A Raiders win is a must for Kiffin


A wise man, or maybe it was colleague Carl Steward, once reasoned that if you’re talking about “must win’’ games early in the season, then the season is already lost.

That said, when the Raiders face the Chiefs Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, it is about as close as you can get to a must win in early September.

Anything remotely similar to 41-14 face plant Monday night against the Denver Broncos could have severe ramifications.

When the team’s public relations department dispatched defensive coordinator Rob Ryan Thursday to refute what coach Lane Kiffin said the previous day, it can be taken as a sign that the coach one columnist called “frat boy’’ is at the very least on double-secret probation.

My feeling all along , based on the Kiffin-Al Davis postseason standoff, was that the coach was in trouble if the Raiders hit the bye week 1-3 or worse.

The across-the-board failure in Week 1, which took place in front of the team’s new investors, may have sped up the process.

If the Raiders were to lose convincingly to a very mediocre Chiefs team Sunday, Kiffin may not make it to Buffalo for Week 3.

This was Kiffin’s assessment on his standing with the Raiders when asked about it on a conference call with Kansas City media:

“Knowing who the owner is, you know from Day 1 there’s no job security,’’ Kiffin said.

It’s not much different than what Kiffin said the first day of training camp, but it takes a more ominous tone given the Monday night debacle and the coach’s 4-13 record.

As poorly as the Raiders played against Denver, it was a game they had a reasonable expectation of winning. They were at home, playing a team they beat convincingly last year in Oakland. I talked with a few fans on my Southwest flight to Kansas City, including one who takes a few road trips a year and goes back to the pre-Coliseum days.

He was convinced the Raiders would win. I thought enough of their chances to write the ill-fated “10 reasons the Raiders will beat the Broncos’’ blog.

At the time, taking into account a win at Arrowhead last season, it was within the realm of possibility the Raiders would be 2-0 and have a boost of confidence heading into difficult games in Buffalo and at home against San Diego.

Instead, they’ve got a chance to be 0-2, and considering the opposition the next two weeks, it could well be 0-4.

It’s worth considering that the Denver game was a mulligan and will have no carryover. That seems to be the prevailing hope both in the locker room and with the coaching staff.

It’s not exactly, “Commitment to Excellence,’’ but the slogan for this week was something along the lines of, “We’re not that bad _ honest.’’

Coaches and players took turns accepting responsibility. Kiffin said it was the job of the coaches to get a team that looks good “on paper’’ to play well on the field. Ryan took the blame for the defense.

DeAngelo Hall said it was his fault, and other defenders said they had communication errors which turned into a death spiral.

Hall will get his share of chances to redeem himself Sunday, because it looks as if Nnamdi Asomugha is in for another lonely season at right cornerback. Kiffin was engaged in conversation with defensive tackle Tommy Kelly both on the way to practice and again after practice Friday.

I’m guessing the name “Larry Johnson’’ came up more than once.

Ryan described the Raiders defense Friday as a system which puts what he believes to be great players in position to win one-on-one match-ups.

The same could be said for Oakland’s offense, which will live or die with hits ability to run the ball with quarterback JaMarcus Russell playing his first game at Arrowhead, his blind side likely protected by first-time starter Mario Henderson.

An 0-2 start is no time to panic, but an 0-2 start for a team with an unprecedented five-year run of losing and a coach who exhibits an air of defiance toward his employer could make this a must win for Kiffin.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • Kush

    If you recall, Ryan got up on the podium, and gave one of his “Blame me, our players are great, everything’s ok, we just had a bad day, bullcrap speeches last year as well.

    He does it every year, because he has SUCKED for five years. He is the self proclaimed “Head coach of the defense.”

    So if our defense has sucked for five straight years, yet Ryan is the “head coach of it” then WHY IS HE STILL HERE!

    Because getting rid of him would make too much sense, and that’s not something that exists within the Raider organization right now starting with our Owner/GM/Talent Scout/Coach.

