Lane Kiffin made it VERY clear that no one would remain on "scholarship" once he took over the team.
He then wasted no time in letting marginally talented players who were "Raiders", like, Adam Treu look for employment elsewhere.
Of all of the players to be shown the door; True, Boothe, Crockett, Gabriel, Francis, Morant, Whitted and Huntley, only Huntley was on the defensive side of the ball. He did let Tyrone Poole go too, but, Poole was hardly a "Raider" on scholarship.
When Lane arrived there was really only one "Untouchable". That "Untouchable was the defensive coach Rob Ryan.
Rob Ryan's defense was given credit for being the #1 defense against the pass and it was Lane Kiffin's idea that if he just put up 20 points a game on offense then the team would quickly turnaround. The defense was supposed to be the strength and backbone of this team.
With Burgess and Sapp we had two of the most prolific pass rushers at their positions in the NFL. Quentin Moses and Jay Richardson were drafted and Gerard Warren was added through a trade with the Broncos in order to strengthen the D-Line.
Fabian Washington was picked by many to make the same leap that Nnamdi "Awesome" Mua made last year into a shut-down corner.
Morrison, Howard and Williams were solid and steady and at times spectacular, so we were set at linebacker.
The weakness of the defense for the past few years had been the safety position. Unfortunately that position was NOT addressed during the draft and two cast-offs, BJ Ward and the oft-injured Donovan Darius could not supplant Schweigert at FS and Huff has been kept at SS.
On paper, the defense should be upgraded this year.
To this point, that has not been the case.
In 2006, teams ran the ball against the Raider defense 34 times a game and averaged 4.0 yards a carry. That is a total of 136 yards a game.
This year, teams are running the ball 29.6 times a game and averaging 5.1 yards a carry. That is nearly 150 yards a game.
The pass defense is also looking as deceptive as last year's numbers were.
This year teams have passed the ball only 27.1 times (30th in the League) a game against the Raiders for an average of 7.0 yards per pass play (15th in the League).
Last year teams passed only 25.6 (32nd in the League) times a game for an average of 6.4 yards per play (Tied for 3rd).
The one area the defense is doing better in is interceptions.
Through the first half of the season, the Raiders already have 11 INTs. Last season they only tallied 18. This year they are on pace to record 22.
As good as that news is the fumble recovery numbers ar just as scary. The Raiders defense is the ONLY team in the NFL to NOT record a fumble recovery and every team has recovered AT LEAST two. This is a sign that our team is NOT knocking anybody out.
These are areas of concern that NEED to be addressed.
So, how does Lane approach this?
This is where we will see how much cajones he really has.
Does he have the gumption to call Rob Ryan out?
I would definitely LOVE to see Lane call him out. How about you?