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April official; Raiders list 14 returning coaches

The Raiders made the return of special teams coordinator Bobby April official Friday and released a list 14 assistant coaches that will be back in 2014.

General manager Reggie McKenzie said Thursday the club was finalizing an agreement with April.

Other than April, the Raiders coach staff under Dennis Allen will include quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, wide receivers coach Ted Gilmore, strength and conditioning coach John Greico, offensive quality control coach Justin Griffith, tight ends coach Mark Hutson, offensive coordinator Greg Olson, linebackers coach Bob Sanders, defensive quality control coach Eric Sanders, senior offensive assistant Al Saunders, running backs coach Kelly Skipper, offensive line coach/assistant head coach Tony Sparano, defensive coordinator Jason Tarver and defensive line coach Terrell Williams.

The Raiders are in the market for coaches in the defensive secondary, as Clayton Lopez and Johnnie Lynn are no longer on staff, nor is special teams assistant Keith Burns.

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • willy91137

    Good question hard to answer if I go thumbs-up and they don’t go eight and eight because the injuries than would blow the whole thing up and start all over new coach new system think about it 11 warriors of the wasteland

  • tuckrulefool

    what if i put 7-9 or better?

  • r8ter4evr

    Prop bet Peyton -52 1/2. Passing yards more rhan Tom I say Tom keeps it close

  • SaintKaufman

    Will you guys shut up about the staff if I choose UP or DOWN?

  • Chino

    Too bad he was throwing to Jerry porter and Ronald curry when he was with us. Numbers still weren’t that bad. Now we’ve seen what he could have done with talent.

  • willy91137

    See improvement in the way the team is playing and we should keep the coaching staff and the GM and coach

  • r8ter4evr

    7-9 is most likely AFC West schedule and 1 game against NFC west opponents thats 12 tough games!!!!

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    Seattle’s been living in a fool’s paradise. Bellicheat/Brady gonna make it another boring SB, so enjoy the games today.

  • SaintKaufman

    Comes down to tackling. Both get huge YAC.

  • Howard Benner

    As we approach FAgency there are two tangible charateristics to take into consideration; what do the available players mean to their teams & how are they preceived around the league?

    Some players, like Riley Cooper of the Eagles or Alterron Verner of the Titans are thought of as products of their systems. Others, like Jimmy Graham of the ‘Aints or Kracken of the Panthers are viewed as universally indispensable. . .

    The main two players on the following list I am thinking in terms of are Alex Mack of the Brownies & Michael Johnson of the Bungles. In the case of Mack he is one of the only centers in the league that presents a mismatch while run blocking. The AFC WEst teams are populated with 3-4 defenses. A player like Mack that can control NT’s (don’t think that is necessarily the case against Dontari Pope but @ least he would hold his own & not be dominated by arguably the best NT in the game) would be considered invaluable, particularly by the Brownies. . .in the case of Michael Johnson he concentrated on improving his play against the run & in the aftermath of the loss of Geno Atkins those two events might have led to his 2013 disparity in sacks over the 2012 season. . .Cleveland has the sal cap room to franchise Mack if they choose to but will pay heavily in 2015. Johnson? With Carlos Dunlap & the big payday Atkins received in the 2013 season is Johnson affordable? Read on, fellow fans. . courtesy of BSPN. . .

    The stakes in NFL free agency would be so much higher this offseason if NaVorro Bowman, Kam Chancellor, Geno Atkins, Sean Lee, Clay Matthews, Percy Harvin
    and other headliners hadn’t signed contract extensions keeping them off
    the market. Teams have gotten pretty good at identifying their best
    players and securing their services preemptively. The short list of
    potential high-priority unrestricted free agents will get even shorter
    as teams re-sign top players or use the franchise tag to buy additional
    time.

    That explains why it was tough to come up with many potential UFAs
    falling into the “must-keep” category with less than two months
    remaining until the signing period opens. Two agents and two general
    managers lent assistance, with all four placing the same player atop
    their lists. I wasn’t going to argue, but there were some differing
    perspectives once we moved past the top four or five players.