  • M


    post 438 reads well, thanks.

  • G-Mac

    This past 5 Raider seasons are a great case study for NFL tems and corporations on how micromanagement, personal conflicts, and egotism can usurp individual talent and determination everytime. I have a prediction, Kiffin will be fired by the bye week only to resurface at some time in the near future as the offensive coordinator/assistant head coach/heir apparent to Shanrat and the dreaded Donkeys. His comments this week alone are the resume builders that will make him a lock for that job!!!

  • IMO I think this kid realised last year that he ws in over his head, he was now dealing with MEN and not kids. He is trying to cover his ass by blaming everyone but himself.

    Truth be told he sucked just a bad as Ryan last week but he gets no heat. He obviously doesn’t talk to Davis and is coaching the way he wishes then why isn’t HIS side of the ball productive?

    No one addresses that and I wonder why?

  • Hobs Gnarly

    M, coaches come and go but to be a sucessful team you have to have some continuity. You can’t have 5 different coaches in 5 different years. It kills this season and next years if they change, but you can’t have a disfunctional situation either, so either way you are f..ked
    If Al is really looking for someone to take the reigns, the best way to do so is without the old man looking over their shoulder, just do it. Get someone proven, get Marty for GM, hate his guts but respect the football man.

  • El Dirty

    Rich Gannon is saying his opinion

  • well I’m off 2 the bar I believe we will win,I hope they let Jmac drop back and let his athletic abilities rule the day.YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS IT’s ON GO RAIDERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • El Dirty


    was smirking when he mentioned Mario’s name. Ugh

  • Big Daddy WooWoo

    If Al Davis fires Kiffin, he’s gonna end up regretting it in a Mike Shanahan style.

    Hopefully he won’t go to KC…facing Shanahan twice a year is already painful enough.

    Al, there’s a position called General Manager. Hire one of those and let the team run on it’s own.

    It’s time to let go…and watch from the skybox without picking up the phone.

  • Kush

    Davis not wanting to give Kiffin free reign is not my problem. I understand that. But then it’s up to Davis since he’s the GM to step in and make wise, sound, football decisions.

    It shouldn’t take Kiffin to have to step up and call out Ryan’s crappy performance over the past 5 years. Al should have made that call himself.

    It shouldn’t take Kiffin to stand up and say, Hey Al we should get rid of Alvis Whitted, and all the rest of these “scholarship players”, who don’t produce on the football field. Al should have made those calls himself, long before Kiffin ever got here.

    The fact that Al davis can’t see these things himself, and it required Lane Kiffin to butt heads with Al about it because he realized that our team cannot win as long as these things are in place, shows that Al Davis is not competent to do that aspect of the job.

    He needs to sit back and OWN the team, that’s it. Then hire competent people to handle the various duties of a football team, and then trust them to do their jobs without constant interference. Period.

  • PTB

    How can this team win with the work environment that has been created…from the top? Just the fact that I’m hoping for a win, not confident in one, is where we have landed. How many of us really BELIVE we will win today?

  • Jay

    When you are a coach of one of the 32 teams in the NFL, you should _expect_ that you form your own staff and have a major say in personal decisions. Obviously that doesn’t apply to the Raiders, where Al tries to hire HCs that he can promptly castrate.

    Do you think Lane is speaking out in the media just because he is petulant and immature? No way, he wants out of his miserable contract he undoubtedly regrets signing. And why does he regret signing it? Because it turns out Al is a micromanaging loser with a crippling ego that will continue to plague the team until Al is gone. Who’d of thunk it?!

  • Florida Pete

    kiffie has demonstrated no talent since he has been here…

    oh… that’s not true…

    he does have a talent blaming everything on everyone else…

    let him go, al…

    this is one that will not come back to haunt us…

    ps… denver, please pick him up if he is released… make him your head coach…

  • M

    Daniel So Cal,
    having seen lots of rotting, actually the head is last to go, so I don’t see the analogy as apropos.

    glad you pointed out the O’s failings with regards to the Kid’s lack of accountability for that. I would like to see the training wheels come off of Mr Franchise Qb. Might as well go down swinging (and not by the rope Kid Lane has hung himself with).

