RaiderHarv ?? How long?

    Matt Crawley,

    I feel you. I have been a season ticket holder since I could afford them back in the late 90’s. Also, I travel from the LA area up to Oakand for the home games. I’m not just spending hard earned money on tickets, it’s costing me travel also. For what???? I’m a die heart Raider Fan….that is questioning the direction the organization is heading in, again??? Yeah, these are only rumors…but hell, why do they continue when I thought we were heading in the right direction….Yeah Al Davis, we were only 4-12…but atleast it was fun attending games at the end of the season. Last year, the month of december was horrible. The team was lost…This year, Kiff kept the squad together and battled in every game. Thats the big diiference and why I felt we were heading in the right direction. With the addition of a few good players and a good draft, we will contend next year. But all this crap of firing the coach and Kiff not getting along with Al….enough already…

    Yesterday questions should have been, who are you looking to draft?, not will you be back next year!!!!!

    ENOUGH!!!!!

  • Behind The Shield, The Raiders Report, Raiders.com, and anything that is raiders’ official, is the same as the team: It has to be approved by AL Davis. So it all will be sh*t

  • Big AL’s GOON

    People here have been praising and hailing Kiffin as genius since he was first hired. And for what? Because he coached at USC. Kiffin has done nothing to deserve being compared to the great Raider coaches of the past, yet it was and still is being done. Kiffin comes in talking all that absolute crap-ola, cutting players left and right and brings in basically an entirely different fails during the season and does nothing but make more excuses and threaten how he’s going to cut even more players blah-blah-blah. Kiffin you won four lousy games you deserve nothing but the door. And for those that think we should blindly continue on with this guy Kiffin for the sake of continuity, please. Can we at least hire a coach with some NFL coaching expereince and know how. Someone with a proven track record. Kiffin failed and badly.

  • saintkaufman

    Same old, same old. Nothing to see here, move it along.

    The Raiders nor Al will be baited into making any press releases or conferences just to satisfy the media’s speculation. This has been like this for years and has made the Raiders a very easy target for local media who know that they can say pretty much anything they want without any return fire.

    The media wants a dialog with the Raiders badly and Al will not give it to them. He is in the business of football, not explaining what someone heard thru someone’s sister’s cousin’s boyfriend. IT’S ALWAYS BEEN LIKE THIS!!

    I think Kiffin enjoys it to be honest with you.

    So they get their 2-3 stories a week with hopes of maybe someday breaking the Raider nut!

  • L BERK

    Reading on whats going on with the Redskins it looks like we have company in the world of chaos!

  • CopenhagenFan

    Al Saunders?

    The Dumbest Team in American can’t handle a 700 page playbook, especially with a rookie QB.

    The vertical game? Yeah let’s do that….no recievers who can actually get deep and an offensive left tackle who will get our multi millionare untested QB killed.

    Al Davis is a genius.

  • M

    This topic has brought out some of the best creative writing I have witnessed on this blog. Wonderful. Story-telling at its best. Unfounded rumors and widespread speculation have put words in everyones’ minds.
    Let’s see, Dennis Green as head coach might bring along Larry Fitzgerald. I’d take that in a heartbeat over the current circumstance.
    A question for Gannon’s_Love _Child. You are a football coach correct? Now, with no NFL experience whatsoever would you, as a new HC of the Raiders be expected to be handed complete control over all decisions regarding coaches and personnel from day one of your tenure? Even if you were not given complete control immediately, would you expect your control to be elevated after winning a very modest 25% of your games?

  • Huff24

    Fire Kiffin – Firing another coach isn’t the answer. How many coaches do you want to go through? If you’re mad about the choice of coaches we have had, then blame Al Davis because hes the one that makes all of these decisions. I’m just happy to see a coach finally put his foot down and fight for himself unlike Joe Bugel, Mike White, Norv Turner and Art Shell.

    The coaches who have fought Al Davis have gone on to win Superbowls while we have continued to lose. Shanahan fought for himself and later won 2 Superbowls. Gruden fought for himself and won a Superbowl against us. Kiffin is fighting for himself and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him win a Superbowl somewhere else. Joe Bugel? Never mentioned. Mike White? Never mentioned. Norv Turner…It took a GREAT team to make him look good but he had about 8 years to make a winner out of Washington and 2 years with the Raiders. The Chargers were already good but not good enough. Art Shell? Only the Raiders would be dumb enough to hire him as Head Coach TWICE.

