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We might go after Kiffin even if we dont get Carroll.


Dirtybird
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One of the more interesting aspects of the Atlanta Falcons' pursuit of Pete Carroll this week to fill their head-coaching vacancy was that the Southern California sideline boss already had begun plans for assembling a staff, and he had identified some of the candidates to Atlanta officials.

Heading the list of potential staffers: Legendary Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, one of Carroll's closest friends.

Kiffin's contract with the Bucs has expired and, while ESPN.com has confirmed that Tampa Bay officials this week presented him with an extension offer and that consummating a deal is a priority for the club, the two sides remain far apart. The 67-year-old Kiffin is one of the league's highest paid assistant coaches, and justifiably so, at roughly $1.7 million per year. There are a few aides in the league, like Washington Redskins coordinators Gregg Williams (defense) and Al Saunders (offense), with salaries of about $2 million.

INSIDE TIP SHEET

Here's what you will find in Tip Sheet notes.

" League looking into Vick action

" Review time for Pacman

" Titans, Haynesworth talks ahead

" Dungy rumors

" Schwartz back on the radar

" Extension for McCarthy?

" Romo will be ready

" Steelers sticking with 4-3

" The list

" Stat of the Week

" Stat of the weak

" The Last Word

Once again this season, Kiffin did an outstanding job in shepherding a revamped Tampa Bay defense, one that featured five new starters. The Bucs statistically ranked second in the NFL in total defense and surrendered the third fewest points. It was an aging defense that in 2006 slipped to No. 17 in the league, the lowest ranking in Kiffin's 12-year tenure with the franchise.

But the defense demonstrated that it could infuse fresh blood, tweak some of its trademark Cover 2 schemes, and dramatically improve itself, as the Bucs rebounded to claim a second NFC South title in three years.

Under the stewardship of Kiffin, a 25-year NFL veteran, the Bucs' defense has ranked among the league's top 10 units statistically 10 times. Twice the Bucs led the NFL in total defense and the unit was ranked among the top five in six other seasons. If there was a wing in the Hall of Fame for assistant coaches, Kiffin would occupy a spot in it.

Five weeks ago, the "Tip Sheet" first reported that Oakland Raiders first-year head coach Lane Kiffin might seek to bring his father to the Raiders as defensive coordinator in 2008. But as noted at the time, the Raiders already had a respected coordinator in Rob Ryan, and owner Al Davis might not be anxious to part with him, which thus far has been the case. Plus, Davis has never paid his assistant coaches the kind of money that Monte Kiffin is, and would expect to continue, making. It's believed that, as a head coach, Lane Kiffin's salary is less than that of his father.

But the potential for the elder Kiffin to join Carroll on a staff, whether with the Falcons or any other NFL team that might pursue the USC coach, was certainly legitimate.

And even if Carroll rebuffs the overtures from Atlanta owner Arthur Blank, as expected, there is still the possibility that the Falcons' brass could recommend to whomever it hires as its new head coach that the man strongly considers approaching Monte Kiffin about heading up his defensive staff. Blank might be at a point where he is willing to pay a $2 million salary for a valued assistant like Kiffin, a proven commodity who would represent a huge step in helping reverse the Falcons' fortunes. And during part of his Tampa Bay tenure, Kiffin worked for Atlanta team president Rich McKay, who has lost his general manager title but still remains a key component in Falcons' management.

Absent a contract extension, of course, Kiffin is fair game for any team to approach.

Coming off a resurgent 2007 season, the Bucs have a number of assistant coaches with expiring contracts, and it is likely that head coach Jon Gruden, who only has one year left on his deal and will probably receive a much deserved extension, will have staff alterations. General manager Bruce Allen this week signed longtime offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Bill Muir to an extension. But running backs coach Art Valero has departed to the St. Louis Rams, where he will be the new offensive line coach for Scott Linehan, and there could be other defections looming.

But losing Kiffin, who is revered by Gruden and who was termed "a fixture" by Allen, would be a huge blow. Bucs officials feel that young secondary coach Raheem Morris is a coordinator-in-the-making, and he probably would be elevated if Kiffin exited. Although retaining Kiffin has to be a priority for the Bucs, keeping him around could well depend on Carroll's decision with Atlanta.

Around the League

" League looking into Vick action: Somewhat overlooked in the news that banished Falcons quarterback Michael Vick has entered into a federal drug rehabilitation program that could reduce his prison time and might lead to his release by the end of this year is the possible ramifications that the move might have on his NFL future.

