Been working on other assignments (a Hue Jackson piece will be forthcoming next week in print) as well as my weekly column, but will post as news or rumors merit.
As it stands, all the Raiders have confirmed is that John Marshall won’t return as defensive coordinator, something Al Davis conceded at the Jackson press conference. Marshall’s name has even been removed from the coaching roster at Raiders.com.
My understanding is that line coach Jim Michalczik and quarterbacks coach Paul Hackett also will not return, although their names are still listed.
The next major hire for the Raiders will be defensive coordinator, and there aren’t a wealth of names bubbling to the surface. Chuck Pagano, a former Raiders assistant, wound up being promoted in Baltimore and essentially mocked Oakland as even being an option, saying he’d already served a “two-year sentence” in 2005-06. He and Jackson were said to have a good relationship.
Big names such as Jim Mora and Eric Mangini aren’t an option based on their pay scale as well as their aspirations to be a head coach again, which is the last thing Jackson needs in Year 1.
Jay Glazer of Fox Sports had an interesting Tweet a few days back saying it was his believe the Raiders were looking for a coordinator to implement an aggressive 3-4 scheme similar to the one Rex Ryan has with the New York Jets.
It becomes more if a possibility when it moves from the Tweet stage into an actual story. The Raiders have run the 3-4 in their past, but not since they’ve been back in Oakland. And although it’s true middle linebacker Rolando McClain excelled in a 3-4 at Alabama, Kamerion Wimbley was a 3-4 outside linebacker at Cleveland Travis Goethel could make a nice inside companion for McClain in a 3-4, Oakland’s defensive line doesn’t set up that way.
Yes, Richard Seymour has done good things in a 3-4 in New England, provided he returns. Trevor Scott, after ACL surgery, could be an outside linebacker.
But the two most improved players on the Raiders defensive line were Tommy Kelly and Matt Shaughnessy, who combined for 14 sacks, and neither of them has played a lick of 3-4 and both are coming off breakout seasons.
Add to that the most talked-about assistant at the Jackson-Al Davis press conference was defensive line coach Mike Waufle _ a four-man line guy from way back _ and a 3-4 defense, while not impossible, seems at least unlikely.
The Raiders have rarely gone with a big name as their defensive coordinator. When they returned to Oakland it was John Fox, who was replaced by Fred Whittingham, who was replaced by Willie Shaw, who was replaced by Chuck Bresnahan, who was replaced by Rob Ryan, who was replaced by John Marshall.
At no point was there a big shakeup in philosophy. All espoused the philosophy of winning individual matchups with superior athletes and an abundance of man-to-man coverage, and all had a single-deep safety.
There was nothing in Davis’ performance during the Jackson press conference that leads me to believe he’s ready to shake things up philosophically.
The Raiders could promote from within with someone like Waufle or secondary coach Kevin Ross, although the former is an established line coach and the latter has never been a coordinator.
Call me a cynic (as many of you have, and with some degree of accuracy), but when I heard Titans defensive coordinator Chuck Cecil was let go after his defense dropped to the lower third of the league, was among the league leaders in penalties and had given a referee an obscene gesture, the first thing I thought was he could be headed to Oakland.
Other purely speculative candidates?
Green Bay has a pair of potential candidates in former Raiders staffers Winston Moss (inside linebackers) and Darren Perry (secondary). New York Jets defensive backs coach Dennis Thurman worked with Jackson on the staffs of USC (2000) and the Ravens (2008).
I like Green Bay and Pittsburgh Sunday, for what it’s worth, and that’s not much.