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Ross Maak: New coach might be best thing in Oakland

I’ve made no secret about my hatred for the Raiders.

Ever since they beat the Vikings in the Super Bowl, I’ve disliked them. When I moved to Colorado and got caught up in Broncomania, the feeling grew and festered.

It’s been easy for me the last few years. The Raiders have worked hard to prove just how inept they are, culminating in last season’s 2-14 season.



(Side note: I was at one of the two wins when the Raiders tallied 98 whole yards on offense compared to the Steelers’ 300. How the Raiders won that one I’m still not sure. Oh yeah, Big Ben went colorblind.)

Anyway, the only challenge the Raiders presented me with recently was trying to keep my yap shut. It’s not easy when Oakland is so horrible. Then, with the hiring of 31-year-old Lane Kiffin, I almost burst into song.




The youngest, most inexperienced coach in the NFL is their answer to turn around a 2-14 franchise? Al Davis must have finally lost his mind.

But wait. What is this on the horizon? Is it a bird? A plane? A new 6-foot, 5-inch, 260-pound savior of a quarterback who, it’s rumored, can throw the ball 65 yards with one knee on the ground?

No. Not even that should be what has Raiders fans all fired up.

Instead, I’d submit to you that it’s this 31-year-old, son-of-a-defensive-coordinator that should have the Black Hole thinking up new Halloween costumes to sport this season.

Why, you ask?

It was a small sports story that barely broke the surface of national news. Lane Kiffin was penalized by the National Football League Players’ Union for violating practice standards.

In fact, the final week of the Raiders’ offseason workout program was pulled by the union, saying Kiffin was working the players harder than he should have during simple offseason get-togethers.

What is this, football? Or is this a picnic?

According to a statement released by the Raiders, Kiffin said, “I was notified that the Players (Association) believes our total commitment to improving our football team has resulted in some violations of rules regarding practice standards. The union has complained about the high level of intensity, player aggressiveness and fast pace of our practices and as a result, has taken away the final week of our offseason program.”

That’s rich. A bunch of football players whined to their union reps that the young new coach was working them too hard. If I’m a Raiders’ fan, I just jumped on the “Kiffin for President” bandwagon.

It’s time to ride these overpaid whiners until they break or decide to play football. My money is on the offensive line. You remember, the one that gave up 72 sacks last season?

Holy cow that’s a lot of sacks. They only played 16 games!

So, while I personally may not be all that excited about it, it looks as though Kiffin may just be one piece of a puzzle the Raiders need to turn the corner.

Of course, a 6-5, 260-pound quarterback that can throw 65 yards from one knee may not hurt, either.

Did they measure how far he can throw from his back?

ooo

To contact Sports Writer Ross Maak, e-mail rossm@theunion.com or call 477-4244.


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