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Kiffin out of the loop on Lofton

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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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • Charger

    RaiderHater. Um, Norv hired Charger hall of famer Charlie Joiner. Lofton was a good coach, but Joiner is the best. You’ll see what I mean when we face er um own you twice next season.

  • http://PUSD Lenz57

    This past week has been the stuff Raider Nation nightmares. There are the obvious signs that “The Man” has finally finally slipped over the abyss into senility. There is also the sense of disarray and doom that have been ever present since Gruden left.

    However, there is a glimmer of hope, albeit a slight one. It is obvious that most of the players believe in what Kiffin is trying to sell. If, and this is the big one, if the players continue to buy into Kiffin’s ideas, the Raiders may well turn into a modern day version of the 70′s Bronx Bombers & Oakland A’s, where the players united into an Us v. the Establishment (Charlie O & King George) type of mentality. Most of the players realize there is potential, along with the chaos.

    In addition, Rob Ryan really hurt his own ability to secure a head coaching job – not necessarily another DC position – with the defensive showing this past season. I’m sure he realizes that, and this may become a season for redemption for his own coaching ability.

    So if these two factors combine over the next few months, everyone, including Davis, may get the results Raider Nation has been thirsting for.

  • http://SierraRaider Sierra Raider

    I miss the good ‘ol days when winning was the most important thing. Just a sad state of affairs and don’t fool yourselves and think Al gives one care what we the fans think. He proved that years ago when he first ripped the team from Oakland and went to LA.

  • Chargers Hater

    Hey Charger! wassup! just read #182… got to agree with you… yes, the Raiders will strugle big time while Al Davis in in charge…
    But the Chargers Will ever Choke…

    You know that…

    L.T.=Charger win, is not forever, same as Al Davis=Raiders mess…

    so time will tell… let me see time tells us that Raiders=3 SB wins(even with Davis on charge) Chargers= 0

  • howiedoin

    Seems to me Al has looked in the mirror and what he sees is himself. A young Lane Kiffin clawing to get to the top by any and all means possible. Thats got to be scary to a 78 year old man.
    So what’s he do, he sends Lane out to pick his own switch for a good old fashioned whoopin. Welcome to the soap opera James Lofton.

  • http://MaddenRaider MaddenRaider

    # Florida Pete Says:
    January 31st, 2008 at 5:53 am

    “i think Kiffin was handicapped when he took this job…

    i think he handicapped himself…”

    ……..

    Wow. That’s saying a lot about this organization, isn’t it? No wonder we have so many great ones lining up to coach here; To be a Raider coach is to “handicap” yourself by default?!?

    ………….

    “i think he is nothing more than a resume padding opportunist…

    i think he saw this HC position as nothing more than a billboard onto which he can post his resume…”

    ……..

    Oh, naive us. We thought he played with Oakland Raiders action figures his entire life, and wanted to coach here for free…

    ………..

    “4-12… and from what i saw Davis allowed the kid to overhaul the offense, coaching staff included…”

    …….

    Uhmmmm…It all depends on rather or not those rumors of Kiff wanting Quinn as opposed to Russell are true. And, as the saying goes, we will “never know”.

    ………….

    “4-12… and the kid thinks he should be able to run things his way with all of his, let’s see, 0 years HC experience…”

    ………

    Good point. But what’s worse; A 4-12 season with zero experience, or a 19-61 record over the previous 5 seasons, with nearly a half century of experience? As bad as Kiffin is, he’s still an upgrade.

    ……….

    “4-12… now the kid has 90% of the Raiders fans ready to throw the owner under the bus…”

    ………

    No, it’s the owner himself who has 90% of Raider fans ready to throw the owner under the bus. Kiffin’s only overseen one of our disastrous previous 5 seasons.

    …………

    “4-12… i think the kid needs a little more OJT before we hand over the keys to the kingdom…”

    ……..

    Don’t say we’re a “kingdom”. I mean, if we’re a kingdom, what does that make the Patriots?

    ……..

    “there’s a difference between commanding an army and running a country…”

    ………..

    What does any of this have to do with either?

  • Raider Mike

    Split Charger. I live in SD and your bandwagon crashed in NE. All the gear stripped off and packed up until your team goes 43 for 43 in the Super Bowl era then packed up again and again and again. 9 wins in a row against the Raiders for nothing. Silver and Black for Life!!!!

  • ???

    This is stupid tired cof all these damn sources who wont say who they are if you aint willing to come out and stand by the consequences of your actions. Meaning loosing your job maybe then just shut the hell up!!