    Bill Callahan was right when he called this team The Dumbest Team in America. The truth hurts. I don’t think he was only calling the players that…he was focusing on the organization as a whole. John Fox…a former Raider Defensive Coordintor who “supposedly” had a feud with Al Davis which I believe to be true has gone to a Superbowl. Our Superbowl team was built by Jon Gruden and taken away by Jon Gruden.

    Also, you want another coach? Who the hell wants to coach the Raiders? Do you realize that Kiffin is here because nobody else wants the freakin job? It doesn’t matter who coaches the Raiders, Al Davis has the final say anyways so you have your coach. As long as Al Davis is here, he will be coaching this team. You would know that since you called him a God, a legend and an icon. By the way, even Gods, Legends and Icon’s get too old at one time or another.

  • Stop whining. Suck it up. Suffer in silence.

    Lane Kiffin is a used car salesman.

    Some of you bought his act hook, line, and sinker.

    Thankfully, Al does isn’t so easily hoodwinked.

    Just win Baby.

  • Vicky

    I totally agree that unless we get about 10 new players, Al Saunders will be another failure. Read this about Al Saunders and you will know that the Dumbest Team in America can’t handle him

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Saunders

    “The Al Saunders offense, an Air Coryell offense, requires a quarterback with a very accurate sense of timing and trust with the receiver”

    I don’t think we have the accurate sense of timing and trust with our current QB/receiver duo

  • CopenhagenFan

    Vicky > Air Coryell only works when you have Dan Fouts, Kellen Winslow, Chuck Muncie, Wes Chandler and John Jefferson…….or Mel Grey, Terry Metcalf and Jim Hart.

  • Al’s Goon…

    I disagree.

    It was clear that while we only won 4 games, we were a much better product on the field. We looked like a real team for a change.

  • Vicky

    So it appears that AL Saunders will be another classic move by Al Davis. I think the old man has lost it.

  • Big AL’s GOON

    The only direction Kiffin is leading the Raiders in is in the direction of yet another losing season filled with more excuses and blaming everyone but himself. I knew AL wouldn’t sit back for to much longer and watch Kiffin further destroy the Raiders. As usual AL will find away to get us back on top not some Monte Kffin want to be that has never headed anything let alone a professional football team. Send Kiffin and his four wins packing AL, Denny Green will do just fine.

  • My point is Kiffin may be gone, Kiff may not be gone. Al Saunders was a WATER BOY when Al Davis FIRST coached the Oakland Raiders. Al Davis has known James Lofton for longer than Lane Kiffin has been alive. He’s known both these guys for an awful long time. Both would be extreme assets to our coaching staff. Let’s see what happens.
    Let’s look at San Diego for a second. 14-2 GM and Head Coach have a knock down, drag out, resulting in the HC getting bagged, and a retread being brought in, and let me tell you guys something. They should’ve won the last two years. Fights in organizations happen. But it is RIDICULOUS to have huge fights when you’re winning
    We are 4-12. 4-12. Let’s do that again 4-12. When you’re 4-12 changes HAVE to be made. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying Al Davis hasn’t made mistakes, believe me. Davis has made plenty of mistakes. What I am saying is I’m not gonna let the SF press, ESPN, and Adam Shefter destroy the greatest fan base in the history of humanity. I am not gonna allow that. Let’s settle down and see what happens.

  • CopenhagenFan

    Vicky as far as I know, Al is pulling the same thing he did when he hired Art Shell if he hires Saunders.

    The Air Coryell offense (as far as I recall) originates from the old Sid Luckman offense that Al Davis has always loved.

  • Reverend Run

    Huff24 always talking about “I told you so”. Give it a rest blowhard! The Dumbest Blog Poster in America. The truth hurts…

    It’s tricky

  • Edward T

    Vicky

    Al Saunders is another retread, he is 60?

