Out of The Wilderness
Immediately upon the conclusion of the 2007 season, Lane Kiffin said: “This won
A few weeks earlier, Rob Ryan had this to say about his defense: “I thought we
Do you detect a difference in philosophies? One a fixer, the other an enabler, perhaps?
I don’t mean to hang a guy based on a few quotes, but you have to admit that Ryan’s words were ill conceived, if not completely delusional. At some point, you have to address the facts instead of just saying that’s “life in the big city.”
I’ve had enough of “life in the big city” over the past five years, haven’t you?
But before we go on, I would like to apologize for leaving all of you in the lurch these past few weeks by going AWOL from Raider Take. And I would like to thank the Mighty Memdf for a kick in the pants that motivated my return to the keyboard.
The truth is that I went on vacation, a vacation from everything—job, bills, life and even Raider Take. I went to the desert and played golf amid the cacti and wild javelinas, drank red wine with Mrs. Take and watched the sun descend over the Sonoran wilderness. It was a long time coming. I highly recommend the desert.
Upon my return, I was astonished to discover 500+ comments appended to my previous take. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for your willingness to keep the home fires burning during my irresponsible and unannounced absence. Such is the greatness of the Raider Nation.
I was also surprised to discover the controversy about Rob Ryan’s alleged un-firing, or whatever you want to call it. Additionally, I was flummoxed by the reality that we need to fill serious holes at left and right tackle, center, wide receiver, defensive line, strong safety and cornerback, and possibly running back. After just 19 wins over five seasons, I’d like to think we’d be further ahead in the rebuilding business, wouldn’t you?
So I just went into avoidance mode. I glanced at your takes, I glanced at the stories, but generally remained disengaged over the past several days. Maybe it’s just a vacation hangover. Maybe it’s writer’s block. Or maybe I’m just waiting for a strong signal from Mars or
After winning one less game this year than we won last year, the Dolphins have already hired a new VP of football operations and a new general manager. The Raiders haven’t filled those positions because they still don’t exist in
In a recent Q&A with Jerry McDonald, Kiffin said what I’d been saying for weeks: “It’s not okay because we played some teams well and we won a couple divisional games. That’s not okay. This season was not a success…We’re going to work on that right now and we’re going to look at every single way we can to fix that.”
When asked directly if he was going to retain Rob Ryan (assuming he had a choice), Kiffin stated: “First of all, we haven’t made any decisions yet. Those will come pretty soon. Just like I said, with players and stuff, we’re still going to get all the information in and get it all together before we make any changes….We’re not worried about people’s feelings or any of that. We’re worried about winning. And we need to start winning. We need to do everything we can to put us in that position. So, we’ll look at everything.”
As far as I can tell, there are only three ways to look at the Ryan question: (1) Kiffin really wants to keep him; (2) Kiffin will get rid of him, but despite saying that decisions will come “pretty soon” and the fact that positions are already being filled across the NFL, has decided to wait to get rid of him for reasons we can only speculate; or (3) Kiffin wanted to get rid of him, but was overruled by Al Davis.
Now, let’s consider the first scenario. Are we to believe that Lane Kiffin really wants to retain a guy whom he inherited, whose unit ranked among the worst in the league, and who says things like “that’s life in the big city?” If you believe that, then put a tooth under your pillow tonight, because there’s a fairy on the way.
As for scenario number two, you can reverse engineer all sorts of explanations to prove the logic behind the Raiders, once again, dragging their feet on a critical decision while other teams act swiftly and decisively.
As for the third scenario, we really don’t want to go there, do we?
In other words, none of the scenarios is very palatable at this point. Or maybe I just spent too much time in the desert? What am I missing?
I’m not advocating that we rush to Ryan’s door with pitchforks and torches in hand. He has no doubt done his best, but doing your best isn’t always enough in the brutal competitive reality of the NFL. Ryan belongs on the hot seat. This is the NFL, not an after-school special.
Perhaps these reports of organizational dissention, however, are just fabrication? We’ve certainly witnessed enough media fabrication over the past six months.
Nevertheless, consider my three aforementioned scenarios, and tell me what I’m missing?
Perhaps I’m just late to the discussion and beating a dead horse with this Ryan business. But I would submit that this Ryan business is a window into the future of our team, as viewed through the lenses of control and decision making, which in turn have bearing on a lot of things, including the upcoming draft.
Or perhaps I’m jumping the gun. Perhaps it will all come clear and make sense soon. But don’t be too hard on me. After 19 wins over five seasons, I’m just anxious for more method and less madness. You can create justifications for every decision (or non decision) made over the past five years, but you can’t justify the results, and the results put the decisions in question, which makes the justifications questionable.
Anyhow, that’s my take, and I’m sticking to it, at least until you beat it out of me with your retorts. I have returned from the wilderness. But the real question is: Have the Raiders?