Anxiously Awaiting The Verdict
The daily "Kiffin is still employed" drum beat continues. Is Al Davis awaiting a loss in Buffalo, the next big loss later in the season, or the next oral jab from Kiffin to pull the plug? Perhaps this is another media driven story based purely on speculation similar to the media storm swirling around Kiffin in January.
What exactly has Kiffin said or done that is so inflammatory, insubordinate, or detrimental to the Raiders team to cause Davis to be so hyper sensitive?
In essence, the comments that the media has milked for all it's worth are as follows;
* The Raiders D needs to get QB pressure especially on 3rd down.
(factual...see KC game adjustment)
* I leave the D to Ryan who gets input from the owner.
* I don't worry about the things I can't control.
(a typical feeling shared by many and a way for Kiffin to focus on the things he can truly affect)
From Kiffin’s press conference on Monday (transcript)
Q: Did part of you wake up this morning thinking you were going to be fired?
Kiffin: Not necessarily. I’m worried about what I can control. I’ve said that now for over a year and a half since we’ve been here. There are certain things I can control, there’s certain things I can’t. This happens to be the next one. He has a decision to make. It does me no good to worry about it right now. I was extremely pleased the way that our coaching team and our staff focused. The best thing that can happen for us — you guys have to do your job and ask the questions — is the more that we can stay focused as a team, as a coaching staff, and go forward from here, the better we will be.
Now take a step back and consider the following:
Kiffin was a 1st year HC last season who inherited a seriously flawed, talentless, dysfunctional 2-14 team. The 2006 season crushed the pysche, morale, and competitive spirit of all the players.
In his first season, it was a herculean effort by Kiffin to get the 2007 team to play competitive, spirited football. Kiffin’s team won only 4 games but the Raiders were in the hunt for another 7.
Now move forward to this season. We lay an egg vs. Denver and smoke KC on the road. 1-1.
2 mere games into a new season. The effort and execution was very evident in this game vs. KC.
If Davis fires Kiffin in the next day or two or anytime during the season for that matter, it is a destructive, shortsighted, and selfish move.
With all of “Kiffin will be fired” stories swirling, it is important to note that he hasn’t lost the locker room. All you need to do is read the countless quotes from the players the last few days including defensive players, stars, and captains Nnamdi Asomugha and Ronald Curry to know that the team believes in Kiffin as their HC.
"We've been dealing with that since March, or whatever, they've been going back and forth with it. You just worry about the things that you can control. I mean, it's business, and hopefully it doesn't happen. I think Kiffin does a great job, but it's Al's team and I think Kiffin knew that when he got here. Everybody knows what's going on.” WR Ronald Curry
The job of coaching, leading, game planning done by Kiffin in a very difficult week leading up to KC clearly shows he has the right stuff.
My heartfelt request to Davis would be to simply give Kiffin this season to prove his mettle. Base your decision to keep him beyond 2008 on the performance and results on the field.
Just once I would love to see Davis put his ego in check, sit down with Kiffin & Ryan, and work through this for the benefit of the team, coaches, and fans. To fire him early is just plain wrong. For the Raider team to finally get traction requires stability not a coaching carousel.