After not really talking to the media for the last two months, Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin opened up at the NFL owner's meetings this week. He basically answered every conceivable question about the team's off-season, but two comments stood out above the rest.
On trading for CB DeAngelo Hall: "Was cornerback our No. 1 need? No. But DeAngelo became available, and he is a player with great potential. . . . We couldn't pass him up."I understand the sentiment: DeAngelo Hall is a shutdown corner, blah, blah, blah. And I get that owner Al Davis loves speed and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan loves cornerbacks who excel in man coverage. Fine. But Colts' head coach Tony Dungy's take on the whole pass rusher vs. cornerback argument makes you wonder if the Raiders might've been better off solidifying the defensive line.
And that leads to quote No. 2:
On replacing retired DT Warren Sapp with DE Tommy Kelly:"Tommy has played three different positions for us. With Warren being a 3-technique, Tommy really hasn't been able to flourish at what we feel is his best position. But Rob (Ryan) feels Tommy is the best 3-technique in the league."Well, let's hope Ryan is right because Oakland dropped a lot of coin on a guy not many people thought much of. Of course, conventional wisdom is seldom conventional and often wrong, so Kelly could be a pleasant surprise next year.
If he struggles and Oakland's front four has trouble generating a pass rush, it won't matter who plays cornerback, however. Which was Dungy's point. Maybe it's not coincidence that consistently good defenses are more concerned with bolstering the front seven instead of the secondary. Or maybe God just hates the Raiders. It's one or the other, though.