    While the agents focused on how much money UFAs might command, the
    GMs also considered players whose value to their current organizations
    went beyond what the market might bear. That was where I chose to focus
    – not exclusively on which players might get paid the most, but also on
    which ones teams need to re-sign if they hope to avoid a significant
    drop in performance next season. I set out to list 10 “must-sign” free
    agents and wound up listing 25 overall, including a few with lesser
    qualifications.

    Here are the top 25 “must-sign” free agents of 2014.

    1. Jimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans Saints:
    We can debate whether Graham should be valued as a tight end or wide
    receiver based on where he lines up most of the time. We can debate
    whether the Saints used him properly in the postseason or whether Graham
    shrank under pressure. But there is no debating what Graham has meant
    to the Saints’ passing game while leading the league in touchdown
    receptions over the past three seasons (36). The Saints’ championship
    window should remain open for the next couple of seasons as quarterback Drew Brees
    remains in his prime at age 34. Graham has to stay in New Orleans and
    it’s highly unlikely that the Saints will let him leave. The agents and
    GMs expect Graham to get the franchise tag. “He will want $10 million a
    year or more, but why pay him that if they can franchise him at, say, $7
    million and get him for $15 million over the next two?” one of the
    agents said.

    2. Greg Hardy, DE, Carolina Panthers:
    Sometimes you’ll hear people say sacks tell only part of the story.
    That’s true, but guys who collect a lot of them have traditionally
    gotten paid handsomely. Hardy ranks fifth in sacks over the past two
    seasons with 26, and he will be just 26 years old next season. The
    Panthers have sought to build a deep and powerful rotation along their
    defensive line and Hardy is a big part of that. However, the market for
    pass-rushers went soft last offseason. That was how Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett
    wound up with Seattle on short-term deals. The feeling here is that
    Carolina will use the franchise tag on Hardy or sign him to an
    extension. There was no consensus that Hardy should be second on this
    list. One of the agents thought he should be lower, but it was tough
    finding other players to fill the void.

    3. Alex Mack, C, Cleveland Browns:
    Mack is 28 and has started all 80 games in five seasons, earning Pro
    Bowl honors twice. “He has a good pedigree, is a good leader and will
    get a big deal, no question,” one of the agents said. One of the GMs
    agreed, noting that Mack is good enough to create mismatches in the
    running game. The Browns enter the 2014 draft with two first-round
    choices and plenty of holes on their roster. Losing Mack would create a
    giant need unnecessarily. He’s the type of player smart teams reward.

    4. Brian Orakpo, OLB, Washington Redskins: The Redskins were a mess on defense last season even though Orakpo had 10 sacks while placing fourth in the Pro Football Focus rankings for 3-4 outside linebackers. Teams need at least two top pass-rushers to excel; Orakpo gives the Redskins one. Ryan Kerrigan
    isn’t bad, either, but Orakpo is the one Washington can least afford to
    lose. “Kerrigan can win against mediocre tackles,” one of the GMs said.
    “Orakpo can win against anybody.”

    5. Branden Albert, LT, Kansas City Chiefs:
    Teams value quarterbacks, pass-rushers, offensive tackles and cover
    corners highly. The question here is whether the Chiefs would value
    Albert enough to re-sign him one year after using the first pick in the
    draft on another tackle, Eric Fisher.
    The decision would be easier if Fisher obviously projected as a safe
    bet to blossom at left tackle, but that has not happened yet. “They
    could play Donald Stephenson at left tackle and Fisher at right if they wanted to let Branden go,” one of the GMs said.

    6. Henry Melton, DT, Chicago Bears:
    This one is complicated by the ACL injury Melton suffered during the
    season. A recent arrest presents another issue to navigate. The Bears
    defense was not the same after Melton left the lineup, as GM Phil Emery noted recently:
    “The under-tackle position in the scheme that we’re in is the engine
    that drives the defense. And when he was in the game, even though from a
    statistical standpoint he wasn’t off to a fast start, it was very
    evident on tape that he was a very important part of the defense.”

