The last we heard, Raiders interim head coach* Lane Kiffin was cleaning out his office. Or at least he should’ve been; speculation had owner Al Davis firing the 33-year-old former USC assistant because, well, Al Davis is a crazy old man.
Last Sunday, the Raiders put a hurting on a Chiefs team that is much worse than anybody expected, but rumors continued to swirl about Kiffin’s job security. He has been very matter of fact about the whole situation, and is apparently resigned to his fate. Except Kiffin’s still gainfully employed. But that could change as soon as Davis can get Art Shell on the horn and convince him into another comeback. Or Davis will just can Kiffin and figure out the rest later.
…Kiffin did what all NFL coaches do the day after Sunday. He broke down game video. He met with the coaching staff. He held a news conference to talk up the next opponent with the media.
The difference is, unlike his 31 peers, Kiffin has absolutely no idea if he’ll be allowed back for his next work shift. All he can do is wait and see if Raiders owner Al Davis will fire him after 18 games or let him continue at least through Sunday’s game at Buffalo.
“He has a decision to make,” Kiffin said Monday at team headquarters in Alameda. “It’s not my call. You gotta go somewhere else to find that answer.”
I have no idea if Kiffin is a good coach, but I respect the guy for treating Davis like the crazy uncle at the family barbecue. This is business as usual in Oakland, though, and the players are hardly surprised by all manufactured drama:
“We’ve been dealing with that since March,” said receiver Ronald Curry, who has had four coaches in seven Oakland seasons. “It’s business, and hopefully it doesn’t happen. I think Kiffin does a great job, but it’s Al’s team and I think Kiffin knew that when he got here.
“Everybody knows what’s going on.”
Kiffin’s crime isn’t losing, though he is 5-13 since his hire in January 2007. The issue is what Davis considers to be ongoing insubordination in the form of Kiffin’s public criticism of all things Davis over the past six months.
And insubordination will not be tolerated. I fully expect Davis to put Kiffin over his knee in the exit interview to “put that young whippersnapper in his place,” then install the next coach in this puppet regime, and Oakland can get back to the business of being absolutely awful. Just like now, but without all the insolence. You know, because it really brings down morale.
* they’re all interim