Monday, January 22, 2007

In Kiffin We Trust

Owner Al Davis was on a mission to find a young, energetic, offensive minded Head Coach. After misfiring on USC coach Steve Sarkisian, mission accomplished. As first reported by the NFL Network's Adam Schefter, the Raiders have hired USC Offensive Coordinator Lane Kiffin to become the team's Head Coach. Here is the official announcement by the Raiders organization.

Throwing conventional wisdom on its ear and caution to the wind, Davis hopes to catch lightning in a bottle with Kiffin. Not only is Kiffin the youngest head coach in the NFL at 31 years old, he has never been a head coach. Kiffin's coaching experience in the NFL is only 1 year as Defensive Quality Control coach in 2000 for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

For the other 31 NFL teams, this hiring decision would be a complete head scratcher. For the Raiders, it is business as usual. Madden, Shanahan, and Gruden were all in their early 30's with no head coaching experience when Davis put them at the helm of the team. I'm personally more comfortable having Davis roll the dice on a young coach who very well might be on the rise as opposed to settling on a recycled, old retread type head coach like Jim Fassell or Dennis Green.

Kiffin's 9 year coaching career has covered the complete offensive spectrum. He started his coaching career at his alma mater (Fresno State) as a Graduate Assistant. His 1st coaching assignment was with Colorado State as an Offensive Line Assistant. At USC he coached the Tight Ends, Receivers, and later became the Passing Game Coordinator, play caller, and in 2005 the Offensive Coordinator. Kiffin had the good fortune of learning about offensive coaching, schemes, playcalling, and stategy from Jeff Tedford while at Fresno State and Norm Chow while at USC.

The next big decision in Raiderland is the selection of the Offensive Coordinator. Is it possible that Steve Sarkisian will fill out Kiffin's staff? It would be odd considering that the roles were reversed just a few short days ago until Sarkisian took himself off the market. Or will Al "suggest" experienced OC Marc Trestman to be Kiffin's right hand man for the offensive unit? Another question worth pondering is whether or not the hiring of Kiffin will ultimately influence the Raiders selection of the 1st pick in the draft.

9 Comments:

Anonymous Tooz 72 said...

Wow. If he can bring 1/2 his USC results to 1/4 of the Raiders offense in the first year, it will be worth it. Big "if," given his youth and more to the point, the talent he currently has to work with. Keys to success are good trades and/or drafts, and the ability to lead the rest of the staff. Fred Biletnikoff taking orders from a guy half his age and Rob Ryan taking orders from the guy who beat him out for the job are interesting dynamics. He needs a Dick Cheney as OC to establish respect and credibility.

Madden and Gruden were good punk hires. Can Big Al go 3 for 3? It will be fun to see.

10:33 PM  
Blogger Roy said...

Please Al, please don't "suggest" Trestman.

8:48 AM  
Blogger Tim Mo said...

I don't have a bad feeling about this, but it still seems like sloppy seconds to me. What if Sark was "THE MAN" and then they just gave it over to the second guy, Kiffin? I'm hoping that wasn't the case and I'm hoping that Kiffin impresses. And I'm hoping Al gets out of the way for the most part.

9:21 AM  
Anonymous scorpio said...

there's a rumor about the raiders trading the 1st overall pick, moss and porter to the falcons for their #10 and VICK.

THIS MUST NOT HAPPEN!

mike vick is a glorified running back playing quarterback. ths trade would be a DISASTER! might as well keep brooks! throw shaub in there instead and i might be interested but vick? what the heck has he done in the league?????

1:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Risky choice, but I would rather take the chance with a young offensive minded coach than a re-tread old guard loser. I really don't understand how some of these guys keep getting hired and it's not just in football. What has Green ever done? One potential problem is I hear Kiffin didn't always hit it off with USC's players and as the youngest NFL coach, working for Al and the personalities on the team he will have his hands full. jeff

4:43 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Jeff - The reason Denny Green's name comes up as a HC candidate is partly due to the success he had with Minnesota from 1992-2001. He had a record of 97-62 and took the Vikes to the playoffs in 8 of 10 seasons.

As far as Al's choice for Lane Kiffin I agree with you on your 2 central points.

#1 it was a risky (and non-conventional) hire by Al. Kiffin fit the profile of the type of guy Al loves (young, USC ties, football lifer, family pedigree, offensive minded, playcaller)

#2 he definitely will have his hands full. From the press conference held today, there were hints that both Porter and Moss will be back in 2007. The offensive unit was short on talent, underperformed, had bad chemistry, and bad direction in 2006. On top of that, the Raiders upcoming 2007 opponents had the highest cumulative winning percentage in the league in 2006. Just like this year (Sea,Pitt), the Raiders will face both SB participants in 2007 (Indy, Chi). Having listed some of the major challenges facing the Raiders, I love that Al made this bold move and is going "all in" on young Kif. Now if Al will just pull the trigger on JaMarcus Russell ...

7:27 PM  
Anonymous GhostRaider said...

Kiffin is the best choice we could have made under circuumstances.


But he is a coach without a Quarterback - will Davis give him one?

And that doesn't mean Andrew Waler or Free agency either.

If not - it won't work, let's see how committed REALLY is to winning. Lets see if the "we will win" "we will be back" are anything more than hot air.

If people think we could win with Waltr or siome more washed refuse from the NFL QB scrapheap they are very very much mistaken and are going to be very very disapointed if that's the case.

No more vet turds at QB.

8:34 AM  
Blogger Raider Raza said...

I too share your enthusiam and excitement. I can't wait for the season to start.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Raider Raza said...

I too share your enthusiam and excitement. I can't wait for the season to start.

3:48 PM  

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