It is not known if Vick, who was recently transferred from a federal facility in Virginia to one in Leavenworth, Kan., was ever in the NFL's substance abuse program. Given the league's confidentiality guidelines, it is essentially impossible to know which players are in the program unless they become repeat offenders, and are then suspended by the commissioner.

Vick's entry into the federal program, though, is a tacit admission of a dependency problem of unknown degree. And sources this week acknowledged to ESPN.com that the league is investigating the move made by Vick, which was orchestrated by his lead counsel, Billy Martin. The fallen Falcons star remains under indefinite suspension by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. And there has always been the possibility that Goodell could impose more definitive sanctions against Vick once the quarterback completes his 23-month prison term. The scope of those potential sanctions now could be affected by Vick's entry into the federal drug program.

And that could mean that Vick -- who entered into the program in hopes that he might gain his release by the end of this year, and perhaps be available to play football again in 2009 could have his return further delayed. Identifying a program that could win his client a shorter term was a clever maneuver by Martin, the kind for which he is being paid a handsome retainer, and one that demonstrates his in-depth familiarity with the federal system. At the same time, though, it will bring Vick under further league scrutiny. And while the NFL isn't a higher authority than the United States government, the league still has authority over when Vick is deemed eligible to return to its playing fields.

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grendel (1/11/2008)
I'm not one to advocate signing coordinators before HCs, or HC's before GMs, but I'd be for signing Kiffin... It would serve 2 purposes:

1. He's a great D-coordinator and our D would improve immediately

2. It would hurt a division rival

Co-sign! Anything to hurt the Bucs and help us also. Do it! Do it

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Well, in light of this information, I have officially changed my mind...

If Carroll is going to bring Kiffin over to the Falcons sideline then I am in support of giving him control over personnel decisions...

He's not going to make a bunch of questionable personnel decisions if Kiffin is there to tell him what kind of player he needs, at least on defense...

I don't have any doubts that a Carrol/Kiffin coaching staff will pay huge dividends towards making a huge turn-around...

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FalconsFor6 (1/11/2008)
Well, in light of this information, I have officially changed my mind...

If Carroll is going to bring Kiffin over to the Falcons sideline then I am in support of giving him control over personnel decisions...

He's not going to make a bunch of questionable personnel decisions if Kiffin is there to tell him what kind of player he needs, at least on defense...

I don't have any doubts that a Carrol/Kiffin coaching staff will pay huge dividends towards making a huge turn-around...

I got to agree with you on that one.

I ain't too keen on Carrol.

But if he guarantees a Carrol/Kiffin Combo, I would definately change my mind.

That pairing would move to the top of my wish list, based mainly on Kiffin being his running mate.

Pete Carrol by himself ranks just above "A bum with a broken shopping cart" on my current wish list.

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grendel (1/11/2008)
falconva7 (1/11/2008)
Kiffen = Tampa 2 right? Does anyone else feel like we really don't have the personnel for a Tampa 2? You need zone corners and great safeties. We have press man coverage corners (one of the best in D. Hall) and our safeties are lackluster in coverage.

We'd trade DHall for a 1st round pick and draft Kenny Phillips with that pick. The cover 2 also likes physical CBs who can come up to stuff the run... Houston is perfect for that, and Irons is a big hitter on ST.

go buy a gun and kill yourself for sayin some stupid mess like this..

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falconva7 (1/11/2008)
Kiffen = Tampa 2 right? Does anyone else feel like we really don't have the personnel for a Tampa 2? You need zone corners and great safeties. We have press man coverage corners (one of the best in D. Hall) and our safeties are lackluster in coverage.

Cover 2 also requires LB's get deep on coverage. Which is something our LB's haven't been able to do. But how much of that is players ability vs coaching?

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grendel (1/11/2008)
FalconsFor6 (1/11/2008)
Well, in light of this information, I have officially changed my mind...

If Carroll is going to bring Kiffin over to the Falcons sideline then I am in support of giving him control over personnel decisions...

He's not going to make a bunch of questionable personnel decisions if Kiffin is there to tell him what kind of player he needs, at least on defense...

I don't have any doubts that a Carrol/Kiffin coaching staff will pay huge dividends towards making a huge turn-around...

Meh... I'd love to have Kiffin. Not sold on Carroll as a HC, and definitely not on the bandwagon for Carroll as the personnel guy.

When it was thought that Carroll would be coming alone, I shared the same opinion...

