Catching up with Lane Kiffin

Derek Anderson

We caught up with head coach Lane Kiffin to discuss the Oakland Raiders season to date, what challenges the Cleveland Browns present, why he prefers taller wide receivers, whether JaMarcus Russell will play this year and much more...

On their QB situation for the game:

Lane Kiffin: Josh McCown will be our starter and Daunte Culpepper will be number two.

On RB Jamal Lewis' performance against the Bengals and how that affects their game plan:

Lane Kiffin: I thought that he was great. Watching him – he's a powerful runner. We knew that. Last year in free agency, there were some questions as far as how fast he still was. His average per carry were way down last season. Then he came out and he showed it. They gave him a seam and he dropped a couple of those lead draws and he looked like he was really young again.

On a couple of Browns' players saying that the mentality in Oakland has changed and they are becoming a winning football organization again:

Lane Kiffin: I'm glad they said that because then we're accomplishing some of our goals. Obviously, our number one goal is to win but we're 0-2. We feel we are doing some things well. I had to come in and this locker room wasn't in good shape – that's no secret. It was extremely dysfunctional. We tried to attack that right on and that meant we had to make some changes. We had to bring in a number of new guys, especially younger guys, guys that would understand and represent our team philosophy and work the way we needed them to work. We're making some strides.

On DL Gerard Warren:

Lane Kiffin: He played really good last week (against Denver). We haven't had him that long. Each week we try to use him a little more. He played good in Week One and then he played really well last week. He had a sack for a safety and he was real explosive, powerful during the game at times. We're going to continue to push him and see how far he can take it.

On when QB Dante Culpepper might play this season:

Lane Kiffin: Right now, I feel that Josh [McCown] puts us in the best position to win, right now. But that's today. You could see them both in the game, that's a possibility.

On how tough of a loss last week was:

Lane Kiffin: We have a 24-hour rule first of all. We haven't as a team, or in our locker room, talked about last game. It was difficult because it was an emotional roller coaster. Many of us didn't know there was a timeout called and didn't hear anything so, including myself, we thought the game was over and thought we had won. Then to have that taken away from us, it was tough. At the same time, the players haven't felt what it was like to win a big game in a long time. In a sense, for the 15 to 20 seconds, they felt what it was like to go on the road versus a big-time team and come away with a win, but then it was taken away. Hopefully, that taste will make them realize that we need to make sure we work as hard as we can during the week and prepare as hard as we can, so that we can have that feeling instead of the feeling we had immediately following the game.

On whether he would like to see the timeout rule at the end of games changed:

Lane Kiffin: I really don't have a problem with the rule. I would have liked it if it wasn't in place just because of what happened. But no, I don't think there's an issue with the rule and I've used it a number of times during two-minute drills or towards the end of the game to stop the clock because it is quicker to be able to get to the side judge.

On his assessment of QB Brady Quinn:

Lane Kiffin: We researched Brady a lot. We had him here as well, for a full day. I think the world of Brady. I think he's going to be a great quarterback and I loved who he was. I loved getting to know him. He was so competitive playing against him at (University of Southern California). His preparation is off the charts. Doing all the research that I did, as far as him down in Arizona working out, he's the first guy there and the last one to leave. It's going to pay off and I think you guys got yourself a franchise quarterback.

On QB Derek Anderson's performance in Week Two compared to Week One:

Lane Kiffin: I hope Week One shows up because Week Two, they were on fire. I can't imagine them playing much better. You can see as the game went along – he didn't start off that fast – he gained confidence and they were protecting him. Boy, they played a great game. That reminds me of him at Oregon State when he was there. When he got rid of (the ball) and had time, he has got a big-time arm and real accuracy. Hopefully, he won't be in that rhythm Sunday.

On whether it's unrealistic to think QB JaMarcus Russell can play this year:

Lane Kiffin: No, no it's not. We would never put standards on our players as far as they can't play until a certain date. We're going to push JaMarcus as hard as we can and see how far he can take it. He'll play if he's ready to play.

On how his age affects the way he works with his coaching staff and guys around the league:

Lane Kiffin: I don't treat it any differently. You'll have to ask them about their feelings on it. I have high expectations for all of our coaches. I don't – just because the guy is older – treat them any differently, or if I see something that we can do different, I don't hold back because of my age or experience. My job as a coach is to get us to win and I wouldn't be protecting our team if I was doing all that.

On whether they made a trade for Gerard Warren because they saw something that was ‘salvageable':

Lane Kiffin: We were at a pretty low risk in the way it was set up – the trade – so it made it easier for us. If we decided to not keep him on our 53, waive him prior to Week One, we would not have given up a draft pick at all. It was low risk for us. We took a chance on a guy that has great ability and has played well at times. But we knew there was something there because teams had just given up on him, especially, for Denver to give him to us, obviously, they weren't very pleased with him. We took a chance but we didn't think there was too much risk involved and he played well for us in preseason. He had a great attitude so we kept him.

On WR Braylon Edwards:

Lane Kiffin: I'd like to have him on our team. He looked really good (against Cincinnati). I actually saw him in preseason because you played in Denver in preseason. While I was watching the game in Denver, he was showing up in that game as well. He ran right by [DB] Dre Bly one time. He looks exciting and looks fun to have. You throw the ball anywhere near him, he'll make the play. He's a tall, lanky guy that looks a little like [Panthers WR] Dwayne Jarrett. He looks like he's going to be a tough catch for us on Sunday.

On why he favors bigger WRs:

Lane Kiffin: It just goes back to our beginning at USC. We've always kind of had that classic, big guy that played split-end for us. Then the flanker wasn't quite as big and was more of a possession guy. We felt that there was so much man-to-man when we first got there and we didn't have one. We felt that there was so much man-to-man and so many guys were getting in the box that we needed to have a guy that we could throw it up to regardless if we had a great a quarterback or not. If we got it to him, he could make a play. We started with [Raiders' WR] Mike Williams, then Dwayne Jarrett and now, there's a guy named Patrick Turner that's in the same mold as well.

On whether he feels pressure to win now:

Lane Kiffin: I do, but that's the pressure that I put on myself. I'm not at all pleased with the fact that we played well and we've come back even though we're 0-2. We're 0-2 and we have to start winning. People forget how close games are. At the end of the year they don't remember how close games are, they look at your record. I don't feel pressure from anyone else. I feel pressure from myself to win and we need to win.

On Braylon Edwards comments on their defense being the fastest in the league:

Lane Kiffin: I don't know if we're the fastest team because we just got done playing a fast one in Denver. If Braylon says we are, then I guess that excites me that we're the fastest team. But we need to play a lot better because we aren't playing well on defense right now. What (a fast defense) allows you to do is, it allows you to play man coverage but we haven't been doing that well. It allows you to do it, but if you're not doing it well it doesn't matter. We need to play a lot better Sunday.

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