Its always been said that Al Davis has a hand in all things Raider: The draft, the free agents, the stadium and especially the defense.
Many speculated that rather than let John Marshall do his job and run a defense he would be forced to run the Al Davis defense, rather than his own.
A few qoutes from both Marshall and players alike made this inevitable reality seem even more real.
When asked how his defense would differ from Rob Ryans, Marshall replied,"my hair won't be as long."
After hearing that I thought. "Really thats it, Damn maybe it wasn't Rob Ryan maybe were in for the same old bs."
When he was asked how he would address the porus Run defense Marshall said.
"That has everything to do with technique, and it has a whole lot to do with attitude and tackling," Marshall said. "Those are the areas, disengaging blockers, fundamentals."
So hes going to going to go over basic fundamentals with the Oakland Raidersand teach them how to tackle. Shouldn't a profesional NFL team have the fundametals down?
When asked about how he felt working under Al Davis Marshall said.
"I know he knows defense," Marshall said. "The great thing is, is he is like me. He's long in the tooth and he's old school.
Great, so the Raiders are going to be running Al Davis's "old school" defense that dominated back in the day when dinosaurs roamed the earth.
Even Nnamdi Asomugha was skeptical of the "new look" defense the Raiders were implementing in camp.
"That's like a wait-and-see type of thing because even in camps previously we were doing a lot of blitzing and doing multiple things defensively and then we got into games and we were pretty basic," star cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha said. "So, it's like a wait-and-see type of thing."
Maybe the most disturbing qoute that ensured this was Al Davis's defense came from Raiders defensive-end Jay Richardson.
"We all know this is Al Davis's defense, and we love it"
Fast forward to the Raider Cowboys game thursday night how did Al Davis's defense look.
Well not much like a typical Al Davis defense. Sure alot of the plays were the infamous Raider four man rush press man coverage that Raider fans are so used to. But they brought alot more pressure and implemented a fair share of blitzes, stunts and even zone coverage. Though some of the Raiders looked a little rusty in zone. On a few ocassions d-linemen even dropped back into coverage.
So much for going over basic fundamentals and running an old school defense.
Well if this is still Al Davis's defense then how do you explain what happened last night. Some would say what happens in preseason means nothing. But a better answer is that the Raiders two defensive coordinators, Davis and Marshall, Have learned to coexist. What we say last night was a combination of a press-man-coverage and an attacking defense. And it looked good.
Recently when asked about his heavy emphasis on fundamentals Marshall said.
"I've never been of the belief you can't teach old dogs new tricks," he said. "You just kind of have to stay with it longer, have patience and push them harder."
So how do fundamentals have anything to do with "new tricks". Well I don't think Marshall was talking about any of the Raider players. He was talking about Al Davis. And apparently he taught that "old dog" Al Davis a few new tricks.
As Raider fans we need to accept the fact that both our defense as well as nearly everything else Raider is and will be run by Al Davis. His way has been arguably the best way for 40+ years no reason to change that now.
The Raiders new defense is a combination of old and new, Man defense and attack defense, Al Davis and John Marshall.
Sure theres no doubt in my mind that this is still an Al Davis defense, but it is also a John Marshall defense. And two great minds is better than one.
Who knows what we will see from the Raiders new defense