Thursday, January 18, 2007

Oakland Tribune's Jerry McDonald Thinks Steve Sarkisian Closer To Head Job; USC's Lane Kiffin At Raiders HQ

USC connection means it's Sark's job
Posted by Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer on Thursday at 2:27 pm
When Steve Sarkisian is officially named the 16th coach of the Oakland Raiders, he may as well ride in on a white horse.

One that goes by the name of Traveler.

If there were any doubts that Sarkisian is the man Al Davis has selected to lead the Raiders in 2007 and hopefully beyond, they were erased Thursday when Lane Kiffin arrived in Alameda.

Kiffin, 31, was the co-offensive coordinator at USC along with Sarkisian. A source confirmed that Kiffin was at the club facility to discuss the possibility of being the Raiders offensive coordinator.

Sarkisian, who met with Raiders late into Wednesday night, remains in town.

The way it works with the Raiders is a newly hired coach gets to make recommendations for positions on his staff. They are brought in and meet with Al Davis, who either approves the coach or makes his own hire.

It doesn't mean Kiffin will be the Raiders offensive coordinator, but it's solid circumstantial evidence that Sarkisian is the head coach.

It's not unusual for the Raiders coach to be in place for a few days while contract details are ironed out and a formal announcement is made.

Kiffin, 31, is considered a riser on the coaching profession. The son of Tampa Bay Buccaneers longtime defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, Lane Kiffin was a finalist for the head coaching job at the University of Minnesota that went to Denver tight ends coach Tim Brewster.

Kiffin was recently contacted by Nick Saban for a spot on his staff at the University of Alabama.

With Sarkisian leaving for the Raiders, Kiffin could stay at USC and presumably become the lone offensive coordinator of the top college football program in the country, which could give him ample opportunities next year as a college head coach.

If Kiffin were to join the Raiders, he and Sarkisian could assume a partnership similiar to the one they had at USC. There, Kiffin called plays from the press box with Sarkisian running the game on the field with the power to overrule a call.

It remains to be seen whether Davis wants to pair his 32-year-old head coach with a 31-year-old offensive coordinator, both of whom were in the Pac-10 in 2006. Marc Trestman, a veteran coordinator with NFL experience, including a stint with the Raiders from 2001 through 2003, has already interviewed and is waiting for a call.

Davis, a line coach at USC from 1957 through 1959 before leaving to join Sid Gillman in 1960 with the San Diego Chargers, has long been enamored with all things USC. He has collected Trojans players whenever possible and even shared the Los Angeles Coliseum with the school when the Raiders were in Los Angeles.

One of my favorite Al Davis stories was told by Jim Harbaugh awhile back on the radio in an interview on The Jim Rome Show.

When Harbaugh told Davis he was going to leave his job as Raiders quarterbacks coach to take over as head coach at University of San Diego, a non-scholarship Division I-AA school, the reaction was negative. Davis told Harbaugh he was making a bad career move.

Harbaugh reminded Davis of his own resume, which included time a college coach.

"Yes, but I coached at USC, not USD,'' Davis said.

Indy Mayor Bart Peterson Gets Crab From Gov. Martin O’Malley For Colts Win Over Ravens - Indy Star Blog

By Susan Guyett and Indy Star's Colt Blog

Mayor Bart Peterson will be swimming in crab when he collects on that bet he had with former Baltimore Mayor, now Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley tomorrow.

Thomas Baker of Chevy Chase, Maryland, with Andrea Lipiro. "This was taken at Giants stadium in New Jersey at the Colts-Jets game. There were very few fans and a hostile environment, but the Colts took the win."
The good-natured wager over last week’s football game between the Indianpaolis Colts and the Baltimore Ravens has turned into a crab feast that will be prepared and served to about 30 special guests at Second Helpings.

O’Malley became governor on Wednesday but arrranged the crab transfer before he changed jobs, according to Joanna Phillips of Phillips Seafood Restaurant.

