Davis, Kiffin fail to see eye to eye
September, 30, 2008
Cutting through the verbiage of Al Davis' long-awaited rant, the difference of opinion between the Raiders owner and Lane Kiffin on who should be defensive coordinator and who should be the quarterback ultimately led to the coach's dismissal. Davis confirmed Tuesday that Kiffin wanted to fire defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, and Davis overruled him. Davis further revealed Kiffin was against the idea of drafting quarterback JaMarcus Russell. Davis went out of his way to praise the abilities and potential of Russell. If your head coach and owner disagree on the quarterback and the person who is going to run the defense, there is not much hope they can get along. Coaches and owners always have differences. In the NFL, coaches usually get to pick the coaching staff and the general manager usually gets to pick the players. Kiffin didn't accept the Raider reality that Davis makes all the major calls. If Kiffin took those decisions seriously -- which he obviously did -- it was inevitable that this relationship was going to fail. A career choice: One of the smartest people in the Raiders mix over the past two days was offensive coordinator Greg Knapp. Knapp met with Davis Monday night to discuss the interim job, and he made it clear he felt his best role for the organization was going to be as the play-caller. Knapp didn't want to parlay the situation into a chance to get a head-coaching job. He wanted to be professional and was trying to be honest with Davis. Knapp should benefit from this. Davis revealed Knapp called about half of the plays during Sunday's 28-18 loss to the Chargers, and Knapp showed a willingness to go downfield more. A man of his word: True to his word, Sean Payton re-signed quarterback Joey Harrington. The Saints signed Harrington less than a month ago because Payton thinks he can remake him as a quarterback, but they then had to release him because they needed healthy position players. New Orleans has filled most of its seven-player inactive list with injured players who couldn't suit up for games, forcing the organization to bring in bodies off the street to fill out starting lineups and special teams. The injury report got a little better early this week, so Harrington was brought back so Payton and his coaches can work with him. Blasts from the past: Because the Steelers emphasize their power running game so much, it shouldn't be a surprise they went back to former running backs to fill their void because of injuries to Rashard Mendenhall and Willie Parker. They re-signed Najeh Davenport and they can bring Gary Russell off the practice squad until Parker recovers from a knee injury that might sidelined him another week or two. The big loss, though, was guard Kendall Simmons. He had successful Achilles surgery Tuesday and will need eight months of recovery time. The Steelers line is in total transition and his loss will hurt.