Past searches have been disasters


If Al Davis seems a little gun shy with regard to changing coaches this time around, it’s with good reason.

It’s not like Davis has been adept at zeroing in on a promising candidate and reeling him in.

You’d think someone with as much practice at hiring and firing would, even by accident, bring home a winner.

Except that since 2004, Davis has brought in Sean Payton, Bobby Petrino, Ken Whisenhunt and Steve Sarkisian only to have each one of them walk away. Taking that into account, it’s difficult to accept Davis’ yearly claims about all the great coaches that want to be with the Raiders at face value.

There’s no guarantee any of those names would have worked either, given the environment. Particularly in the case of Petrino, who bailed out on the Atlanta Falcons after realizing he had no taste for the NFL game.

The men who ended up being hired as those candidates walked away _ Norv Turner, Art Shell and Lane Kiffin _ were a combined 16-52. None were ready to deal with life as a Raiders coach under Davis for different reasons. Turner didn’t have the charisma, Shell had been away too long and was intractable, and Kiffin was too immature to finesse a situation the way Jon Gruden did.

I’ve already made the argument that the problem rests with Davis’ role as general manager, a point that was echoed in Thursday’s papers by columnist Monte Poole.

There doesn’t appear to be any chance Davis will fire himself for that role, or that there are enough confidants remaining to convince him that he should.

Which means Davis will be, as President Bush called himself, “The Decider.” And while Davis may still have an eye for good candidates, his ability to close the deal is another story.

Payton was the choice to succeed Bill Callahan in 2004 until Jerry Jones gave him a huge raise to remain in Dallas as an assistant. After Turner was fired, exec Mike Lombardi pushed hard for Petrino. The Louisville coach came in for a stealth interview, received an offer but turned it down because of family concerns.

Whisenhunt interviewed in Alameda and even checked out local real estate with his wife with a broker provided by the club, but withdrew his name before getting an offer.

The end result was Shell.

Sarkisian, a former Raiders quarterbacks coach and USC co-offensive coordinator, was targeted to replace Shell. He interviewed well and went home to Southern California thinking he was going to be head coach of the Raiders, only to wake up the next morning and think better of it. That led to Kiffin, who was to join Sarkisian as offensive coordinator.

Kiffin ended up being Davis’ biggest nightmare.

Cable, at least, has his team playing hard in December and seems to handle pressure well. He understands the organization and wants to work with Davis.
As disappointing as some of the premium draft picks have been (Russell, Darren McFadden, Darrius Heyward-Bey), the Raiders locked up Nnamdi Asomugha and Shane Lechler last season, will likely do the same with Richard Seymour and Sebastian Janikowski.

There are some intriguing and promising young talents, particularly on defense (Tyvon Branch, Trevor Scott, Matt Shaughnessy). It’s a young team that may not respond to wholesale change in the coaching staff.

The owner has a laundry list of complaints, the biggest among them another losing season, too many blowout losses and the regression of Cable’s hand-picked offensive line.

But it might be easier to bring in a new direction to the offense with a coordinator and play-caller.

Or Davis can get back into the business of hiring another head coach, where his success has mirrored what has taken place on the field.


Not much in the way of real news today.

— Jim Harbaugh’s agent, Jack Bechta, joined the parade of denials regarding interviewing with the Raiders for the head coaching job.

— Kiffin had a rather unique honor bestowed upon him in Tennessee. Hold your nose for this one.

Profootballtalk.com reported (or passed along rumors) that Cable could be reunited with Kiffin at Southern Cal.

— The Washington Redskins hired former 49ers line coach Chris Foerster as their line coach, a position Cable, if available, would have been suited for, given coach Mike Shanahan’s background in zone blocking. Kiffin hired James Cregg, the former Raiders assistant who left the club to join him at Tennessee, to an unspecified position.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • Thank you new englandraider

  • RaiderRockstar

    who has, not “how has”


  • new englandraider

    russell will show up 30 lbs lighter. bet on it. will it make a difference? i hope so, but probably not

  • Tom cables pimp hand

    So you agree we didn’t make much of an improvement, and were still shyty.


    We went from awful to atleast decent.. and with this offesive line and personell yes thats an improvemeny=t. Now lets see what cabes can do with decent qb play for a whole year and some new pieces.

  • RaiderRockstar


    how is Burger King serving beer gonna help JR lose weight? seriously …

    only way people lose weight that aren’t motivated is by getting liposuction. or lap band surgery (is that what it’s called?)

  • Laaaaaadies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls!!!!! Al Davis Incorporated, in association with Al-Davis-Ball-Suckers.org, have scoured the planet searching for the best of the best, the crème del la crème, the most talented chumps we can find for your viewing pleasure! Please, without further ado, I give you the 2010 Oakland Raiders cooooooaching staaaaaaaaaaf!


  • A little “trickle down their legs” economics background info.

    William Jennings Bryan at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1896: “There are those who believe that you just legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous, that their prosperity will leak through on those below. The Democratic idea has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous their prosperity will find its way up and through every class that rests upon it.”

