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Team: Oakland Raiders

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Raiders hired Todd Downing as QB coach.
He replaces John DeFilippo, was was hired as the Browns offensive coordinator. Downing got very little out of E.J. Manuel and Kyle Orton as the Bills' QB coach last year, but helped develop Matthew Stafford in Detroit from 2011-13. Downing joins OL coach Mike Tice and LBs coach Sal Sunseri as the latest additions to Jack Del Rio's staff. Fri, Jan 23, 2015 06:35:00 PM

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Raiders re-signed OL coach Tony Sparano to a two-year contract.

Also donning the title of "assistant head coach," Sparano turned easily the league's least talent offensive line of 2013 into a borderline-functional group that sprung Rashad Jennings for 4.5 yards per carry and only permitted 38 sacks, 14th fewest in football. The Raiders' coaching staff will look a lot better if GM Reggie McKenzie starts funneling them some talent. McKenzie has failed in that area through two years on the job.
Fri, Jan 10, 2014 08:26:00 PM

Updating an earlier item, ESPN's Adam Schefter confirms the Raiders are talking to former Browns football "czar" Mike Holmgren about a "prominent" leadership role in the organization.

Oh boy. Both sides declined comment, but didn't offer denials. Holmgren is reportedly on holiday in Europe. Schefter's colleague Bill Williamson reported one of Holmgren's duties would be assisting in the Raiders' quest for new stadium, but "prominent leadership role" suggests he could have a hand in personnel, as well. Considering Holmgren's success — or lack thereof — in Cleveland and Seattle's front offices, that's not a good thing for a team that's still reeling from the final few years of the late Al Davis' rule.
Tue, Feb 26, 2013 06:25:00 PM

Two sources tell ESPN the Raiders are talking to former Seahawks and Packers coach Mike Holmgren about a "leadership position within the organization."

According to reporter Bill Williamson, part of Holmgren's job would be assisting in Oakland's never-ending hunt for a new stadium. That means it's unlikely he'd be brought on in a coaching or football "czar"-like position. Holmgren worked alongside Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie in Green Bay, and would surely have a voice in personnel matters, even if it was limited. It's pretty clear Holmgren's ill-fated Cleveland stint won't be his final NFL job.
Tue, Feb 26, 2013 05:16:00 PM

Raiders hired former Jets OC Tony Sparano as offensive line coach.

The former Dolphins head man will also serve as Dennis Allen's assistant head coach. Sparano was out of his depth as the Jets' play-caller, but has always been viewed as a solid line coach, and adds credibility to neophyte Allen's reshuffled staff. It's doubtful Sparano is ever called on again to lead a team or offense, but he should be able to coach linemen as long as his heart desires. He is also a power-blocking proponent and will help Oakland's transition away from former OC Greg Knapp's zone-run scheme, which was a colossal failure.
Wed, Jan 23, 2013 02:19:00 PM

Raiders hired Greg Olson as offensive coordinator.

No relation to the Panthers tight end, ex-Orioles pitcher or Braves catcher, this Greg Olson coached Jaguars quarterbacks in 2012 following a three-year stint coordinating the Bucs' offense. His 2010 Tampa offense, with Josh Freeman, Mike Williams, and LeGarrette Blount, was probably Olson's finest work in a premium NFL position. Olson broke into the league in 2001 under Steve Mariucci and has a variety of offensive backgrounds. One staple of Olson's on-field product has been a power running game. That should be good news for Darren McFadden.
Sat, Jan 19, 2013 01:43:00 AM

The Raiders are reportedly interviewing Montreal Alouettes coach Marc Trestman for their offensive coordinator vacancy on Sunday.

Interesting. The interview is proof that Trestman has designs on an NFL return even if he doesn't get the Bears' head-coaching job. He joins ex-Rams coach Mike Martz and senior offensive assistant Al Saunders as candidates to run the Raiders offense. Per, the Raiders are also interviewing Jaguars assistant head coach/QBs Greg Olsen for the position.
Sun, Jan 13, 2013 05:38:00 PM

According to the Contra Costa Times, the Raiders have interviewed former Rams head coach Mike Martz for their offensive coordinator vacancy.

