Oakland Raiders senior executive John Herrera made a few comments that Jerry McDonald helped to shed light on. McDonald posted the report last night, following James Lofton’s interview.
"His interview (Lofton) this time was with coach Lane Kiffin and offensive coordinator Greg Knapp, according to HerreraHaving Kiffin and Knapp involved in the hiring of an offensive assistant means any differences the head coach has with owner Al Davis regarding makeup of the defensive staff appear well short of Kiffin either resigning or being fired in the near future.While stories run rampant of what has gone on behind closed doors since the end of the season, the one I’m certain of is that Kiffin wanted to change defensive coordinators and Davis did not.I was told today Kiffin’s problem with Ryan is not of a personal nature but one of philosophy."
I guess that answers quite a bit. Kiffin stepped on Davis’ toes, and though Davis might have wanted to fire the kid, he knew Kiffin had a good thing going.
Before I get into this, let me say that I like what Lane Kiffin started this year, but I’ve been very disappointed this off-season with what appears to be his belief that after only one season, the Raiders owe him something (control). I mentioned a week ago that if the Raiders let go of Rob Ryan the defense might never get back to the stature they had two years ago. Like what Mike Wilbon of ESPN’s Pardon The Interruption said a couple weeks ago (when it was rumored that Kiffin wanted Ryan out); “Kiffin hasn’t earned the right to demand anything”. To add to that, if anyone had the right to say anything it would be the one coach that’s found success; Ryan. I think if Lane Kiffin made a better effort to be the head coach and not the architect, then maybe Davis wouldn’t have asked him to leave.
The rumors about Ryan going to the Jets were based on fact. If Ryan left tomorrow he’d become either a head coach or defensive coordinator somewhere in the NFL before 24 hours would pass. If Kiffin is let go, he’ll at best be a head coach of a mediocre college program. It’s not that Kiffin doesn’t have the potential, it’s that he demanded more than what he deserved. Guys like Bill Parcells and Mike Holmgren have busted their asses to get through the NFL coaching ranks, and gain respect; what does Kiffin think he’s done to warrant control over the entire coaching staff?
In the article by Chris Mortensen that started this whole mess, it states that Davis allowed Kiffin to name his own (offensive) staff when he took the job. Tom Cable is the reason the Raiders were 5th in the league in rushing this year, not Kiffin. The Raiders head coach was primarily responsible for putting together the passing plays, but failed to do better than last year’s team; ran by Mr. Bed and Breakfast, Tom Walsh. I don’t care what Kiffin thinks the Raiders need to change about their defensive philosophy, or that he brought in Cable and others to Oakland, because it’s not enough to demand anything. In the 4 Raider wins last year, the Raiders had 7 interceptions. Kiffin needs to keep his demands at a minimum, at least until the offense starts playing as well as the defense.
Davis could’ve handled this better, but Kiffin should’ve known his demands were not reasonable coming from a first year head coach that went 4-12.