The St. Louis Rams recently traded with the Detroit Lions to acquire former Raider wide receiver Ronald Curry.
The Raiders cut Curry this February after a dismal performance during the regular season. His team leading 55 catches in 2007 took a Thelma and Louise plunge to just 19 grabs in ’08.
So, who is to blame for Curry’s abysmal productivity? Former head coach Lane Kiffin is according to Ronald.
In an interview with Steve Korte of the Belleville News- Democrat, Curry details the manner in which Kiffin demoted him in the receiving corps and the subsequent duties which he was assigned.
“I came back to camp and I’m fourth on the depth chart after leading the team in receiving the last couple of years”
“He puts you in the slot and expects you to do the same thing, but they run no plays for the slot,” Curry said. “To me, when it’s third-and-five or six, or less, you let that slot go to work. It was a block-first offense. You go out there, you block, block, block, block, and at the end of the day you wonder why no receivers have more than 20, 30 yards.”
While Kiffin was the coach and these were his decisions, the blame for all of the Lane Kiffin fall out can be traced to the office of one Al Davis.
Many feel that Kiffin’s numerous theatrics since taking the helm at the University of Tennessee has justified the decision for Davis to fire his young first time head coach. However, how can Al Davis be excused from creating this mess?
It was his decision to hire Kiffin. It was Davis who allowed Kiffin to enter the 2008 season as a lame duck coach. It was Davis who, in all his football acumen, had a moment of madness in allowing Kiffin to even be seen patrolling an NFL sideline in the first place.
Curry was a fan favorite in the East Bay. His one handed grab in the epic victory during a blizzard in Denver is forever a part of Raider lore.
When Curry was rendered to being nothing more than a route runner and a blocker in ’08, it was by Kiffin’s design but it was Al Davis who was the architect of this whole disaster.
Since leaving, Kiffin has shown his true colors. He’s made a fool of himself by having to constantly apologize for countless arrogant mistakes in his short time in Knoxville. He’s called out some of his former players in Oakland, unwilling to simply let bygones be.
But none of this excuses Mr. Davis from the wretched manner in which he both hired and fired Kiffin.
Yes, the blame for Curry being lost in the shuffle in ’08 is linked directly to Kiffin. But that does not mean that Al Davis is innocent in the matter. Davis was unable to sense the immaturity and arrogance of Kiffin in the first place. Therefore, not only does Mr. Davis owe an apology to Ronald Curry, he also owes a great debt of thanks to Tom Cable for cleaning up the mess that was 2008.
Of course, if he’s really come to his senses, Al Davis will go as far as to give Coach Cable at least three years on the job before he decides to make another rash hiring. Davis owes it to his team for what they endured and to the fans for being along for such a turbulent ride.
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