January 22, 2007

Oakland Raiders hire USC Offensive Coordinator lane Kiffin to replace Art Shell.: Kiffin accepted a five-year deal to be Art Shell's replacement.

posted by hawkguy to football at 09:56 PM - 20 comments

Does Kiffin have what it takes to make the Raiders AFC contenders?

posted by hawkguy at 10:00 PM on January 22, 2007

Who knows what it takes? All I know is, I am a homer Fresno State alumnus, so the hiring works for me.

posted by forrestv at 10:26 PM on January 22, 2007

And I thought Tomlin was young--has there been a younger NFL head coach than this guy? Still, he's done well with the USC offense and has little to lose by taking this dead end gig.

posted by billsaysthis at 10:38 PM on January 22, 2007

Yeah, maybe he could do fine there. And pigs can fly! There's a little thing in the world called talent, and it ain't in Oakland. Oh sure, there are a couple of talented players (mostly on defense), but Al Davis will still be the team owner. I still don't understand how this man went from being possibly the best owner in the NFL, to being possibly the worst. As long as Big Al is around, though, I think this team will be in shambles. Oh, how I long for the days when the silver and black was a force and not a farce. I'm not even a fan, but the AFC West was a lot more entertaining back then.

posted by hellamarine at 11:02 PM on January 22, 2007

Does Kiffin have what it takes to make the Raiders AFC contenders? Not unless he's bringing a boatload of talent with him too.

posted by dfleming at 12:23 AM on January 23, 2007

Well, the upside is twofold for someone like Kiffin. One, if he wants to get into the NFL coaching ranks, this is a good starter gig. Even minimal success here will get him a coordinator gig with someone next go-round, whenever that is. The other thing is, of course, that at this point, no one is expecting anything out of the Raiders until Al Davis dies. Any season where they win more than 4 or 5 games is going to be looked at as a successful year. Aside from the grief and the soul-crushin monotony of the losses, this is actually a pretty good job for someone who's never had a head coaching gig before.

posted by chicobangs at 12:49 AM on January 23, 2007

I still don't understand how this man went from being possibly the best owner in the NFL, to being possibly the worst. I think it happened around his 100th birthday.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 04:31 AM on January 23, 2007

lmao, Black_Hand

posted by hellamarine at 08:09 AM on January 23, 2007

Some of these hiring, it's like, "Who the hell knows?" I agree the game has completely passed Davis by. Until some of the people in charge change in Oakland, not just the coaches, nothing will really improve. From the midway point of the year until the end, their defense actually showed some good signs and played fairly well. But in a division where you have to face San Diego and Denver a few times a year, they better have some ways of moving the ball. I don't really think Justin Fargas is the answer. And they'd better do something with malcontent Randy Moss, because I seriously doubt a new, 31-year old head coach will be able to work wonders with that guy. At the very least, I hope Kiffin shows more emotion on the sideline than Shell (It still amazes me a guy as seemingly-laid back as Shell was such a fantastic, Hall of Fame lineman). Best of luck, Lane, you're going to need it.

posted by dyams at 10:14 AM on January 23, 2007

Art Shell will be back when Al Davis forgets that he's fired him twice.

posted by Bill Lumbergh at 10:26 AM on January 23, 2007

I agree with most of you in here, that Kiffin can't do any worse than Shell. However the Raiders are a good Quarterback away from winning the AFC West next season. Their defense was great this year, even though they were on the field 2x longer than the offense. As a TEAM they had 12 offensive TD's! That says it all.

posted by yay-yo at 11:41 AM on January 23, 2007

I still don't understand how this man went from being possibly the best owner in the NFL, to being possibly the worst. Well, let's use analogy to set the scene. I am almost 40 years old. When I was in high school, I loved heavy metal. One of my favorite bands was Queensryche. I thought their album, "Rage for Order" was a masterpiece of the genre and could listen to it over and over and over again. Now, 20 years later, I pick up that album and try to listen to it. I am able to get through it because I have some fond memories of my life 20 years ago. But the older, wiser, more musically knowledgeable me listens to that album now and I cringe. It is so dated that I am almost embarrassed to listen to it in public. The Oakland Raiders are that Queensryche album and Al Davis is that guy that we all know who still listens to it. Not only does Al listen to it, he cranks it up in his Trans Am and flips his mullet whenever he sees chicks, thinking they still dig him. (I was never "fortunate" enough to be able to grow long hair, so I never sported a mullet. Good things can be said for male pattern baldness) Al still thinks that the style of football that got his team to three Super Bowl victories in the 1960s and 1970s is going to get his current teams back to the big game. Unfortunately, we all know that his "vertical passing game" no longer works for many reasons, the most obvious is that NFL players are bigger, stronger, and most importantly, faster than they were 30 years ago. There are more reasons, but you get the idea. Al has never let go of "the greatness of da Raidahs" and still honestly believes that his beloved style of football will one day work again. Until he dies, gives up control of the Raiders, or allows another Jon Gruden-like coach to assume the reigns (and no, Lane Kiffin is not that coach) the Raiders will not be a Super Bowl team.

