There are no statistics that measure true coaching ability; there are no formulas that aid a general manager in selecting a head coach. That is why there is a plethora of opinions whenever a coach is fired or hired.
Many opinions are floating around after the dismissal of Raiders Head Coach Lane Kiffin. It seems the majority of football fans view this as a wrong move and consider it another horrible decision by owner Al Davis. I have to agree with them.
Lane Kiffin isn’t a bad coach by any stretch. His first year as head coach of the Raiders garnered no special results, aside from the fourth overall pick in the 2008 draft.
The Raiders finished 4-12 in 2007 and seemed destined to continue down that road for a long time. However, immediately after that lackluster season, you could almost hear the screeching of the brakes.
The Raiders wanted to contend, and their trip down the road of ineptitude was coming to an end.
Loads of talent were brought in by the Raiders this past offseason, and many expected that to carry over to immediate success this year.
I beg to differ. Usually the team that has played together longer will beat the team with the most star power.
The Raiders certainly have star power now, after the acquisitions of Javon Walker, Darren McFadden, DeAngelo Hall, Gibril Wilson, and Drew Carter. What they didn’t have, after more than 10 major pickups was experience together. Reasonable fans knew it would take at least a year before this team could be very good.
Lane Kiffin had other plans. He had done an excellent job of bringing these players together and allowing them to get to know their new teammates. Almost nobody thought the Raiders would be great this year, but Kiffin tried to instill a winning mentality in 2008.
They are trying to do that so far this year. Sure, they have only one win, but they have done so against three of the toughest teams in the AFC. The Broncos, now with four wins, blew the Raiders out in Week One. Then came a game in Kansas City, where the Raiders delivered their own blowout for their first win of the season.
Week Three brought a very close game against the Buffalo Bills, who now have four wins. The final score was 24-23 and ended in a losing effort from Oakland.
Week Four was another close game against the San Diego Chargers, where the referees were blamed for a few bad calls.
Going into the season, the Raiders had the third-easiest schedule in the league, based on 2007 records. The Oakland schedule will never see a tougher month than it just endured. The Raiders did what they needed to: beat the team they were supposed to, and they left everything on the field in the tougher games.
Did Al Davis really expect more than one win in this opening month? I think everyone expected the Raiders to beat the Chiefs, but the Broncos, Bills, and Chargers are amongst the leagues’ elite.
The Raiders are still meshing together. You can’t expect perfection from a group of guys who have spent just months together. There are things that take time to develop.
If Al Davis’ ultimate goal is to continue down the inept road the Raiders of recent history have been known for, he has created a huge paradox. Why would he spend so much money to acquire as much talent as he did only to fire his coach four games into the season? Even he must have realized that good teams take time to mesh, right?
The answer is no. Any other owner would have kept Lane Kiffin as head coach and looked forward to easier games in the future. The truth of this situation is that Lane Kiffin has done an excellent job of bringing this team of new faces together. Even Brad Childress could come in and win with this team after what Kiffin has done.
Kiffin may be young, but he knew what he was doing. He may not be considered so by Al Davis, but Lane Kiffin is a winner in my book.