    Until I see a press confrence saying it was all garbage or there is going to be another change a HC then give it up its not news worthy.
    So all sources need to basically shove it tell told otherwise. LOL:)

  • Dakota

    Al Davis is a very forgiving person. I am sure that the minute he found out about Kiffin looking into college jobs he straightened it up with Kiffin right away and now all is well. I am sure that the Rob Ryan endorsement and lack thereof for kiffin really means nothing and the media and fans are just jumping to conclusions. I mean really, Al Davis is a very nice person that never holds a grudge right? Al Davis would never make a lame duck coach interview his successor, or be spiteful enough to exclude a coach from participating in team meetings. Al Davis is a great man and his only agenda is making the Raiders win. He would never bench a player over money issues. He would never jettison a coach over draft and personnel issues. He would never abandon a city; he is loyal and simply demands loyalty in return. He only resorts to the justice system when absolutely necessary. It is obvious that the media paints a completely untrue picture of this man. Given his record as such a great man, we all should give Al Davis the benefit of the doubt on this matter. All is well in the Raider world.

  • howiedoin

    IMHO we have a major failure to communicate between two very Large EGOS.
    We the Raider Nation are one and you see us communicating back and forth and coming to conclusions and voicing our opinions and in turn we meet at a middle ground. Pretty simple, huh?

  • K-Rock

    I am now looking at the Atemporal Cosmological Argument for Theism. :(

    Philosophy gives me brain cramps!

  • jh

    I think therefore I cramp

  • MarsVolta

    Wow, Dakota… that’s a great attitude. Hating Al is very en vouge…

  • howiedoin

    Come to think of it maybe we don’t have a failure to communicate. This is just the way Al likes it sitting up in the tower unreachable, sitting alone up there, looking down and laughing at all he sees.

  • Shawnraiders81

    The sources I have on Raiderfans.net stated that Kiffin Made the James Lofton Hire. Al Davis did not show up until the end of the interview. But had knowledge of the situation. But that Al Davis is still trying to buyout Kiffin.

    I stated that Lofton was hired on the last post BTW.

  • Hobs Gnarly

    BHP,

    It’s easy to blame the media for disinformation, but the Raiders use their own disinformation tools I consider you among them. You ask why would Kiffin interview Lofton? Because that is his job, You can bet your last dollar Al is probably looking at a way to break contract with him as a way of not paying him what is due. Either way I wonder if there is another lawsuit in Al’s future. Kiffin could easily turn the tables on him as well, it goes both ways as I mentioned at the top of this blog

  • M

    Kid Lane was given free reign to make all offensive hires he wished last season. That translated into a robust running game and a passing attack that improved solely because Cable got the boys to do some blocking. The passing game was mediocre for the most part. Getting some help for the WR’s should be recognized as a good idea rather than some Machiavellian drama.
    K-Rock, outside of the space-time continuum there is still an is.

  • K-Rock

    jh Says:
    January 31st, 2008 at 10:46 am
    I think therefore I cramp

    This is a very existentialist way of looking at things.

    Works for me. ;)

  • Shawnraiders81

    shawnraiders81 Says:
    January 30th, 2008 at 9:52 pm
    Per Raiderfans.net premium forum, “insider info.”

    James Lofton has been hired by coach Kiffin and Al Davis know’s about it. Kiffin still has a good chance of being bought out of his contract and not being the HC of the Raiders next year.”

    Your guess is as good as mine.

    That was from last night…..

  • Dakota

    Yo Mars,

    Not “en vogue” for me. I have felt that way since the Marcus Allen debacle.

  • M

    Then again, it does not matter to me who the HC of the Raiders is.

  • Hobs Gnarly

    M,
    what about Mike shanirat second time around?

  • Shawnraiders81

    seems Jerry and I have conflicting info. I hope my sources are right. But who knows for sure?

  • http://cloakofimmortality.blogspot.com JohnS

    K-Rock, are you reading Kant yet? I had this class with a prof from spain, a former jesuit priest who learned English in Japan from a German…anyway, he says:

    “Erm, the problem with the categorical imperative, erm, is the concept of duty vs. inclination. Now, erm, according to the catholic church, it is your duty to have sex with your wife. Erm, that is not against any inclination that I know.”

    He also said,

    “You will be reading so much Kant, erm, you will have a mouth full of Kant”

  • MarsVolta

    Dakota,

    I feel ya, I am by no means about to prop up Al… But there is something to be said for the “maverick” way.

    AFL-NFL merger
    First minority coach to win SB
    First African American Head Coach
    Winning anti-trust suit
    Salvaging many a career of cast-offs
    etc. etc.

  • TexRaider

    It seems to me we have a lot of people calling rumors facts. I agree with BHP and in addition I think what he says can go clear back to the supposed college positions. Not one person ever came out with any hard evidence that Lane was interested in any other position. I remember him saying there was nothing to the story and he thought it was over. I don’t think he reads all the press about how he could have said it better. A few weeks later when some of the team mentioned they were glad he had said something more definitive, he apologized for not being more clear. Stop believing everything you read or hear as though God himself wrote it on tablet of stone. I think the mistake he has made is assuming that writers and fans will take him at his word and that is to bad. Should anyone really have to extract from every writer/fans mind the way they are going to take a statement and find a way to say something that not one person out of millions will find unable to understand. It’s pathetic when a FACT comes out then react, otherwise, let it go.

