Wednesday, 1 October 2008


I purposely kept away from commenting on the San Diego game this week, for a couple of reasons.

1) I thought that Lane Kiffin would not see the week out as Head Coach of the RAIDERS, and so

2) It seemed pointless putting down my take on what I felt were the reasons for that.

It seems poignant though now to say that I was less than enamoured by Kiffins coaching during the game, either on offense in general or by strange decisions such as the Janikowski 76 yard FG attempt before the half.I thought that the defense that had played some great stuff was put back onto the field too many times due to the bad play calling from Kiffin, and regardless of being professional athletes in what should be their prime, this contributed to them giving up plays late in the game.For me Kiffin's offense had enough occasions to put that game away, and bad decisions on his part led to the collapse of the team to a fourth quarter loss, and I won't even get into the white jersey's at home.

That said, I think it is right to say that when Al Davis hired Kiffin as HC of the RAIDERS, I as many of the Nation were taken by the young man, regardless of a rather ( and understandably ) nervous first press conference .I bought into all that Lane asked us to, I was "in" as his training camp mantra became, I thought that the old man had seen something in Kiffin that maybe he had seen in himself a long time ago.I stayed in, realising we had a young HC, until the Bronco's game this season.It was becoming harder to find any sense of charisma from the guy, and I know if you liked the guy you would disagree, but although I wanted him to succeed and he was the RAIDERS HC, I just didn't feel it deep down from him, but you know what, that really didn't matter if he turned stuff around and we started to win in his second season.

The Bronco's game for me was the end of my affinity with Lane Kiffin.There was so much wrong with that game it was hard to find a starting point.But for me if, and I mean IF, Lane Kiffin had any serious intentions of remaining HC of the RAIDERS, he would have taken the blame squarely on his shoulders, but instead he chose to pass it to Rob Ryan and Al Davis as joint defensive co-ordinators.For me, regardless of whether those accusations were true it showed that he was only concerned with how Lane Kiffin came out of that game.

And we find ourselves at September 30th 2008, with Kiffin gone and a new interim HC in place, and I would like to make some observations of what went on in Alameda today.
Firstly, I as many other RAIDERS fans I'm sure , expected to see the usual Al Davis motto laden speech that we usually get at coach PC's ( he lapsed into a couple of "we will be back, we will wins").But we got to me something else entirely.Now as of writing, I have just seen the PC, and have not seen any other fans' responses but I knew how I felt after it and wanted to put down my reaction to it.He seemed to be giving us what he had on the matter, and for all those who had wanted a response from Al during this whole affair had one.It was extraordinary viewing, in NFL owner terms, and especially in Al Davis terms, triggerred by an extraordinary situation.Al is going to get it from the Al bashers regardless of what he said but he did give us the following:
A) Kiffin had not wanted JaMarcus Russell (which explains a lot).
B) He had not sent a resignation letter to Lane Kiffin.
C) Kiffin was shopping around for a college job, but was pipped to it.
D) Kiffin had wanted his dad to be DC at the RAIDERS, and although he just thought that it was straight forward to make it happen, Al knew the rules on tampering.
E) Kiffin did suspend, then request an assistant coach to see some doctors because he questioned the Kiffin gameplan.

I have always been a RAIDER fan who has stuck by Al admittedly, and I also could see why other fans were getting upset and restless in the light of information that was coming from Kiffin, but my overwhelming feeling at the sight of Kiffy disappearing over the horizon is one of relief, and we will soon be able to tell if he was or wasn't what he said he was.With regards to Al, I was surprised at his general appearance and oratory compared to previous appearances. ie. Kiffin's HC appointment, and the network shots of him in his private box, and taken at how much that this whole thing seemed to have affected him as an owner, a boss, and on a personal level.I really felt that Al had come to the end of his tether with the guy, which is exactly what I had been feeling since the Monday Night Game.I did cringe at the start of the whole letter reading scenario, but you know what, I think it was pertinent that we fans saw that in the circumstances.Whether Davis was on the level or not in your view, I can't remember a time when he gave us so much information, probably because he felt he had to, considering the popularity Kiffin has among the Raider Nation.
Q. "Do you think that Lane Kiffin was trying to get fired"?
AD. " I don't know what he was doing.But he got me to fire him"

It remains to be seen what Kiffin will fire back with tomorrow, especially since Al referred to him as a flat out liar.And I am sure that the stories will not match.But for now we have a new, albeit, interim Head Coach.

Tom Cable, has been a good guy since he arrived .He turned our O-Line around just as his CV suggested he would, and was popular with his players.He has now got to apply that to the team as a whole.But I will say one thing for him, that initial first PC as a Head Coach was handled calmly and with an authority that was lacking from the Kiffin acceptance speech.It didn't hurt that he made reference to "growing up as a RAIDER" either, and as a guy who grew up in California maybe there is truth in that statement.Whatever the circumstances, I wish him the best as he is now the HC of the Oakland Raiders.The question of whether Rob Ryan would have a problem with his appointment for me is not an issue right now, because the elevation of Cable meant the least upheaval to the team at this point.Hopefully he will show that this is the right choice.At this point in time coming in as a HC, his experience outweighs that of Lane Kiffin and he knows the players and the staff, so I am "IN" for the Cable era as of right now, lets hope that we can show the signs of reacting to this as a club and go forwards, God knows we need it.


kigleigh said...

Just watched the Cable acceptance speech on the net and i liked what i saw Martin.Like you said, he seems to have a calm confidence .Considering he says he was only offered the job a matter of hours earlier,i think that shows great self-belief.Add this to the fact that he is supposed to be one of the most liked and respected guys on the coaching staff and we might have ourselves a Head Coach guys..
Whatever has happened,whoever was in the right there is no doubt that the Al/Kiffin situation had become untenable.I still liked some things about Kiff and there can be no doubt that the team we see before us is FAR superior to the team we had before his tenure as HC began..BUT the tension laden atmosphere and weekly rumors/exclusives/lies (whichever they were) in the press and on the TV were most definitely damaging this team. Now maybe we are a couple of wins away from the press we deserve?
300 yards on the ground in a game,comfortably handing it to unbeaten Buffalo on the road for 3 1/2 quarters and making the vegas oddsmakers look silly by leading 15-0 at half time while dominating the much fawned over San Diego offense with a defense playing tough through a rash of injuries to key players.
That is what the RAIDERS have done over 3 games and if this Coaching change has cleared up the bad smell around the team,just think what we might be capable of doing now.
Optimistic?..maybe.But when you're travelling 9000 miles to see your team soon,and you still have NEVER seen a win,you can't afford to be any other way.
Heres to the future! and

Calico Jack said...

My general feeling on the Kiffin firing:

Both Davis & Kiffin are equally at fault for this broken relationship. This broken relationship was due in part on both men's stubborness, lack of communication, inability or unwillingness to mend the broken fences, and ultimately taking their eye off the ball namely winning. When winning is the driving force dictating the actions there is no reason that these men could resolve any differences.

There was obviously a personality conflict that boiled over and led to Kiffin's firing.

I share both of your views about Cable. My gut reaction after watching his PC is that Cable has the right stuff to rally, motivate, and focus the team at the task at hand. His answers to the press, under less than ideal circumstances were remarkable in their clarity, drive, forcefullness. He is a coach, a leader, and motivator who understands the bare essence of football. I am hopeful that Cable can right our sinking ship and get us back on track to the only thing that matters ... winning.

Keep up the great work, Martin.

Cheers, CJ ;0