  • RaiderRockstar

    Cable as HC & Russell as QB for 16 games next year = 4-12 and last place in the AFC West

    then another change at HC in the offseason

    write that down & hold me to it!

  • RaiderRockstar Says:
    January 22nd, 2010 at 10:56 am

    does that mean we can expect to see Russell waddle into camp each day fat AND drunk ???


    Ohhh schyt…I’ll bet Russell already has his application in for a franchise location…in his mansion…

  • new englandraider

    jr is going to change his diet. he will replace the “tussin” and the hippie lettuce with cocaine and crystal meth

  • RaiderRockstar

    Al Davis + Tom Cable = Insane Clown Posse ???

  • new englandraider

    lose 30lbs guaranteed

  • Scottish Raider

    Waufle. Is it pronounced Waffle or Woeful?

  • HairyBush

    According to rotoworld the Cardinals are “earnestly” shopping WR Anquan Boldin. Apperently Arizona was offered a 3rd round pick and “a player” last year for Boldin and it wasn’t enough. This year with the emergence of Doucett and Breaston his void will be adaquatley filled for cheaper. Arizona would now be satisfied with that compansation. (3rd & player)

    Any thoughts on The Raiders possibly working something out? God knows we could use the presence of an established veteran wideout. They can have our 3rd round pick and Kirk Morrison as far as I’m concerned. We all know big Al loves the big names, and the headlines.

  • new englandraider

    hey hairy bush. my fellow mma$$hole

  • Hey Scottish!

    You don’t visit very often anymore…Al finally break your spirit or something?

  • new englandraider

    where u at? me new bedford

  • RaiderRockstar

    Javon Walker + 2nd Round draft pick lands Anquan Boldin

  • RaiderRockstar Says:
    January 22nd, 2010 at 11:05 am
    Al Davis + Tom Cable = Insane Clown Posse ???


    Insane Ass Clown Posse

  • new englandraider

    people from massachusetts are called Ma$$hole
    people from florida r conch suckers

  • HairyBush

    Ma$$hole in the house

  • Scottish Raider Says:
    January 22nd, 2010 at 11:06 am
    Waufle. Is it pronounced Waffle or Woeful?


    Awful with a “W” in front. As in Geo. W(awful) Bush

  • HairyBush

    RR-Why would they be so kind as to take Javon off of our hands?

  • new englandraider

    where u at hairy?

  • Boldin will be 30 next season…trade the Great Justin Fargas and a 3rd for him….then cut JLH.

  • HairyBush

    don’t get me wrong that would be great and all

  • HairyBush

    representin from South Hadley MA (western MA)

  • new englandraider

    dont listen to rockstar. he is lost at times. he’s probably from alabama like jruss. u know where the men are men and the sheep are nervous. #1 rated tv show down there…. TOUCHED BY AN UNCLE

  • HairyBush

    Dakota, I’m sure they are just waiting to get there hands on a prize like Fargas lol

  • HairyBush

    to funny

  • bcz24

    javon walker and a 2nd rd pick might land us early doucet… not boldin

  • new englandraider

    was in granby the other day. is that close by?

  • JLH was right up there on the biggest disappointments of 2009 list for the Raiders, along with Russell, McFadden, DHB and Chris Johnson.

  • RaiderRockstar

    Why would they be so kind as to take Javon off of our hands?


    Walker was healthy last year. just in Al or Tom’s doghouse. he already took a paycut last offseason.

    plus a 2nd rounder is more enticing than a 3rd, no?

    they lose a WR and gain a WR …

    surely AZ wouldn’t expect Javon to produce in Oakland if he never sniffed the field

  • HairyBush

    Anybody read the harbaugh article with him getting punked up against the wall by big Al?

  • new englandraider

    is walker still under contract??? he signed 6 yrs right? what happens if we cut him????

  • new englandraider

    any link hairy?

  • HairyBush

    I agree the 2nd would be more anticing for them, I still don’t see Javon being part of ANY trade scenario. perhaps they would take the 2nd and just say no thanks to Javon.

  • new englandraider

    ur not kiddin about jlh. who was it that glossed him scary lee higgins. that was a classic

  • HairyBush

    go to rotoworld.com under nfl, it is one of there top stories

  • HairyBush Says:
    January 22nd, 2010 at 11:17 am
    Anybody read the harbaugh article with him getting punked up against the wall by big Al?
    Yeah, I read that…

    Yes Mr. Davis. Yes Mr. Davis. Yes Mr. Davis

    Lol….that is how you placate the elderly and mentally ill I guess.

  • HairyBush

    Dakota, I guess that could be the only explanation LMAO

  • Purdy: Stanford’s Jim Harbaugh, Oakland Raiders wouldn’t be a good pairing
    By Mark Purdy

    Mercury News Columnist

    Posted: 01/21/2010 10:21:31 PM PST
    Updated: 01/21/2010 11:46:08 PM PST

    When it comes to the process of hiring a football coach, no one creates confusion like the Raiders. Unless it’s Jim Harbaugh, the Stanford coach.

    And if you combine those two chemical elements . . . well, you have the football gossip equivalent of dropping a Mento into a one-liter soda bottle.

    Thus, this week.