    [+] Enlarge

    AP Photo/Marcio Jose SanchezAnquan Boldin has had a great season in San Francisco.
    7. Michael Johnson, DE, Cincinnati Bengals:
    The Bengals franchised Johnson a year ago and appear unlikely to do so
    again after Johnson collected only 3.5 sacks in 2013, down from 11.5 the
    season before. Stronger play against the run allowed Johnson to place
    fourth in Pro Football Focus’ rankings for 4-3 defensive ends, one spot behind Hardy. Still, it could be unlikely Johnson will stick around, as the Bengals have invested in Atkins and Carlos Dunlap
    already. Johnson turns 27 next month and should be entering his prime
    years. “The jury is still out on him, but he is a young rusher and those
    guys can get paid,” one of the agents said. “Last year, the market for
    pass-rushers changing teams was not great.”

    8. Lamarr Houston, DE, Oakland Raiders: The Raiders do not possess enough talent to let productive young players get away. Houston, 25, tied Cameron Wake with 41 quarterback hurries this season, according to Pro Football Focus. Not bad for a 300-pounder.

    9. Anquan Boldin, WR, San Francisco 49ers:
    Boldin isn’t going to command a fat long-term deal at age 33. The 49ers
    would ideally move on with younger players, but Boldin means too much
    to them. I’m not sure the 49ers would have made the playoffs, let alone
    advanced, without the toughness, consistency, leadership and production
    Boldin provided — especially while Michael Crabtree
    was recovering from surgery. It’s not just that Boldin caught 85 passes
    for 1,179 yards and seven touchdowns during the regular season. It’s
    not just that he has 11 receptions for 174 yards in two playoff games.
    The value has been compounded by the fact that San Francisco has had
    such a glaring need at the position. Having Crabtree back could diminish
    Boldin’s value next season, at least to some degree.

    10. Dennis Pitta, TE, Baltimore Ravens: Pitta
    returned from a major injury late in the season and might not command
    more than $4-$5 million a year. “Some think he’ll get a lot more,” one
    of the agents said. The bottom line is that Baltimore can’t really
    afford to lose any more of its established weapons after trading away
    Boldin last offseason. Pitta is one of the few weapons quarterback Joe Flacco can trust. Keeping him in a Ravens uniform should be a priority.

    11. B.J. Raji, DT, Green Bay Packers: Raji
    appears somewhat miscast in the Packers’ 3-4 defense. It’s not that
    Raji has performed poorly. It’s more that the Packers have turned him
    into a two-down player to fit their scheme, one reason Raji has zero
    sacks in his past 37 regular-season games. Raji had 9.5 sacks over a
    27-game span preceding his current drought. He has reportedly turned
    down an offer worth $8 million per year, an indication he might see
    himself as a better fit elsewhere. Do the Packers have enough talent on
    defense to let one of their better players get away?

    12. Michael Bennett, DL, Seattle Seahawks: Bennett had 8.5 sacks for the Seahawks in 2013 after collecting nine for Tampa Bay in the previous season. He was fifth behind Robert Quinn, Cameron Wake, Hardy and Johnson in the PFF rankings for 4-3 defensive ends. Chris Clemons,
    32, might not be in the picture next season. The versatile Bennett
    proved to be an excellent fit in Seattle. Re-signing him and keeping
    Avril (signed through 2014) seems like the way to go. Injuries are one
    consideration, though, as Bennett had a preexisting shoulder condition
    when Seattle signed him.

    13. Karlos Dansby, ILB, Arizona Cardinals: Inside
    linebackers generally aren’t a priority to re-sign at age 32, but
    Dansby could be an exception. He played more snaps than anyone on the
    Cardinals defense. Dansby picked off four passes and returned two of
    them for touchdowns. He broke up 13 passes by either batting the ball,
    tipping it or getting credit for a pass defensed. The Cardinals have
    front-line talent at every level of their defense whether or not Dansby
    returns, but they would have a hard time replacing what he has provided.
    He and Bennett ranked among the top one-year rentals in 2013. They have
    earned new deals.

