It was suggested to me Wednesday night during casual conversation with someone who ought to know that Al Davis is more in control of the fortunes of his franchise than ever.
At various times, Davis has relinqiushed much of then day-to-day business of negotiating contracts to front office types such as Bruce Allen and Mike Lombardi.
Take the deal given to cornerback Stanford Routt and the naming of franchise free agency of linebacker Kamerion Wimbley. Routt’s deal, reported at $31 million over three years with a $20 million guarantee, goes to a Davis favorite coming off his best season.
Wimbley was reportedly tagged (the Raiders aren’t confirming anything, either at the home base or through Jackson at the combine) because a contract buyback was illegal under a 30 percent rule. Never mind that his actual markup will be much more than 30 percent.
Note: The Raiders have since confirmed the signing of Routt and the tagging of Wimbley.Routt’s presence is Davis wanting to prove he doesn’t need Nnamdi Asomugha. Wimbley is validation of the trade which brought him from Cleveland for a third-round pick.
That’s one theory making the rounds in Indy, anyway . . .
More notes from what turned out to be essentially three media sessions with Jackson (before podium, at the podium, after the podium):
— Asked about whether Chuck Bresnahan could end up as the defensive coordinator, Jackson said: “Any one of those guys (on staff) could be. I just think it’s a thing that’s still in progress, and once we make a final decision we’ll make one.
“Honestly I don’t think that’s the issue right now who the defensive coordinator right now because our system’s our system. We know exactly what we’re going to do. The guys who are there know exactly how we’re going to coach that particular side of the ball. Everything is moving in that direction.’’
In other words, the coordinator is either in line with the core philosophies of the Raiders (and Davis) or it won’t work.
Outside candidates are still in the mix.
Jackson did express some regret that Jets defensive backs coach Dennis Thurman was denied the opportunity to interview.
“I was surprised in the fact that it would be a tremendous opportunity for him, someone who I know and coached with and worked with before,’’ Jackson said. “But I wasn’t (surprised) because no coach wants to lose good coaches.’’
— While waiting word on whether Routt’s deal was finalized, Jackson expressed confidence in his ability to be the No. 1 cornerback if necessary.
“There’s no question. He played really well for us last year. He proved that he can go out there on the corner and play week in and week out,’’ Jackson said. “That’s not an easy job, especially for the Raiders, we playa lot of man coverage and he accepted the challenge, and I think if he’s out there again he’s going to play even better than what he did last year.’’
— Looks like there’s a good chance there won’t be a quarterbacks coach this year.
“I think being the primary play-caller I’m going to obviously be involved with our quarterbacks,’’ Jackson said. “Al Saunders is going to spend a lot of time with the quarterback. So sometimes you get a little diluted, too many guys talking to the quarterback is not good, but I know that my voice is going to be very strong as far as that’s concerned as far as that position.’’
— Jackson had the back of running back Michael Bush, in the news on a DUI arrest.
“I know there was a little hiccup there, but that’s part of the process and that will run its course and take care of itself, but Mike’s in great spirits and looking forward to playing for the Raiders,’’ Jackson said.
—Jackson continued with two themes prevalent at when his hiring was announced on Jan. 18 _ his fervent belief in “Coach’’ Davis and his backing of Jason Campbell as the starting quarterback.
He said Davis’ public flogging of Tom Cable in his presence didn’t bother him in the least because it was between Cable and Davis.
“All the stories you hear about this and that and the other, I haven’t experienced that yet,’’ Jackson said. “If it’s coming, then when it does, I’ll deal with it. But I don’t see it.’’
– Jackson said the Raiders will always include some zone blocking in their run schemes but he conceded he’s a power guy at heart.
“I am a power running type of guy,’’ Jackson said. “ I like to block down, kick out and lead somebody on through that’s kind of who I am, and I like to do that.
“But I like to do a lot of different things because I think defensive coordinators in this league are very, very good.’’
Regarding new offensive line coach Bob Wylie, Jackson said, “He is one of the most incredible teachers I’ve ever been around. I mean, he can really teach fundamentals and technique, and obviously coach (Steve) Wisniewski, he’s one of the toughest human beings I’ve ever been around and an outstanding motivator. So I was very lucky in getting those two guys to come here and coach for me and I think we’ll do a great job with the line.’’