Friday, January 26, 2007

Oakland Raiders Cornerback Fabian Washington Happy With Change To Lane Kiffin - SF Chronicle

Raiders turn to fast Lane
REACTION: Oakland players welcome the change
David White, SF Chronicle Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Raiders cornerback Fabian Washington has not spoken with Lane Kiffin. He doesn't know the coach's birth date, his philosophies on the vertical offense or exactly how he plans to turn around the worst team since 2003.

Here's what Washington does know: For the last two years, Kiffin held the keys to the juggernaut USC offense, and that alone has Washington pumped to get next season started.

"Hey, I'm excited about it," Washington said Tuesday in a telephone interview from his offseason home in Florida. "I hope he can do just half of what he did at USC with us. For what he's done there, I definitely think he can make it happen for us."

A sampling of players shared Washington's anticipation after Raiders owner Al Davis introduced Kiffin, now the former USC offensive coordinator, as Oakland's head coach at a news conference Tuesday.

Yes, Kiffin is only 31. No, he doesn't have NFL experience beyond one year at an entry-level job in Jacksonville, and that was seven years ago.

What Kiffin does have is six years of success working with Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush. His time spent with the Hollywood blockbuster known as USC football is buying a lot of advance cred among players.

"I don't care how old he is," Raiders center Jake Grove said. "I just want to win. Mr. Davis thinks that's the one who is going to help us win football games. I'm open to anything.

"Hopefully, he can help bring us back to where we're winning football games again and competing for Super Bowls."

If it seems as if Kiffin is being accepted with no concerns voiced, it's because the players, like many fans, are to the point where they will give someone -- anyone -- a chance to awaken the Raiders from their extended catatonic state.

Today's players don't go on about the rich history of Raiders football, like Davis did during his news conference. They grumble about going 2-14 last season and losing an NFL-worst 49 games in four years.

They clearly are weary of all the losing. If it takes hiring a college assistant who's the youngest coach in the NFL, and the youngest in franchise history, whatever.

If anything, Washington thinks Kiffin's age will help him work with today's players in ways former coach Art Shell, 60, couldn't in his only season back with the team.

"I think he'll be able to relate more with us," said Washington, who just finished his second NFL season. "It's going to be good to get some new energy around here. He's young, but he's been coaching at a high level. It's not like they pulled him out of Conference USA."

He's right: Kiffin comes from the Western Athletic Conference.

Kiffin was a reserve quarterback at Fresno State from 1994 through '96. He gave up playing and joined the staff of first-year coach Pat Hill as a student assistant in 1997.

For two years, Kiffin coached players who, in some cases, were older than he. That experience should help with the Raiders, who had nine players on last year's roster who were born before Kiffin. The majority were in elementary school at the same time as their new coach.

"You could tell right away he was real bright, a real sharp guy," Hill said. "He picked up on things real quick. This is great news for him. He's really on the fast track."

Cal coach Jeff Tedford was Kiffin's quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator at Fresno State. When Kiffin began interviewing with the Raiders late last week, Tedford was one of three coaches he called for advice.

Tedford, who has been pursued by various NFL teams since coming to Cal, encouraged him to jump at the opportunity.

"He's always had a bright mind and has always been a very dedicated, hard worker," Tedford said. "I think this is a good decision by both sides."

USC coach Pete Carroll said the same about Kiffin, his choice to replace offensive coordinator Norm Chow two years ago.

Though Kiffin clearly benefited from a roster of All-America players every year, Carroll credited Kiffin with putting USC's talent to best use -- something Davis said he must do with a Raiders roster that got limited production from high-salary offensive players Randy Moss, Jerry Porter, LaMont Jordan and Robert Gallery.

"His ability to get the most out of his players has been obvious," Carroll said. "His expertise and the success he's had with our offense will play to the strengths of the Raiders' personnel. It will be exciting to see it unfold."

