Sunday, August 17, 2008

I Am Excited

Clearly I have a cornerback's mentality, because no matter how many times I get burned I get fired up for the next time around.

There are all the usual reasons for excitement: returning defensive studs (Asomugha, Burgess, Morrison, Howard), promising young skill position players on offense (Russell, McFadden, Miller), a second consecutive year with the same coaching staff, etc. But I really think the whole drama of a Raiders season has in itself become fun to me, as sick as it sounds.

Today's topic du jour in the local media is Lane Kiffin's continuing disappointment in the depth of the roster. He complains that the Raiders have an unwillingness to cut players who are injured throughout training camp, and as a result, marginal players are going to make the roster and the starters won't see much of a challenge.

The fun part of this is that Kiffin clearly is taking a nothing-to-lose attitude with the press. Since Al has taken away his seat at the personnel decision-making table, Lane is just going to provide his input via the press.

While we are all aware of Davis Scholarships, I've always thought Kiffin projects existed as well. Take the 2007 draft - the one influenced by Lane Kiffin, the man who had visited so many of the draft class in their homes while recruiting for USC. There are four pretty terrible players from that draft either unnecessarily holding roster spots or frighteningly projected to make the team: Johnathan Holland, John Bowie, Mario Henderson, and Johnnie Lee Higgins. Not coincidentally, our worst depth is at WR, CB, OT, and return man.

It seems Kiffin is willing to take on projects but is quick to move on, such as he did with players like Mike Williams and Quentin Moses. Given his tenuous hold on the head coaching position, he is probably even less likely this year to display the patience required to nurse projects to fruition. I suspect Kiffin is ready to move on from these four to find better options.

Ironically, it's Al Davis' patience with his player projects that may help him lose patience with his coaching project.

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