Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The High Cost of Indecision

Update - 2:45 p.m.: The press conference is on ESPN News and can be viewed online here. Mr. Davis has the gloves off. Accusations of deceit, lying, etc. 

Update - 1:45 - The Oakland Tribune will be live blogging from the Raiders press conference at 2 p.m. Click here to visit the blog. 

Update - 1:30 p.m.: Lane Kiffin is saying that he will hold a press conference tomorrow. The Raiders are saying he was fired "for cause." This could get real ugly. 

It’s official: the Raiders are reporting that Lane Kiffin has been fired—which is yet more evidence of the high cost of indecision that has plagued the Raiders’ coaching selections over the past several years.

You will recall that the Raiders dragged their feet prior to hiring Art Shell in February of 2006, a choice that, in retrospect, looked desperate. That was a year of substantial coaching turnover in the NFL, and we were the last to make a decision—and that decision turned out to be disastrous.

The following year, after Shell was fired, the Raiders again failed to act swiftly and decisively. It took three weeks after Shell’s firing to find a replacement—and that replacement was Lane Kiffin, who initially came to be interviewed as a potential assistant to head coaching candidate Steve Sarkisian. 

At the end of last season, it was clear that there was turmoil surrounding Kiffin. Yes, the media acted irresponsibly by reporting rumors and innuendo, but the fact is that there was fire behind the smoke, and it turns out the media were right about that, just as they were right about the behind-the-scenes drama since day one of this season. 

Since the Raiders did not act last winter to replace Kiffin, I assumed that the organization had healed itself, and that Lane Kiffin was here to stay, at least through this season. Why wouldn’t I assume that? What would be the point of starting a new season with a coach you’re anxious to jettison? Why keep the guy if there’s even the remotest chance of the early-season acrimony that has ensued since the start of this season? These are questions I would still like answered.

This summer, I received my season ticket pitch package, which was emblazoned with the theme of “I Will,” which in part read: “I will be a part of the journey and bathe in the glory when we arrive.”

Well, what journey are we on, exactly? Where are we going? Whose map are we following? 

I decided to re-up my season tickets in part because I was confident that, this time, the Raiders had a vision and a plan. That plan (and I use the term loosely) lasted one week into the season, and has since been derailed by sniping and speculation fueled by the organization itself. 

Indecision is killing this organization. If there was any chance of firing Kiffin this September, then he should have been fired last winter. Period. After five years of failure, there’s no excuse to be moving sideways instead of moving forward, to be rebuilding yet again instead of simply building.

Apparently, Lane Kiffin was the wrong guy—again. Just as Callahan, Turner and Shell were the wrong guys. Here’s a suggestion: Stop hiring the wrong guy! Start hiring head coaches with proven NFL experience and success, not unknown college assistants (Kiffin), not weak retreads (Turner), and not guys who haven’t been on a sideline for five years (Shell). Since not having a general manager has been a disaster, hire a general manager. Then give the coach and general manager time to build a foundation. Is this too much to ask? For once, I hope not. 

You do realize, don’t you, that if the Raiders don’t win more than five games this year, the team will set the NFL record for most consecutive 11-or-more-loss seasons. There are no excuses for chronically underperforming parity in the NFL at a record-setting pace. It takes an epic run of bad decisions (and indecisions) to reach this point. 

Just another coach won’t fix this. It’s time for the Raiders to install mirrors all over the headquarters in Alameda. It’s time for visible, tangible change. It’s time for decisive redirection and rethinking of the entire approach to the front-office structure, and to finally pick the right men for the right jobs, and to give them the time and space to do their jobs. 

I have a new theme for the Raiders: Not “I Will,” but “You Will.” I've done my part. Now do yours. 

35 Comments:

Anonymous Stuporburg said...

Young players, take note: The Raiders organization will not provide FO/coaching stability any time soon. In other words, this organization simply does not have the most important thing a franchise can offer to aspiring players.

Once you become eligible for FA, get the hell out of Oakland and find your luck elsewhere. Best way to succeed = best to stay out of misery. Misery = Oakland.

12:32 PM  
Anonymous Matt said...

Dude,

I am not an Al Davis hater, but at what point do you point to this guy and say he's part of the problem? Kiffin really shouldn't have been hired to begin with, so that falls on him, and like you said, they need to hire the right guy. More specifically, Davis needs to hire the right guy, if he's the one with the final say so.