"Demote Lane Kiffin Blog" A Harbinger Of A Possible Raiders Future

I found this blog called "Demote Lane Kiffin" and created right after USC's loss to UCLA and aimed squarely and directly at Offensive Coordinator Lane Kiffin, who's now the Head Coach of the Oakland Raiders. It contains some interesting observations which fly in the face of the Raiders assertion that Kiffin's the right man to fix the offense. Here's a taste:

I agree wholeheartedly will all your views about the lame and unimaginative playing we have seen from USC's offensive side of the ball since Chow left. Kiffin has been outcoached since he has been offensive coordinator but was fortunate to have the talent last year to protect him from criticism. He is very inexperienced and is constantly being stopped by experienced defensive coordinators like we saw against UCLA. Like some coaches said after watching the UCLA game , he made no adjustments what so ever. Did he even think about running some outside screens to the running backs or wide receivers or maybe hmmmm I don't know keeping in more people to block so that Booty could find that mismatches that at WR that USC has?!?!? Yeah , I am upset USC lost but more furious on why we lost, poor coaching on the offensive side of the ball and that is not acceptable. Get rid of Kiffin now and insure that USC will remain a power house defensively and offensively.

And take a look here:

Anonymous said...
Thanks for the perspective, but 9 total points in a game is a little different than 9 total points in a half. Don't forget that the 2 superstars were present against Texas and the same play calling did not get it done-review the Texas game and see for yourself. In contrast, Norm's dissection of the Sooners is more than obvious and his adjustments: apparent. We are not saying fire Kiffin because he is not Norm Chow. Fire him because he is far from competent for this offense-if you don't think so watch the last 2 seasons and see the BS calls he consistently makes. Fire him because he is here based on connections and not talent or experience. Fire him because he has proven he is unable to drive this offensive machine. One side of the experiment has been proven: with Kiffin in control and 2 superstars we could not win a championship. With Kiffin in control and 2 superstars gone we could not win a championship. The formula is simple, superior talent + excellent coaching = success 2003-2004. Superior talent + poor coaching = close games and losses 2005-2006. Most likely, Kiffin is not going anywhere and we shall revisit this next year when Kiffin episode 3 comes to fruition.

And finally...

Our wishes and dreams have come true! Lane Kiffin, better than being fired, has been HIRED! Thanks to that genius in the Bay Area, Al Davis, the USC faithful no longer have to worry about inept play calling on offense to ruin our chances at another National Championship.

It looks like Steve Sarkisian will be the big man on Offense. I can live with that for now. We'll see how it goes. Hopefully he's learned more from Norm than Lane did about offensive changes and varied playcalling.

Ahhhh, it's a good day to be a Trojan!

On Radio Show, Norm Chow Criticized Lane Kiffin's Play Calling At USC - Orange County Register

This article has not been widely reported, but is worth reading in light of the Raiders hiring of Kiffin as head coach. Note that Chow says that DeWayne Walker, a black coach and the UCLA Defensive Coordinator, dismantled the USC offense. Makes you wonder why the Raiders didn't talk to him rather than select the underqualified Kiffin..

Chow praises UCLA's Walker, criticizes USC's play-calling
USC football notes: Norm Chow takes a small shot at USC's offensive coaches.

