Bresnahan has experience with Al’s defense


The trick question came from an NFL television personality at the combine attempting to seize upon my uncertainty surrounding the Raiders defensive coordinator position.

“You know who the Raiders’ defensive coordinator is, don’t you?”

No, I said, I don’t.

Then came the punch line: “It’s Al Davis.”

Hardy, har, har.

Why not? Hue Jackson calls his boss “coach Davis.” In an conference call with Raiders beat writers a few years back, the Patriots’ Bill Belichick openly wondered why he was ever interviewed for the Raiders head coaching job in 1998 because “coach Davis” was so heavily involved on that side of the ball.

We know now that Chuck Bresnahan has returned as the Raiders defensive coordinator, with the club making it official Monday. I talked to Bresnahan briefly at the combine, just to say hello and renew acquaintances, in an informal setting. He wasn’t available for interviews and gave no clues to his role. Seemed to be the same personable guy he always was in his previous go-round.

To know Bresnahan is to like him. He’s relentlessly positive, extremely enthusiastic, and after all, the Raiders did win three division titles when he was defensive coordinator from 2000 through 2002.

But it’s pretty clear Bresnahan isn’t the “people’s choice,” not that such a designation would every carry much weight in these parts.

He’s been in the UFL for the last two years with the Florida Tuskers, which isn’t the route most teams choose when seeking their next defensive play-caller.

I’d heard when Bresnahan was hired it was initially to be linebackers coach, with the club only going so far as “defensive coach.” Then Greg Biekert was elevated to linebackers coach, and Bresnahan remained in a sort of public limbo. Only Bresnahan knows if he has been defensive coordinator all along, simply waiting for the organization’s announcement.

What is clear is that coach Hue Jackson talked on at least two occasions of talking to outside candidates. Jackson expressed disappointment at the scouting combine that the New York Jets had blocked an interview request for Dennis Thurman, their defensive backs coach. Whatever interest the Raiders actually had in Winston Moss and Darren Perry of the Packers never materialized in an interview for whatever reason, whether it was because of a Packers’ block or disinterest from the alleged candidates. Or perhaps there was an interview that was kept quiet.

Whether it’s good move or a bad move, Bresnahan comes in understanding the terrain. Davis has his ideas about defense. He’s let offensive coaches do much more away from his core beliefs than defensive coaches.

Years ago, when Davis would be in the press box a few rows above the media, it was common place to see him scribbling notes which were run down to the field. Only the coaches involved know how much attention they paid to them, and they’re not saying.

As it’s been explained to me, the Davis rules regarding defense include the following:

— A heavy reliance on press man-to-man coverage.

— A free safety in the middle of the field.

— Ends are responsible for bootlegs and naked bootlegs.

— Blitzing as an infrequent element of surprise, rather than a staple.

— Certain fronts are required and personnel is determined at the top.

The end result is a defense usually free of frills and rooted in a philosophy espoused by every defensive coordinator Davis has ever had : “We will put our superior athletes in a position to win one-on-one matchups.”

Any defensive coordinator who comes to the Raiders knows the rules. Rob Ryan is a 3-4 man dating back to his days with the Patriots, used it in Cleveland and is now running it in Dallas. He was a 3-4 man in Oakland for exactly one game _ the ill-fated alignment with Tyler Brayton and Grant Irons as outside backers in the 2004 opener against the Patriots.

Then it was back to the 4-3, talking about superior athletes and being a company man at every turn.

The fact that the Raiders waited this long to publicly acknowledge a defensive coordinator, with Jackson saying it wasn’t a priority, speaks volumes.

In Oakland, the coordinator doesn’t install the system.

The system, as Bresnahan knows, dictates to the coordinator.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • GoodOle00

    Its a system. Oh, btw, #1

  • All hail Al Davis

    The only living Football GOD!

    Long live Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders!

  • phatcable


  • djohnnyg


  • priesttj

    If that is true Jerry then why were we a 3/4 team for several years in a row with Ted Hendricks and we won a SB as a 3/4 team led the league in sacks as a 4/3 team with 68 when we went to a 4/3. Truth is we’ve done it all including cover2 with Willie Shaw.

    The only thing I would say is a staple is heavy blitz team we basically blitzed smartly in the past. Well Ted could blitz whenever he wanted to but other than that we’re not a crazy blitz team never have been. But we’ve used several defenses over the years and we’ll play some 3/4 this year as well as zone.