What right guy worth his salt would willingly walk into this mess?

Matt

12:42 PM  
Blogger nyraider said...

So much for any continuity. Sad, sad day for Raiders fan. Not only because Kiffin is gone, but because this move demonstrates the deeply rooted mess we're in.

David White reported on BSPN that Al Davis is doing this more to punish Lane Kiffin than for the good of the team, because, clearly, Kiffin has worked hard to improve this team. That would appear to be accurate.

Personally, I am very tired and drained from all the BS drama and losing.

12:46 PM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

Is Kiffin truly not an NFL Head Coach? I think the answer to that is yes. His game management all season has been atrocious.

Is Kiffin the only problem, and the only one at fault? No, it starts with the owner. And as long as he owns the team, things won't change. It doesn't matter who is named coach.

Deflated Fan Haiku:
I'm sick of all this
The problem begins with Al
Time for Mutiny

12:56 PM  
Anonymous stuporburg said...

Davis has had trouble attracting proven HCs. Hence two seasons of stint with Turner, then one of Art shell, then Kiffin.

Because of the unwillingness to provide stability to the entire franchise, I do not have much optimistic scenarios for the Raiders any time soon.

It will become even worse if the franchise start having problem attracting promising youngsters and game-proven veterans. Meanwhile, lot of money will go to pay for mediocre players.

1:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who is joining the Al Davis fan club?? All those say I....I will not say I.
Matt says: "More specifically, Davis needs to hire the right guy, if he's the one with the final say so."
If Al has the final say so? How old are you? Hire the right guy? The right guy will NEVER come to Oakland. We are truly screwed, Kiffin was our last hope, He got the players buying in, now.....GONE. To All those who support Al Davis = SCREW YOU.

JONES

1:21 PM  
Anonymous scorpio said...

woo-hoo! you go kiff! tell it like it is baby!

1:46 PM  
Blogger TheFreakingPope said...

I'm officially done defending Mr. Davis. Hell, he's a big boy. I'm sure he'll be just fine with that.

I won't rail. I won't throw a tantrum. I will admit that the excitement I felt watching our progress is gone.

Short of announcing that a top caliber coach has accepted the job, under the condition that he will also take over as GM...well...today will not end well for the Nation.

This I can promise you. I will take this in stride. This is my team, win or lose. This curse does needs a name, and no, it can't be the "Davis curse". I'm thinking something ominous. You know, along the lines of the "Curse of the Bambino".

1:47 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

I've added a link to an Oakland Tribune blog at the top of the take, they will be blogging from the Raiders press conference.

Does anyone know where we could catch a video stream?

1:50 PM  
Anonymous scorpio said...

pope,
how can any self-respecting raiderfan continue to support this BULLSPIT?

even if we boycott the rest of this season, what's alvin gonna do? up and move. who's he gonna blame? the fans of course.

think about it guys. we lose any which way.

1:56 PM  
Anonymous scorpio said...

take,
someone'll put it up on you tube sometime today.....

1:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am completely and utterly beside myself. Take I agree with you 100%. This move just solidifies us as the laughing stock of the NFL. No one will ever take us seriously. Young guys like JaRock and RunDMC will suffer now cause of this. I liked Kiffin, did he make mistakes….sure. Who doesn’t? But to do what Al is doing is not respectable behavior. To literally stick it to someone because you can is selfish and asinine is beyond human comprehension. Al has always tried to stick it to people who do not value his way of thinking. Kiffin could have been great and with the right personnel including a competent GM, we could have built such awesome football team.
I don’t want to see us lose the rest of the season, but I know a lot of friends I have in the medical field who are boycotting the home games this year and refuse to buy season tickets.
I really feel like hibernating until Al goes away.
I am done………….

Mr. Duva

2:15 PM  
Blogger TheFreakingPope said...

Scorpio,

Because they are my team. What other option do I have? I'm not happy with any of this, but I'll support the Raiders no matter what.

2:24 PM  
Blogger Toni said...

take... here's a link of the press conference.

http://www.nfl.com/videos?videoId=09000d5d80b423b0

2:33 PM  
Blogger Toni said...

