Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Al Davis Needs to Stop Hitting the Reset Button

All is quiet on the western front, or at least in the East Bay of Northern California. Lane Kiffin has his job for another week despite the reports that he was out as early as 9/15/08.

He is at odds with Al Davis and we all know how this scenario usually ends.

The Oakland Raiders have to deal with more distractions from the top down, STILL. This has been a common theme for every fan of this team and it started out being a few jabs fans had to deal with but these punches have all landed and need to stop.

Any change needs to be from the top down.

We’ve seen the Don, Al Davis, run off several coaches who refused to be his “yes men” or ‘kiss the ring’ so to speak, and the franchise and its fans have suffered by the decisions.

The loyalty of the Raider Nation has not been reciprocated and Al Davis could care less, if it was different he would handle the team’s affairs differently and stop landing punches on the Raider fans.

Case in point, notice the timing of the latest act after the team’s best performance in years. Lane Kiffin and staff have some solid pieces to work with and regardless who the opponent is rushing for 300 yards is epic.

It is a known fact that every Raiders coach has no authority or job security at all. The reason for this is simple; it is Al Davis a man off of his rocker. He has been a maverick owner for years. He is a commander who is asleep at the wheel and has been for years.

The only thing he is accomplishing at this point is inserting yet another knife in the teams back.

His tired act is the equivalent of a QB throwing a pass to a wide open receiver on a sure touchdown just to have a disgruntled teammate upset that he isn’t playing come off of the sideline to emphatically bring him down with a shot that causes his neck to snap back.

Every single selfish act of firing the head coach has come back to bite him and provide the fans with another body shot. Teams from the front office down to the players need to be on the same page and working toward the common goal of winning games.

That goal needs to be more than proving that you’re the boss.

Here is a small list of the fired few:

Mike Shanahan, John Fox, Jon Gruden, Norv Turner, Bill Callahan, Art Shell, Joe Bugel

Six of the seven are still coaching in the league. Al hired them all and fired them for different reasons but as usual he felt the need to meddle with them. There are several playoff appearances between them; and three super bowl wins.

Had Al not been selfish and kept Mike Shanahan or Jon Gruden in place as the Head Coach this franchise would’ve won more than three championships and it would be stocked with more talent. There is also a good chance that team’s record against the Broncos would be different.

It is a known fact that Al Davis has no problem firing coaches but it has also been proven that with every coach fired it is another year of the team having a lack of continuity. It sets the franchise back at least three years.

When asked what he thought of the rumors flying around of Lane Kiffin being fired Nnamdi Asomugha stated that “I’ve heard that every year since I’ve been here”, He is the teams best defensive player and he was drafted in 2003, meaning he has had four and now possibly going on five head coaches.

He is also one of the rare players that have had the time to develop in Oakland. The coaches aren’t the problem the problem is in the owner’s box.

It appears to be that silly time of the year again when Al uttered those words “He’s not the guy I hired.” It is widely speculated that Al is prepared to fire Lane Kiffin and promote either Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan or Wide Receiver’s coach James Lofton.

It has been reported that it is a matter of when and not if he will be fired. In the event this happens it will be yet another distraction for this team. This team will not be able to build upon an impressive win in week two and it will be another ‘top down distraction’.

Lane Kiffin has stated the same thing that every other Raider coach has known and the reason several others refuse to coach in Oakland, being saddled by, the meddling of Al Davis.

It is difficult and almost impossible for a coach to do his job when the Owner/President/ Vice President/General Manager/Director Player Personnel/ Vice President Player Personnel/Director of Football Operations wants to tell you how to do your job and stands over you throughout the process.

Al was upset at the statement Lane Kiffin made after the terrible Monday night loss. He was bent that Kiffin basically stated that the defensive game plan was put together by Rob Ryan and Al Davis.

He also stated that Ryan showed more leadership than Kiffin by not throwing the players under the bus. It was also Al’s decision to have Rob Ryan give a press conference fall on the sword and back Al.

The person that needs to be fired is Al Davis. It is time for Al Davis to give control of the team to someone else, someone who is committed to improving this team. Several coaches have been fired and the record remains the same.

Most teams are set up to be .500 or better and when they’re not you can point the finger at the General Manager and the Owner, when they’re the same person fault needs to be placed at his doorstep and nowhere else.

I do have a few suggestions for improvement; hire a President, Vice President, General Manager, Director Player Personnel, Director of College Scouting and a brand new scouting staff.

There is a draft every year which gives a team the opportunity to add seven players or more per year to help improve the team. There has been too many times when the wrong player is drafted and of the listed seven to ten, only two or three players make the team with perhaps one being a starter.

Lane Kiffin has the team moving in the right direction and is in the process of building a team. This is something that Al Davis doesn’t like but needs to fall in love with. The idea of throwing money at older veteran players past their prime hasn’t worked for a very long time.

He has to realize that he’s thrown money at these players instead of building through the draft and the team has gone nowhere.

The only way for this to change is to have Lane Kiffin remain as the Head Coach and allow him and his coaching staff to do their jobs and develop these young players into a cohesive and competitive unit.

This is the only way that the Oakland Raiders will improve and stop Al Davis from hitting the reset button every two years. Raider fans have taken enough blows if it was a sanctioned fight the referee would stop the fight.

It is going to happen and it will be Al Davis’ and the Oakland Raiders ‘coup de grace’.

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