By Steve Corkran
Tuesday, February 28th, 2012 at 5:10 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Greg Knapp is back for a second go-round with the Raiders as their offensive coordinator. He made it clear in an interview with CSNBayArea’s Matt Maiocco that he is excited about the prospect of working with many of the key players from last year’s offense.
Knapp told Maiocco in an interview that he intends to implement the zone-blocking scheme that first surfaced when Tom Cable joined as the offensive line coach.
He doesn’t seem the least bit worried about running back Darren McFadden being able to succeed in that blocking scheme.
“I was here last in 2008, and Darren McFadden was a rookie that year,” Knapp said. “I’m excited to get back with him. He really fits our run scheme well, as far as the zone scheme, which I’ll be implementing with our coaches. That’s a great starting point for me.”
Knapp also said that he has had multiple phone conversations with quarterback Carson Palmer, as well as backup quarterback Terrelle Pryor and right guard Cooper Carlisle.
Knapp said Palmer is excited about returning as the Raiders starting quarterback. Palmer has not spoken with the media since the Raiders fired coach Hue Jackson, the person who engineered the controversial trade for Palmer midway through last season.
“I’ve heard all these great things about him before I got here and since I’ve been here,” Knapp said during the scouting combine last week. “Talking to him on the phone about a half-dozen times, and I think I’m just as excited to work with him as he is to work in our offense.”
Knapp left the Raiders after the 2008 season, soon after being stripped of his play-calling duties by Cable. He spent one season with the Seattle Seahawks as their offensive coordinator and the past two seasons with the Houston Texans as their quarterbacks coach.
He said the mood around the Raiders facility is infectious.
“There’s a definite positive vibe going on,” Knapp said. “I was very excited to see what Reggie’s plan was when I came in and initially met with him.
“D.A.’s energy is contagious with everybody. The players are feeling it. The guys who have been in the building for a long time — equipment guys, trainers, video guys — are feeling it. It’s neat to be a part of something at the ground level and build this thing.”
Knapp’s first crack at working with the players comes April 2, the first day coaches are allowed to interact with the players for the 2012 season.
That leaves plenty of time for the players to adapt to, or relearn, the zone-blocking scheme, as well as Knapp’s offense.
“There will be a learning curve,” Knapp said. “I think that happens with any transition with a new team. But we’ll have plenty of time to get it implemented. Whenever we’re in a start-up mode like we are here, like a start-up company, it’s my job to make sure that we don’t do everything at once but piece it correctly together. We’ll have building blocks, so to speak, to implement the offense.”
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