Raiders Dysfunctional? Yes, but in Need of a Divorce? No!
There is nothing wrong with calling players and coaches out when they need to be held accountable.
Also, there is nothing wrong with having the moral fortitude to hold players and coaches accountable in public to a fan base that lives by a code of looking people in the eye and telling them you are not performing (or shouting it at them).
So far, after week two, we have both Lane Kiffin and Rob Ryan being held accountable for their jobs.
Some would even say Mr. Al Davis is being held to account as well.
Anybody see a problem with that for a Raider fan base that has been embarrassed, humiliated, frustrated, in despair, chuckled at not only in the workplace but football gatherings as well… not to mention loyal for the past five seasons or so while this team has clung to the bottom of the standings?
I don't see a need for Kiffin to be relieved of his duties when all he has done is try to hold players (and a coach) accountable for being productive and to earn their salaries.
As someone who has been a Raider fan for over 30 years there is some truth to the belief that a majority of fans feel insecure with Mr. Davis' continued micromanagement of overall football operations and even the play calling on the defensive side of the ball.
I want to be clear that this article means no disrespect to who Mr. Davis is or what he has accomplished in the NFL.
Mr. Davis is without a doubt one of the most distinguished individuals in regard to how the NFL came together and for being responsible for the leagues success.
Yet, with all due respect, Mr. Davis, from my perspective, is being misled by those Hall of Famers and others he keeps in his circle of friends who still believe in the defense the team continues to run.
Regardless of Ryan's rant the other day and how many super bowls he claims to his credit…he runs Mr. Davis' defense, not his. He has said as much in past seasons.
It's like the other teams in the NFL have moved on to a 'West Coast Defense' while somehow the Raiders have only been able to grasp that on the offensive side of the ball.
Mr. Davis is known to be one of the foremost individuals able to remember talent at a young age (wherever they played in the United States) as well as someone who takes care of the players under his wing.
For example, when Norv Turner tried to do the unthinkable and pull Kerry Collins from the starting quarterback position.
Turner (well, perception was anyway) was directed by Mr. Davis to put him back in.
While maybe not well known of Collins past issues with alcohol, it appeared as if Mr. Davis would sacrifice what was left of the season to ensure Collins had something to keep him ‘on the wagon.’
This type of caring for players on the current roster by Mr. Davis is exactly what Kiffin was referring to when he referenced a lack of competition internal to the team.
Kiffin as the head coach was being perceived as being the overall person responsible for his first season at the helm by not just the media but Raider fans as well.
Kiffin then did what was expected of him by the fans and made the type of decisions he felt was best for the team.
For example, he brought the underpaid Just Fargas (aka Crash Test Dummy) to the starting position when those overpaid and under-performing running backs tried to do what those before them had done (sit back, avoid all contact on the field and collect their salary).
Instead of continuing a culture of a ‘slacker’ mind set, Kiffin has only held those paid to perform accountable both on the field and in public.
Some understandably question such a leadership style of publicly criticizing the players when some coaches have taken to only saying such things behind closed doors.
I, for one, who have shelled out hundreds of dollars for the Raiders and have observed some of them not giving it 100% say bravo to Kiffin.
It's not like Kiffin told the fans anything we didn't already know about the player(s) but at least we know he's not a 'door mat' for the players.
Kiffins the head coach; not a coddler like some of his predecessors (Callahan/Turner) or an authoritarian figure barking out orders unable to relate to the players of this generation (Shell).
Kiffin has also cut salary non-performers and played only those who have showed the type of heart to play for the team fans could only have hoped for.
So, are the Raiders dysfunctional right now with the head coach running the offense and special teams while Mr. Davis and Ryan run the defense and make personnel decisions? Yes.
Do we need Mr. Davis to give into that form of group-think he has around him that says get rid of the guy who has only done what was expected of him? No.
It is likely that the Raiders could lose the next couple of games and even get embarrassed by San Diego, but to fire Kiffin at this point makes no sense and even the offensive players have said as much.
There should be no free ride in professional sports and to many in Mr. Davis' circle of Hall of Famers their influence should have ended when the defense they advocate no longer made sense in today's NFL.
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