    14. Jairus Byrd, S, Buffalo Bills:
    Byrd played the final 11 games this season after skipping the first
    five as an unhappy franchise player. “I think they like him a lot,” one
    GM said, “but I would be surprised if he [was] hugely paid.” One of the
    agents thought Byrd would get between $6.2 million and $7.5 million a
    year. The Bills were 15th in Total QBR allowed without Byrd and third
    after he reported.

    [+] Enlarge

    Daniel Shirey/USA TODAY SportsAqib Talib is a versatile player in New England’s defense.
    15. Sam Shields, CB, Packers: Shields
    provides needed stability in the Green Bay secondary. He could even
    outrank Raji on this list, depending on what role the Packers have in
    mind for Raji.

    16. Aqib Talib, CB, New England Patriots:
    Injuries wiped out much of the Patriots defense, making Talib even more
    valuable. The way Talib shadowed and shut down Graham in Week 6 stands
    out. There are other corners worth a mention, including Brent Grimes and Alterraun Verner.
    One agent thought Grimes might get $21 million over three years, but
    there are concerns about his age and durability. Verner normally would
    have commanded his own entry here, but one of the GMs questioned how he
    would project to other schemes. That is something to consider if
    Tennessee’s new coaching staff installs a 3-4 defense favoring bigger
    corners with strong tackling skills.

    17. Arthur Jones, DL, Ravens: Jones
    is 27 years old, coming off his rookie contract and a major part of the
    Ravens’ run defense. One agent thought Jones might get around $6
    million a year.

    18. Donte Whitner, SS, 49ers: The
    49ers’ front seven is among the best in the NFL. Their secondary isn’t
    as strong, which is why the team should keep Whitner. One of the GMs put
    it this way: “San Francisco is in the [championship] window and I think
    Whitner brings an element of ultra toughness that I do not know if they
    can afford to lose just to get younger. They are a very tough, physical
    bunch and he might be the most physical of all of them.”

    19. Jason Hatcher, DT, Dallas Cowboys:
    Hatcher had 11 sacks in 2013 and he possesses the versatility to play
    multiple schemes. He turns 32 in July, but given the state of the
    Cowboys defense, Hatcher should have value to the team.

    20. Golden Tate, WR, Seahawks:
    The Seahawks’ need at receiver won’t be as great if Harvin returns to
    health and factors from the beginning next season, but that is not
    something the Seahawks can take for granted. “Russell [Wilson] can be
    good at putting a ball up down the field and he does it to Golden in
    center field,” one of the GMs said. “It’s a component of their offense
    that they did not have. Tate may not be pound-for-pound one of the best
    players in free agency, but in importance to team, he is up there.” This
    GM also thought the Philadelphia Eagles needed to re-sign Riley Cooper.
    The other GM made it clear other teams wouldn’t necessarily value those
    players the same way. “Tate will be seen with the slot-type guys and
    people in my position feel they can come up with those guys,” this GM
    said. “People will not say, ‘I have to have Golden Tate.’ People will
    say the system made Cooper, not the other way around.” There are other
    wide receivers to consider. Denver’s Eric Decker and New England’s Julian Edelman are among them, but the feeling here is that Peyton Manning and Tom Brady will be fine with or without them.

    21. LeGarrette Blount, RB, Patriots:
    Blount was the only running back mentioned as a possibility for
    inclusion when I called around before the playoffs got underway.
    Watching Blount carry 24 times for 166 yards and four touchdowns against
    Indianapolis in the divisional playoffs did not hurt his cause.

    22. Jason Worilds, OLB, Pittsburgh Steelers: Worilds led the Steelers in sacks with eight. Fellow outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley has missed 14 games over the past three seasons and doesn’t carry the same value he did earlier in his career.

    23. T.J. Ward, S, Browns: The big question is whether Ward can stay healthy after his breakthrough 2013 season. Durability was a concern in the past.

    24. Hakeem Nicks, WR, New York Giants:
    It’s tough to place Nicks higher on the list when the Giants appear
    noncommittal about his future with the team. Nicks has enough talent to
    command top dollar and the Giants can use all the front-line receivers
    they can get. But after Eli Manning imploded and Nicks went without a touchdown reception in 2013, Nicks’ value became tougher to handicap.