The Orange County Register

LOS ANGELES – Former USC offensive coordinator Norm Chow took a shot at the current play-calling tandem of Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian in an appearance on a Southern California radio show Tuesday.
"I know DeWayne Walker may be better than both of those guys," Chow said on KLAC/570. "DeWayne Walker is a heck of a football coach, which is why I wasn't too surprised he did what he did at UCLA."
Chow worked with both Kiffin and Walker at USC in 2001. Walker's UCLA defense largely dismantled the USC offense in a 13-9 Trojans loss early this month.
Kiffin said Chow's words didn't bother him much.
"Obviously, I worked with the guy for four years and DeWayne for a year, but what someone says about you really has nothing to do with how you go about your work every day," Kiffin said.
USC's play-calling was criticized at times this year, never more than after the UCLA loss. Kiffin points out that the Trojans averaged 30.3 points per game after losing Heisman Trophy winners Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart, plus LenDale White, an NFL tight end and three starting offensive linemen.
USC was third in the conference in scoring behind Cal and Oregon. The Trojans had the same number of turnovers as in 2005 and two fewer sacks.
"I feel very proud of these players," Kiffin said.
USC's biggest recruiting commitment so far this year might have come Wednesday, when Avondale, Ariz., defensive end Everson Griffen announced he would attend USC instead of Michigan or Notre Dame. Both Kiffin and Coach Pete Carroll had visited Griffen, and the coaches made the 6-foot-4, 265-pound athlete their top priority.
Some USC coaches think Griffen is the best player they have yet recruited. The Trojans are working on four consecutive highly ranked classes. Griffen ran the 40 in 4.55 seconds.
USC also has a commitment from Tucson, Ariz., offensive lineman Kristofer O'Dowd, meaning it snatched two top recruits from the back yards of conference rivals Arizona and Arizona State.
Freshman safety Antwine Perez has filed paperwork to transfer and has left the team, Carroll said. Perez is back home in New Jersey, and there are reports he is trying to transfer to Minnesota.
Freshman Taylor Mays was picked to start ahead of Perez, who also was blocked by sophomores Kevin Ellison and Mozique McCurtis.
Carroll spoke with both Perez and members of his family.
"He's looking for a better opportunity to play," Carroll said. ...
Mays was wearing a cast on a swollen hand Wednesday and was scheduled to have precautionary X-rays. Carroll said he should be OK. ...
Junior defensive end Lawrence Jackson said his decision to return for his senior year might have been different if he hadn't gone the first eight games of this season without a sack.
"It could have been different, but it didn't happen," Jackson said. - Did NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Get Involved In Steelers Hiring Of Mike Tomlin?

This comes from If it's true that Goodell did get involved by suggesting to Rooney that someone like Tomlin be the choice, I so wish hed done that in the case of the Oakland Raiders, who hired the way, way underqualified Lane Kiffin and mainted a kind of affirmative action for young white guys. Notice how none of the white male media types are screaming about this, but they are focusingg on Tomlin?

January 23, 2007


As the media continues to try to understand the process that resulted in conflicting reports regarding whether the Steelers would hire Mike Tomlin or Russ Grimm to be the team's next head coach, the hot rumor at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama (where various league types currently are gathered) is that Grimm was indeed offered the job before it went to Tomlin.

As the story goes, the Steelers called Grimm on Saturday and told him not to believe what the media was reporting about Tomlin. Then, the Steelers and Grimm negotiated a contract, and Grimm was told that he could tell his family that he was the guy, which he did.

But then, as the story goes, Commissioner Roger Goodell got involved and suggested to Steelers chairman Dan Rooney that it would be nice if the Steelers would hire one of the minority candidates, given that the Rooney Rule was named after him. Rooney relented.

On Sunday morning, Rooney met with Art II and Kevin Colbert and told them about the decision. Both initially disagreed because a deal had been done with Grimm. But the contract hadn't been signed, and Art II and Colbert deferred to Dan.

Grimm was then told about the decision, and he was obviously pissed. But, to date, he has been discreet regarding his displeasure, presumably because he plans to continue working in the industry that has only 32 job locations. Tomlin was then called on Sunday afternoon, and he was informed that he was the guy.

One source told us that he has been hearing this rumor "all day" in Alabama. Though we're not saying that any of this actually happened, the mere fact that this story is making the rounds at the Senior Bowl is newsworthy, in our opinion.

Especially since the events that transpired on Saturday night and Sunday were so damn bizarre.

Meanwhile, a reader tells us that Mike Prisuta of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has been insisting in radio appearances that his story linking Grimm to the job was on the money. Though we poked fun at Prisuta's predicament on Sunday, it could be that he was right, after all.

Is NY Jets Hall of Famer Curtis Martin Calling it Quits?

Martin's time to go draws near Will He or Won't he?????
Newsday Staff Writer

January 26, 2007

The question for Curtis Martin now appears to be when rather than if.

The future Hall of Fame running back, who last carried a football for the Jets more than a year ago, has been grappling with his decision to retire since having surgery on his right knee in December 2005. Yesterday, speaking as a recipient of the Thurman Munson Award for excellence in competitive and philanthropic work, Martin made his most definitive statements regarding the end of his playing career.

"I believe that we're going to wait until afterwards so we can sit down and brainstorm on when the best time is for myself and for the team," Martin said, regarding the front office's involvement with the Senior Bowl and Super Bowl. "We'll probably follow up after that. I'm just not really sure right now."

