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Kiffin out of the loop on Lofton

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Wednesday, January 30th, 2008 at 11:40 pm in Oakland Raiders.

Just because it’s been relatively quiet for a few days doesn’t mean all is well with Lane Kiffin and the Raiders.

It turns out that James Lofton has agreed to terms to join the Raiders as an unspecified assistant coach, most likely wide receivers, and although Kiffin conducted the interview, he had nothing to do with the hire.

That bit of news came Wednesday night from a team source I trust, and pretty much ruins my growing belief that things appeared to be working themselves out between Kiffin and owner Al Davis.

This remains a fluid situation.

Kiffin, I’m told, was first informed by a third party not affiliated with the Raiders that Lofton is on his staff.

This is new territory where Davis and Kiffin are concerned in that Davis overruled the coach on a matter pertaining to the offense.

When Kiffin was hired last year he gutted the entire offensive staff, bringing in coordinator Greg Knapp, line coach Tom Cable, quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, wide receivers coach Charles Coe and running backs coach Tom Rathman, while getting Davis’ approval.

Lofton, however, was dropped in Kiffin’s lap, and while he is a Hall of Famer, an ex-Raider and probably a fine coach, this is no way to run a football team.

Things are precarious enough around Raiders headquarters with rumors rampant about Davis requesting a resignation, a letter which reportedly strips Kiffin of his power regarding staff and personnel, and the strange Raiders press release issued by someone other than Kiffin regarding the retention of defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.

I’ll call the resignation request and the emasculation letter rumors because I have heard stories but don’t have solid enough sources myself to consider them factual. The information on the Lofton situation comes from a team source who prefers to remain anonymous.

Kiffin can be forgiven for believing Davis is trying to force him out, for while Lofton is a Hall of Fame player and probably a fine coach, he also happened to interview twice for the job Kiffin currently calls his own.

Even if Davis wanted to hire Lofton whether Kiffin liked it or not, an environment in which Kiffin is not told by Davis or anyone in the front office, and instead hears it from someone not affiliated with the Raiders, means there is a serious communication issue between the boss and his most important employee.

None of Kiffin’s choices at this point are too appealing.

The wisest course of action could be to dig in his heels, deal with whatever surprises come and continue to coach his team to the best of his ability. People outside the Raiders’ universe have their own view of how the franchise operates, and if Kiffin gets to six or seven wins, he would be a hot commodity.

Kiffin is paying dearly for not only going 4-12, but for not squelching the Arkansas rumor as well as speculation he wanted to return to college coaching. Whether it was true or not, Davis must have wanted no part of another Jon Gruden scenario, wondering every day if his prodigy had turned ungrateful and was looking to get out of town.

Loyalty is huge with Davis.

If you believe in happily-ever-after, perhaps Kiffin could regain Davis’ trust and and serve out the last two years of his contract, with the Raiders holding options through 2010. That isn’t the way to bet, but if Kiffin gave Davis a winner and got JaMarcus Russell on the track to stardom, all would be forgiven and the boss would be only too happy to take credit for it.

The other option is to resign, forfeiting his salary, at a time where all the good college head coaching and coordinator jobs are already filled, with most NFL options as an assistant exhausted as well.

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  • M

    KRock, David Humm was a better being than David Hume.

  • Fender52

    Hey guys, there’s a new post

  • http://oakglenn Oakglenn

    K-Rock I’ll comment hopefully quickly. No Kiffin isn’t getting forced out. Would any one on this blog say Kiff did an exemplary job??? No. An exemplary job would be 10-6. He did an OK job. Absolutely. By doing an ok job, can he completely remake the franchise starting with the defense?? Ahhh, no.

    The offense went from absolutely off the chart last to 25th in the NFL. There was improvement there. What Davis is doing is what any good boss or owner does. he gets his guys help. That’s what’s going on. Kiffin could use some NFL quality help on the offensive side, Davis made a phone call and here ya go. Here’s a Hall of Famer for ya. Pretty nice actually.

    But don’t ever kid yourself. Davis brought in a guy to put some heat on Kiffin. He just lowered Kiff’s value, by bringing in a veteran player, a guy who was coached by Bill Walsh in college, some GB Packer greats as a pro, Marv Levy, amongst others. If anything does happen to kiff, you have a pretty solid guy waiting in the wings, ready to take over. Doesn’t seem like some manaical lunacy to me. Seems pretty damn smart to me. Public Service Announcement:

    Give a Hoot. Read a book.

  • http://none Bob Marley

    John S, Dakota…

    At the time the Arkansas rumors took place things were very different than they were at the end of the season, there was no Ryan situation which seems to be the thing that started the whole”rift”.

    At that time, I don´t recall any of you guys ripping Davis for not letting Kiffin operate, if the college job issue happened in january, I´d say you have a point, Ryan got in the way and Kiffin thought I´m gonna get out of here.

    And don´t take my prior post as taking sides either, but is it not fair to question what happened there?.

    I have said all along that I like Kiffin, I strongly want him to stay and I hope this ”situation” is either being blown out of proportion or worked out in a satisfactory way for both Kiffin, Davis and us.