Philips will fly to Indianapolis later today with her brother, Brice and they will bring enough crab for their chef Dennis Gavagan to prepare a three-course meal of crab cocktail, crab soup and crabcake sandwiches to Peterson’s staff and some members of the Blue Crew, according to Nora Spitznogle of Second Helpings, the local food rescue/job training program.

Brice said her entourage will have dinner tonight at St. Elmo Steak House, the restaurant that was going to supply Baltimore with shrimp cocktail and steak had the Colts lost last week.

USC's Steve Sarkisian Gets Second Interview With Oakland Raiders -- Big Raiders Mistake

It's personally vexing to me that Mr. Davis and the Raiders would reach for someone who ultimately will have to deal with much more than just play calling. I think it's a terrible move. I appreciate how much he wants the job but it's not like being a head coach is a simple matter. I do wish the Raiders would take a hard, long look at how their organization works.

Right now, it's still as if decisions are made on a whim, rather than with hard analysis. It seems as if the organization is in real denial regarding what causes its problems, and that's the simple fact that it has no long term plan for anything. It's really an example in how not to run a football organization and the results show up on the field.

Raiders, Sarkisian chat again - First candidate to get a second interview, he might get an offer, too
By Steve Corkran - MEDIANEWS STAFF
Article Last Updated: 01/18/2007 07:49:20 AM PST

USC assistant coach/quarterbacks coach Steve Sarkisian returned Wednesday for a second interview for the Raiders coaching vacancy, a person familiar with the search process confirmed.

There are strong indications that Sarkisian won't be leaving town without an offer to be the Raiders' next coach.

Sarkisian, 32, met with Raiders managing general partner Al Davis and other team officials throughout the day Wednesday and into the night. The parties are scheduled to pick up today where they left off Wednesday night, with the potential of the interview lasting until Friday some time.

The Raiders didn't release any details regarding Sarkisian's interview, per team policy. Sarkisian could not be reached for comment.

Sarkisian was the first candidate known to have interviewed with the Raiders, 10 days ago and four days after Davis fired Art Shell. He also is the only candidate who has received a second interview.

In between, Davis interviewed former New York Giants coach Jim Fassel, Raiders defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and San Diego Chargers wide receivers coach James Lofton.

Former Raiders assistant coach Marc Trestman also interviewed with Davis but not for the coaching vacancy. He was interviewed as a potential successor to Tom Walsh and John Shoop as the offensive coordinator.After his first interview Jan. 8, Sarkisian said: "It went extremely well. Anytime you get an opportunity to interview with a man like Al Davis, it's a great opportunity and one I'll cherish."

He added that his decision on whether to accept the Raiders job, if offered, won't hinge upon anything that happens with current USC coach Pete Carroll and USC offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, both of whom have been linked to other job openings in the NFL and college.

"I'm going for this job 100 percent," Sarkisian said. "I'm solely focused on this job with the Oakland Raiders."

Several people close to Davis said he is intent upon identifying and hiring a young coaching prospect. Davis also said he wants a "play-caller" as his next coach.

Sarkisian's role at USC does not include calling plays. Kiffin handles that aspect of the offense. Sarkisian works from the sideline and confers with Carroll on what plays might work best in a particular situation.

Sarkisian has worked with Arizona Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart and current USC quarterback John David Booty the past two years. He also worked with Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer in his first coaching stint at USC.

He coached Rich Gannon, Kerry Collins and Marques Tuiasosopo during his one season as the quarterbacks coach with the Raiders in 2004. Raiders finished eighth in passing that season. This season, the Raiders ranked 31st in passing.

Davis has a long history of hiring little-known and inexperienced coaches to run the Raiders. He hired Pro Football Hall of Fame coach John Madden in 1969, when Madden was in his early 30s. Davis hired current Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden in 1998, when Gruden was only 34. He also hired current Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan in 1988, when Shanahan was only 35.

