I had high hopes for Lane Kiffin.
After the carnage USC wrought in the coach's final season with the Trojans, I thought, "Oh boy, with the No. 3 defense and Lanes' offensive skills, the Raiders are going to own the AFC West!"
As you all know, it didn't happen that way.
The play I remember most from 2007 came in a game against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Raiders had the ball on the 28-yard line and faced a 4th-and-inches—and instead of taking what would have been an easy kick for Sebastian Janikowski, they went for it and failed.
They wound up losing that game by two points.
Poor performance wasn't as much of a factor in that loss as was poor decision-making.
All the great coaches say that you never chase points unless you have to. That means when you're down 6-0 in the first quarter and you have a chance to kick a field goal, you do it.
Maybe the problem is that Lane is rattled by the dominant ego of Al Davis, or that being a head coach in the NFL is too great a burden for him. Lord knows it's humbled even the mighty Tuna a time or two.
Hopefully, though, Kiffin has managed to get his head around it in the offseason—and is ready to help the Raiders hit the ground running in 2008.
And by running, I mean ramming Justin Fargas down people's throats and making him the NFL rushing leader. Spell him with Michael Bush and throw in some play-action for fun.
And for God's sake, stay away from deep passes until the offensive line gets up to speed—otherwise, it's gonna be sack city like it has been for the last four years.
If they can do all that, Lane Kiffin and the Raiders might just contend in the AFC West in 2008.