  • phatcable

    Jupiter – King of the Gods
    Juno – Queen of the Gods
    Neptune – God of the Sea
    Pluto – God of Death
    Apollo – God of the Sun
    Diana – Goddess of the Moon
    Mars – God of War
    Venus – Goddess of Love
    Cupid – God of Love
    Mercury – Messenger of the Gods
    Minerva – Goddess of Wisdom
    Davis- God of Pigskin

  • oo

    Worst thing Huh did was start calling him coach Davis..

  • djohnnyg

    We were either first or second in the NFL in sacks this past year.

  • GoodOle00

    Can we honestly say other teams don’t have a system?

    Patriots plug and play, Steelers same way.

    Davis’ way takes entertainment into mind. Always has. It was designed with that in mind.

    Think about it.

    Man on man with superior athletes means the Raiders are going to dominate alot of plays but big run plays are going to happen if not by design than with a built in flaw that the owner thinks is negligible.

    Plus its dramatic when the other team steals the thunder with a big TD run.

    If the opposing team breaks a long run or two so be it. The Raider D is built with stopping the pass in mind.

    The other team may pop one here or there but if the Raider offense is controling the clock and scoring points the other team will have to abandon the run at some point as the clock winds down playing to Oaklands pass D strength…


    Bresnahan plays prevent.

    Theres a famous Americas funniest Home videos of a fan at home whining to the tv about some guy named BRESNAHAN gettting Oakland burned with the prevent D.

    Davis is alot smarter than many give him credit for.

    The problem with genius is that those who aren’t may not recognize it.

  • phatcable

    Ryan Mallett’s arm continues to impress
    Posted by Michael David Smith on March 8, 2011, 6:38 PM EST

    Getty ImagesToday’s Arkansas Pro Day confirmed what everyone already knew about Ryan Mallett: He runs like an offensive lineman, and he throws like Nolan Ryan.

    Bucky Brooks of NFL Network described Mallett as “absolutely sensational” during today’s workout, saying he easily makes every throw. According to Brooks, scouts and coaches in attendance were comparing Mallett to a couple of Hall of Fame pocket passers, Dan Fouts and Dan Marino.

    And unlike many of this year’s other quarterback prospects, Mallett has experience making three-, five- and seven-step drops in a pro-style offense in college. That’s why NFL Network’s Mike Mayock calls Mallett the most pro-ready quarterback in the draft.

    There are character questions about Mallett, and his plodding 40-yard dash time may have some teams wondering whether his lack of athleticism could hold him back in the NFL. But there’s no question that his arm is incredible

  • Brien=God of the Purple Berry

    BHP= God of the Black Hole

    Al Davis = God of Football

  • priesttj

    I know we were but for some reason that goes unnoticed by the naysayers. It’s all about talent the scheme is the scheme without talent you can’t win big.

  • GoodOle00

    8. Had 47 of em

  • phatcable

    Mr Davis can we quote you on that? yes you may this mallett kid reminds me of Jim Plunett!

  • phatcable


  • priesttj

    Mallett just scares me man I’m not even sure why the off the field stuff is a concern but I just can’t put my finger on it he just scares me. I think Keapernick is much cleaner with as strong an arm and he’s much more athletic and even more competitive.

  • phatcable

    The NFL combine doesn’t start until Thursday, but aspiring NFL quarterback Pat Devlin has already passed his first test. The one that measures the thickness of a quarterback’s skin, a defining characteristic for the position.

    Draft analysts have pegged the former University of Delaware trigger man as a mid-round pick, maybe the seventh- or eighth-best quarterback in a mediocre class that lacks a can’t-miss prospect.
    Devlin said he hasn’t heard the scouting reports on him, but he’s not out to prove them right or wrong.
    “I’m not worried about what any analyst says, but I’m just trying to get better right now,” he said in an interview with The News Journal.
    “I realize there are things I need to work on. I didn’t hold any open throwing session, other than the East-West Shrine game, so I think it’s tough to know where I am — unless you’re here.”
    Here is the Los Angeles-based Athletes’ Performance, where Devlin has spent the past three weeks preparing — both physically and mentally — for the combine, which starts this week in Indianapolis.
    Any NFL team interested in meeting with Devlin will have a chance to interview him privately along with watching his series of workouts to determine if Devlin fits into its draft plans.
    Devlin, who’s staying in an apartment on Seal Beach, is up at 6:30 every morning, at the complex by 7:30 and doesn’t leave until near sundown. In between, he goes through a battery of workouts designed to maximize his conditioning and works with mentors on interview techniques that prepare him to stay composed in the face of questions designed to rattle him.
    The ultimate objective, Devlin said, is to improve his stock for the draft, which starts April 28.
    So that’s where his sights are set each day at Athletes’ Performance.
    “What I’m focused on right now is the combine,” he said. “I want to focus on making the throws at the combine that I need to make and doing all those things right.”
    Devlin admittedly didn’t have his best showing in the East-West Shrine game, an all-star game for college seniors where he struggled in his first audition for NFL scouts, coaches and administrators

