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

  • trojanfan

    New investors. Sounds like it will be Kiffins last game. Too bad they don’t put a majority of the stock up so A.D. can be canned also. I would love to see Tom Flores be the new “Manager of the General Partner” or whatever BS title A.D. is using these days. Only then will the bleeding stop. Kenny King was right on “I’m out” until this corporation starts putting out a product that I at least don’t have to be ashamed of.

  • awwwww shiiiit 408 408 408

  • Jim (ct raider)

    too late to go 15-1 (played 2 games by the time he takes over)


  • S&B

    Head’n down to the local sports bar to watch the game.

    This is a must win game if I have ever saw one. Come on Ryan….stop being stubborn and give us a game plan to win…Kiffin, let’s see the offense move the ball…

    Davis–Just sit there…I don’t care what the outcome is, just sit there. No firings, no manifesto, no leaking to the media. When we win, just stop and enjoy it…Lawd knows we haven’t had too many chances to enjoy much around here. And by the way, if Davis fires Kiffin after a freekn win in WEEK 2, then the NATION COLLECTIVE can add another member to the ranks

  • Jim (ct raider)



  • I’m pulling for the Players today. Just Win baby! Good Luck/out.

  • El Dirty


    He drafted like a guru… This is fantasy… any given sunday GOODLUCK! He wooped my a$$ last week!

  • Holy Toledo

    Post #366- Scottish You are the man! I agree with you whole-heartedly. The team needs to be taken out back, burned as moth infested trash and started all over in another city with new owners, press core etc…. We fans living nearby lose out somewhat because they might move somewhere far enough to make it finacially impossible to follow. But I am a RAIDER fan not an OAKLAND fan. Wherever they play I will be a fan, just get rid of the old man. He smells…….

  • 408 408 yeah

  • PhillyRaider

    POST 400 – LMAO!!! 🙂

    “Al’s will be done…”

  • Good morning my dear friends,…sadly, I see no reason to make any change to my early week prediction,…outside chance that due to weather it might not reach the level of a blowout as predicted….enjoy Lanes last game fellas,…if you think you will be happy with his firing, it will be nothing compared to his joy.

  • Hobs Gnarly

    Hmmm, very interesting Jerry seems to be backing Al. When did that turn around happen?

    Can someone tell me what has happened to Michael Bush?

    If Kiff gets canned, we will have a version of Shell 3 regime in Lofton/Ryan/Knapp three headed monster. You know don’t laugh but they need someone like Marty to come in here and teach football hardnosed. I never thought I say that.

  • Silver&BlackBleeder

    Jim, I was born in New Haven. Elm City boy

  • Fire Al Davis

    JaMarcus and McFadden must be wondering, “How do I get out of this?”

    Al Davis, it’s time to go! Don’t let the door hit you in the back of the wheelchair on your way out. You are a detriment to everything and everyone that is involved with the franchise, from the players to the fans.

  • Seattle Raider

    Well, at least we shouldn’t be out coached. Herm couldn’t out coach …………..well,………….Kiffin.

  • Kush

    The nightmare continues. No team can have success when it changes head coaches every year. If Al Davis just wants a yes man as his head coach, why the hell doesn’t he just coach the team himself.

  • Jay

    How can anyone have any respect whatsoever for a loser like Al Davis? He is such a pathetic joke that people are no longer laughing at the Raiders, they actually feel sympathy and just shake their heads when the Raiders are brought up. More importantly, he obviously does not know how to run a business as he is running the team into the ground.

  • ufk! 410 is lame!

    Dirty u b@stard! yeah looks like Im starting out o-2 its all good tho I shoulda stuck around for the draft but this princess of mine comes first! Mija harshed my FF buzz… LOL

  • Jim (ct raider)

    SBB; i was born in watertown but moved to Meriden. Right up 91 from you.

  • El Dirty


    You have a good team u will do fine.

  • El Dirty

    Ok Im getting pumped!


  • Kush

    Al Davis must be going crazy. And I don’t mean that flippantly or disrespectfully.

