Kiffin: It Comes Down to Playing Smart

Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin talks to the media about what it was like knowing Colts head coach Tony Dungy when he was younger, Oakland's quarterback situation, the Colts' secondary, and more!

On what he remembers about being a little kid in the Vikings locker room...

"I think for about four years my dad (Monte Kiffin) and (Coach Dungy) worked there together in Minnesota and I was always around, and coach (Tony Dungy) was always great with the younger kids, bringing them in and talking to them and helping them out on football stuff after practice as well. He was just really great to be around."

On his feelings about facing Tony Dungy as a coach...

"I had really hadn't thought about it that way. We've got enough problems that we're trying to fix here, and trying to get us to play well. I hadn't really sat down and thought about it."

On his specific memories of Tony Dungy at a young age...

"I was around him a lot at Tampa. I'd always go down in the off-seasons to Tampa while I was in college, and once I started to coach when coach was down there, so there are a lot of memories. There's a real vivid memory when I was going to college and he brought me in, kind of like another father figure. He brought me in and sat me down and talked to me about going to college and making the right decisions and all the trouble that could come with college, all the things that can go with that. He sat me down for a while that day, that was in Minnesota my first year going to college. It was a pretty neat deal. I've never met a stronger person in his belief, faith, and coaching, and in who he is than Tony Dungy. I've never met anyone close to him."

On the special impact Tony Dungy has had on him...

"He just reminds you all the time about how important other things are in life. You don't have to be the ‘old school' coach that a lot of people think you have to be able to win. He's such a great example of a guy that his players love. He's got one here (Warren Sapp) that just can't stop talking about him, the way he is as a coach and their respect for him."

On JaMarcus Russell playing this week...

"We're going to play JaMarcus again as soon as we get to the last home games and see how well he plays. We don't have a specific number of plays or series for you right now."

On who will be the starting QB this week....

"We're going to see how much Daunte (Culpepper) can do today, and Josh (McCown) was pretty beat up as well."

On Daunte Culpepper's injury...

"He has a quad and it hasn't healed since the last game he started."


RB Justin Fargas
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

On the development of RB Justin Fargas...

"Well, Justin really hadn't done much in his first four years in the league. I think he sees an opportunity in a system that helped him. He's really been a good story, a guy that was kind of buried on a depth (chart) when he got here. With LaMont (Jordan) ahead of him and Dominic Rhodes, he just kept working his way up, took the job over in spite of competing and performing well."

On Justin Fargas' playing status this week...

"We haven't practiced yet today. We haven't had a chance to go out and look at him today. We'll look at him today."

On the team's fourth-quarter performance vs. Green Bay...

"The win/loss record with only four wins isn't where we'd like it to be obviously, but we've seen some improvement and some good things go on. We've been in every game until last week until the end. We'll need to rebound from that and come out and play well this week."

On recapturing the Raider tradition of excellence...

"The past year has nothing to do with what we're trying to do now. There's a great passing history here, but over the last five years it's gone on hard times. Really what was done years ago has nothing to do with the players or what's going on now. We're just continuing to try and get better and improve from where we're at now."

On becoming a more balanced team...

"It just really depends on what game you're going into. Really the concern is to perform well, regardless of whatever phase that's in depending on what that game plan is going to be. It's playing well and not turning the ball over. When we win the turnover margin, we're 4-1. That's what it comes down to, winning the turnover margin and playing well, and playing smart. We have a long ways to go. We made a couple of strides in the two games prior to this with two divisional wins, and we need to get back on track."

On his thoughts of Colts young secondary...

"Obviously Sanders (Bob) jumps out because he makes so many plays and such a fabulous player. He reminds me a lot of Troy Polamalu, who we had at SC. He's all over the field, plays every snap like it's his last. He's obviously a big issue for people to deal with."

On Kelvin Hayden and Marlin Jackson...

"I think you have a great tackling secondary and a great tackling defense in general. It's a typical Tony (Dungy) undersized defense that's extremely fast and tackles extremely well. It's not very multiple in what they do because they do things so well, they don't need to be multiple."

On calling his dad to get help in preparing for Peyton Manning...

"Well he didn't have very much luck. I don't know if there are many answers for stopping Peyton. You've got to hope you can contain him and hope some things go your way."


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