But if he's able to snag Kiffin, then there would be no unit of time small enough to measure how quickly I would change my mind...

The main reason I was hesitant about Carroll was because he has been away from the NFL for so long, even though most of his exp. has been NFL-based. And relinquishing personnel decisions to any one person is foolish practice. But if Kiffin is on-board the possibility of foolish personnel decisions is going to be greatly diminished for both special teams and defense...

All we would need is a solid OC with good input. Keep in mind that even a solid OC is going to benefit from a Kiffin defense...

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FalconsFor6 (1/11/2008)
grendel (1/11/2008)
FalconsFor6 (1/11/2008)
Well, in light of this information, I have officially changed my mind...

If Carroll is going to bring Kiffin over to the Falcons sideline then I am in support of giving him control over personnel decisions...

He's not going to make a bunch of questionable personnel decisions if Kiffin is there to tell him what kind of player he needs, at least on defense...

I don't have any doubts that a Carrol/Kiffin coaching staff will pay huge dividends towards making a huge turn-around...

Meh... I'd love to have Kiffin. Not sold on Carroll as a HC, and definitely not on the bandwagon for Carroll as the personnel guy.

When it was thought that Carroll would be coming alone, I shared the same opinion...

But if he's able to snag Kiffin, then there would be no unit of time small enough to measure how quickly I would change my mind...

The main reason I was hesitant about Carroll was because he has been away from the NFL for so long, even though most of his exp. has been NFL-based. And relinquishing personnel decisions to any one person is foolish practice. But if Kiffin is on-board the possibility of foolish personnel decisions is going to be greatly diminished for both special teams and defense...

All we would need is a solid OC with good input. Keep in mind that even a solid OC is going to benefit from a Kiffin defense...

The aritcle indicates that even if Carroll doesn't come to ATL that Blank may try to convience the new HC to take Kiffin as DC. $2 milliion a year for AC.

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Dirtybird (1/11/2008)
FalconsFor6 (1/11/2008)
grendel (1/11/2008)
FalconsFor6 (1/11/2008)
Well, in light of this information, I have officially changed my mind...

If Carroll is going to bring Kiffin over to the Falcons sideline then I am in support of giving him control over personnel decisions...

He's not going to make a bunch of questionable personnel decisions if Kiffin is there to tell him what kind of player he needs, at least on defense...

I don't have any doubts that a Carrol/Kiffin coaching staff will pay huge dividends towards making a huge turn-around...

Meh... I'd love to have Kiffin. Not sold on Carroll as a HC, and definitely not on the bandwagon for Carroll as the personnel guy.

When it was thought that Carroll would be coming alone, I shared the same opinion...

But if he's able to snag Kiffin, then there would be no unit of time small enough to measure how quickly I would change my mind...

The main reason I was hesitant about Carroll was because he has been away from the NFL for so long, even though most of his exp. has been NFL-based. And relinquishing personnel decisions to any one person is foolish practice. But if Kiffin is on-board the possibility of foolish personnel decisions is going to be greatly diminished for both special teams and defense...

All we would need is a solid OC with good input. Keep in mind that even a solid OC is going to benefit from a Kiffin defense...

The aritcle indicates that even if Carroll doesn't come to ATL that Blank may try to convience the new HC to take Kiffin as DC. $2 milliion a year for AC.

That's a wise move, IMO...

I don't care who you are, why any HC would object to a Kiffin defense...

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grendel (1/11/2008)
falconva7 (1/11/2008)
Kiffen = Tampa 2 right? Does anyone else feel like we really don't have the personnel for a Tampa 2? You need zone corners and great safeties. We have press man coverage corners (one of the best in D. Hall) and our safeties are lackluster in coverage.

We'd trade DHall for a 1st round pick and draft Kenny Phillips with that pick. The cover 2 also likes physical CBs who can come up to stuff the run... Houston is perfect for that, and Irons is a big hitter on ST.

Are you serious???

Why would you do that???

Hall has shown he is versatile enough to play press man and zone...

He made the pro-bowl playing in a zone scheme. But you'd (basically) want to trade him for a rookie that is probably his same age with much less experience???

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Shiney_McShine (1/11/2008)
Why is Tampa so obtuse in not re-signing Kiffin? Give him what he wants. You won a Superbowl with him......Personally, I hope they blow this.

It said in the article that re-signing Kiffin was a top priority, but if Kiffin doesn't WANT to sign then Tampa doesn't really have a choice...

I hope they blow it whether we sign Kiffin or not...

