Question: What differences have you observed to date under Lane Kiffin vs. the total disaster that was Art Shell and Co. of last year to give a Raider fan hope that things may be at least headed toward respectability, albeit slowly?
-- John, Folsom
Answer: Itís way too early to get really know how different things will be under Kiffin. In speaking with some of the players, the opinion of Kiffin is that he is enthusiastic and moves things at a fast pace. Jerry Porter likens him to Jon Gruden. LaMont Jordan points out itís only April and isnít everyone excited in April? The Raiders were all excited last year too (well Porter wasnít) about the prospects for the 2006 season. Off the field, there appears to be a little more harmony. Senior personnel executive Mike Lombardi is allowed to watch practice again after his rift with Shell left him banned from the field. But that shouldnít be mistaken for a utopia in Raiderland. Mark Jackson was hired by Kiffin to do many of the things Lombardi did, like deal with contracts. That could surface as another point of contention if Lombardi sticks with the Raiders.
-- Jason Jones
Question: We all know Al Davis calls the shots. Do you think it's important for Lane Kiffin to have a great deal of input in who the Raiders draft this year?
-- Bret Henderson, Girard, Ohio
Answer: Yes. Logic would dictate with an offense that was so bad last year that Kiffin would be able to have a say in how the roster is revamped to fit his system. Iím not sure how the Raiders can justify bringing back essentially the entire offense from last year except for Aaron Brooks and believe simply changing scheme will lead to more points. If Kiffin is going to put in a new system, he has to have input in who runs the system. But as you stated, we all know who has the final say.