    25. Eugene Monroe, T, Ravens: Monroe makes the list based largely on positional value. PFF ranked him 10th among left tackles in 2013. The Ravens need to upgrade their offensive line on the interior. They don’t need to create additional holes at tackle.

  • SaintKaufman

    I believe it’s also referred to as Respect. Or espect, not sure if it’s a soft R.

  • r8ter4evr

    Agree I bleed silver and black but how can you NOT admire Montana’s greatness he was a class act or any superstar that keeps his mouth shut and proves himself on the field

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    You just frickin killed my browser.

  • Raidersfan727

    I really cant root for any of these teams (for example, Id probably root for GB or New Orleans or Indy) but I HATE Denver and San Fran and that would be the worst super bowl matchup to have. I could live with New England and Seattle. But I dont think i could watch denver vs san fran

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    FAgency?

  • Rico Stifler

    DA will likely be gone but not RM. We have a tough schedule in 2014 and I don’t see DA surviving the season.

  • NYCRaider

    Clowney wont be availble when we pick. I hope RM doesnt draft an OL at 5. The combine will change a lot . JM flaws may override the success he has had in college in some GMs eyes.

    http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/01/19/clowney-vows-to-put-on-an-amazing-scouting-combine/

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    I’m with ya. and NE gonna embarass the Hags.

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    I ‘spect so.

  • Howard Benner

    The Raiders play in the AFC West. They have faced the Donks two times a year since I was in grade school. As bad as I hate the patsies, Snowjob, Tom Brady, etc., it’s like my hatred for the Stealers, the Innaculate Reception, Terry Bradshaw, the Steal Curtain (that was intentional), etc; I have hated the Broncos forever. I work with two huge Bronco fans. I will continue to hae them forever, more than any other team in sports. I am a confirmed San Francosco Gians fan & will hate the dodgers forever. Despite any hatred for another player or team in MLB I will always root against the Dodgers. Thus it’s automatic for me; I flat hate the donks &, since I live in Seattle the Seasugs as well, no matter how much I disdain the 40whiners. . .I realize how much y’all hate the 40whiners. . .but it’s a perspective thing for me. .

  • SaintKaufman

    What up purv? That was your Sunday morning Ron Burgandy line.

  • Howard Benner

    Ah, yes. . that’s the spirit. . .only one team from the AFC west deserves our backing & they wear silver & black. . .

  • Howard Benner

    Bottom line point. . .

  • SaintKaufman

    Turn it off. Turn it off!!

  • Howard Benner

    You seriously can’t root for another team in the AFC West. . .it’s tradition NOT to root for a team in the AFC West. can’t deviate from tradition, no matter how much hatred you might harbor for another team or player. . .

  • Rico Stifler

    No way OL is drafted at 5, considering we’ll have Veld at LT and Watson at RT.

  • SaintKaufman

    Unless they call on a name that makes us all say ‘who’? We will be adding a stud to our team in May.

  • Rico Stifler

    Only team I am rooting for are the Seahawks. Only non-rival left… At least, I don’t consider them a rival anymore cuz we’ve only played them a handful of times since they left for the NFC West.

  • NYCRaider

    Drafting 5 guarantees an Impact player in this years draft. Hoping RM doesnt trade down and picks an impact player like Watkins

  • SaintKaufman

    That would be super!

  • Howard Benner

    Rob Lytle. John Elway. Shannon Sharp. Terrel Davis. Shanarat. Tom jackson. The Orange Crush (ugh) Defense. . .The Denver fans raining snowballs on “Double Presidents” & the rest fo the Raiders on Monday Night Football (I was flippin there that night. Most surrealistic enperience I’ve ever encountered while attending NFL games. . .& I’ve had many), the hatred built up over FOUR DECADES of the rivalry.

    All that trumps anything Tom Terrific can muster. someday he’ll be gone but the Raiders will continue to be an AFC West team, playing their division rivals twice every flippin’ year. that’s why NO Raider fan should root for the Patsies. . .

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    After throwing a few things and cussing a bit, that was the first thing I thought of.

  • Howard Benner

    Disgusting. You atually losing site of the role the Donks play as a division rival of our beloved Raiders. . .it’s history, may. . unindelible history. . .

