OAKLAND – Lane Kiffin erased one question for the 2008 season already.
There will be no competition at one spot. JaMarcus Russell will be the starting quarterback.
But there are so many other questions still to be answered.
At the end of the game, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan hugged several of his players. And some of the players in the locker room spoke as if they know Ryan won’t be back.
No one said they want Ryan gone, but as Thomas Howard said, after another losing season, changes are expected.
Kiffin plans to evaluate all coaches and players and vowed the Raiders wouldn't have another 4-12 season.
In reality, besides last year’s defense that ranked third, which can be excused in some ways by the horrible offense that complemented it, the Raiders defense hasn’t really been great under Ryan.
Are all the problems Ryan’s fault? Absolutely not, but don’t be surprised if he’s out of a job.
Kiffin was able to bring in his entire offensive staff. He was able to add his own defensive backs coach, Darren Perry.
But he inherited Ryan, linebackers coach Don Martindale and defensive line coach Keith Millard.
After a year with them, Kiffin has an idea if he wants them back, just as he would with a player.
Look for names such as former USC defensive coordinator and recently fired Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron’s name surfaces as a candidate because of his ties to USC and Kiffin.
Kiffin’s father, Monte from Tampa Bay, is another name that would come up.
But don’t forget Kiffin’s ties to Pete Carroll. Don’t be shocked if someone on Carroll’s staff is a candidate for any Raiders job, especially if Carroll gives his blessing to allowing one of his assistants to take a step up in their career.
If not, Carroll and his NFL experience would likely help Kiffin in replacing Ryan.
But this is all speculation right now. Let’s see what Kiffin says at his season-ending press conference.