    He sat there and watched that same pile of excrement defensive performance that all of us saw last week, yet SOMEHOW, SOMEWAY, Rob Ryan’s job is secure! After five years of the same crap on defense, Rob Ryan’s job is secure!

    Whether you like Kiffin’s attitude or not, Kiffin has been the only bright spot on this football team. He brought in Knapp and Cable, who turned us into one of the best rushing teams in the league last year, and cut our league leading sack total in 2006 by almost half.

    He tried to create a new atmosphere of not using the refs as an excuse for failure, but just going out an executing with the team concept of “I’m In.”

    What the hell has Rob Ryan done to improve this team! Give up 41 points at home in front of the whole country on a nationally televised game! Yet somehow, someway, his job is secure.

    I’m so sick of this crap. I love the Raiders, and will always root for the players on the field. But this state of affairs is sick and disgusting. It is time for Al Davis to go. Period.

  • PhillyRaider

    Just now on BSPN, the group posed the question, “Who’s most on the hotseat, Kifin, Linehan, Lewis?” Nearly all chose Kiffen. Ditka said Kiff definately doesn’t want to be here anymore. Carter said, “Who wants to coach under Al Davis?!”

    Earlier with just Boomer and Mort, Mort said he believes Kiff will be another Shanahan (whom Kiff has outfoxed previuosly and is 1-2 against in just two years with ZERO support).

    Point is, seems even the mediots know what the Raiders REAL issue is. BTW, Jerry is not going to go after Al in his blog and to think he would is CRAZY!! The guys family has to eat!!

    “Al’s will be done…”

  • K-Rock

    This game will either be a blowout loss or close win. It will not be a convincing victory because Kiffin does not run a high powered passing attack. It is a grind it out, low scoring offense with little punch due to NO OFFENSIVE LINE.

    Kiffin will be gone this week.

    Al Davis will hire Lofton or Fassel as the next HC. This organization is a JOKE.

  • PhillyRaider

    Kush, last 3 posts ALL right on target bro!!!

    “Al’s will be done…”

  • Good Luck Coach Kiffen whereever you may go. Thanks for standing up and telling it like it was.

  • Al’s Jogging Suit

    Jim Fassel is desperate enough to take this job.

  • Kush

    Al is the owner. His job is to hire competent people on defense and offense, and then LET THEM DO THE JOB THEY WERE HIRED TO DO. Period.

    Emperor Al Davis is acting that tiny little dictator from North Korea who walks around with the stunna shades on all the time threatening to blow up anybody who opposes him with nuclear weapons.

    If Al doesn’t trust his coaches to do their jobs, why the hell doesn’t he just do it himself. Period. Because he wants to have someone else to blame when things fail, that’s why.

  • Al’s Jogging Suit

    I’m ok with Kiffin being fired. But i’m still “in”, and I still want to kick KC’s asssssss today.

  • Kush you are absolutely clueless if you think Ryans job is secure. It’s anything but that.

    The difference between Ryan and loudmouth Kiffin is Ryan gives a damn. Now he needs fix his side of the ball or else he will follow Kiffin.

  • Silver&BlackBleeder

    Jim – The Bridgeport Ferry still in operation?

  • WTF I still cant get my pre game fix!

    4eva I need details bro come on spill the beans!

  • K-Rock

    All of this started because Kiffin wanted a college job. Al Davis would not let Ryan go because he was scared Kiffin would leave for the NCAA. This gave Kiffin the excuse he needed to act like a child and throw a tantrum. Al put the clamps down and decided to do things his way again (which is never a good thing!). Now everything is messed up.

    Can’t really blame Kiffin though. I think he understood half way through last year that he had made a mistake leaving USC.

    Al Davis is like any of us. He LIKES having friends working for him. Only problem is none of Al’s friends have any talent.

    If Fassel is a friend of Davis, maybe there will be enough trust there to allow him some freedom.

    If Lofton is hired, expect more losing.

  • Well Ryan seems to think he’s allowed to do his joband so do you because you keep saying he’s a lousy coach.

    Kiffin has yet to say that Davis wont let him COACH. He says he wont let him make personnel decisions (a big difference between the two).

