Oakland Raiders: The Heating Up of the â€˜Off-Seasonâ€™ Firesâ€¦
Captain Jack Rack 'em Levy – Jan 20, 2012These are uncharted waters for our Raider Nation brothers and sistersâ€¦
For those that are thinking that Captain may be off his rocker, (or off his plank so to speak) hear me out. Yes, the Oakland Raiders are again in the midst of a coaching search, something that weâ€™ve grown accustomed to almost every other year the last decadeâ€¦ as weâ€™ve seen Bill Callahan coach â€˜The Dumbest Team in America, (actually the DUMBEST COMMENT to make which ensures your firing after two yearsâ€¦bye Bill!!)
Norv Turner didnâ€™t fare much better, lasting two years before moving south to San Diego; the return of Art Shell and the â€˜righting of the wrong of his only mistakeâ€™ made by Al Davis, who re-hired the Hall of Famer for a second stint lasting only one year.
Lane Kiffin anyone? Yeah, bad idea, and a shortened one and a quarter season nightmare before Tom Cable came in to finish the last three quarters of Laneâ€™s 2008 tenure before getting two years of his own, capped by his Callahan-esque comment â€˜Weâ€™re not losers anymoreâ€™ as he was unceremoniously shown the door, (probably hit by the same door in his head and backside on the way out).
No Shipmates, this time and for the first time since Ron Wolf filled the role of Raiders General Manager in the 1970â€™s, (Bruce Allen was more of a defacto Capologist and Gruden â€˜Yes-manâ€™ in my book) the Raiders will be naming both a new Head Coach and Staff without the oversight of â€˜Coachâ€™ and Godfather Al Davis making the final decision on who will be running his Silver and Black crew as Head Coach of the Raiders.
Another item that is â€˜pioneeringâ€™ in feat is that this same Head Coach will have the say in who will be on his staff without some of those positions already pre-destined for â€˜favored sons of Davisâ€™ â€“ yes, the Raiders have truly come into the â€˜modern NFLâ€™ â€“ so in one respect, there truly are 32 NFL teams, not 31 and the Raiders â€“ which is both good and bad.
A third thing that is downright â€˜historicalâ€™ is that the Raiders may for the first time since 1963, (the â€˜Al Eraâ€™) have a â€˜Defensive Mindedâ€™ Head Coach, (and before you throw out John Madden being the Linebackers Coach, Madden still was an Offensive Coach who merely filled the bill coaching the linebackers, so there!)
There has been a steady flow of activity in the first week of the â€˜McKenzie Eraâ€™ as a few coaches â€“ Todd Bowles (Dolphins), Mike Tice (Bears), Marty Mornhinweg (Eagles), Dennis Allen and Mike McCoy (Broncos), and Pete Carmichael (Saints) have either interviewed, been scheduled for interviews, or rumored to have been interviewed by McKenzie â€“ and that is not counting the alleged possible meetings of Packers coaches Dom Capers, Darren Perry, Joe Philbin, Tom Clements, and Winston Moss with the Raiders. That â€˜short listâ€™ of Reggie appears to be a few feet long as of nowâ€¦
â€¦ And thatâ€™s GOOD folks. True, several have deadpanned, â€œWhat, Lombardi, Lambeau, Halas and Landry werenâ€™t available?â€ Funnyâ€¦ for that matter letâ€™s see if Dodge Connelly will take a call from McKenzie, (get Clooney on the phoneâ€¦)
Also, letâ€™s discuss this â€˜Searchâ€™ that McKenzie has embarked upon, as I enlighten the Nation on some insight gained from an erudite post from a Raider board Iâ€™ve long perused â€“ maybe our new GM is following the path gleaned from Packer General Manager Ted Thompson during the interview process where the current Packer Head Coach Mike McCarthy was chosen.
Before â€˜settlingâ€™ on McCarthy, Thompson interviewed the â€˜hot commodity coordinatorâ€™ Brad Childress before the Vikings swooped in and grabbed him; further, he interviewed the gamut of football knowledge â€“ offense and defense with differing styles and systems, picking their brains for free while garnering knowledge of how to improve his club by listening to how others were prepared to do that for himâ€¦ Pretty smart if you ask me!
Now, letâ€™s look closely at the coaches McKenzie has either already interviewed or was set to â€˜bookâ€™ for the process: for Defense, Bowlesâ€™ scheme is a 3-4 system, while Allen ran the 4-3 in Denver, (and wouldnâ€™t it be great to get some insight into how they beat us at home?). On offense Tice runs the Sid Gilman/Al Davis â€˜Vertical Game mixed with Power Running,â€™ while Mornhinweg runs the typical â€˜West Coast Offense.â€™ Not bad when considering that Al Davis used to run coaches in and out of the Raider facilities for years in gaining â€˜intelligenceâ€™ on how these coachesâ€™ minds workedâ€¦ something advantageously used for years by the Silver and Black.
So Crew, why donâ€™t we let the process run its course to see what outcome transpires. YES, I am as nervous, agitated, and unbearably anxious as the rest of you, but Iâ€™m willing to wait until that most anticipated, (next) press conference where the NEW HEAD COACH of the Raiders is proudly announced by NEW RAIDER GENERAL MANAGER Reginald McKenzie â€“ be it Moss, Tice, Bowlesâ€¦ or even Connelly or the much anticipated â€˜Surpriseâ€™ candidate â€“ Captain Jack! What else did you think I was doing by calling in daily to Raider Headquarters?
â€¦ and when that is done, weâ€™ll have a better idea as to how that juggernaut Raider offense will run in â€™12, under Saunders, Tice, or Offensive Coordinator unknown, while we marvel at how Defensive Coordinator Bowles, Allen, or â€˜Coach Xâ€™ will run the 3-4, 4-3, 46, 4-4, et al.
Getting that winning combination of Coach and Staff is what this is all about, with the product that has been desired for the past decade.
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah... a decade. The Captain is writing this on the 10th Anniversary of the 19 January 2002 game in snowy Foxboro in what was the LAST contest played at that complexâ€¦ the infamous â€˜Tuck Ruleâ€™ game. The Patriots will play this weekend in yet another Playoff game, this yearâ€™s AFC Championship game.
While it irks all of Raider Nation knowing that New England is poised to possibly go to yet another Super Bowl, letâ€™s take solace in the knowledge that we may be embarking on our OWN decade of near yearly trips the â€˜Playoff Ballâ€™ and all the pomp and circumstance that weâ€™ve been missing consistently.
Rememberâ€¦ as â€˜Coachâ€™ Al Davis oft said, (as I paraphrase) â€˜Itâ€™s the PLAYERSâ€¦ let them make the PLAYS.â€™ Mr. Davis was further historically criticized for â€˜skimpingâ€™ on Coaches; whether that is true or not is immaterial. What IS known is that his son Mark is doing things the right way, starting with his choice as General Manager McKenzie, and HIS choice as Raiders Head Coach â€“ (Name To Be Determined).
â€˜The Greatness of the Raiduhhhhhhhhhz is in its FUTUREâ€™ the Godfather further recited. I say we can amend that statement to â€˜Near Futureâ€™ if not NOW. YAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!
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