This is not going to end well. Mr. Davis isn't pulling any punches and is calling Kiffin a liar.

This is getting uglier than I expected, but I guess it's how Mr. Davis is going to prove cause.

This just makes me so sad.

2:42 PM  
Anonymous scorpio said...

toni, what else did you expect from the evil one?

3:04 PM  
Anonymous scorpio said...

pope,
i support the raiders too. i will ALWAYS support the raiders.

I will NEVER support alvin davis.

There IS a difference.

3:12 PM  
Blogger nyraider said...

Wow! That was quite revealing. Labeling Kiffin as the bad guy would have been one thing, but that was way beyond. That was the Oakland Raiders version of the atomic bomb.

If Davis speaks the truth, we now have all the facts.

3:22 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

And if this is the truth, Kiffin should have been fired long before the season started, because Mr. Davis is citing stuff going back to last season and throughout the winter, as well as camp. Indecision has proved to be disastrous.

3:35 PM  
Anonymous gary said...

I dunno... I'd like to be as upset about this as everyone else seems, and I agree that Al should have just fired him when he wanted to... but lets face it... none of us were very impressed with his play calling, or time management, and he WAS on pace for a whopping 4 win season again.

Is this REALLY the Armageddon?

Cable has been around the NFL for a long time, maybe he has the perfect temperament to make this work?

4:00 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

It's not Armageddon. It's just more time wasted by poor decisions and indecision. Fans naturally tend to get fed up with impediments to progress when you've spent five years tying the NFL record for consecutive years of futility.

Epic Losing = Fan Impatience. That's not a hard concept to grasp, is it?

4:09 PM  
Blogger nyraider said...

I like the choice of Cable over Knapp, Ryan and certainly Lofton.

Ryan should have been fired years ago for performance reasons, but remains because of his loyalty. Maybe Cable can lite a fire under his ass.

Without Kiffin, Knapp will be valuable in not just playcalling, but the development of Russell, who sounds like he will be getting more passing opportunities.

It was interesting that Davis said he called out Kiffin for his clock management and the 75-yard FG attempt.

Actually, it was a relief to hear Davis' side of the story (true or not). He should fire his coach at least once every two years so we can hear the man speak. Now, he'll go back into media hibernation.

Some big revelations included:

-Kiffin did not want to draft Russell. (not a good way to start your relationship with a franchise QB).

-Kiffin did want Ryan out, and wanted Monte to replace him.

-Scholarships do exist, and apparently they will remain alive and well in Oakland (with the right staff in place).

-Davis claims that Kiffin had much more control over the entire team than Kiffin stated.

We've all talked about communication breakdowns and how important it is for the coach and his GM to be communicative and on the same page. Obviously, that was not going to happen with Kiffin.

Cable will toe the company line and just might get this done.

Let's hope. Otherwise, it's back to square one.

4:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know where to find the COMPLETE Davis press conference? This one is only two minutes of it.

Thanks,
Psycho

4:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NY:

You will never get the truth from Al Davis. He has lied more than 10,000 sidewalks. His version of the truth is like saying GWB never lies. Wait for Kiffin's reply, Al wants to really sling the dirt, see if Kiffin just says" have a nice day Al". Hey Al, you hired the guy, remember how you fired Art after he took the job and no one else would? How you dumped on Art like it was his fault YOU took Huff? Al Davis is just like a political scumbag, lies, blames, is bigger than ANYONE else. DICTATOR, HEIL DAVIS!

JONES

4:43 PM  
Anonymous gary said...

>>>

Epic Losing = Fan Impatience. That's not a hard concept to grasp, is it?
>>>

I guess not. I'm just looking at the alternatives.

Almost all of your Takes this season was griping about Kiffin and the coaching staff. IMO, Kiffin was completely over his head on everything besides rallying the team to play hard football 3/4's of the games this year. I wasn't impressed with his game day decisions, and neither were you. So considering that the alternative NOW was to either keep Kiffin and hope he suddenly got better, or give someone else a chance (BTW, I was mistaken in saying Cable has been around the NFL a long time, I was thinking of Knapp) I'm not so sure this wasn't the best scenario NOW. I don't have much interest in what should have been done in the past.

I am curious as to Knapp not getting the job, but it sounds like he was looking at leaving Dodge after the season anyway.