Him coming to Atlanta would just be icing on the cake...

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Actually we dont have too bad of personnel for the tampa 2. We resign D Mo and a new LB with Boley is great for the T2. Maybe bring in a SS. i think J Will would do better as a T2 Saftey. If not, there are some options out there. And we have the linemen already. Also anything to make a division opponent weaker and us stronger. I am all for it.

I dont know how yall can hate on our FO so far. I think they are doing the right thing and presenting us with great options. Just have faith and they make the right decisions.

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grendel (1/11/2008)

Well, I don't think Hall would be happy in a Cover 2 defense. I think he'd ##### and complain. CBs are not stars in Cover 2, safeties are. CB's in the Cover 2 just cover the short zones and come up to support the run. Do those sound like Hall's favorite things?

Seeing as we'd need a top-notch safety to run a Cover 2, what would your plan be, oh wise one?

yep exactly. D Hall would not want to sign a new contract in Atlanta if we went to a cover 2

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When did you need a top flight saftey to play it? THAT IS THE WHOLE POINT. You dont need top flight talent. Just people who are good at what they do. Why do you think it has been successful and duplicated all over the league.

Also how do you figure a corner cant be a star in it? Vasher sure got a helluva a pay day. David got one too and he was helluva corner in indy. So uuuummm no. Ronde barber sure looked like a star to me in the superbowl...LOL

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grendel (1/11/2008)

Well, I don't think Hall would be happy in a Cover 2 defense. I think he'd ##### and complain. CBs are not stars in Cover 2, safeties are. CB's in the Cover 2 just cover the short zones and come up to support the run. Do those sound like Hall's favorite things?

It sure worked for Rhonde Barber.

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grendel (1/11/2008)
FalconsFor6 (1/11/2008)
grendel (1/11/2008)
falconva7 (1/11/2008)
Kiffen = Tampa 2 right? Does anyone else feel like we really don't have the personnel for a Tampa 2? You need zone corners and great safeties. We have press man coverage corners (one of the best in D. Hall) and our safeties are lackluster in coverage.

We'd trade DHall for a 1st round pick and draft Kenny Phillips with that pick. The cover 2 also likes physical CBs who can come up to stuff the run... Houston is perfect for that, and Irons is a big hitter on ST.

Are you serious???

Why would you do that???

Hall has shown he is versatile enough to play press man and zone...

He made the pro-bowl playing in a zone scheme. But you'd (basically) want to trade him for a rookie that is probably his same age with much less experience???

Well, I don't think Hall would be happy in a Cover 2 defense. I think he'd ##### and complain. CBs are not stars in Cover 2, safeties are. CB's in the Cover 2 just cover the short zones and come up to support the run. Do those sound like Hall's favorite things?

Seeing as we'd need a top-notch safety to run a Cover 2, what would your plan be, oh wise one?

It's obvious you don't like Hall...

but how can you say he'd complain, when he didn't complain when he played zone regularly under Mora?

Even when Hall come out of college he stated that he never had a problem supporting the run and he's never complained about it before...

I remember reading where he stated that he actually liked up-earthing RBs...

I don't have ALL the answers and never pretended to, but we already know that we need help at safety, whether Kiffin comes or not...

If Kiffin does come you're looking at putting 2 inexperienced players in the defensive secondary if you get rid of Hall, and the player you're replacing Hall with is likely to be the same age with less experience and less talent...

Why not keep Hall (if we can) and find a safety...

Trading an established player creates holes and this team already has enough of them...

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grendel (1/11/2008)
215FalconsFanatic (1/11/2008)
When did you need a top flight saftey to play it? THAT IS THE WHOLE POINT. You dont need top flight talent. Just people who are good at what they do. Why do you think it has been successful and duplicated all over the league.

Also how do you figure a corner cant be a star in it? Vasher sure got a helluva a pay day. David got one too and he was helluva corner in indy. So uuuummm no. Ronde barber sure looked like a star to me in the superbowl...LOL

hahahahaha David... yah, he's been GREAT! There's a reason Indy let those guys walk, and it's because CB's aren't that important in the Cover 2.

The whole point of the Cover 2 was that it was hard to find shutdown CB's, and safeties were undervalued, so they came up with a scheme where they could plug in just OK CB's and get good safeties to play the outfield...

That is what i said...LOL...we dont need top flight talent. We actually have above avergae talent for it.

Jason David is a very good cover 2 corner. He just cant cover a WR man to man if he was laying in a bed with his jammies on.

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