A BRIEF HISTORY LESSON FIRST:
It has become very fashionable for people to turn down the Raiders coach since Jon Gruden and former GM Bruce Allen left. Since owner Al Davis usually doesn’t give good recommendations, so once Bruce Allen landed with friend Jon Gruden he promptly returned volley on Al Davis and slammed the Oakland Raiders whenever he got the chance.
Al Davis in his own Oakland Raiders dimension, thought that it didn’t matter what the current GM of the Tampa Bay Bucs said about him and didn’t return volley.
In the meantime, Bruce Allen went on slamming the organization every chance he gets. It doesn’t help that the Raiders continued to lose and Jon Gruden won the Super Bowl the next time. So all the GM brethren (led by Bruce Allen) aren’t afraid to tell their assistants, current coaches, and media that the Raiders job is the worst job in sports and TSN isn’t afraid to print a story in their magazine that the Raiders Job is the worst in sports.
It didn’t help that Al Davis turned to Art Shell or Tom Walsh (icons from before I was born which is sad). That perpetuated the myth that Al Davis is an old stick in the mud.
Which leads us to 2 Questions:
Who is Lane Kiffin?
What will Lane Kiffin bring to the Raiders organization to improve the dismal record over the last 3 years? (so that Colin Cowheard and every other media outlet will shut up about why the Raiders have sucked so badly the last 3 years)
Which leads us to 2 Answers:
– ANSWER #1
Lane Kiffin is the son of Monte Kiffin. The coaching tree of Tony Dungy is often remembered as Herm Edwards and Lovie Smith, but what’s forgotten is that Monte Kiffin was ALWAYS THE DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR. Monte Kiffin’s defense has been good for longer than any other in the league. Ask any Quarterback in the NFC South about Monte Kiffin and about how his defenses are always a threat to the offenses. Monte Kiffin keeps intelligent quarterbacks and offensive coordinators up at night. That means that Lane learned defense from probably one of the top 3 defensive coordinators in the league.
That he became an offensive coordinator tells you that he wanted to try running an offense that might be able to score on the defensive theories and principles that the NFL runs constantly. He went to USC under Pete Carroll and Steve Sarkisian and promptly rose to offensive coordinator and called the plays after Norm Chow left. (We all know how successful Norm Chow has been with Vince Young so there won’t be a litany about him) I don’t remember the last time that USC wasn’t the best program in California, feel free to send me a message reminding me the last time that someone in California was actually BETTER than USC in college football.
That Steve Sarkisian wouldn’t take the job unless Lane Kiffin came with him, tells you who Steve Sarkisian thinks is the most talented play caller on USC is. That Steve Sarkisian demanded that Lane Kiffin come with him told Al Davis to just go straight to the well for the coach (aka Lane Kiffin).
Lane Kiffin is going to bring youth to an organization that SORELY NEEDS it. If anyone reading this actually knows Al Davis, tell him to read this next paragraph:
35+ year olds don’t have much longer to do their NFL jobs. Offensive linemen who are past 40 are not a good thing, wide receivers past 35 are past their prime. Any skill position player or tight end on the wrong side of 35 is a bad thing! That’s right “35” is a bad age in the NFL anything past 35 just gets worse.
That’s not to say there aren’t some 35 years old who know what they’re doing or even some ancients who can still run it (see 94 year old Vinny Testaverde).
What it’s to say is that they won’t be doing it much longer, the reason that the draft doesn’t include many players past 23 (Chris Weinke is a notable exception, but come on). The reason is because YOUTH WINS!!!!! That’s right all you old-timers, in professional sports, you need youth. The youngsters are the ones who can sacrifice their bodies for the monster hit. The youngsters are the ones who are willing and able to run through the brick walls and make the mistakes the organization needs to make to move forward.
The other great thing about youth is that young minds aren’t afraid to think outside of the box. They’re not bogged down with a receiver lining up right wide of the quarterback. Who’s to say that we can’t have 3 receivers to the left side of the line and one to the right out of the shotgun (a la Tom Moore and Peyton Manning in the Colts vs Patriots AFC Championship). That’s right, the people who say that can’t be done are the old fogies or people who don’t want youth to succeed because it’s threatening to them.
Lane Kiffin is a threat to the NFL adage that “you need experience to become a head coach”. If he succeeds he opens the door for coahces who are under the age of 31 to succeed. Lane Kiffin should be able to relate to today’s YOUNG players because he’s in their same age bracket. When Randy Moss brings in an I-Pod to the radio, instead of ripping it off his ears (like Art Shell) and calling it a “walkman”, Lane can walk up and pull the cord out of the top, take the i-pod, and put it into his pocket because you know i-pods fit in pockets.
Lane Kiffin is an awesome hire, provided that the Raiders fix their personnell problems. That means acquiring real offensive linemen who can block and train Robert Gallery to be all that he can be. If that means trading Randy Moss, Jerry Porter, and the #1 pick (in the second round & fifth rounds) to the Falcons for Michael Vick, then so be it. If you don’t do that, then that means acquiring JaMarcus Russell or Brady Quinn with the #1 pick (I like Quinn but I can justify Russell too, for another article). If it means trading Lamont Jordan to free up cap room, then that’s what it means. The Raiders have all kinds of personnell problems but the most important ones are to acquire a bona-fide Tight End and help all over the offensive line except for Center (Jake Grove is good) and Left Tackle (Robert Gallery is also fine).
But Lane Kiffin is the first truly awesome move that the Raiders have made in forever. If he fails, you can truly blame it on the personnell that Al Davis surrounds him with, but there’s an extremely good chance that it might not matter that Lane Kiffin might be a cure-all no matter what Davis does.