Maybe Al picked the o-line coach because that's what got us to the SB the last time... who knows.

I'm just not going to jump off a bridge because Kiffin is going... I really don't think he is going to develop into anything but a assistant coach anywhere... kinda like Callahan. IMO... this just isn't going to be a Gruden or Shani-type loss folks.

4:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It does seem the IAAFers have a boner the size of Ron Jeremy right now. It's now so much losing Kiffin... it's the chance to bag on Al.

Knock yourselves out!

Not like the media isn't also going to be chomping on this chum in the water.

I'll just put a rain coat on to keep the spoey off of me.

4:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gary:

When will we get another Gruden or Shannyrat? NEVER, that is, until a new era begins in Raiderville. Al will be down to picking high school coaches at this rate. Kiffin was probably the best we could of asked for, seems like Kiffin was doing things to make Al fire him, like the 76 yrd FG try. How obvious was that? The poor clock mangement, how obvious was that? Now Kiffin can ride on to better things while Raider fans have to continue to live with the MADSCIENTIST at the helm.

JONES

5:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chance to bag on Al? He doesn't deserve it? The guy hires these coaches, he hires the players, he drafts. He treats his coaches like they are his butler. He is so afraid to delegate authority because he wants to have it all. This guy is close to being a "Howard Hughes" as you can get. He is nuts and we all suffer because of it. But other than that, there really isn't much to bag on.

JONES

5:07 PM  
Anonymous gary said...

>>>
Angry Jones: When will we get another Gruden or Shannyrat?
>>>>

Unlike you, I am somewhat lacking of a crystal ball.

I don't enjoy dwelling on the past or trying to guess the future.

Right now I am just hoping Cable can finish some games off and get us to 8-8. I do agree with Kiffin on one thing, this team is capable of winning a lot of games this year.

5:14 PM  
Anonymous stuporburg said...

Davis speaking truth. Let me think for a bit ...... that would be absolutely possible, but only after Davis has acquired a citizenship paper of the afterworld. But insofar the breathing world is concerned, he has lost just about every credibility as he could possibly have within the last decade.

I am not sure how well Cable do as an interim HC. Not because of his lack of experience, but how in the hell any sort of HC going to last long in this strange organization? Not a chance, as long as there are Davis and his cronies firmly entrenched.

Off-topic: What a difference a franchise stability makes! It was not too long ago when a lot of us have been bashing K. Collins ... even called him K.F.C ... LOL. Well ... he seem to be doing pretty well at Tenessee with V. Young out.

5:33 PM  
Blogger Toni said...

psycho

here's a link to more of the press conference, don't know if it's the whole thing, but it's more than 2 minutes.

http://www.nfl.com/videos;jsessionid=4C547CBAFE6E51DCF6BE4BED89A62E4B?videoId=09000d5d80b42046

5:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gary:

You don't need a crystal ball. You don't want to look at the past and have no idea on the future? You just floaten along , shrugging your shoulders and asking Blandarock what is going on, nuff said.

JONES

6:04 PM  
Anonymous gary said...

>>>>
Gary:

You don't need a crystal ball. You don't want to look at the past and have no idea on the future? You just floaten along , shrugging your shoulders and asking Blandarock what is going on, nuff said.
>>>>

There used to be SD fans just as miserable as you are Jones. They are now pretty cocky and shit.

I wonder how that happened?

Is Norv Turner a great coach, suddenly? Or is it that SD drafted well.

I think Al has drafted pretty well lately... the defense looks amazing at times, and the offense has hope.

I have hope. Don't go jumping from any bridges now Jones... it IS just a game.

7:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gary;

You say things are looking pretty gravy but you say Kiff can't coach. You then praise Al for the bright future.....are you a women? Going through hormone changes? Flippy?

JONES

7:52 PM  
Anonymous matt said...

JONES said
"If Al has the final say so? How old are you? Hire the right guy? The right guy will NEVER come to Oakland. We are truly screwed, Kiffin was our last hope, He got the players buying in, now.....GONE. To All those who support Al Davis = SCREW YOU."

Jones, that was my point. Nobody will come to Oakland for the coaching job as long as they have that crazy old man in charge. I'll try to be less subtle next time.

Since you asked, I'm the same age as Al Davis. 978 years old.

And I'm your dad.

11:51 PM  

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