The Raiders' current personnel struggles mightily in pass protection, so the potential Martz marriage would seem to be a rough fit barring heavy offseason turnover in Oakland. And the Raiders are cap-strapped due to the financial mess left behind by Al Davis. Per the same report, the Raiders have also contacted Juan Castillo about coaching their offensive line.
Sat, Jan 12, 2013 05:46:00 PM

Raiders senior offensive assistant Al Saunders is "under consideration" for the vacant offensive coordinator position.

More good news for Darren McFadden. Saunders was the Raiders' offensive coordinator in 2011, when McFadden averaged 5.4 YPC and rushed for 87.7 yards per game. Under Greg Knapp's zone-blocking scheme in 2012, DMC managed 3.3 YPC and 58.9 yards per game. If Saunders gets the job, we can safely project a power-running scheme that fits McFadden's skill set.
Wed, Jan 2, 2013 10:20:00 AM

Raiders fired OC Greg Knapp.

The Raiders have also fired interior line coach Frank Pollack. Translation, goodbye zone-blocking scheme. It was disastrous one-year stint for Knapp in Oakland, as he refused to adjust his beloved ZBS despite having one of the premier power runners in the game at his disposal in Darren McFadden. The Raiders went from averaging 22.4 points under Hue Jackson in 2011 to 18.1. An impressive majority of those points came in garbage time. Knapp has likely coordinated his last offense, but his run-game prowess should earn him a position coach job for 2013.
Mon, Dec 31, 2012 01:42:00 PM

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the Raiders are expected to fire offensive coordinator Greg Knapp as well as other members of the offensive staff.

Multiple reports have suggested that head coach Dennis Allen will keep his job, but Knapp's zone-blocking scheme was a bad idea from the start. The Raiders finished 28th in rushing at 89 yards per game while Darren McFadden produced a career-low average of 3.3 YPC. It was the second time in McFadden's career that he struggled with his timing while running in a zone-blocking scheme. He produced the two best seasons of his career in Hue Jackson's traditional attack in 2010-11, averaging 5.3 YPC and 122 scrimmage yards per game. Knapp's firing is music to the ears of McFadden's Dynasty owners. He's under contract for one more season.
Mon, Dec 31, 2012 07:55:00 AM

FOX's Jay Glazer reports the Raiders are expected to make a "bunch of changes" to their offensive coaching staff as early as Sunday evening.

Glazer believes underwhelming first-year coach Dennis Allen is safe, but implied behind-the-times OC Greg Knapp is as good as gone. Knapp worked extremely hard to earn his walking papers this season, routinely failing to put his players in the best position to succeed. That was embodied by Darren McFadden, who found himself trapped in a zone-blocking scheme that played to his weaknesses and sapped his strengths. Knapp is probably lucky he wasn't let go mid-season.
Sun, Dec 30, 2012 12:16:00 PM

According to Hub Arkush of, the Raiders "are in talks" with Jon Gruden about a reunion.

That's a wild one. Aside from some fairly standard comments about being disappointed in the Raiders' rough November, owner Mark Davis has given no indication that coach Dennis Allen's job is in jeopardy. If there's so much as a grain of truth to this rumor, however, Allen's seat must be quite warm. Then again, there's scarcely a job in America Gruden hasn't been connected to since becoming a sensation in the Monday Night Football booth. If he's coming back for 2013, the odds seem extremely thin it's with the Raiders.
Tue, Dec 4, 2012 08:27:00 PM

Former Raiders OC Al Saunders is staying with the team as a senior assistant through the 2013 season.

It's a good move. Saunders is highly respected offensive mind who can add creativity to new OC Greg Knapp's run-heavy offense. Saunders has not been the primary play-caller since 2007 with the Redskins.
Wed, Feb 8, 2012 09:28:00 AM

Raiders hired former USC WRs coach Ted Gilmore for the same position.

It's an interesting hire for Silver and Black, as Gilmore has no NFL experience and was plucked from the staff of ex-Raiders head man Lane Kiffin. After overseeing one of college football's most productive receiver corps last season, Gilmore will inherit a group of young Raiders wideouts that could be primed for a big step forward.
Tue, Feb 7, 2012 11:05:00 PM

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