Part of the Bay Area News Group

Taking the offensive

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Sunday, January 27th, 2008 at 2:36 pm in Oakland Raiders.

The Raiders made strides with their offense and regressed on defense in 2007, but in terms of addressing it with regard to the coaching staff, they’re starting out moving in the other direction.

On offense in 2007, the Raiders went from 12 touchdowns to 28, from 1,519 yards rushing to 2,086 yards, and from 32nd in time of possession to fifth in the NFL.

On defense in 2007, with less time spent on the field, the Raiders gave up 5,446 yards as opposed to 4,557, 5.7 yards per play as opposed to 4.8 and surrendered 46 touchdowns compared to 34.

The response?

The Raiders issue a statement saying Rob Ryan is still the defensive coordinator, and their first two interview subjects for the coaching staff are on offense _ James Lofton and Al Saunders.

The Raiders have confirmed Lofton’s interview. Bay Area News Group beat writer Steve Corkran and others have reported Saunders’ impending visit.

Lofton has interviewed with Al Davis on two occasions for the head coaching job, but senior executive John Herrera said it is for an assistant’s position and that interview will be with Kiffin.

Lofton coached wide receivers for the Chargers until being fired last week and has more NFL experience than Charles Coe, a veteran college coach who had his first NFL season with the Raiders last season.

The Saunders interview is another story. There are only two positions Saunders would be intereviewing for _ head coach and offensive coordinator.

Saunders, like Lofton, has a history with Davis, having interviewed for the Raiders head coaching job twice before removing his name from consideration.

But if Saunders isn’t coming in to talk about Kiffin’s job, then it means offensive coordinator Greg Knapp could be on his way out.

Saunders, as an offensive coordinator with the Rams, Chiefs and Redskins, called all the plays. Kiffin called plays for the Raiders, with Knapp, a play-caller with the both the Falcons and 49ers, taking the Raiders job only after deciding he and Kiffin were comptabile in terms of philosophy.

ESPN is reporting Saunders is also a candidate to be offensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams, where he would be the play-caller.

There is almost no way to interpret the interest in Saunders as anything other than an acknowledgement that Davis is preparing for the possibility that Kiffin either won’t call the plays or won’t be the head coach.

And if you take Davis at his word last year when he stressed the importance of having a play-caller as the head coach, it would most likely be the latter.

“One of the attributes was he had to have was the ability to call the plays,” Davis said when Kiffin was hired. “To call the plays, to me, that’s vital in professional football today. Some has to be accountable for calling the plays.”

Bringing Saunders aboard would also mean changes in the offensive system. A radical change would be a setback to JaMarcus Russell, who is only the most important person in the franchise who isn’t named Al Davis.

Raiders and PFT
Interesting to note that the Raiders are sending adverstising dollars to ProFootballTalk.com, the hugely popular rumor and information site which makes its living posting the very stories which the organization spends time trying to refute.

Stripped down the left side of the site is a “Raiders Image” ad, noting the stores are “owned and operated by the Oakland Raiders.

Under-Armour-gate

Yes, Mike Nolan wore the same coat Lane Kiffin did in the Senior Bowl. Nolan also wore a 49ers hat before replacing it with an Under-Armour skull cap in the fourth quarter when the sun went down and the temperature dipped.

Nolan was also wearing 49ers gear all week at practice and in interviews.

At no time when Kiffin was shown on television was he ever wearing a Raiders shirt or visor. According to PFT, the NFL Network’s Adam Schefter and Albert Breer of the Dallas Morning News reported Kiffin didn’t wear anything with a Raiders logo all week.

Kiffin normally coaches wearing a Raiders visor, although not always. He didn’t wear one Saturday.

I was also told Mark Jackson, Kiffin’s administrative assistant who would follow him out the door should he leave, was not wearing Raiders gear in Mobile and spent a lot of time with USC coach Pete Carroll.

Hard evidence that Kiffin is on his way out? Of course not. Just a subtle message that there are some problems to be worked out between the owner and the coach.

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  • John Elway’s Teeth

    Hobs Gnarly,

    If you’re trying to say, A senile old man (AD)doesn’t know whether to piss or take his shirt off, I get your metaphor. Al’s still heading south on I-5, tooling along in his Model T at a stout 37 MPH in the left lane with his Left turn signal blinking away.

  • La Milicia Negra

    “Bruce was a good salary cap negotiator”

    yeah, when we was over the cap, he found away to get us just under, which would spiral to us being more over the cap next year, which he solved with getting us just under, which resolved a even higher rate over the cap.

    It would escalate, its like solving your debt with acquiring a new credit card.

    the worst thing Allen did was giving so much money to old players. the way he did it, was so wrong, when the players retired, we still owed them money against the cap.

    If you are a good negotiator, you get us way under the cap, not just under. btw Kiffin and Mark Jackson did that this year.