    As the offensive coordinator during his tenure at KC they had a dynamic offense when Vermeil was the coach.
    He had Trent Green in his prime , Tony Gonzales as a TE
    and Priest Holmes as a RB, with a very good and solid Offensive line. During his time there KC was an offensive juggernaut, but defensively they were terrible and thus could never get over the games played
    in wich the scoring was high.
    When Vermeil left why wasn’t Saunders promoted to Head Coach instead they hired Edwards from the Jets.
    He moves to Wash to be paid the highest dollar as and Offensive Coordinator. His two seasons in Wash were he was the OC they never were a high powered offense and were routinely ranked towards the bottom in all offensive categories.
    Players and coaching have and will always be given too much credit and to much blame when things go bad or good.
    A 700 page offensive play book is not a reason to think anybody is a reason to hire somebody and his previous record at Wash is also a reason to be cautious.
    Al of Snyder’s money in Wash never produced a great offense, when Saunders was there.
    Why didnt Al hire him last year or Petersen the Year before.

  • CopenhagenFan

    *screw these friggin’ kids with their dump and dink and west coast schemes, what we need is Al Saunders to get us back to playing vertical Raider football*

    Al Davis………..

    Bed & Breakfast number two coming right up.

  • Vicky

    Yes that’s true about the Air Coryell offense and i totally agree that we don’t have the personnel to implement it nor am i sure if we can ever do that in today’s NFL in the first place.

    I read this article on MSNBC where Kiffin wanted to replace 5 assistants that he brought. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22865702/
    So wishful thinking of me says that he wants to replace Knapp and WR coach with Saunders and Lofton and he remains 😀

    Just kiddding, I think we are back to being the laughing stock like it was under Shell. Gosh I can’t bear to see Gallery and his flat feet get beat million times again

  • RaiderDogg

    OG –

    It appears that you are mostly falling on deaf ears with your rational perspective. Not to worry they will all be back eventually, saying that they never left and we’ll still be here. Keep up the good posts bro.

  • CopenhagenFan

    I’m with Huff24…I tried to “joust” with him a couple of times on the side of Al Davis. I give Huff24 his props now.

  • Big AL’s GOON

    Much better product than what? The dolphins? Failure is failure. How people can put a rating on failure is beyond me. 4 wins out of 16 regular season games is a failure. KIffin failed. The experiement hiring a young, unknown, and unheard of failed. Time for more conventional moves. Time to bring in a real coach.

  • Hobs Gnarly

    big al,

    Denny Green said two years ago before we hired Shell and before he took a position with the Cardinals that the Raiders coaching situation was “treacherous”. He will do for you? Figurues.

  • Huff24

    Does it really matter who the offensive coordinator is? Al Davis wants his Head Coach to call the plays or has he already forgotten that due to his bad attitude? Is Al Saunders going to replace Greg Knapp? You can’t blame Knapp for this year because he didn’t call plays so why would you replace him? What is Saunders going to do as a position coach? How much influence could he possibly have? This whole situation is twisted.

  • Fluffy24 – You are not a Raider fan.

    Exhibit 1 -In the first quarter of the Raiders victory over KC, Fluffy 24 posted some negative nonsense about the Raiders chances in the game before letting Raider Nation know that he was off to church.

    IN THE FIRST QUARTER!!!

    Exhibit2 – Three weeks ago you announced that if Kiff was “out”, Fluffy24 was also “out.”

    Be a man and honor your word.

    Just Win Baby.

  • Reverend Run

    CopenhagenFan Says:
    January 27th, 2008 at 1:52 pm
    “I’m with Huff24…I tried to “joust” with him a couple of times on the side of Al Davis. I give Huff24 his props now.”

    Sucker!

    My Adidas

  • M

    The Raiders should be thinking along a singular line of reasoning, if such is possible, and that is the development of one JaMarcus Russell. He gets ten times the money of the head coach and he is to be the franchise. Whatever it takes to find the right HC to allow him to flourish is fine by me. A year under their belt with Cable’s supervision, the O-line can begin to get it together better all the time. An Air Coryell offense via Al Saunders, what’s the problem? Does anyone hereabouts think that JaMarcus was greatly benefitted by the four-headed QB monster of the past season?
    Oh, just read that the Feds are going to be giving rebate money to everyone in May, just about the right amount to buy, for free as it were, season tickets.

  • Huff24

    Reverend Run – Aaawwww. Did I strike a nerve? Maybe I am the Dumbest Blog Poster in America but that still didn’t stop you from reading my posts. Obviously you had enough itch in you to take the time to read the dumbest post EVER! I am happy to have made you dumber than you already are. Thank you.

  • CopenhagenFan

    M…good point. But what’s the use of changing the system to an Al Saunders scheme when he’s just going to get fired after one or two years anyway?

