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Guru
01-02-2008, 02:04 AM
http://www.insidebayarea.com/turn2/ci_7856024

Ryan's gone, Kiffin may hire dad
Column by Carl Steward
Article Last Updated: 01/01/2008 06:32:44 AM PST
http://www.chiefscrowd.com/forums/images/imported/2008/01/7.jpg (http://www.insidebayarea.com/portlet/article/html/render_gallery.jsp?articleId=7856024&siteId=181&startImage=1)


ALAMEDA Lane Kiffin admitted Monday that he miscalculated the strength of the Oakland Raiders defense, which is one reason why Rob Ryan will be officially out as defensive coordinator sometime this week, free to accept the same position with the New York Jets. Sources indicate Ryan was told before the Raiders' final game, against San Diego on Sunday, that he would not be returning in 2008 and had already secured his next place of employment, hardly a surprise but still somewhat remarkable in that just 12 months ago, Ryan received more than just cursory consideration for the head job Kiffin got.

The question is, where now with a defense virtually everyone overestimated in addition to Kiffin? One thing is safe to say about

2008: You will not see 11 returning starters as you did in 2007, because if the defense had played up to the head coach's perception of them, the Raiders might have quadrupled their win total instead of merely doubling it. Kiffin will leave nothing to such chance next year. "We've got to look at everything," he said. "And it really was disappointing, because I really felt that the defense was gonna be our strength. I never told the offense that, but what I felt was we were going to play great defense. There had been a lot of improvement from two years ago to last year on defense, so I thought we'd continue to build that with returning 11 guys. Unfortunately, that's not the way it worked."

Kiffin has promised he will fix a lot of things during the offseason, but fixing the defense has to be his No.1 priority if he expects a quantum leap in the win-loss column. He has to find the right coordinator, use the Raiders' top pick on a step-in starter up front and then sell a revamped scheme to the man upstairs, Al Davis. There has been considerable speculation that Kiffin will make every effort to hire his father, Monte Kiffin, as the team's next defensive coordinator. It makes perfect sense. If you're an offensive head coach and want to be on the same wavelength with your defense, who better to add to the staff than your dad?

While the elder Kiffin's contract is up in Tampa Bay, where he has spent 11 seasons as one of the league's elite defensive minds, bringing him to Oakland has a few potential obstacles. The first would be salary. Kiffin makes more than his son, about $1.5 million per season. Would Davis consent to paying that (uh, no), or would a man who'll turn 68 in February concede a pay cut for a final-fling chance to coach with his son?

Even more problematic would be the wholesale change in style the Raiders would undertake under Monte Kiffin. Davis believes in man defense to his core, while Kiffin is a strict zone specialist. With four NFL wins to his credit, can young Lane sell his boss on scrapping his long-held ideology about defensive play?

The answer will likely come in how much Davis truly believes the younger Kiffin is on to something in terms of turning around the Raiders. Although Al is keeping a very low profile these days, chances are he does. Kiffin did a reasonably good job this year for someone so lean on experience. He was better than the last three guys, that's for sure, and shows tremendous potential to improve markedly after a year on the job.

Whether the father-son scenario takes root and we'll likely know quickly after the Bucs' final playoff game Kiffin at least should be allowed to interview and hire his own defensive coordinator, along with any other members of the defensive staff that need to be appointed. The young coach seems intent on staying in Oakland, for the time being anyway, and giving him the freedom to choose his entire staff would further cement his long-term tenure here.

But an overhauled coaching approach is only part of the equation on defense. Kiffin understands there must be a talent upgrade as well. Of the 11 starters from the past two seasons, only a half-dozen should feel secure cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, ends Derrick Burgess and Jay Richardson, linebackers Kirk Morrison and Thomas Howard, and safety Michael Huff, whom Kiffin hinted may be moving from strong to free.

Everyone else will be playing for future employment if they make it that far. It's fairly clear that Warren Sapp has played his last game as a Raider if not his final football game, period. So that's one spot that's definitely open, and one where the Raiders will likely begin their talent rebuild.

More than any other position, Oakland needs a run-stuffing down lineman, and while LSU's dynamic optimum fit Glenn Dorsey already may be gone when the Raiders pick at No. 3 or No. 4, it's a good year for defensive linemen. USC's Sedrick Ellis may be close to Dorsey in all-around ability, and Howie Long's son Chris will also be a top pick in the 2008 draft.

In short, a day after the end of the Raiders' 2007 season, speculation about 2008 is already hot and heavy. Attacking and fixing the defensive issues is the fastest and surest way to make it a happier new year.

Guru
01-02-2008, 02:04 AM
Both Ryans are on the market. The Chiefs had better get one of them.

prough91
01-02-2008, 02:05 AM
Ryan's one scary lookin dude.

Chiefster
01-02-2008, 02:13 AM
Both Ryans are on the market. The Chiefs had better get one of them.


Well I think all of the Chiefs firings have been on the offensive side of the ball.

hermhater
01-02-2008, 02:15 AM
Would he replace Gunther?

What coaching position are you thinking Guru?

Guru
01-02-2008, 02:27 AM
Would he replace Gunther?

What coaching position are you thinking Guru?
I don't care. Not that I don't like Gun but I think either Ryan would get more out of our D than Gun has been able to do these last few years. We are improved but not where we should be now.

Chiefster
01-02-2008, 02:30 AM
I don't care. Not that I don't like Gun but I think either Ryan would get more out of our D than Gun has been able to do these last few years. We are improved but not where we should be now.

I agree, but, as much as I hate to say it, I think the defensive decline in the last few games of the season was more due to a lack of heart or will because of the inept offense.

hermhater
01-02-2008, 02:34 AM
I don't care. Not that I don't like Gun but I think either Ryan would get more out of our D than Gun has been able to do these last few years. We are improved but not where we should be now.

I like Ryan a lot and am wondering if he would get more out of our D than Gun.

What I want to know is why the corners are reading routes wrong, and blowing all the coverage?

Can he help us with that, and plug the holes in the running game?

hermhater
01-02-2008, 02:36 AM
I agree, but, as much as I hate to say it, I think the defensive decline in the last few games of the season was more due to a lack of heart or will because of the inept offense.

The secondary has been miserable in the second half.

That implies that the rush from our D is weak.

With JA having a record breaking season, I would have to put the burden upon the defensive calling, or a lack of talent.

Chiefster
01-02-2008, 02:51 AM
The secondary has been miserable in the second half.

That implies that the rush from our D is weak.

With JA having a record breaking season, I would have to put the burden upon the defensive calling, or a lack of talent.

Good point.

I think that, again, the middle of that "D" line continues to get any push up the middle.

hermhater
01-02-2008, 02:56 AM
Good point.

I think that, again, the middle of that "D" line continues to get any push up the middle.

I think you are agreeing with me, but I don't get that last point you made.

Are you saying we need a big dude at Nose Tackle (or whatever they call it now)?


Because we do!

Three7s
01-02-2008, 03:06 PM
I can tell all of you exactly what happened to cause our defense to stink it up later in the season.
During the first half of the season, not many teams really ran it on us for some reason. It worked, but they always went away from it later on in the game.
In the second half of the season, teams figured out that our rush defense stunk, and just ran it on us like crazy, especially in the second half. That's the #1 reason that we really started losing games, well besides our inept offense.
I really think we need some big guys in the middle that are able to get off their blocks and fill those holes. The running game destroyed our defense last year, and it has to improve, simple as that.