  • M

    Raider hating, Davis hating, Kiffin hating, what’s the point. Things either work out or they don’t. Changes are ever imminent. I know that five years is long moment for the “five second attention span generation”.

  • Oliver Stone

    Dakota Says:
    January 31st, 2008 at 10:54 am
    “Yo Mars,

    Not “en vogue” for me. I have felt that way since the Marcus Allen debacle.”

    Then maybe Marcus shouldn’t have boned Al Davis’ daughter. Mr Davis emphatically told Marcus go after any woman in LA just stay away from my daughter. Marcus took that as an invitation to stick it to his daughter and in turn stick it to his boss. Next thing you know Marcus is in the Doghouse…

  • Chargers Hater

    I wonder why would Lane kiffin be surprised if Lofton was offered the job?
    I mean, he had and intervew with him…
    If he wasn’t interested in Lofton, then that meeting was just Tea Time…
    If Al Davis is going to hire anyone who enters Kiffin’s office? Wow… then lets hope Lane doesn’t meet with Tom Walsh…

  • M

    TexRaider, thanks for the comments.

  • http://none Bob Marley

    Holy..uhm…just holy!.

    I just read all the threads and I don´t know who this GG fella is but I like him. lol.

    Let me just make one point that occured to me while reading you guys, please follow:

    Why doesn´t anyone (media) check into the whole Kiffin lookig for College jobs issue? I mean, find the truth about that and you will have the juiciest story out there.

    The only reason Al Davis gets the slightest glimpse of sympathy on this issue is that Kiffin may have done a no-no with the college job thing.

    I mean, get to the bottom of that, if he didn´t, then it´s the last nail on Davis´s coffin, but if he did cross the line there, we all may have a different perspective on how this issue developed.

    I guess it´s just easier to blame Davis, fairly or not seems to be rather unimportant.

    I mean, come on, are you gonna tell me it´s harder to get something worthy out of some College than it is out of the Raiders?.

    Bobby Petrino got lambasted, to put it mildly, by everyone even remotely associated with the NFL for going to Arkansas, he put himself out there and landed it.

    What would the difference be between Petrino and Kiffin if he (Kiffin) did actually get his name out there?.

    The answer is: only that Petrino got the job and Kiffin did not.

  • Shawnraiders81

    Chargers Hater Says:
    January 31st, 2008 at 11:02 am
    I wonder why would Lane kiffin be surprised if Lofton was offered the job?
    I mean, he had and intervew with him…
    If he wasn’t interested in Lofton, then that meeting was just Tea Time…
    If Al Davis is going to hire anyone who enters Kiffin’s office? Wow… then lets hope Lane doesn’t meet with Tom Walsh…

    Shawnraiders81 Says:
    January 31st, 2008 at 10:52 am
    shawnraiders81 Says:
    January 30th, 2008 at 9:52 pm
    Per Raiderfans.net premium forum, “insider info.”

    James Lofton has been hired by coach Kiffin and Al Davis know’s about it. Kiffin still has a good chance of being bought out of his contract and not being the HC of the Raiders next year.”

    Your guess is as good as mine.

    THAT WAS FROM LAST NIGHT………

    From who I know the Interview was held by Kiffin…

  • http://cloakofimmortality.blogspot.com JohnS

    What does waiting five years have to do with having a “Five second attention span?”

    Five years is a long, long time. It’s not like we’re evolutionary biologists, for 10,000 years is a blink of an eye. With Free agency, draft, parity, only serious problem franchises are that bad for that long.

    What bothers me is that the Raiders are a national laughingstock along the lines of the Bungles, the Tangerine Speedo-era Buccaneers, and Lions and the Cardinals.

    I can take it, it’s only a game after all. But it still sucks.

  • Dakota

    Mars,

    Oh yeah, he did his thing for sure…but it was in a galaxy far far away and in a land before time as far as I am concerned…and he did those things while winning. Being 31, I missed all the good times, so I do not have that loyalty ingrained in me that some of the older Raider fans seem to have. It blinds them to the truth. The days of Al Davis are over and to move on as a franchise he needs to step down.

  • K-Rock

    This is the opinion of the PFT guy on the above article….

    “And it’s becoming more and more obvious that Kiffin eventually will be gone. He hasn’t resigned because, presumably, he doesn’t want to forfeit his right to the next two years of salary. At some point, however, he might be able to claim that he has been constructively discharged, which would then allow him to resign while at the same time pursuing the balance of his salary. Or, eventually, he’ll say or do something that will provide the team with a good-faith argument that Kiffin was fired for cause, which would block him from receiving any further pay.”