    Al should be the coach!

  • RaiderHarv ?? How long?

    Lets just hire a new coach every year until we get it right….thats what most of you are suggesting…..right?

  • CopenhagenFan

    Al’s GOON….Kiffin did not fail. It was a 3 year plan.

  • La Milicia Negra

    CopenhagenFan…

    Aren’t you a US citizen, just living in DK? or am I totally out of bounds ?

    ignorant post of the day..
    _____________________________________________________

    # FIRE KIFFIN Says:
    January 27th, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    Copenhagen – With all due respect, stick to handball.

  • Huff24

    Big Al’s Goon – Time for more conventional moves? The only way we’re going to get that is by replacing the guy who makes the moves. Al Davis.

  • Big AL’s GOON

    Gnary,

    If Denny want’s the job you can bet your life we’ll be better than this past year under the Kiffster. Four freak’in wins and people are defending his crap. And if Denny doesn’t want the job there are plenty of others that will. Besides AL can always go back and look up under another rock and find another Kiffster.

  • CopenhagenFan

    La Milica…yeah I’m a US Citizen. But one’s citizenship has absolutely no bearing on intelligence or the validity of an opinion. I don’t even watch handball, but Fire Kiffin has no legitimate documentation to refute my argumentation so he resorts to petty insults and telling me I’m not a Raider fan.

  • Hey everybody…….We should win the Super Bowl every year….we have the best players at every position….when we don’t succeed it is the dumbass coaches fault….at this rate we need to start firing coaches after the first four games…we could have 4 coaches in one year.

  • Damn…like Scottish said, it´s looking like civil war in here, let´s all put down the guns for awhile, I´m sure we´ll get to the bottom of this soon enough.

    Copenhagen…It´s Sid Gillman, not Sid Luckman.

  • Oakglenn: In response to your post 641 wher you state a couple of times that you are not going to allow the media to destroy the Raiders fanbase.

    Oakglenn “I an not going to allow it.”

    My question is, what are YOU going to do about it?

    Go Raiders

  • Vicky

    It takes at least 3 years to get a winning program. So Al Davis has lost it if he fires Kiffin and replaces him Saunders, Lofton, Green or whoever incl. himself

  • Huff24

    Fire Kiffin – Is that all you got? Your biggest arguement is that I am not a Raiders fan? Oh no…Fire Kiffin of all people said I am not a Raiders fan. You mention things I have said without a single post to back it up? Now you’re just spitting what you “think” I said. You’re saying that I said something in the 1st quarter of the first game while you’ve been Fire Kiffin from the start? So….You were ready to fire the Head Coach before he ever had a chance? You must not be a Raider fan. Ooohhh…that was creative wasn’t it?

  • CopenhagenFan

    Al’s Goon..strangely enough I felt that we were lucky to win 4 games this year. We even beat two teams in our own division! 🙂

  • Vicky, the Air Coryell offense that Saunders runs would require a great set of offensive coaches to bring the receivers (especially a new corp of receivers) up to snuff. If you are gonna bring in Al Saunders to run the O, you would HAVE to have a great receivers coach to teach the timing and routes. Someone, I don’t know, maybe someone like James Lofton, if he were available.

  • Edward T

    LMN

    Fire Kiffin may have noticed a stuck up kid with no chance for succeding in todays NFL
    Maybe he just used his gut for his observation and decided he was not a good fit.
    To say he is ignorant after the last 72 hours is like telling a lottery winner that picked the correct numbers, was stupid to pick those numbers.

  • Hobs Gnarly

    Big Al,

    That wasn’t my question to you are you fine with someone who thinks the Raiders coaching situation is treacherous? It must be this great friend of Al’s whom you so dearly love might not be gung ho for him as you are. Besides maybe Denny has some sense in him, after all he’s turned Al down how many times? I am sure he wants control of his staff as well, sorry Al you can’t hire my assistants!

  • CopenhagenFan

    Marley…I got my Sid’s mixed up!

    thanks for the help. Was that an official “marley” I got there or a friendly helping hand? 🙂

  • Huff24

    Fire Kiffin – BTW, If I was unable to finish a game because I was off to Church…thats because my love goes to the one and only true God. You spend too much time worshipping a person whom you believe to be a God. Good luck with that. I’d say, “See you in Hell” but it looks like you’ll be there alone.

  • Bobby, watch and learn