The Oakland Raiders have found their next head coach. Hue Jackson will lead the Raiders into the 2011 season, if there is one.
The move was expected for the better part of two weeks. The San Francisco Chronicle felt confident enough to report that Jackson had the job 13 days ago.
It wasn’t really the hire of Hue Jackson that the fans have been waiting to hear. Nnamdi Asomugha commented that the only way letting Tom Cable go made sense was to elevate Jackson. It was apparent to just about everyone.
Who are the coaches who will coach under Jackson? That’s what everyone really wants to know. Who will be the offensive and defensive coordinators?
The new offensive coordinator will be Al Saunders, who has interviewed many times with Al Davis to be head coach.
Saunders worked closely with Cam Cameron in Baltimore to develop offensive game plans in 2009 and 2010. Philosophically Saunders is a passing coordinator who is a member of the Don Coryell coaching tree.
He worked under Marty Schottenheimer, who was famous for his hatred of the Raiders, from 1989 to 1998. During this time the Chiefs went to the playoffs seven times. He worked in St. Louis for two years and guided receivers Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce to a Super Bowl victory. From 2002 to 2005, Saunders guided the Kansas City Chiefs offense which was ranked in the top five in yardage and scoring in each of his five seasons as offensive coordinator.
The only struggle for Saunders came from 2006 to 2008. Saunders struggled in Washington, although the Redskins did go to the playoffs in his second year despite an average defense and Jason Campbell getting hurt. He also struggled in 2008 in St. Louis under then coach Scott Linehan, due in large part to a talent depleted roster and an ownership and front office change. Saunders served as an offensive consultant for the Ravens in 2009.
Offensive Yardage Rankings Under Al Saunders
2010 Offensive Consultant Ravens: 322.9 ypg (22)
2009 Offensive Consultant Ravens: 351.2 (12)
2008 OC Rams: 287.2 (27)
2007 OC Redskins: 333.4 (15) playoffs
2006 OC Redskins: 327.7 (13)
2005 OC Chiefs: 387.0 (1)
2004 OC Chiefs: 418.4 (1)
2003 OC Chiefs: 369.4 (2)
2002 OC Cheifs: 375.0 (4)
2001 OC Chiefs: 354.6 (5)
If Saunders has a specialty, it is receivers. He now has a young group in Oakland to mold. Saunders will take over a Raiders offense that ranked 10th in yardage and sixth in points scored.
On defense, the coordinator will likely be Chuck Pagano. Based on one source, Pagano is Jackson’s top choice. Davis typically gives new head coaches the ability to sell him on coaches and Davis is already familiar with Pagano, who served under Norv Turner in 2005 and Art Shell in 2006 as defensive backs coach.
Pagano has been credited with helping Nnamdi Asomugha emerge as one of the top corners in the NFL. It shouldn’t be hard for Pagano to interview with Davis, he already has the script written for him.
…there are two big things that matter to me. No. 1 is winning, obviously. Everything that I ask them to do, if it doesn’t have anything to do with winning, then I’m not going to ask them to do it.
Pagano is also good freinds with Rob Ryan, the former long-time defensive coordinator of the Raiders.