  • NorthernRaider

    Hobs Gnarly…The outfit behind the cursed psls was OFMA – Oakland Football Marketing Assn.
    La Milicia Negra…Good to hear from a fellow student of history.

  • http://Oakglenn Oakglenn

    sorry K-Rock that wasn’t directed at you, there were just some posts wondering if and when a press conference was scheduled for today.

  • K-Rock

    I have 15min of power left and nowhere to plug in. :(

  • Hobs Gnarly

    I believe players will play with more enthusiams if you negotiage with them in good faith. Those players had legit contracts and Allen helped to lower those number so that they could remain Raiders and give them how many straight western div championships and a AFC confrence champ and superbowl appearence. All of these things working in harmony did it, not just al

  • Acey40Deuce

    K-Rock Says:
    January 28th, 2008 at 12:41 pm
    “I have 15min of power left and nowhere to plug in.”

    Thats what she said! Time to get one with a kick start…

  • La Milicia Negra

    NorthernRaider…

    I didn’t dare to post it though, because i would hate to be banned, i don’t know yet what you can and cannot write in these american forums…
    things we think is harmless is way offensive to some americans… its a fine line, and im still learning =)

    ex. I said ‘boy’ to koolkell (or somebody here), and he was very offended by it, because he found it very offensive, I of course just meant ‘male kid’ because the level of the arguments at that time was like a kindergarten. We never think of colour so it wasn’t on my mind. Now i’m very careful, i everytime think about how an american can misunderstand me…

    I didn’t dare to compare Al and Hitler management styles, because i was afraid of people here to think i said Al Davis was a Nazi…

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  • Jon Clayton

    Hey guys, I don’t think there is a press conference today.

  • Hobs Gnarly

    Where you at LMN? I just moved from Germany to UK, though I am born and raised in the states

  • AZ Raider

    #497
    Explain it to me Says:
    January 28th, 2008 at 12:32 pm
    God …you guys are literally “OWNED” by the media!
    You fall for every bit of their crap. How sad.

    Explain it to me….why would a fired coach be interviewing a new offensive Coordinator?

    And you’re not “OWNED”? Where did you hear Lane is actually the one doing the interview? Outside of seeing it with your own two eyes you’re “Owned” like the rest of us.

    Love it or leave it, there’s two sides to every story and then there’s the truth and the truth is only seen not told.

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  • AZ Raider

    new post up

  • I’m a STEELER FAN!

    AL DAVIS NEEDS TO RETIRE! THE TEAM HAS NOT BEEN PLAYOFF CONTENDERS SINCE THE RAIDERS AND BUCS SUPERBOWL! THE OLD MAN DOES NOT KNOW HOW TO LET HIS COACHES BE COACHES! ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING AND DOMINATING FOOTBALL DYNASTIES, HAS BEEN A TOTAL LET DOWN DUE TO THE IDIOT(AL DAVIS) ACTING LIKE A COACH! THE DEMISE OF THIS TEAM IS BECAUSE OF AL DAVIS! IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT WHAT TOP NOTABLE COACHES WANT TO BE A PART OF THE RAIDERS ORGINIZATION? IF AL DAVIS WOULD JUST LET HIS COACHES DO THERE JOB, THE TEAM WOULD WOULD PROBABLY BE PLAYOFF CONTENDERS AGAIN! THE TEAM HAS ALOT OF TALENT AND IT SHOWED LAST YEAR BECAUSE THE DURING THE SEASON, THE RAIDERS LOST THEIR SEASON GAMES BY A TOUCHDOWN OR LESS, IN EXCEPTION TO THE CHARGER’S AND PACKER’S GAMES! IF THE RUMOR’S ABOUT DENNIS GREEN AS HEAD COACH FOR THE RAIDER’S ARE TRUE, THEN THE RAIDERS MIGHT HAVE A CHANCE AS PLAYOFF CONTENDERS THIS SEASON IF AL DAVIS ALLOWS HIM TO DO HIS JOB! I DO NOT TAKE ANYTHING AWAY FROM KIFFEN. HE’S A FINE COACH BECAUSE HE BELIEVED AND GAVE OPPORTUNITIES TO PLAYERS ON THAT TEAM TO PROVE THEMSELVES TO BE STARTERS SUCH AS JUSTIN FARGAS WHO MADE HIMSELF VERY NOTABLE IN THE NFL AS A STAR RUNNING BACK. LIKE I SAID, THE TEAM HAS ALOT OF TALENT AND IF AL DAVIS WOULD JUST ALLOW HIS COACHES TO BE COACHES THEN THE RAIDERS CAN AND WILL BE PLAYOFF CONTENDERS AND MAYBE CHAMPIONS AGAIN ONE DAY!

  • http://. Coach on Wheels

    Ray Ratto said to effect that too many people have brought up the resignation letter for it not to be true but the problem is that too many media people is meaningless.