  • NYCRaider

    I agree that QB is a need for us. But taking the 3rd or 4th highest rated QB is such a risk compared to taking the best WR or DL at 5. Here are the 3rd QBs taken in the last 10 years of each draft.
    2013 Glennon
    2012 Tannehill
    2011 Gabbert
    2010 Clausen
    2009 Freeman
    2008 Brohm
    2007 Kolb
    2006 Cutler
    2005 Campbell

  • Howard Benner

    Right on, brother! That’s reality!

    Do the 76ers root for the Celtics? Do the Maple Leafs root for the Canadiens? Do the Yankies root for the Dead Sox?

  • DJ Johnny

    I don’t have the link but there’s a Seahawk fan who went and got a BIG tattoo on his lower arm with the Seahawk logo and in big letters it says “2013 Super Bowl Champions”.
    He says he doesn’t have one ounce of doubt they will win it all.

  • Howard Benner

    Burfict went undrafted for a myriad of reasons. One, he was in porous physical shape. Two, he was an anger management case. His senior season @ ASU was a disaster. I do agree with the rest, though. . .

  • Howard Benner

    I do agree with you on that point. . .

  • NYCRaider

    Personally if you told many in here 3 years ago that it would take 3 years just to get back to the 8-8 record cable and Hue achieved IMO there wouldnt be a lot of thumbs up. In 3 years a GM should be able to field a team that can win at least 9 games imo.

  • Chino

    Nice. Seems we can’t go wrong with whichever ends we wind up with

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    Growing up in So Cal and becoming a football and Raider fan in ’78 and not quite having internet access I didn’t know I was supposed to hate the Whiners. Being at the game in LA when Jeff Stover(49er) did the pile driver with Plunkett, effectively ending his career I pretty much did anyway.

  • Howard Benner

    It was his on the field meltdown on a weekly basis that downgraded him significantly. . .did you see the pics from BSPN the magazine? without a shirt he looked like a casual over 40 football fan. Atrocious shape. His performance (or lack thereof) @ the “Underwear Olympics?” His 40 was so slow they timed him with a sundial. His 225? I think it was less than eight reps. . .

    You know as well as anyone that just because a player was a beast in college is no correlation to what their pro game (or lack of one) will play out to be. . .

  • Colorado

    Didn’t an NBA player tattoo the trophy on his arm a few years ago in the playoffs, then never got to the finals?

  • RaiderGuy50

    I’m with u all the way with wakins for me with number 5 unless combine changes things- Is he playing in senior bowl??

  • Howard Benner

    I realize I am in “Bizarrowworld,living in the PNW;” y’all in the Bay Area can’t be 40 whiner fans. However, if the Seaslugs win my offseason will be a living hell. Heck, it already is. . .

  • Howard Benner

    Sounds like a mandatory post game colonoscopy

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    Well, bear up and deal with it for two more weeks. The slapdown Bellicheat puts on the Hags will give you a fitting retort in the off season.

  • DJ Johnny

    ANY of these 4 teams hoisting the Lombardi will be disappointing.
    -Seattle?: Pete Carrol and his cocky azz gumchewing and the whole 12th man crap and the “legion of boom” blahblah.
    -SF?: They’ve already had 5 SB wins and the whole bay area thing with the Raiders.
    Pats?: Brady, Belichik and the whole “Patriot Way” bs and they just win way too dam much.
    -Denver?: Well…it’s freaking Denver. They would tie the Raiders for most SB victories in the AFC West. Plus..just wanna see Manning go down.
    It’s amazing that out of these teams I guess I would be the least annoyed with Pats taking it.
    Anyway you spin it…it sucks that one of these teams will win it all.

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    Went to sleep early or i would’ve livened it up.

  • Howard Benner

    I couldn’t believe it myself. . .not that it isn’t possible. . .I had “The Man Who Fell to Earth” on the big screen, Stolis Martinis flowing, the girlfriend gave me a foot massage. . .then I tuned in to discover pontificating over literature. . .so I responded in kind. . .since it’s one of my favorite subjects. . .