Day 5 of the Oakland Raiders defensive coordinator debate closes one door, and opens a few others. It looks like this week will end without the firing of Rob Ryan, and I’m not sure why.
I have a good feeling that Lane Kiffin has already told Mr. Davis his reasons for wanting Ryan replaced, and all the advantages that he believes his players on defense would have (and has had) playing in a zone. My gut still thinks that Kiffin (like I would) wants to utilize all the speed and athleticism on his defense by playing them in zones, and not man-to-man. And I don’t have the exact numbers, but I’m pretty sure that out of the 10 interceptions that Thomas Howard and Kirk Morrison combined for, 8 of them were made in a zone read.
Ryan wants to run a 3-4 defense like the one his brother runs in Baltimore, and he showed this by installing a 3-4 look in Oakland 3 years ago; only to fail miserably. The following year (last season) he adjusted his game plan to better fit the skills of the players on his team, and came back with the #3 defense. What was widely reported last year was how good the Raiders were against the pass, and with good reason, they were the #1 pass defense. But what was rarely reported is that the Raiders had the #25 rush defense. The passing-D was so good that it’s #1 rating brought their total average to #3. But I, and I’m sure Ryan as well, expected teams to challenge them on the ground more this season; he just didn’t make the adjustments this time to save his job, or the stature of this defense. He belongs in New York with the Jets, because Eric Mangini will let Ryan run the defense that he wants. The Jets are so adamant about establishing a great 3-4 defense that they’re willing to weed-out the ultra-talented Jonathan Vilma, who doesn’t quite fit the mold of a 3-4 linebacker.
It seems that the whole Monte Kiffin rumor is all but dead, however it does look like his son has interest in a different Tampa-2 (cover-2) specialist. Inside Bay Area is reporting that the Raiders head coach is perusing his father’s colleague Raheem Morris.
Morris, 31, has been groomed by Monte Kiffin to be a defensive coordinator. Lane Kiffin no doubt has heard all about Morris from his father.
Morris began his NFL career with the Buccaneers in 2002. Buccaneers cornerback Ronde Barber said he realized early that Morris is destined for greater things in the NFL.
“He’s on the fast track,” Barber told the Tampa Tribune. “People ask me all the time what’s different about us this year, and I point to Raheem. He’s a big part of it.”
Like I said yesterday, if the Raiders do not sign Monte Kiffin then they need to turn their focus to hiring a young first time defensive coordinator. Morris fits this criterion perfectly. It’d be harder to establish respect between an older experienced defensive coordinator and a 2nd year head coach, than with a couple guys in their early 30′s.
But like Monte, Morris is with the Bucs, and until their season ends nothing more can develop.
Ryan’s situation on the other hand comes down to the tyrant that is Al Davis. Every season he makes this franchise look so unprofessional. This season he’s started by letting the inevitable firing of Rob Ryan linger to long. I know that New Years Eve was Monday, and January 1st is a national holiday, but still, let this end. There is no way Ryan could return to this team now that Kiffin has spoken, so what’s the hold up? Could you possibly be debating whether to fire your 1st year head coach? Or is it that it just takes nearly a week for a single sentence to process through your corroding mind? Okay I’m done; but seriously, what I need is a little professionalism, is that too hard to ask?