There are rumors circulating again that owner Al Davis may fire Coach Lane Kiffin as early as today. With the team coming off a rough loss to Buffalo and the coaching staff waging a war of words, it seems like a change could better the team. I could not disagree more.
The disagreement on philosophy, members of the coaching staff, and personnel decisions started long before this current season did. Coach Kiffin doesn’t have buy-in from his fellow coaches (primarily Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan) nor does he have the necessary opportunity to make player personnel decisions. Al Davis contends Kiffin is insubordinate and is taking the team in the wrong direction. If the situation was unmanageable, Davis should have fired Kiffin in January. Instead, the opportunity passed and the new season was upon us. Raider Nation saw hope. What kind of message does firing your coach three games into the season send?
Yesterday showed us that the team has promise. A very close loss to a good Buffalo team isn’t something to be down about. The win looked possible, but most predicted much worse yesterday. When your team is down, sometimes we have to accept moral victories.
Firing our coach raises the white flag on 2008-2009. Kiffin may not get it turned around this year. But, at least give him the opportunity to finish what he’s started. If he fails again, Davis has an excuse to fire him. Firing him now just looks petty and egomaniacal. Furthermore, there isn’t a head coach in waiting on the Oakland sideline. There are some solid coaches on the current staff, but no one who will come in and fix this mess immediately. So, they’ll likely have to look externally to get the ship righted. By the time a new coach gets the team acclimated to his philosophy, the season will be lost. The organization simply isn’t strong enough to withstand a change midseason (and flourish).
Long story short, the Raiders are 1-2. The AFC is wide open this year. Indianapolis, San Diego, and New England are all having major problems. Al Davis needs to think about the players and the fans before doing something so drastic. How much longer will the fans accept this disaster? Fan tolerance gets smaller every day.