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Taking the offensive

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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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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • ATLRaider

    I’m sure that if your polled Raidernation, and asked who you support in this latest drama:

    99.9% Lane Kiffin
    0.1% Al Davis

    That must surprise even Old Man Davis, with all his dementia.

  • La Milicia Negra

    hobs gnarley..

    If Knapp stays he will become the QB coash no doubt about that. He’ll will become the highest paid QB coach and Al can sell that because everything good to come will be associated with how Jammy will strive…

  • ATLRaider

    Another bad move on Al Davis’ part was keeping Amy Trask over Bruce Allen. Trask is a Loser.

  • CopenhagenFan

    Gnarly…exactly….all these guys are pumped and skilled. They need to play as a disciplined well oiled machine…A TEAM where each guy does his job and doesn’t make mental errors and does what the coach says.

    It’s obvious that our guys would rather have a nice coach who let’s them do what they want. Like Rob Ryan who places no blame and tells them they’re great when they get bowled over by 3rd string runnning backs.

  • ldynblk26

    I keep hearing press conference !! When? I still back The kid !! Kiffin!! Kiffin!! Kiffin!! Al sit back and take a chill pill!

  • Perkaps Madden will provide his services as a mediator in all this chaos. Not sure if he still has Allen Davis’s ear. However, he has been considered a “loyal” footsoldier.

    Stranger things have happened. . .

    Rod Serling

  • La Milicia Negra

    ATLRaider…

    What!!!

    Bruce gave us old overpaid players, we was constantly just under the cap. Bruce gave blackout after blackout.

    Trask, got in the face of the Alameda so she could control ticket sales, and suddenly no blackouts.

  • Hobs Gnarly

    NO the city of oakland and that psl gave you blackout after blackout. Bruce allen was exec of the year the year before we went to superbowl and during his prominence we went to teh superbowl. Yeah I will take him

  • ATLRaider

    The one thing Trask has done well was taking over control of ticket sales.

    Say what you want about Bruce Allen, but compare the winning percentage for the Raiders when he was here compared to Trask.

  • Blackholepriest

    Amy and Bruce do very different jobs they don’t overlap at all. Bruce is a personnel guy, Amy is in the legal dept. they have nothing to do with each other. The Raiders kept Lombardi over Bruce Allen.

  • Hobs Gnarly

    moving the team out of Oakland couldn’t have helped either as far as blackouts. Davis simply lost some fans

  • Thank you BHP for saving me the time.

  • Blackholepriest

    my pleasure

  • La Milicia Negra

    Amy trask has nothing to do with the sport side of things, she handles the business. that thing bruce allen didn’t understand, and thats why he was almost fired in tampa this year.

    Bruce Allen had the opportunity to get the power of ticket sales, but didn’t. AMY DID!

    Look in one of my preious posts i say we need one more like her… that one should take care of personel and personel salary

  • Hobs Gnarly

    Some say Trask was instrumental in getting Gruden and Allen out.

  • La Milicia Negra

    BHP exactly

  • Hobs Gnarly

    How much of the sell outs are Trask? Does the Raiders and the TV station buy up tickets to remove the blackouts?

  • La Milicia Negra

    Hobs gnarley…

    well then she did a good job… Look how much she gained in that deal then. picks and money. Those picks wasn’t use wisely, but that wasn’t her doing

  • Hobs Gnarly

    Bruce could not do anything until the psl’s and the thing that sold the tickets (can’t remember it’s name) expired. That did so this past year and now you see sellouts, with a little help

  • Hobs Gnarly

    I’m confused to what your saying LMN

  • NorthernRaider

    Excellent corporate analogy,CopenhagenFan. A smart CEO hires good staff, lets them do their jobs, and insists on honest feedback, whether positive or negative. I read a fascinating article awhile ago about how yes-men and ruthless ladder-climbers are undermining so many companies today.
    Another, scarier, analogy can be found in Hitler’s command of the Wermacht throughout WWII. By purging any of his Generals who dared to contradict his often flawed strategies, he turned a highly efficient command structure into a confused mess (Thank God for that, eh?). The book, “Hitler And His Generals” (The actual transcripts of strategy meetings from 1942 to ’45) offers a fascinating insider’s view of a madman being undone by his own paranoia and thirst for power. Sound familiar?
    P.S. – Thanks for your reply,FireKiffin.

  • Hobs Gnarly

    Lombardi was a weasel if you believe shell and Allen did the better job

  • Hobs Gnarly

    Neither of them are there anymore and I would still take either one of them instead of Davis doing it.

  • La Milicia Negra

    I cant believe Raider fans turn their back on Amy Trask, what she’s done for us is fantastic. what you see on telly on sundays has nothing to do with her, her job is keeping the business going through off season. Raider image, facilities etc

  • Blackholepriest

    Bruce Allen had a lot to do with getting Bruce Allen out. It was a power struggle between he and Lombardi and Lombardi won. Bruce was a good salary cap negotiater and Lombardi was more of a personnel guy and Bruce wanted both. Bruce hired and fired a people and had somewhat of an undefined role and wanted the GM role pushed for it and lost.

    Amy has a lot of power in that org. so she probably had a firm hand in the final decision.

  • La Milicia Negra

    NorthernRaider….

    totally agree…

    regarding the CEO part, i said that some month ago, when we had a conversation about our management.

    regarding, Hitler, somebody here said on the past days that Al Davis loves chaos, and that he think his folks works harder that way… I immediately thought about hitler and his generals. Nobody knew who the favorite were, and everybody worked for him to get on his goood site

  • K-Rock

    Is the Lofton interview finished? When will Saunders be there?

  • Hobs Gnarly

    I am a nurse. One day a older lady with alzheimers comes into the ER. We need a Urine sample on her and her daughter exhausted doesn’t want to go into the bathroom and help her so I go. This lady did every nutty thing you can think of before I finally got her to sit on the pot. I mean she is standing on the toilet with her top off. Finally I say okay now pee for me. She looks at me very seriously and clearly says but I don’t have to. Sometimes things get confusing and you do every crazy sh*t in the book that has people saying wtf and then sometimes you understand clearly what’s happend but don’t have the capacity to do it. My little metaphor for you to figure out.

  • Explain it to me

    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?

  • to Reiterate: As my post #422 says there is NO 3PM presser scheduled!!!!!! Sheeeeesh.

  • Hobs Gnarly

    BPH,
    While Al sat back and ate popcorn watching the power struggle and reveling in it? Allen had connections, I don’t see where that can hurt a team. I am a fan of Allen

  • TouchDown Timmy Brown

    I for one am sick of this uneccessary soap opera of Al Davis. While other teams are revamping and preparing for the draft and free agency the Raiders are going through yet another coaching carousel. If Kiffin is gone I am no longer following this team. Its like being in a relationship with a woman who has all the baggage and drama to go along with it but you come back hoping for the better. I for one rather be looking at draft prospects like Adrian Peterson. Not wondering who the next head coach is. I was very upset when Gruden left but the Raiders responded by going to the Superbowl only to get blown out by Gruden so I was hoping Al would at least learn from that. Sure Kiffin was in his first year but rememeber he gave us the first division win in what was forever and the first road game win also. Plus beating Shanarat is always priceless. Why cant Al see this? So sorry Raider Nation but like Timmy Brown if Lane leaves I am cancelling my season tickets. I am not wasting my time & money on this football team just like I will not waste my time and money on a dramicidal female. Im out!!!

  • K-Rock

    I know there is no press conference. Just wondering what times these interviews were taking place. Might give a time for when to expet news.

  • 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.

  • 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…

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.