    To Wit:
    Adam S comes up with the Under Armor “scoop”
    Maylock, Dilfer and Charles immediately repeat it
    Jerry Mac mentions it here
    Profootballtalk mentions Adam S saying it
    Cockran picked it up in the Times
    Ira in the Chron mentioned it
    It was mentioned several time on this blog, on the radio and add the Sac Bee
    Now, since Adam S came up with pure speculation to fill time during a halftime show they knew Raider fans would be watching, it has been “reported” by no less than 10 media members.
    It must be true then. Right? Wrong! It has no more credibility now then the moment Adam S (who has admitted fueding with Davis) pulled it out of his a$S during the Senior Bowl.

  • http://SierraRaider Sierra Raider

    SacBee update, sounds like the Saunder’s rumors are BS.

    ===========
    Saunders update
    I spoke with Al Saunders’ agent Bob LaMonte and he said he’d heard nothing from the Raiders as far as interviewing his client.

    A source familiar with all the details said Saunders was scheduled to meet with the Raiders today.

    Saunders was most recently the Redskins’ offensive coordinator.

    The Raiders expressed interest in Saunders before hiring Art Shell.

    Saunders has also drawn interest from St. Louis.

    –Jason Jones

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  • 2sense

    al doesn’t respect the HC position. plain and simple. he doesn’t believe in its importance and never will. Jim Rome said it best on his talk show today:

    “if davis held any respect for the head coaching position, he would have never hired a 31 year old with no coaching experience in the first place. Bring on the next lame duck.”

  • John

    This insanity must stop. Might as well urge George W. to launch Operation: Oakland Freedom. Sack the Alameda HQ, hunt down and capture Al Davis and his cronies, prosecute them under the ‘crime against the RaiderNation’, process them through a tribunal, sentence them to capital punishment (sounds too harsh?!? :P ), then finally carry out the sentence.

  • Big AL’s GOON

    Huff said:

    Big Al’s GOON – You can blame all the coaches you want but what excuse do you have for Al Davis? He’s an owner who hasn’t won a Superbowl since 1983. How can you explain that? How can you defend that? You can bring up 2002 but you can’t even defend Al Davis for that as well.
    ———————————————————
    AL is an owner that has built one of the winningest franchises in pro sports up until the last few years. There are plenty of owners around the NFL who haven’t won a freak’in thing. The Chargettes, the Detroit Lion cubs, the Seahumps, Ariz., ATL., etc. Many things have occurred since that 1983 Championship. We have endured; players have been killed, Stacey Toran. Players have sustained freakish career ending injuries, Bo and Nap McCallum. Pro-bowl players have gotten addicted to drugs and eventually died in car crash. Players have lost their minds before the night before the Superbowl, B.Robbins. We have been cheated by the officials, Tuck Rule. We have been cheated by players from other teams, fat Goose of the Ravens. These are just some of the hardships the Raiders have had to endure since 1983. And you blame AL? I know we got blown out in the 2002 Superbowl, but the fact still remains we were there and along the way we picked a few AFC West titles and an AFC Conference Championship. How many teams can say that since 2002?

  • Big AL’s GOON

    LMN said:

    Kiffins team was full of players never experienced a winning season. Sapp was probably the only one. Mike Tomlin inherited a team that just won the SuperBowl so I don’t think the squads and coaches situations can be compared

    A turnaround that we need takes atleast 2 years, I thought this was year one in a 3 year plan…
    ———————————————————
    Kiffin came in the door cleaning house. Kiffin got rid of the players he didn’t want and replaced them with his own. I’m speaking offensive players. Look at the offensive roster from 2006 in comparison to 2007. Almost two totally different teams. Tomlin took over a 4-12 Pittsburgh team and turned them around. Anything else is an excuse. Who said it takes 2 or 3 or 5 years? Where is that written? Where did this master 3 year plan crap even come from? This obscure master plan crap is just an excuse for multiple years of failure.

  • Big AL’s GOON

    Gnarly said:

    Goon you stated yada yada yada about being gung ho on Denny Green, I asked you after that if you were fine with a coach stating that working for Al was treacherous, but I guess in the process of getting your teeth bashed in by Huff and Cope you didn’t notice. posts 661 from you 671 from me
    —————————————————————–
    What are you one of those internet gangsters with all the teeth bashing comments. Funny, but inaccurate. As I explained before “If” Denny doesn’t want the job I’m sure AL will find another candidate. Besides he always go look up under another rock and find another Kiffster. However, Kiffin is toast hopefully AL will hire an actual NFL experienced coach.

  • RAIDERMIKE

    THERE IS SOMETHING ABOUT KIFFEN I DONT TRUST…CANT PUT MY FINGER ON IT BUT I FELT IT SOMETIME IN OCTOBER.

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