Lane Kiffin isn’t fired.
James Lofton is hired.
Lane loves Rob, Al loves Lane, and Amy loves everyone.
Jarrod Cooper has a big heart for dogs.
Tyler Brayton is officially a free agent—calming my worries that we might franchise him.
Justin Fargas has signed.
Nnamdi’s getting tagged.
Former Raiders quarterback Josh Booty got Tasered.
Have I missed anything?
Oh, yeah: PantyRaider is back. And if you don’t know what that means, then you need to come around here more often.
It’s been relatively slow going on Raiders news recently, and perhaps no big news is good news, because the last time we had “big news,” it was of dubious detail, and only served to deliver an alarming spike in our collective blood pressure.
Meanwhile, over in Miami: “In the Dolphins’ first major player purge since Parcells took charge of Miami’s football operations, the team parted ways with Trent Green, wide receiver Marty Booker, defensive tackle Keith Traylor, right tackle L.J. Shelton and five other players—ushering in the start of what's expected to be a massive offseason roster shakeup by the rebuilding franchise.”
Say what you will about the Dolphins, but they’re sending their fans pretty strong signals of change, top to bottom. None of this “everyone gets a fresh start.” None of this “wait and see.” They aren’t remodeling. They’re razing the house and rebuilding an entirely new culture, from the executive offices through the locker room.
It’s a little late for that in Oakland. The time for that would have been last year, when Shell was shown the door and the stage was set for a massive overhaul.
I don’t point this out to be pessimistic, but rather just to be realistic, and to heckle those who say that swift, decisive and wholesale change can’t be telegraphed immediately following the end of a dreadful season.
Thankfully, we are undergoing our own form of overhaul under Lane Kiffin. Slowly but surely, the tide is being turned, the scholarships are being terminated, and aromas of mint are in the air.
Stopping the run and catching the ball are, in my opinion, our top concerns at the moment. Here we have our cannon loaded with Jamarcus Russell, but no one deep to catch the cannonball.
As for stopping the run, the defensive line is only part of the problem, which goes as deep as the safety position, if not deeper. On Sirius radio the other day, Daryl Johnston was talking about watching the tape from the Raiders-Vikings game last year, and remarking about our defense’s dreadful fundamentals and tackling. He wasn’t saying it in the manner of someone who had an axe to grind, but more like someone who’d happened upon a train wreck and had to tell some friends about it. I remember that game, and he’s right. Rob Ryan, you may not have a roster of Pro Bowlers at your disposal, but it’s your responsibility to ensure that basic fundamentals are respected and applied.
It comes down to “chuck and stuff.” Chuck the ball, stuff the run. These aren’t the sum total of our needs, but they are at the top of my list. At some point you have to triage and prioritize. We can't count on the draft or free agency. We need to work these needs hard through the draft and free agency. We need to be active, aggressive and focused, and I think we will be. Here we go again, because the future is now.