By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Wednesday, January 13th, 2010 at 2:02 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Dropped the name Steve Mariucci as a darkhorse candidate during Tuesday’s on-line chat in the event the Raiders fire Tom Cable, not knowing Tim Kawakami was devoting an entire column to the possibility in today’s Merc and Bay Area News Group-East Bay papers.
Word is getting out Mariucci, out of coaching in 2005, is considering getting back in. He’s had a healthy respect for Al Davis, and Davis has spoken well of Mariucci. He’s burned no bridges in his role as an NFL Network analyst.
Kawakami outlines his reasons why Mariucci would be a good idea. I’m of the minority opinion (among media types, anyway) keeping Cable for another year and having him surrender play-calling duties is preferable to starting all over again, and that the horrid play of JaMarcus Russell did more to sabotage the season than anything Cable did.
That said, if Davis does dump Cable _ it doesn’t sound as if there are any meetings scheduled for today _ Mariucci, even with an unsuccessful tenure in Detroit, is a better alternative than the usual suspects, starting with last year’s runner-up Kevin Gilbride and including Jim Fassel, Marc Trestman, Winston Moss, etc.
You coach the Raiders, chances are you’re getting a chunk of the remaining coaching staff. Mariucci has worked with John Marshall, who was his defensive cooridnator with the 49ers.
Offensively, Mariucci has a long history with passing game coordinator Ted Tollner. Tollner hired Mariucci on to the staff at USC as an assistant in 1986, Mariucci hired Tollner to be his quarterbacks coach with the 49ers in 2002 and his offensive coordinator and tight ends coach with the Detroit Lions in 2005.
Mariucci hasn’t worked with quarterbacks coach Paul Hackett, but they both come from the same offensive tree and are sticklers for quarterback fundamentals.
Mariucci fits the Raiders’ usual profile of an offensive coach, and has a good reputation with quarterbacks, although the belief here is Russell’s problems are mostly with Russell and not with his quality of coaching.
If Davis swings the axe again, he’s done a lot worse than Mariucci.
A couple of other thoughts:
– For a guy who said upon arrival he didn’t want to talk about the Patriots anymore, Richard Seymour sure loves to talk about the Patriots. He went on a New England-based Comcast Sportsnet show for a 13-minute interview which was mostly about what was wrong with New England.
He noted in free agency he’d consider “31 teams,” with the Patriots being the odd team out, and spoke well of his year in Oakland.
“I think I found my purpose out there,” Seymour said. “The coaches and players made it easy for me and I think I got rejuvenated again. Obviously I think we need a few more pieces out there to compete on an every day level. The talent is there, we’ll do a jood job putting a staff together or putting in players in place so we can compete year-in, year-out.”
Addressing the Patriots (again), Seymour said, “I’ve moved on. I’m a free agent now.”
A franchised free agent, most likely.
– Realize Lane Kiffin is the head coach and father Monte is the defensive coordinator, but at some point didn’t dad think of saying, “Son, you’ve got a commitment to Tennessee. What are you thinking?”
– Remember James Cregg, the assistant line coach Kiffin poached in-season off the Raiders staff? He didn’t get invited to make the move to USC, at least not yet. And there’s no guarantee he’ll keep his job at Tennessee.
– Don’t know about you, but Davis’ manner of dispatching Kiffin, overhead projector and all, was infinitely more entertaining than Tennessee AD Mike Hamilton’s lame statement actually thanking Kiffin for his service.
Hamilton actually thanked Kiffin for 14 months, a 7-6 record, a 23-point loss to Virginia Tech in a bowl game, an SEC reprimand for saying Florida broke the rules with one of his recruits (it didn’t) and having that same prized recruit along with two other players arrested for armed robbery.
Davis gets worked over pretty good for seven years of constant losing and firing coaches every year with the Raiders, but he’s a prophet in Tennessee.