    Any comments?

  • MarsVolta

    Marley.. Amen…

  • http://cloakofimmortality.blogspot.com JohnS

    Bob, I think the difference would be that if Kiffin had landed the job, he would be COURAGEOUS for putting up with Al Davis for as long as he did, unable to make any changes for a disfunctional organization.

    Arthur Blank is a SAINT, a TRUE GENTLEMAN who was BETRAYED by Bernard Petrino, and Michael Vick, and Mora, etc. etc…

  • http://none Bob Marley

    I´m not saying Kiffin did it, I don´t know that, but wouldn´t it be more interesting and important to find that out? as opposed to this endless guessing game we are being subject to?.

  • BIG AL’s GOON

    Wow!! All this drama and hate for my beloved Raiders and AL. There are 31 other NFL football teams. It’s a free country go be a fan of some other team that does things the way you like. I’m proud to be a Raider Fan now and forever!! I’m sure the NE Patsy bandwagon has room and all your complaints and issues will be solved.

  • http://cloakofimmortality.blogspot.com JohnS

    K-rock, if that happens he can get in line behind Shanahan, who’s still looking for that $200k.

  • K-Rock

    b.David Hume – Cause and effect – temporal & spatial conjunction: A——> B—–>

    WHAT?????

  • http://oakglenn Oakglenn

    And as for the San Diego Dischargers, let’s take a quick look at them in the Conference Championship Games:

    1980 Oakland Raiders 34 Lame Discharge 27

    1981 Cinncinnatti 27 Lame Discharge 7

    2007 New England 21 Lame Discharge 12

    I would give them credit for the sole AFC Championship game they won, however the beat down they took in the Super Bowl was so gruesome, that with young children reading this blog, decorum and class prohibit me from discussing it here.

    Bottom line, Raiders it’s useless to engage with Charger, they’re losing ways are too much to take. And now on to my public service announcement:

    Only users lose drugs

  • MaineRaida

    JERRY,

    just a bit more information in your article would have gone a long way in clarifying this latest Kiffen/Davis situation. So, how about simply telling us if your source said that Kiffen was surprised and ANGRY when he heard 3rd-hand that Lofton was hired, or if he was surprised and PLEASED that the deal was already done?

    I generally like your articles but this one smacks of being intentionally vague, to stir the pot. I can’t help but think more is being made out of this than is warranted. And to say that “Lofton, however, was dropped in Kiffin’s lap” implies that Kiffen wasn’t on board with the hire. Did your source say that was the case, or not?

    tell it to us straight my man!

  • TexRaider

    Your welcome M.

    I think Marley has a very good point on the college positions. If it’s true that Lane put out the feelers then Al in a weird way may be in the right (I say weird because it may have been his overbearing that cause lane to peek outside the NFL) if not then AD needs to get back on the lithium and stop thinking that everything good or bad that happens is a plot to undermine himself and the greatness of the Raiders.

  • Dakota

    Bob,
    Please, you can’t compare Kiffin to Petrino. Kiffin is stuck in a job no one wanted and stuck with the most meddling owner in sports history. Petrino was given a fortune and treated very well by one of the classiest owners in the NFL.

    Two very different situations and probably very different motivations in each case.

  • John Marra

    I have no problem saying this. I will hold Al Davis “hostage” and pay my season ticket money when I feel like it (and that is only if Kiffin remains as Head Coach). Why doesn’t he put his disabled butt on the sideline and coach if he could do a better job than Lane Kiffin?

  • RaiderDogg

    Bob -

    I agree with you whole heartedly. See my post #178

  • M

    The Raiders have been in a Super Bowl more recently than the donkeys, chiefs, chargers, texans, titans, jags, dolphins, jets, bills, bengals, ravens and browns… and that is just the AFC. That is what I meant by “five second attention span”.

  • Dakota

    M,

    This is about WINNING, not just appearing in, the Super Bowl. I guess that makes it a quarter-century attention span right?

    Or are you fine with losing, as long as we make it to the Super Bowl? Did you experience great personal satisfaction by watching Jon Gruden and TB kick our butts all over the field in San Diego?

  • RaiderDogg

    Dakota -

    No matter the situation a coach is in, if he quits he is a quitter, regardless of what team it is. If these rumors about Kiffin looking into college jobs while he was mid season with the Raiders is completely unacceptable and no better than Bernard Petrino.

    Maybe ask a Falcons fan what he or she thinks the difference is.

    Your logic sounds a lot like the same logic used in the article about how it was ok for Moss to quit on the Raiders. You are making it ok for Kiffin to do the very same thing that Petrino did accept that Petrino actually got the job. Hell before Kiffin was hired by the Raiders he was turned down to be the HC of the University of Minnesota! In my opinion he was damn lucky to land a head coaching job PERIOD, let alone one in the NFL.