God help me, but I can’t help but feel a little sorry for Lane Kiffin. I shouldn’t, and neither should anyone else, because he accepted Al Davis’ offer to coach the team, probably knew he was a third or fourth choice, and decided to go with it anyway. Now, it’s a week by week speculation-fest about when (not if) the Cryptkeeper will suck up his pride about paying him the rest of his contract and fire him.
These are absolutlely the worst type of job situations: you are working for a boss or bosses who wants you off the staff (whether for personal reasons or looking to save cash), and he’d rather you quit than fire you. So, we’re stuck with a very public spat and stalemate — and even outside incidents like the arrest of defensive end Tommy Kelly for DUI tend to color the whole feeling of chaos surrounding the organization.
Everyone knows Davis has to have control; holds it over the offensive philosophy to a point where there is no truly independent coach in the East Bay — this is why the Raiders’ head job has essentially become kryptonite ever since Jon Gruden had his spat with the Cryptkeeper and made his way to Tampa Bay. Sure, Bill Callahan got them to a Super Bowl — and then got whipped by Gruden, because he’s Bill Callahan. After that, it was NORV! and the gargoyle ways of Art Shell, Version 2.0. Now, Kiffin is in limbo, seemingly content to game plan week to week with the ax over his heead and everyone asking him about his job security.
There are the rumors that he would head to Syracuse to take over when the AD gets enough of a pair to fire the underachieving Greg Robinson. I remember Kiffin flirting with the Arkansas job last year before Bobby Petrino bailed on the Falcons. All I can think of these rumors is that Kiffin has to be a masochist if he wants to take the biggest resurrection project on after he gets canned.