Ah, the joys of the offseason.
Iíve received more questions in the last few days than I did over the course of a month at times this season.
Again, I am the target of some of the anger, which I can take. As long as the Lakers keep winning, Iíll be just fine.
There are more questions about the draft and free agency, which Iíll begin addressing next week via postings that examine what the Raiders need, who they should keep and who might be wise to go after.
Before I get to that, the Raider Nation canít get enough of the Rob Ryan saga, that has really died down in the last few days.
Question: Over this season it has been reported that, "according to a team source," Kiffin is so intimidated by his own youth that he will cut every player over the age of 31; Kiffin is planning to take the HC job in Arkansas; Kiffin was so upset being passed over by Arkansas that he was cursing, slamming doors, and throwing things; Kiffin is going to fire SOB and hire his dad; Kiffin hates SOB and wants him gone; Davis loves SOB and wants him to be HC.
And, according to you, it's all true until denied.
Jim H., Mountain View
Answer: First, I assume the SOB you speak of is the Son of Buddy (Ryan).
If you check my files, none of the things mentioned were reported by me. I said Kiffin might look to bring in his own defensive coordinator, but never said he was going to hire his dad. In fact, I stated more than once that Kiffin hiring his dad made little, if any, sense. Iíve said if Kiffin were to quit, Ryan would be a candidate to coach the team, but Iíve never said Kiffin was leaving. That was in response to another report on television. And we all know if itís said on television, itís true.
One problem readers and players have sometimes is they confuse who is saying what and just blame the media as a whole for starting rumors.
In closing, itís not all true until denied. Some of itís not true at all. And believe it or not, I laughed at the Kiffin slamming doors deal.
Question: Are you just on the outside looking in or what? It is clear from the information I have received that Kiffin is just fine with the direction of the Organization as outlined by Al Davis in their end of the season meetings. In fact Davis, Kiffin & Ryan have been spotted together and the word is they are working towards a common goal for the 2008 season. In addition the contract Kiffin signed is for 3 years and two additional team options, so why must you trash a good thing? Stand up Tyrone's bro or lose your pass....
Answer: Would you mind passing along your source to me? I obviously could use some help.
And what good thing have I trashed? The team was 4-12. Kiffin wouldnít tell you he has a good thing going and wonít until the Raiders are contenders.
Well, Iíll stop being cynical for a moment.
I donít doubt the Raiders are working toward the common goal of winning games in 2008. Iíve only questioned if they share the same vision on whatís the best way to get that done.
I hope I donít get my pass revoked for that.
Question: About the Kiffin/Ryan and Shell/Walsh comment, Walsh was the OC not DC. Kiffin was allowed to bring his own offensive staff, as was Shell.
Answer: That is true. My point was Davis has the final say on all coaching staff hires. He somehow saw no problem allowing Shell to hire a coordinator that had been out of the NFL for more than a decade.
On the other hand, Davis apparently wonít allow his coach to hire a new defensive coordinator after the team hasnít been able to stop the run over the last few seasons.
And letís not even get into Davis saying Art Shell made him draft Michael Huff.
Davis is the man. He runs the show. So if he gets credit when the team does well, he deserves criticism, too.
But he might be right in the end. The defense could end up being good. But if itís not, Kiffin has the right to be upset.
Question: I read the criticisms of you and I disagree with them. I believe you write the truth even though it may hurt yourself to say it and us loyal fans.
My question is... Do the players begin to feel torn, like children in between fighting parents, or do they treat this as a profession and ignore all the supposed fighting amongst the ranks of our leadership?
I for one refuse to take a side in the quarrels because Al built our Raiders and sometimes needs help but may not trust the people to care as much as he does. Thanks
Max, Sinclairville, NY
Answer: Players tend not to feel torn because they learn quickly they have no say over what happens with management.
Players on defense love Rob Ryan. But they understood based on their performance, there was a good chance Ryan wouldnít be back and didnít expect him back.
I believe the Raiders need a strong general manager to help run things. But until further notice, Al Davis has that job.