Archive for Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Kiffin’s a panic choice for Raiders

Surprisingly, Davis actually found somebody who wanted to coach in Oakland

January 24, 2007

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Very exciting news out of Raiders headquarters Monday night: Yes, there actually is somebody who wants to coach the team!

After an exhaustive search of various 30-something coaches, 20-something coaches, teenage coaches, skateboarders, ballet dancers and innocent bystanders who happened by Al Davis' window, the Raiders finally picked Lane Kiffin.

Surprisingly, and to the franchise's great relief, Kiffin did not shove the offer back in Al's face. He took it. Sucker!

Who's Kiffin, and why is he the heir to the throne of Shell, Turner and Callahan? Wonderful questions, and I'm not entirely sure even Al has an answer. Oh, wait I've got it: Kiffin's better than nothing, though just by a hair.

I'm assuming Kiffin, 31, was offered the job only after New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels swiftly signaled his epic disinterest; we know that Steve Sarkisian, the assistant head coach at USC, rejected a Raiders offer a few days ago.

We know that anybody who had another option in the NFL or college ranks rejected the Raiders out of hand. We know that even a few guys who didn't have great options decided this was the NFL's typhoid vacancy - stay away at all costs.

So it's Kiffin, who was not exactly beloved at USC, who was Al's second choice even among young Trojans staffers, and who walks into a locker room where half the roster already is devoted to defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.

This ought to be fun.

I wonder what happens the first time Kiffin asks Warren Sapp to do something he doesn't want to do. I wonder what happens when one of Ryan's players stands up and bellows: "Why wasn't our guy hired?"

Nobody will have an answer for that one, either.

Now, I do hear that Kiffin has a much stronger personality than Sarkisian, which could work out all right for him in the NFL, though the people who are telling me that don't mean it in a nice way.

They say he's arrogant. They say he was protected at USC because he's the son of legendary Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, who happens to be USC coach Pete Carroll's mentor.

They say several star offensive players, including NFL-bound receiver Dwayne Jarrett, soured on Kiffin after he publicly blasted them early this season. (Hello, Randy Moss and Jerry Porter.)

They say the Trojans offense will gain from his departure, possibly by the hiring of none other than Walt Harris, who achieved so little and charmed so few at Stanford.

Well, if you are considered to be a less dynamic offensive mind than Walt Harris... I don't know what to say about that one. I am speechless.

You know, most times, you get the coach that you deserve. If you're lost, confused and can't commit wholeheartedly to any premium candidate, you're destined to end up with a minor candidate who truly isn't worth committing to. Better luck next coaching search, Raiders.

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