    As the fate of Raiders head coach Tom Cable remains up in the air, one report says team owner Al Davis has asked Harbaugh to replace Cable. Harbaugh has supposedly refused the offer. The Raiders deny the offer was made. Harbaugh is out recruiting. His agent calls the rumors bunk but says that Davis and Harbaugh have a “very special relationship.” The world trembles.

    Chill out, citizens. Everything does point to Cable soon being gone from the Raiders. And someone else will be taking his place, obviously. But I am 99.9 percent certain that these five words will never appear alongside each other in the same sentence: Raiders head coach Jim Harbaugh.

    I have reasons for believing this. One of the reasons dates to 2003. That football season, Harbaugh was the Raiders’ quarterback coach, working under Bill Callahan.

    It was a Monday night. The Raiders were losing by three touchdowns at Denver. In the waning moments of the fourth quarter, Raiders backup quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo was on the field, performing mop-up duty. Tuisasosopo threw a ball into the end zone. The pass was intercepted. Touchback. The Broncos ran out the clock. Game over. Broncos win, 31-10.

    Minutes later, the locker room door opened. Journalists entered. To our left, the players were silently dressing at their lockers. But to our right, Harbaugh was standing between Al Davis and a wall. Neither the wall nor Davis was budging. Davis was inches away from Harbaugh’s face, angry about the Tuisasosopo interception.

    “I thought you told me that you were teaching him how to throw that pass over the linebacker’s head!” Davis said, although I am leaving out the profane adjectives between some of those words. Davis kept up this lecture for quite a while, with impressive saltiness.

    And what was Harbaugh’s response? Well, he couldn’t go anywhere. So he just kept repeating: “Yes, Mr. Davis. Yes, Mr. Davis. Yes, Mr. Davis.”

    As anyone who spends time around the Raiders knows, this is the price paid by coaches when they work for Davis. He spares none of them. They know this when they sign up. They’re all grown ups. I didn’t stand and gawk. I took note of the scene and then turned to the lockers and went about my work.

    But I do remember thinking to myself at the time: Of all the plays to get mad at an assistant coach about, in a three touchdown loss . . . I wonder how long Harbaugh wants to keep working here?

    A few months later, the issue was moot. Callahan was fired. Harbaugh left the Raiders and became head coach at the University of San Diego. He was very successful. Stanford hired him. He excavated the program out of misery and took the Cardinal to a bowl game in 2009. He is mentioned for just about every job opening that comes up, in college or the NFL.

    And here we are.

    Would Harbaugh ever take an NFL job? Yes, the right one. Eventually. I can’t believe it would be the Raiders, however. Harbaugh has seen how the sausage is made in Oakland. He respects Davis, who gave Harbaugh his first pro coaching job. For this, Harbaugh will always be grateful.

    But there is a big leap between respect, appreciation and accepting a head coaching paycheck from Davis. Shortly after Harbaugh took the Stanford job, I mentioned that night in Denver to him. Did Harbaugh remember it? Yes, he remembered. I asked him to elaborate. He just smiled and shrugged. He didn’t want to go there.

    Last summer during Stanford preseason drills, though, I was intrigued when Harbaugh struck up a conversation and asked if I had been to the Raiders’ training camp. I didn’t read too much into it. But I noted it.

    My impression: Harbaugh and Davis do talk on the phone. Of course they do. Davis loves talking football. So does Harbaugh. I’m sure they enjoy picking each other’s brains about the game and various players. A coach can have an entirely different sort of rapport and connection with Davis when he isn’t the boss.

    That relationship, however, does not mean that Harbaugh is eager to work for Davis again. It also does not mean he will be at Stanford forever. Harbaugh has enough confidence and ego to believe he will have a perfect NFL opportunity one day.

    Right now, would anyone describe the Raiders as perfect?

  • HairyBush

    Not sure what happens if we cut walker, In the same sentence who cares? Between him and Nick Miller last year we could of possibly had more depth at O-line or anywhere for that matter. what a waste.

  • RaiderRockstar

    Javon Walker is due to make $2.6 million this year & $3.2 million next year

    pretty cheap if he can stay healthy and get out of the doghouse.

    not likely with Cable in charge!

  • HairyBush

    RR-like I said what a waste.

  • Didn’t Walker re-structure his contract to be more cap-friendly in exchange for having last year’s and this years salaries guaranteed at $4.5 million per?

    I guess Al would rather keep the useless POS on the Roster than cut him and still have to pay him $4.5 million.

    I think he should have been cut and then maybe a player that could contribute might be put on the roster? Same with Nick Miller? Maybe a decent blocking FB for instance? Or maybe a guard?

    Call me crazy!

  • HairyBush

    BREAKING NEWS-this just in, Darren Mcfadden will be returning kicks and playing as a slot receiver for the Raiders.

    My bad, that was Reggie bush, oops

    I can dream right?!??!

  • El Tato

    Javon Walker has no trade value

    Walker and a 2nd wont bring here Boldin or Doucet. Doucet is like 24 and Javon 30+, I would keep Doucet

  • new englandraider

    surely there is someone on the waiver wire capable of playing better than luke lawton. was glad when he was suspended. makes u wonder about those ped’s