This might be the worst Raiders team in history

How bad does a team have to be if the opposing quarterback can go 7 of 27 for 72 yards, throw four interceptions and still win?

That opposing quarterback was Jake Delhomme in the Panthers’ 17-6 win over the Raiders on Sunday. He was worst than the numbers indicate, but while Oakland moved the ball decently, they couldn’t put it in the end zone. They did rush for 147 yards, but Andrew Walter threw two interceptions and Da Raiders turned the ball over a total of three times.

Of course, Walter’s 143 passing yards were still better than JaMarcus Russell’s high of 31 passing yards in last Sunday’s loss against the Falcons. While Walter was far from even below average, he probably was more productive than Russell (who dressed, but sat out due to an injury) would have been.

This could very well be the worst Raiders team in the history of the franchise and Al Davis has nobody to blame but himself. Davis wanted to have his thumb on Lane Kiffin when he was head coach and when Lane didn’t abide, Al saw to it that he was replaced. Well as it turns out, the Raiders were actually still playing hard under Kiffin because they saw direction. There is no direction under interim head coach Tom Cable (not all his fault) and the players are quitting.

Davis won’t, but he needs to step aside. He needs to get a strong front office person in charge to do all the day-to-day operations or else the Raiders will sink further and further into oblivion. Al thinks that flashy draft picks and high priced free agents are what build a winning football team and he’s sadly mistaken.

Somewhere Lane Kiffin smiles and laughs from afar.

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Is JaMarcus Russell a bust? Was Lane Kiffin ever the problem in Oakland?

JaMarcus RussellWhile it might be incredibly unfair to suggest this of a player that has only started nine games in his career, but is JaMarcus Russell a bust? Granted he plays for the circus that is the Oakland Raiders, but check out his completion numbers in his first five games this season: 65%, 35.3%, 47.4%, 59.5% and 37.1%. That’s atrocious.

The former first overall pick finished 13 of 35 for 159 yards and an interception Sunday in the Saints’ 34-3 rout over the Raiders. Russell also fumbled twice in the game…in the first quarter.

But to suggest at this point that he’s bust might be a bit premature. Again, it’s not like he has the best situation in Oakland. Not only is his offensive line brutal, but Greg Knapp also continues to prove that he’s a bit clueless in his play calling after taking over those duties since Lane Kiffin was fired.

Speaking of Kiffin, Oakland’s play on Sunday might have proved that he was never the problem. (Or at least, not the main problem.) Even though they were losing, the Raiders at least played hard under Kiffin and showed some improvement this year before he was let go. Nothing against interim head coach Tom Cable, but the only reason he’s in the position he’s in now is because he must have shown at some point that he’s willing to bow down to Al Davis.

Kiffin wasn’t perfect and he made his fair share of mistakes, but given their effort against the Saints on Sunday, it’s fair to say Davis didn’t give the young coach a fair shake. (Or any shake for that matter considering he fired Kiffin over the phone.)

Davis needs to realize that his ship is sinking and he’s at the one at the wheel.

Fantasy Football Podcast #5 (10/2/08)

Listen in as Anthony Stalter and I discuss the Al Davis/Monte Kiffin debacle, the emergence of Lance Moore, the Baltimore running game, Carson Palmer’s elbow and the Redskins/Eagles battle, among other topics.

Click here to listen to the podcast.

(In honor of the Davis/Kiffin feud, the opening music is The Dandy Warhols’ “We Used to Be Friends,” which also served as the theme song to brilliant-but-cancelled television show, “Veronica Mars.”)

Are Lane Kiffin and Al Davis the same guy? has an interesting take on the Lane Kiffin firing and reminds us that not everybody was on board when Al Davis hired the young buck from USC two years ago.

Al DavisBut if you were reading SbB when Kiffin was hired by the Raiders in 2007, you know that he is every bit the bad guy Davis is. Former USC football captain Petros Papadakis, now a sports radio guy for KLAC-AM and college football analyst for FSN, is as close as anyone to the Trojan program. Here’s what he said about the former assistant coach at USC when Kiffin was hired by Davis:

“Hiring Lane Kiffin is not fair to the players and fans of the Oakland Raiders. It’s a desperate hire by a desperate man, Al Davis. Comparing Kiffin to John Gruden is ridiculous, Gruden had eight years of legitimate coaching experience in the NFL, and had been interviewing for head coaching jobs in the league when he was hired by the Raiders.

“What’s his (Kiffin’s) most significant NFL experience to draw from? One year of a defensive gofership seven years ago with the Jacksonville Jaguars.”

“I know him personally and he doesn’t command a lot of respect from the players or other coaches. I never looked at him as head coach material or even offensive coordinator material. He couldn’t even manage players at USC, how can he manage players in NFL?

“Watching him call the plays for the offense of the 2005 team, with Leinart, Bush, and Lendale White was like watching a little kid trying to drive a Ferrari.

“He was coaching at USC because of Pete Carroll, who was mentored by his father, (longtime NFL assistant coach) Monte Kiffin. So Carroll basically parented Lane at USC.

“Coaching the Raiders isnt going to be an uphill battle for Kiffin, it’s an up-cliff battle.“

Sounds a lot like the guy Davis described today at his press conference.

And even well before Kiffin was hired by Davis, and still under the employ of USC, Papadakis made abundantly clear on former USC football flagship KMPC-AM in Los Angeles that Kiffin was personally disdained by USC players, and commanded little-to-no respect on and off-the-field. Kiffin was a borderline laughingstock who only had his job with the Trojans because he was Monte Kiffin’s son (per Monte’s close personal relationship with Carroll).

Now, I by no means am defending Davis’ actions. It’s clear that when Kiffin would not submit to the owner’s every oft-misguided whim, he was doomed. But as Davis gets demonized in a one-sided manner today all over the main media, it’s clear to me that Kiffin isn’t much different than the man who showed him the door.

Interesting. There were many media members who felt that hiring Kiffin was a horrible idea because of his youth and inexperience – which it was. As it turns out, Kiffin not only was a bad hire because of those things, but also because the guy doesn’t know how to communicate with players (as noted by Papadakis). The Kiffin hiring was a train wreck from the start and Davis has nobody to blame but himself.

Al Davis talks about Lane Kiffin, Kiffin responds

Davis: “…what I would call propaganda, the lying that had been going on for weeks… and months… and a year… and time.”

Kiffin: “Does that mean I don’t get paid?”
Davis: “That’s what I’m saying to you.”

Lane Kiffin responds…

I’m still not clear how Davis can fire Kiffin without paying him the remainder of his contract. I smell a lawsuit.

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