Oakland Raiders: Offensive Coordinator Greg Knapp Talks Palmer, Leinart, McFadden, and New Infrastructure
Stuart Kovacs – Jun 2, 2012
After three seasons in which he coached for other NFL teams, Greg Knapp has returned to the silver and black as the offensive coordinator for the Oakland Raiders. He is greatly looking forward to his second stint with the team and is especially excited about his new weapons along with the organization’s new direction.
Knapp was a guest on 1140 The Fan's Grant Napier show Thursday afternoon and had a lot to say about the Raiders and his return to Oakland.
Knapp, who served as quarterbacks coach for the Houston Texans for the past two seasons, spent significant time working with former USC star and now Raiders backup quarterback Matt Leinart. He sees Leinart as being hungry to have success as well as a tremendous asset for this Raiders’ team.
“Everything that I’ve had in association with him has been nothing but outstanding. We used to meet at 6:15 in the morning for the first three months he was there with the Texans because he came in after training camp and then he stayed after practice to do extra reps. He’s going to be a great asset for both our quarterbacks that are here now, Terrelle Pryor and Carson Palmer”
The offensive coordinator is also eager to work with another former USC quarterback in Carson Palmer. He truly believes that the ten-year veteran will be a great fit for his version of the west coast offense.
“He was a big reason why I decided to come here. I’m very excited to work with him. Extremely bright, knows the game really well, not just from the offensive side, but defensive looks and perspective.”
Knapp is once again reunited with running back Darren McFadden who is recovering from a foot injury. He has confidence that McFadden can help this team in more ways than just carrying the football. The key with him, however, is to keep him healthy and fresh.
“I’m very excited to have him because he is not just a running back. This guy you can put outside where he can catch the ball very well. We’ve got to find a way to keep him healthy. As you all know my background, I tend to use two or three backs on rotation just for that reason.”
Since Greg Knapp was last offensive coordinator for the Raiders in the 2008 NFL season, the organization has dramatically changed. Al Davis has passed away and new, young faces have entered to take command.
The team now has a general manager in Reggie McKenzie who looks to restore the Raiders’ tradition of winning through new avenues, including the draft, that are more conducive to the modern game. Knapp can see this change and believes it is for the better with the game constantly changing.
“It was meeting Reggie McKenzie and seeing his plan of attack to build a team from the draft up and his experience of what he acquired in Green Bay and how well they’ve done with their drafts and their personnel. It’s total different. The infrastructure has changed 180 degrees and I really believe it allows for hopefully long and enduring success here.”
Knapp also sees a lot of promise in new head coach Dennis Allen. The two share many similar viewpoints regarding how things are run.
“It’s seeing D.A.’s vision as from a head coaching perspective. It’s very similar to the way I have been raised to have success in the NFL on how to manage a team with reps in practice and the philosophy of offense coinciding with what we’re going to do on defense.”
What Knapp is looking for is to have a balanced offensive attack. He wants to utilize the talent at running back and wide receiver that wasn’t there back in 2008.
“I want balance and consistency. I want to see us run the ball effectively and get some explosive pass game down the field. The big mantra for us, and it’s been well noted in the media circles, is we got to stop hurting ourselves. It’s a great environment for a coordinator to be in because there’s a lot of tools to work with.”
Knapp is saying all the right things to win Raider Nation over. He has bought into Reggie McKenzie's philosophies of balance, competition and utilization of talent. Raiders fans are hoping it all pays off with a divisional title and a playoff berth.
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