  • priesttj

    Raccoon I’m not sure how to take that one, but hey thanks man for the kind words.

  • BHP it is all good! You are a Raider for life.

    The worlds most hated.. Yep the Raiders

    Bauce knows all about the Purple Berry.

    Tha darker the Berry the Sweeter the Bush!

  • phatcable

    Raccoon must have got into RMR;s stupid pills!

  • phatcable

    Lane Kiffin can really recruit.

    Not only did the new USC coach put together a strong Class of 2010 just weeks after bolting the University of Tennessee for a return to the Pac-10, but he’s already a step ahead of the competition when it comes to the Class of 2015.

    ESPN is reporting that Kiffin received a verbal commitment from 13-year-old quarterback David Sills. Yes, the kid is just 13.

    Sills, from Bear, Del., has been working with Steve Clarkson, a personal coach who has mentored some of the top quarterbacks in the country, including current Trojans signal-caller Matt Barkley.

    “His skill set is off the chart,” Clarkson told ESPN. “I’ve never seen anyone at his age do what he’s been able to do.”

    Kiffin reached out to the quarterbacks guru to get an opinion on a recruit for next year’s class, according to the article posted on ESPN.com. Clarkson then encouraged the coach to check out video of the young prospect circulating on YouTube.

    Apparently Kiffin liked what he saw of the seventh-grader from Red Lion Christian Academy.

    “I’m as shocked as anybody,” Sills’ father David told ESPN. “I was just talking with friends yesterday about what it’ll be like four years from now when David goes through the recruiting process. I never expected this to happen so soon.”

    David’s father says his son, already six-feet tall, has always wanted to go to USC.

    Kiffin’s first recruiting class at USC was ranked seventh-overall by ESPN.

    The Class of 2015? The jury is still out.

  • priesttj

    He’s fine FK he’s all about the Raiders and anyone like that gets a free pass from me.

  • priesttj

    Kiffin is a very good recruiter but Orgeron is really the guy that gets it done.

  • RoCkwiThDaRaideR408

    Im trying my best to be positive, but I have a bad feeling about this..

  • phatcable

    Pat Devlins courses at deleware college portfolio construction, hedging with derivatives oh no he is a capitalist!

  • RoCkwiThDaRaideR408

    Bresnahan is a lop. There is a reason why coaches end up in the ufl, BECAUSE NO ONE WANTS THEM COACHING THEIR TEAM IN THE NFL!! lets hope al does the bulk of the play calling..ha

  • Every pee wee football coach in the country has experience with Al’s defense. Man on man isn’t too complicated.

  • phatcable

    Whats the difference between a RealMaddenRaider and a Chimp? Ones hairy, stupid and smells, and the other is a Chimp!

  • aig-raiders

    WOW…SMH at the Eugene signing. That’s a lot of money Al gave him and I doubt the other teams in the league would have matched that. Whatever. It is what it is.

    Were we supposed to be surprised by Bresh’s promotion? NO!!!

  • 2 freaking million for Eugene!!! Are you freaking kidding me!!

  • Harder2000

    The Loper signing makes sense! Loosing Gallery and going for a powerscheme where Carlisle is voulnerable as well make for a need at the line which has been discussed for a while now.. Also, it is not a certainty we will be able to get who we want through the draft, so this way we keep a serviceable player who is a familiar face, providing some sort of stability..

    The Bresnahan for DC call was not that unthinkable, seems they really wanted Thurman, and when that didn’t pan out they went for a known comodity that Big Al knows he can work..

