By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Monday, May 17th, 2010 at 8:27 am in Oakland Raiders.
Back at it this week, with Raiders’ OTA’s scheduled Tuesday through Thursday.
If form holds, the media window will be Wednesday (awaiting confirmation), with the Raiders opting for the NFL minimum of availability rather than build on a what has been a very good offseason in terms of positive vibes.
UPDATE: Indeed, media availability will be four of the next five Wednesdays _ May 19 and 26 followed by June 9 and 16.
A couple of items until then:
– Lane Kiffin’s interview with HBO’s “Real Sports” airs Tuesday. Haven’t seen an advance copy, but the Orange County Register reported Kiffin denied he was insubordinate and CNN-SI’s Peter King had a Kiffin quote regarding Al Davis and the coach’s defense about leaving Tennessee after a single season in his “Monday Morning Quarterback” column.
“How many Raiders coaches ended real great? It’s all Al Davis. He’s gonna run the whole thing. What’s going to happen is whatever he feels like that day,” Kiffin said.
Contrast that approach with how Tom Cable described working with Davis following the draft.
“When I first got this job, one of the things I asked him to do was teach me (the business side of it), free agency, putting a team together through the draft,” Cable said. “We’re connecting that way, and it’s a good thing. The field stuff, the coaching, that is easy for me. That’s what I’ve always done. But there’s another whole side of this that’s just as important. That’s where as an organization, we’re able to do it together.”
Cable may not ultimately succeed, and we’ll have a good indication it’s a lost cause the moment Sebastian Janikowski lines up for a 76-yard field goal attempt (not that he’d be insubordinate in any way). If the offense improves, and the Raiders still struggle in terms of wins and losses, Hue Jackson could be next man up.
But Cable is operating in a way that gives him something Kiffin didn’t want _ a chance. You either look to succeed and survive or look to get out. So far, both Cable and Kiffin got what they wanted.
– Is this supposed to be tongue-in-cheek and I’m too clueless to get it?
In Mike Lombardi’s weekly Sunday column he writes “According to sources I’ve talked to in the NFL, former Raiders first-round pick JaMarcus Russell apparently is running out of options. Cincinnati isn’t interested, and several teams are exploring the possibility of Russell playing another position. Russell needs to be more proactive to get back in the NFL, and if that means turning to the CFL, he must explore that option. Waiting for his phone to ring from an NFL team is not going to happen.”
Playing another position?
Putting aside the jokes about Russell playing nose tackle or on the offensive line, what other position could he possibly play and exactly how long are these teams spending on someone whose sole strength at present is a strong throwing arm at a position other than quarterback?
– Lots of angry reaction on Ice Cube’s “Straight Outta LA,” the ESPN “30 for 30” film on the rapper’s youth and the influence of the Los Angeles Raiders.
Growing up in the East Bay during the Raiders’ Oakland glory years, my own point of view was expressed much better in HBO’s “Rebels of Oakland,” the documentary about the championship seasons of the A’s and Raiders. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t interesting to see things from a different frame of reference.
Most striking _ the Los Angeles Raiders represented style over substance, attitude over production. The Oakland Raiders were true iconoclasts, quirky individualists who became a team every Sunday.
Davis was right in that he’ll ultimately be judged by history, and make no mistake _ if the Raiders actually turn things around, considering the change in media since they last won anything _ he’ll be a bigger story than he ever was while presiding over three Super Bowl champions and railing against the perceived injustices of the NFL.