  • I didn’t know it was your sister …

    anyone else worried that JRuss is hanging out with the wrong crowd? (malcontents,druggies,etc) Reminds me of when DRuss whas starry eyed at Vince Neil. I’m worried.

  • Florida Pete

    I didn’t know it was your sister … Says:
    January 31st, 2008 at 12:22 pm
    anyone else worried that JRuss is hanging out with the wrong crowd? (malcontents,druggies,etc) Reminds me of when DRuss whas starry eyed at Vince Neil. I’m worried.

    ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

    me too…

    T.O.’s super bowl party…

    how much good can happen with that???

    unless Beyonce is there… in that case it is time well spent…

  • KD

    This is an earlier post before the TRUTH came out AGAIN! Please enjoy, I like to go back and see who jumps ship so easily. Easy to tell who the trues are, or are NOT.

    ATLRaider Says:
    January 31st, 2008 at 9:10 am
    I’m surprised some of you in the Bay Area haven’t started picketing for Al’s resignation at the Alameda HQ.

    Crazy Old Al needs to go!

  • Liz

    Al is micromanaging (nothing new)… and Kiffin is in WAY over his head!

    Every time Al hires a new HC, we (team and fans) feel like we are taking one step forward. But, as soon as something goes wrong, he wants to get rid of them, sending us two steps back…

    This would be our fourth season with a new HC?
    NO!!!! C’mon Al, as much as I like you, this needs to stop!

    I can honestly see why other NFL fans laugh at the organization and us Raider fans – no matter what, RAIDER NATION BABY!!!

    REALITY: we all know this will continue to happen until Al retires… OR he comes across a coach who will finally stand his ground/dig his heels in, face the challenges, media scrutiny, players attitudes, win more games than not, all the while earning respect from Al Davis. Will Kiffin be the man??? Maybe… someone has to!

    Al may have seen Lane as young and completely inexperienced in the NFL. Al thought he would give Lane enough power for him to “think” he was in control. But, when push came to shove, Al quickly stepped in and pushed him aside to remind him he is ONLY the “HEAD COACH”!!!! ouch
    At this point, Lane’s options elsewhere are probably ZERO. He will more than likely stay and make the most of it. Hopefully, in making the most of it, he will continue to lead the organization on its path to those glory days of seasons past! I would like Kiffin to stay – I honestly believe the biggest improvement will be between season 1 and 2

    Like I said, I do like Al Davis ~ he is a wise man who made the Raiders (and NFL) the icons they are today. You gotta respect him for that!

  • rebel

    ugh…what? My son was telling me this and I was telling his Charger loving ass he was wrong! So damn it, I guess there is some drama after all behind the shield. If Kiffin is left out of the loop…

  • Brien

    all of you against Al are pussies. I want you guys to not come out to games. I’m glad this is happening we know who is real and who is fake. You guys weren’t down for the Raiders to begin with.

  • SECTION 247

    Jerry your unnamed source is incorrect. Kiffin chose to hire or not hire. My source comes in right under Trask and I received a phone call unlike you telling me all I needed to know. Kiffin and Davis are cool. Kiffin chose to hire Lofton. Kiffin does have a say. And you need to become a better writer. State facts not speculation. You and Tim Kawakami must have come from the same writing school…”THe school of speculation and unidentified sources.” Get a clue and bring something of substance to the table instead of spreading negative rumors to make yourself sound like someone informed. All your showing is your a good story teller. I cant remember the last time you had news that was accurate before it was known.

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  • SAD RAIDER

    I GUESS LIKE AL WE ALL HAVE TO LIVE IN THE PAST TO FOR ANY CHANCE OF KNOWING WHAT WINNING IS LIKE REMEMBER THE DAYS AHHH YAHHH THOSE WERE!!!!!!!! THE GOOD OLD!!!!!DAYS WE ALL LOVED YOU AL AND ARE ALL LOYAL OAKLAND TO LA…LA TO OAKLAND I WONT GO TO DUBLIN…COME ON WE LOVE LOYALTY TOO BE LOYAL TO YOUR STAFF AFTER ALL YOU PICKED THEM THEY DIDNT PICK YOU. AND BE LOAYL TO YOUR FANS BECAUSE WE PICKED YOU AND IF YOU KEEP IT UP WE JUST MIGHT PICK SOMEONE ELSE (I HEAR DENVER HAS BEEN LOYAL TO THEIR COACH AND LOOK TWO S.B RINGS) WE GET IT YOU JUST WANT TO WIN….AND WIN NOW BUT WHO WAS THE LAST FIRST YEAR COACH WITH A NEW TEAM TO TAKE THEIR TEAM TO THE S.B AND WIN DONT FORGET I KNOW YOU WONT SINCE YOU LIVE IN THE PAST….MABY THE RAIDER NATION WOULD BE BETTER OF ….. I HATE TO SAY IT BUT WELL MAYBE WE WOULD BE BETTER OFF IF AL WAS IN THE PAST ALSO ;(

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