    The Eugene signing on the other hand is a bad omen – that kind of money doesnt seem to point towards Eugene being a back up, so they might be preparing for the loss of Huff.. If that is the case were in trouble, cause Eugene is an ok ST’er and an acceptable back up, but nowhere near good enough to be the FS in our single high scheme.. Besides, hes not young anymore, so it isnt an investment for the future.. As we dont have enough picks to get more than a couple of starters out the gate, in the draft, the loss of a starting FS would be a big loss, hope they have a plan that doesnt involve Eugene spending more time on the field than as a ST’er..

  • Harder2000

    Should at least have gotten Sanders instead of the Dolts, that way we would have a chance to get a starting quality safety barring injuries..

  • RaiderReggie

    Loper didn’t play bad when when he started weeks 2 through 5. He held his own.

  • Kirk

    No blitzing = Losing

  • RaiderfanNY

    Paying big money to Routt and Eugene and bringing back Bresnahan as coordinator shows why we will never win.

    Big Al would rather do things his way and lose than adapt and possibly win.

    Despite having a lot of young talent, the Raiders will be brought down by a patchwork offensive line, a sub-standard secondary, a poor QB and Big Al’s high-school defense — which makes game-planning as simple as possible for opposed QBs and coaches.

  • r8rwill

    top of the morning raider nation,
    it is a great day to be a raiders fan! what is it with all the doom and gloom? we are making smart personnel moves, spending money on the positions that need it and waiting in the grass for the right free agents…we need an o-lineman and some back=up players. our team is young and strong, so experienced veteran role players are the answer and they will be available in free agency.. guys like plaxico and gaither will be there for the picking.. so let’s keep our chins up and stop the angst..

  • r8rwill

    bresnahan will be okay, especially if we sign huff and awesome!! i have a feeling nnamdi will be back in the fold, not sure about huff.. but we all know al davis will sign the players he wants.. and there can be no doubt he wants to win!!! we need an offensive tackle or guard and a possession receiver, and we may have both in b camp and chaz.. stop with the gloom..

  • dbaz09

    As the D-coordinator I’m sure that Al has the time and energy to review the opponents game film hours-on-end like Billichick and make those halftime adjustments that his assistant Rob Ryan would so masterfully implement. The results? Three winning seasons in the last 16 years. And those all were under his arch nemesis Jon Gruden… But you gotta give him his due. While most 90 year olds spend time at the senior center playing bingo, talking about their meds, or spending time with their grandkids, the old man’s hobby is controlling and micromanaging an NFL franchise! Moral of the story: if you gotta go, you might as well do it in style… or more simply, maybe Mark Davis just needs to get laid.

  • # phatcable Says:
    March 9th, 2011 at 12:09 am

    Davis- God of Pigskin

    yeah a God who always says no…

    ♬ Yeah, I know I’m in trouble ♬
    ♬ A case of the unkindest kind ♬
    ♬ But I resent being reminde ♬
    ♬ About what’s already on my mind ♬
    ♬ When hope beats high ♬
    ♬ And I wake up with a sleepy grin ♬
    ♬ The dream I fell asleep to ♬
    ♬ Just blew up; I know I never win.. ♬
    ♬ I’m prayin’ to a God who always says.. ♬
    ♬ I’m prayin’ to a God who always says: No! ♬
    ♬ I’m down on my knees for crying out low.. ♬
    ♬ I’m prayin’ to a God that always says: No!! ♬
    ♬ The light at the end of the tunnel ♬
    ♬ Is nothing but the burglar alarm ♬
    ♬ Praying to a God that always says ♬
    ♬ I’m prayin’ to a God that always says: No! ♬


  • # Kirk Says:
    March 9th, 2011 at 6:08 am

    No blitzing = Losing

    absolutely true! but too much blitzing makes it too transparent… 40% of all efensive snaps should ahve some kind of blitz, but with more than 50% and it will not work..

  • New Post!

  • hassanusc

    you’re late, jerry. I read this already yesterday about how al davis supposedly was inspired by coach john wooden in the 1960s…and patterned his defense after the 1-3-1 press of wooden.


  • imaquaman

    # phatcable Says:
    March 9th, 2011 at 1:17 am

    Whats the difference between a RealMaddenRaider and a Chimp? Ones hairy, stupid and smells, and the other is a Chimp!
    bbwwaaahhhahahahhahaha snort hhuuuhh bwahahahaha huhhh bwahahahah snort huhh bwahahah huhhh bbwwaaahhhahahahhahaha hhuuuhh bwahahahaha huhhh bwahahahah snort huhh bwahahah huhhh