Martin said he is looking forward to broadening his involvement in philanthropic endeavors once he has officially closed the book on his playing career. He said he has put aside 12 to 15 percent of every paycheck he has earned in the NFL for his self-funded foundation that helps the homeless, single mothers, inner-city children and others.

"While I was playing, I wanted to keep football as my focus and do what I could off the field when time permitted," he said. "Now that that moves to the forefront and football seems to be somewhat behind me, I believe you'll see more of what I've been doing and what I am planning to do."

On Tuesday he will accept the Munson award along with Patrick Ewing, Carlos Delgado, Rich Gossage and Mike Mussina.

Martin ran for 14,101 yards, fourth most in NFL history. He spent the past season on the physically unable to perform list. Earlier this month, Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum said Martin is projected to be on the 2007 roster when the league year begins from a salary-cap and contract standpoint, so a retirement announcement might not come until then.

And my Slant:
So why All the Hush Hush "were gonna wait" line? We Knew at the end of July 2006 that Curtis probably wasn't coming back, regardless of my Posts from that time frame, and what he said at that time. We Knew and saw that Curtis could only walk normally with a supportive brace on his knee. At least he has admitted that he won't be suiting up anymore. Hey, the guy is nothing but a class act who will be truly missed on the NY football scene. Hopefully he lands a job on one of the local cable outlets doing Jets Coverage(is anyone at Sports Net NY, Fox Sports NY, or MSG reading this??? GIVE The MAn A JOB(since none of you will give me one!!!!)

Eli Thinks NY Giants Can Play in the Superbowl

Eli thinks Giants can make Super Bowl Look for my End Commentary........

Newsday Staff Writer

January 25, 2007, 9:38 PM EST

Eli Manning was on the field at the RCA Dome on Sunday. He was happy for his big brother, who finally got to a Super Bowl. But the Giants quarterback felt something else, the same thing he'll feel next week, when he will be in Miami attending NFL events but not preparing for the Super Bowl.

"I'm going to enjoy the time and when it comes time for next year I'll know what that feeling is. I'll know that I don't want to be shaking hands and [having] people come congratulate me about Peyton and what he's doing," Eli Manning said on a conference call Thursday. "I want to be on the other side and not have to be down in Miami going to events and things like that. I want to be in the hotel studying film and getting ready to play for a championship. I think I'm going to enjoy it, just because I'm proud of him and I support him."

The next nine days are all about the Colts and the Bears, but Eli doesn't think his Giants are so far removed from being in the thick of a Super Bowl hunt. Even with Kevin Gilbride, his only quarterbacks coach in three seasons, now the offensive coordinator; even without a QBs coach currently on the staff and even with Tom Coughlin's one-year mandate to turn things around, Eli has some faith.

"We have the right players in spots that we can do some good things," he said. "To make it to the championship ... everything has to go the right way. You have to stay healthy. You have to get breaks and things go your way. We have to work harder. We have to work smarter."

That Eli will be in Miami in the week preceding the Super Bowl is a bit ironic, considering that is where his top two receiving targets, Plaxico Burress and Jeremy Shockey, race down to every offseason and don't return save for the three days of June minicamp and for training camp in August.

Burress' wife, Tiffany, just gave birth to the couple's first child in New Jersey, so Burress may stick around up north for a bit. But Manning is looking for both his playmakers to make more of an effort before they're required to be on hand.

"I think there comes a time when you should get together," Manning said. "I don't think it has to start March 19 and you have to be with those guys right then, but once you start -- before minicamp or those things start up -- you get some time together. You get a few weeks to really work hard and get settled. Once you start throwing routes and get into our offense and running those plays, I think it can definitely be important to have guys around to throw with."

OK so that's ANOTHER veiled shot at Plaxico and J-Shock, but in a nice sort of pleading way " oh Come On guys we need to work out more together if we wanna get to the big game next year." I Guess I can understand that, but these U Miami guys value the fact that they can go work out at their old school without reporters snooping around and they aren't too quick to give that up. Eli wants to win as much as anyone. I know the other do do as well,..but as long as only part of the offseason program is mandatory according to the NFLPA, then what Plax said at the end of the Giants season will hold true " See you in Albany"........