"Lane's Growing Pains" are becoming obvious and the key part of that phrase is the word, "Pains".
It was nearly as if you could watch the Cal Game on Saturday, where one of "Young Kiff's" teachers and mentors, Jeff Tedford, coaches and get the perfect scouting report and know how the Raider game would end on Sunday .
In the loss to Oregon St., the team was confounded by a quarterback not throwing the ball through the end zone when running a quick hit, pass or throw the ball away, situation and chosing to run to the middle of the field with no time-outs left and 8 seconds on the clock.
I can still see the kid running off the field with the ball in his hands. He was dazed and knew that time was going to end his bid to lead the Bears to the #1 ranking and also beat Oregon St. for the first time in Berkeley in 10 years.
If there is a great close-up of the look on Riley's face as he ran off the field, that will be a sports photography classic.
The look of "Dull Pain"
The next day, the Raiders put together a strong drive that saw them with 1st and Goal from the 1 yard line at the with only seconds left in the 1st half.
A touchdown would have tied a game which to that point had been a Charger blow-out.
A QB sneak with the guy who ran for 3 TD's the week before, or a hand-off to your leading rusher, maybe even a fake and a quick look to the Tight End.
Nope, they roll Daunte out and try to hit the fullback on the other side of the field and Daunte, instead of throwing it away, gets sacked and they could not run a running play again, because they had to burn the time-out and were 7 yards further back.
In an obvious pass situation, the quarterback has GOT to know that the defensive line is coming hard and get rid of the ball quickly in order to avoid a sack and preserve the field goal.
Once again, Daunte went down and so did the Raider momentum.
The story was no different this week-end when Cal's hopes died on a drive near the end of the game when Nate Longshore's final meaningful pass of the day ended up in a UCLA defenders hands and he returned it for a game ending touchdown.
Just a field goal on that final meaningful drive would have "probably" won the game for Cal. That is IF their streaky kicker would have hit a field goal. (Sound familiar?)
On Sunday, Daunte threw a pass behind his receiver that was picked off and ended the game.
The Raiders were 20 yards away from giving, the suddenly hot, Sebastian Janokowski, a shot at winning the game when Daunte threw the pick into the waiting arms of the Chief defender.
You can say that the East Bay Football Teams are being tied together by fate or linked by their coaches, but I just think that this Jeff Tedford/USC/Gruden hybrid offense isn't getting it done with the personnel that are trying to have run it.
Josh McCown can run it better, because it fits his style more, but he is NOT a top tier quarterback and cannot stretch the defense. He will not get us to the Top this year.
Daunte Culpepper is reminding me of the Rouseau quote, "Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains".
Except in this case it is, "Daunte needs to play free, remove his chains".
Daunte is best when he is running the offense through the middle of the field.
He loves to call his own number at the goal line. He should be your first choice on 1st and 1 from the 1 and in.
You line him up behind Robbins, Gallery and McQuistan (He should be in in goal line) and let him pick his hole.
The QB sneak is the best leverage plays in football. It has the least amount of risk for a loss of yards because there is no dropping back, it is a solid push. A one yard scrum, with the 6"5, 245 pound quarterback pushing behind linemen.
Goal line has been a problem for Kiffin so far.
It reminds me of Gruden's first years here when we could not make a 3rd and one or score from one yard out.
Then he put Crockett in the Power I and let him get his 1-2 yards. EVERY TIME. And nobody could stop it.
That play is still NOT in our play book, or at least it is not used and that has hurt us.
If "Son of Monte" is not going to use Daunte to answer that call then let's have Sapp lead for Bush and call it a day. Bush is 240 lbs.
But, in any case, he has to solidify his short game. Maybe a few rounds with Jack Nicholas will help him with his knee knockers.
With the Raiders intent on drafting JaMarcus Russell they were limited in the quarterbacks that they could have had.
The two that they brought in still wanted to start for a few years and saw JR as a threat to that.
First they wanted Garcia, then they brought in Carr, and they ended up with a good back-up that can run the offense, Josh McCown, and a great player who is anything BUT this offense.
Now, Lane is stuck on "His Offense" and is not adjusting to personnel. Especially healthy personnel.
Giving "Kid" Kiffin an automobile like Daunte Culpepper, is like giving him a 911 on his 16th birthday.
If that "Kid" can pound that clutch, hold onto that wheel and drive that Porsche it will give him the best performance.
If he tries to drive it like a Volkswagen Bus, it will constantly stall and will eventually just break down and cost, YOU, the parent, a ton of money.
IF this offense is going to be it's best, it is going to need some more "Pepper" and a little less "Salt".
This 2-4 Cocktail tastes familiar and I hope that the 2009 mix tastes like 2000. With a little better finish!!!