  • Hobs Gnarly

    You know the tell on Kiffin as viewed by Shanahan last game they opened up with trickery. I wonder if ole rat face was nervous about being out matched?

  • Raaaaaaaaaiiiiiideeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrs

  • Charlie

    Given some of the discussion regarding defense and blitzing and Ryan and Davis etc:
    The Raider front four must be able to bring pressure in order for a blitz to be effective. Only then are you somewhat assured of the blitz really disrupting the play. On Monday night our front four was getting manhandled. What Ryan said is true, if you blitz the Broncos the odds are they pick it up and make a big play.
    Today the Chefs line is not as good as Denver’s. We may blitz more and it may work TODAY.
    The key is how does our front four match with the opponents Oline.
    Our problem has been and will continue to be that our defensive line is weak. We need to build it starting with next year’s draft.
    Until then we will continue to get ripped by good offensive lines.

  • Kush

    Black Hole Priest, I hope you’re right. I honestly hope that you are right and I am completely wrong.

    As much money as Al Davis threw around last offseason, why did he care whether or not Rob Ryan was at the end of his contract or not, when Kiffin wanted to fire him?

    I know you’re not a fan of Kiffin, you make that clear all the time. But the fact remains, Kiffin showed IMPROVEMENT on his side of things last season. Rob Ryan gave up 6 4th QUARTER LEADS LAST SEASON.

    That translates from 10-6, which should have been our record last year with a trip to the playoffs, to 4-12 which placed us at the bottom of the division yet again.

    You tell me BHP, as much money as Al Davis spent last year, and with his so-called “commitment to excellence”, and “just win baby slogans”,

    why wasn’t Rob Ryan fired last year???

  • Hobs Gnarly

    That’s why Ryan was ready to bolt to the Jet’s in two seconds, right BHP.
    Your getting old

  • If Rob Ryan truely loved and respected the RAIDERS 4 everything they have stood 4 since their inception to the NFL he would release himself

  • Then why are all his friends working in the NFL?

    One of his best friends is owner of the most talented team in the NFL. And he is very fond of Rathman and Knapp some writers say.

    Some of you have about as much common sense as a slug. “none of his friends have any talent” who did you get that from some little girl. Have an opinin that at least makes some sense.

  • Hobs Gnarly

    If they had a decent WR the offense would be much better. Where is Boldin?

  • El Dirty

    No one is getting fired this week! Maybe by the bye week. You heard it here!

  • M

    Kid Lane standing up and telling like it is? Hmmmm, not so sure Kiffie really knows what is going on. His words to the effect that coaches don’t last long around Big Al, well kid, 90+% of head coaches don’t last long in any NFL organization. Players don’t last long, hell even stadiums don’t last long.
    My guess is if Kid Kiff had been a tad less petulant toward Al Davis he would’ve found a long leash over time. As it has been he wanted, without any experience or resume as an HC anywhere at any level to be given free reign over all decisions. Kid Lane didn’t deserve that immediate respect from Al, so instead of learning at the feet of a legend he decided to go balls to the wall in a power play. Result, instead of a long leash he received just enough rope. Won’t bother me when he is axed.

  • Only he can honestly answer that Kush I don’t know but Kiffin hadn’t done enough himself to real warrant making that decision. He has to win first.

  • Hobs Gnarly

    Ryan is a good coach, but it’s obvious he is handcuffed. Can you imagine the Pats not blitzing on a cruicial 3rd down or his father? It’s obvious the influence Davis has on him.

  • Florida Pete

    anybody aware of a tv station the does live internet broadcasting ???

    if you know what i mean …

  • PTB


  • A fish rots from the head down. It’s hard to defend an owner when the team has performed so horrendous for the past 6 years. When you’ve had 5 coaches in 7 years, or whatever the amount is, you have to figure it’s the person making the hiring decisions.

    Like Alex Smith having 4 offensive coordinators in four years, it’s hard to have consistency when change happens every year.

    On a political note- Go Obama! Many similiarities between McCain and Al Davis: you can’t reinvent yourself when you are so set in your ways-something about old dog and new tricks.

  • 408 i cant get the link????????????????????