posted by Cameron Frye at 11:44 AM on January 23, 2007

What I'm more interested in is what happened to Art Shell? I remember him coaching the Raiders back in the day, and he had some fire, some competitiveness, some drive! I mean, damn, he was the Coach of the Year back in 1990, and if he'd been given a decent chance by Davis, could have built on his two-season record of 21-11. When the Raiders hired him back last year, I thought it would mean some good for the franchise, but he just didn't seem like the same guy. Age, complacency, Randy Moss, Al Davis, I don't know what the reason, but he just looked like a beaten man on the sidelines. I hate to see him go out like this, because I looked up to him as a player and coach for many years.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 02:33 PM on January 23, 2007

TBH, I honestly believe Shell took the job out of loyalty to the organization. No one wanted the job, so he stepped up -- knowing he would not be back the next season (and while he was at it, he figured he'd give Tom Walsh one last shot at the NFL.) I, too, thought Shell might bring some of that old mystique back, but the offensive players on last season's team were just in it for the paycheck. It doesn't seem fair, but I think he knew what he was getting into. As far as Kiffin, he's got a clean slate right now. Let's see what he can do before we say he's not the answer.

posted by forrestv at 04:31 PM on January 23, 2007

Seems like a no lose for Kiffin unless he finds a way to screw up that cannot be pinned on Davis and the synchophants. Life is rarely so straight and narrow though.

posted by billsaysthis at 05:36 PM on January 23, 2007

As far as Kiffin, he's got a clean slate right now. Let's see what he can do before we say he's not the answer. But doesn't Kiffin, for the most part, have the same offense that Shell had? SUre that #1 overall pick will be nice and it can easily be assumed that the Raiders will pick offense with the top spot, but that one player will not be able to play all 11 offensive spots. I fail to see how Lane Kiffin will be able to assert his will on a team that has no will to begin with.

posted by Cameron Frye at 05:36 PM on January 23, 2007

Geez, Cameron, that's pretty fatalistic. Like I said, I believe Shell was just doing Davis a favor. I think maybe in the pre-season he had hope, but once the losing began, he checked out. I'm not predicting the Raiders will make it to the Super Bowl next season or the playoffs or even win more than four games. But at least they will have a new coach...and he can't be any worse than Shell or Norv Turner. I don't know if he is "the answer", but he is an answer.

posted by forrestv at 07:40 PM on January 23, 2007

I agree with Cameron. I don't see how Kiffin with barely any NFL experience is going to be able to corral that group if Shell couldn't. Why would Porter think that Kiffin has anything to offer that would force him to work through the long practices that he is planning? College ain't the NFL. And, his only NFL experience was quality control in Jacksonville for one season. Being young is always a tough sell. The other young coaches Mangini and Tomlin at least have something in the NFL for the players to respect. I can't believe that it could be that hard to be an offensive coordinator for USC with talent like Bush and Leinart. I doubt that the guys older than Kiffin with more NFL experience are going to be impressed.

posted by bperk at 07:42 AM on January 24, 2007

I doubt that the guys older than Kiffin with more NFL experience are going to be impressed. Maybe they will just be happy to be playing for someone who actually gives a shit. Not to mention that USC has had one of the top offenses in the country for the past few years. Believe it or not, NFL players watch college ball. I'm not saying that it will be an easy transition, but just the fact that Kiffin is excited about the job can be enough to get the players on board. After going 6-26 over the last two seasons, I would be willing to give ANYTHING a try.

posted by yay-yo at 12:28 PM on January 24, 2007

Cameron, Maybe one day his style will work again. The NFL is trendy and goes in cycles. While i agree that the "vertical" game will not be effective in the exact way as it was decades ago, but with a little tweaking (not to mention a good qb like Plunkett, Stabler, etc) the "bomb" could make a return. We have seen stranger things. Sadly, it appears that Davis would be unwilling to allow even a little tweaking. One day the remnants of the West Coast "dip & dunk" will die out only to return. It's football Karma.

posted by brainofdtrain at 01:27 PM on January 24, 2007

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.