The supposed “rift” between Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan finally appears over, as at the Senior Bowl Kiffin stated that Ryan has a contract with the team, and that he will be back for the 2008 season. It’s been a weird month for the entire coaching staff for the Raiders, as at one point Ryan was fired, then he was not, then Kiffin appeared a few times on the hot seat with owner Al Davis bearing down on him, and now he appears back to being in the organizations good graces as well.
Ryan said to Chicago Tribune reporter Vaughn McClure Wednesday when asked about the supposed tiff “Everything’s been cool. Some reporters don’t know s—, so they make a story out of nothing. I’ll be back absolutely. If they want to win a championship, they’ve got to keep us both together.” So this means in no uncertain terms that Ryan is back, and Kiffin, like it or not from his end – has to live with it. It’s no secret that Davis is a big Ryan fan, and he’s been in Ryan’s corner from day one. Kiffin wanted Ryan canned for a season in which the defense went backwards, but indications are that Davis blocked the move.
Ryan is a coach that the players love to play for, so by keeping him it’s going to go over big with the players that at first had thought he was going to be canned. For Ryan, he’s likely been put on notice that he’s got one more season to get the defense turned around, or next year at this time he really will find himself on the unemployment line. If the Raiders as a whole don’t get things moving in the right direction faster, Kiffin may very well find himself there as well.