    Hobs Gnarly,

    Marty??! Oh my God nooooooooooo.

  • Jim (ct raider)

    sbb: yes he is. hahaha kidding. i believe so. I’ve never used it. My dumbass drives all the way around.

  • M, I’ve lst all respect that I had for the kid.

    I think he is a very good coach but he’s in over his head. Some of the things he said in training camp were so puzzling, I’m thinking doesn’t this kid know cut downs are coming and he’ll have a chance to improve the roster. It was wierd what he was doing and it smacked of panic. I’m not sure he is confident that he can get it done at this level. So he’s forcing the inevitable.

  • Kush

    As much as I hate the gutless, spineless SOB that is Randy Moss, he called it two years ago when he said that there was something, “fishy going on in the Raiders organization.”

    There definitely is. I mean WTF? Are Rob Ryan and Al Davis lovers or something. This crap is ridiculous.

  • M, now you’ve touched on my pet peeve. This kid gloves treatment is confusing. No one wants to just throw Russell to the wolves but at the same time. Kiffin wasted valuable time last year when it was obvious we weren’t going anywhere. He sould have gotten him game ready as best he could. On the road in the snow. All the things he has to do to get ready for this season.

    The training camp and preseason he hardly let the first team play together knowing they needed to get ready on defense and offense. And he didn’t get this team ready to play IMHO.

  • Florida Pete

    kiffie terminated eight coaches from the raider staff right after he was hired…

    he replaced those coaches with his own people…

    he demonstrated serious weakness in his deciesion making process last season…

    so why then would Al allow kiffie, who had been shopping for a better gig, to have any more control over anything ???

    the biggest mistake al made this year was not firing kiffie when he first found out that kiffie was shopping his resume…

    piss on kiffie… he doesn’t even wear silver and black… let alone bleed silver and black…

  • M

    Florida Pete,

    I can remember last January when this blog site was all stirred up about Kid Kiff’s potential demise. You didn’t see that it as that big of a deal to keep him then (nor did I), just as you have expressed now. Kid never earned even a portion of the millions he has made from the organization by any stretch. Don’t let the door hit you etc. etc…

  • Jay

    Rob Ryan might as well have been on his knees in front of Al’s wheel chair instead of that podium this past week. That is the sort of dysfunctional transparent boot-licking (and I’m being kind) required to remain a member of the Raider organization.

  • Kush why Ryan is still here? is a good question especially after Monday Night. He really lst me with that performance and he needs to get it fixed, that’s assuming that he is capable.

    I like Ryan but perfrmance comes first and we haven’t performed in some time and there’s no rope left.

    The noose is around his neck and the rope very tight.

    Get it done or goodbye………….period.

  • M


    you are so right on with the notes from last season. Yes, no need to get Mr Russell killed, but as “Nowheresville” was the name of the team train last year not putting JaMarcus out there was a waste.

  • G-Mac

    I think that we may not be seeing the big picture here: If Big Al gets id of Kiffin now, we are in the drivers seat to bring in: A.Bill Cowher; B. Pete Carroll. Big Al may already have the jet on the tarmc waiting to bring the SC staff up to take over after the bye week!!!

  • Well looks like everyone is getting clarity now with respect to this whole situation. CBS analyst just blasted Davis publicly.

  • How can you blame Ryan? Despite what he may have said on Thursday, Al’s the one calling the shots, Al’s the one who insists on running that ridiculous, ‘let’s rush the same four guys every time’ defense. It might have worked in 1983, but it sure as heck won’t these days. Even Lester Hayes said that if they’d had today’s rules back when he played, they couldn’t have gotten away with what they did.

