Over the last three months, most of the press would have you believe that Raiders’ head coach, Lane Kiffin, was not going to be there come draft day, and had no chance of still being in charge at the start of the season.
Yet Kiffin remains.
The Raiders have been a mess as a franchise since their last Super Bowl appearance, and Kiffin is their fourth head coach in five years. I don't suppose it was anything but predictable that the press at large would predict further disenchantment and disaster within Al Davis' the silver and black empire. They do love to hate him.
But these predictions appear to have been made with somewhat of a slanted judgment. Two things were widely reported in regard to James Lofton's hiring as Raiders’ receivers coach.
Firstly, that he was hired by Davis without any input from Kiffin. Secondly, Lofton met with Kiffin and offensive coordinator Greg Knapp, and was interviewed by them prior to being hired. You can't have it both ways, and both stories can't be accurate. If Kiffin interviewed him, he had a say.
I have no doubt that Al and Kiffin have had their differences of opinion, as they are both strong characters and have their opinions on the way things should be done. But when Al hired Kiffin, he gave him a lot of leeway, and we saw a mass exodus of the coaching staff from Oakland. Kiffin was then able to bring in his own guys. These were big changes. Despite a 4-12 record, the team also looked a lot better on the field.
This offseason, the Raiders have spent loads of money on available free agents such as Gibril Wilson, Javon Walker, and Tommy Kelly. They also traded for, and invested a lot of money in, DeAngelo Hall. They have been, by far, the most aggressive team in the league in this area. These are big moves, and big money moves, even for a guy like Davis.
He has invested all of this, which is Oakland's on-field and financial future, in this year’s team. Would Al invest all of this in a team that was in limbo with a lame duck head coach?
Al doesn't waste money, not that kind of money. Whatever differences he has with Kiffin, they won't preclude Kiffin being head coach of the Raiders in 2008.
Kiffin is staying put, you can bank on that.