All three won at least one Super Bowl, though only Madden accomplished the feat with the Raiders. Davis fired Shanahan four games into the'89 season. The Raiders traded Gruden to the Buccaneers after Gruden's fourth season with the Raiders in 2001. Madden retired after a 10-year career from 1969-78.

Michael Vick, The TSA's Gertrude Joseph, AirTrans, and The Water Bottle

Why in heck would Gertrude Joseph, a TSA screener, feel it necessary to dig through trash -- trash -- to smell a water bottle? Several reasons: first, she knew it was Michael Vick; second, he complained; third, and most important, she's black and he's black and some of us don't like others of us who have achieved any level of success. So she takes jock-sniffing to a new level -- water bottle sniffing -- in the process of trying to bring down the brother.

Why did she go through the effort, when people complain about the TSA liquid regulations all the time. She's certainly used to it. She hears complaints about this all the time. You think she digs through every trash can and sticks her nose in perfume bottles, cosmetics, and old medici bottles? I doubt it.

As for Vick, with the money he makes, why the hell is he flying AirTrans? He should take one of those private jet timeshares!


Here's the story below...

NFL star's water bottle draws suspicion at MIA
Security screeners at Miami International Airport called police after Michael Vick left a water bottle that smelled of marijuana.

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick was reluctant to throw away his water bottle at a Miami International Airport security checkpoint Wednesday morning.

The reason, police say: The 20-ounce plastic bottle had a secret compartment that had a dark residue and a pungent odor of marijuana. Vick boarded his 8:20 a.m. AirTran flight to Atlanta before screeners called police. Now, Miami-Dade police are examining the bottle and could charge him if it tests positive for drugs.

Police notified the National Football League about the investigation, Miami Herald news partner WFOR-CBS4 reported. Joel Segal, Vick's agent, declined to comment late Wednesday.

According to a Miami-Dade police report, here's what happened:

Vick, 26, balked when security at the Concourse G checkpoint asked him to surrender his water bottle, which had an Aquafina label. Security regulations prohibit travelers from carrying bottles with more than 3 ounces of liquid through checkpoints.

Eventually, Vick left the bottle behind and went to his gate. But his initial reluctance aroused the suspicion of Transportation Security Administration screener Gertrude Joseph. She pulled the bottle out of a recycle bin and notified her supervisor when she discovered its hidden compartment.

Screeners told police they recognized Vick as the pro football player, and they were certain it was his water bottle because they saw him throw it away and it was the only water bottle in the recycle bin.

Miami-Dade police reviewed surveillance video from the checkpoint and said it corroborated the screeners' version of events. They also confirmed Vick was a passenger on AirTran Flight 338 from Miami to Atlanta.

The bottle had a clear partition in the middle, separating the bottle into two compartments. An online spy-equipment retailer lists an Aquafina Water Bottle Diversion Safe for $15. ''It has room for more than just water,'' according to ``Twist and pull the bottle in half to reveal a hidden compartment.''

In his report, Miami-Dade Det. Kevin Kozak wrote: ``The concealed compartment contained a small amount of dark particulate and a pungent aroma closely associated with marijuana. The top half contained a small amount of clear liquid. When held upright the bottle appeared to be half full of water.''

Vick, the top NFL draft pick in 2001, is the older brother of Miami Dolphins wide receiver Marcus Vick and second cousin of Oakland Raiders quarterback Aaron Brooks.

Vick is known for his ability to elude defenders and make dazzling runs. He is third on the NFL's all-time rushing list for quarterbacks, running for more than 1,000 yards this past season.

Vick is two years into a 10-year, $130 million contract with the Falcons.

Vick made headlines when he flipped his middle finger to booing fans after a Nov. 26 home loss to the New Orleans Saints. The league fined him $10,000, and he agreed to give another $10,000 to charity.

Miami Herald staff writers Armando Salguero and Gladys Amador, and Brian Andrews, a reporter with Miami Herald news partner WFOR-CBS4, contributed to this report.