  • Hobs Gnarly

    No one is gonna come coach the Raiders that has any experience, no one period. Unless Al is gone.

    Yes M, Marty he knows players

  • Jay

    Ditka is being kind and blaming the dysfunction on penalties.

  • Hobs Gnarly

    You think I like saying Marty? I want the Raiders to win and who is out there as a GM that can have an instant impact? Marty

  • Hobs Gnarly

    To have a respectable season they must.

    1. Keep the kiff
    2. get a WR (Boldin) at all costs
    3. Let Ryan coach without imput from Davis

  • Hobs Gnarly

    To have a winning season, all the above plus

    1. Al retires
    2. Hire a real GM
    3. Clean house. Front office and scouts

  • troy

    All this is on Al Davis. He will not hire a real coach and he want to control everything. Al for the Raiders stop what your doing, hire a coach and stop trying to control everything.

  • Kevin

    Guys – I have been a RAIDERS FAN for over 35 years and this is as bad as it gets. We are 19 – 62 since the Super Bowl. Can you see AL DAVIS needs to go and we know he is not going anywhere. I have loved this team for DECADES and quite frankly it is embarrassing to even watch them these days. I mean who threatens to FIRE their head coach after GAME 1 ??? Everyone this is SAD . No NFL coach with any dignity would even take this job and become AL’s PUPPET .

  • Nation Collective-Chaos

    OMG….>RR is calling like his job is on the line………..

  • M

    Wind aided or not. 56 yds. WooHoo!

  • is justin tv broadcasting the gm

  • where cn i find the gm online

  • M

    300 yards on the ground. My most excellent scenario. And I liked that JM had a chance to pass the ball around even if he was ineffective. Woo Hoo!!!!

  • David

    Ok great game, Lane was right Raiders can only run ball, big surprise. Kiffin is not the problem, Al Davis, draft busts (Robert Gallery), No blitz defenses (again Mr Davis) is the problem. Davis is a former brilliant legend that the game has left behind, but won’t let go. I have a feeling his stubborness will lose a potential good coach that will kick our butts later. Ex: Shannahan constant thorn, John “Chuckie” Gruden kicks our buts in superbowl, probably the fans most popular coach since Madden for good reason. Give Kiffin a chance and let Ryan cut lose on defense and this team can instantly be respectable even with sorry receivers. We have the backs and defense talent to win, just blitz babie

  • Virginia Raiderfan

    A wins a win but all we do now is prolong the drama, its only a matter of time before Kiffin gets the axe and we as fans are back to square one. Even thru all this bull**** it was nice to see the Raiders win a game even if the passing game was a little suspect today….On to Buffalo with or without our coach….(geesh)

  • DoNotFireLane

    I’ve stuck with the Raiders through the good and the bad, but if Al fires lane, that’ll pretty much be it for me.
    Mr Davis needs to take responsibility for his own actions, and realize that he’s the sole reason for the us being the laughing stock of the NFL for the last 6 years. He can’t see talent when it hits him in the face (see draft history), and even when it does (Lan Kiffin).
    He needs to let go of control, and realize the game has past him.

  • Canadian Raider

    Ok two GAMES two radically different results. Before the season some had San Diego as potential Superbowl Champs…. Denver spank them 9ok not a true spanking 1 point win)

    But WHAT if Denver are that GOOD….the result on Monday does and can be looked at differently!

    Other GAME….we spank KC in KC at home after THEY have a not bad week versus the Pats!!

    What to make of the Raiders! Is the sky falling or is it somewhere in between.

    Onto Buffalo….for the collection of more evidence before the final verdict!!

  • Rock

    I just bought the coolest shirt at this site on myspace. I am soooo sick of davis’s shlt. If he does can kiff I am gonna split. It say’s keep kiffin fire al. I got a bumper sticker too. If everyone had one maybe it would help. It is helping me. myspace.com/keepkiffinfireal