Mike Leach Raiders Next Head Coach?: C'mon, Al, Can You Do Better Than That?

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Mike Leach Raiders Next Head Coach?: C'mon, Al, Can You Do Better Than That?

Ever since the bye week, rumors of Tom Cable's demise as head coach and who would replace him have been flying. Now, at season's end, these rumors have picked up speed.

We've heard names like Jim Fassell, Charlie Weis, Jon Gruden, Bill Cowher, Marc Trestman, and now, Mike Leach.

In the last few days, Leach's name has been mentioned regarding the Raiders far too many times just to be a simple rumor.

But is Leach really what we want as a head coach?

In no way am I a Tom Cable supporter. My biggest complaint against Cable is his decision making.

His pass happy play-calling fails to utilize our strong running game and talents of Michael Bush, Justin Fargas, and Darren McFadden.

Then there's the media circus and criminal accusations against Cable.

Mike Leach already has his own media circus for "locking" a player in an equipment shed. Unfortunately, that player happened to be the son of an ESPN analyst who was unhappy about his son's lack of playing time.

Then there is the incredibly pass-happy offense that Leach ran at Texas Tech.

If you watched any of their games, you saw a lot of shotgun and three-plus wide receiver sets.

Sure, running backs caught the ball out of the backfield, but the running game was nearly non-existent, as the team averaged over 400 yards per game through the air, yet only 84 yards per game on the ground.

I can't recall a single instance where I've seen Texas Tech involve a fullback or a two tight-end set in the offense.

Being a Raider fan since the '90s, that is not what I know as Raider football.

Raider football is a strong-armed QB and fast receivers. Raider football is a ruthless fullback paving the way for a smashmouth running game. Raider football is 4th-and-short and the whole stadium knows the ball is going to Zack Crockett, yet the defense can't do a thing about it.

The Raiders' offense has always revolved around the running back position. Even while Gannon was here earning the league MVP, the offense revolved around Charlie Garner.

Then there's the question of whether or not Leach's offense can succeed at the next level.

Some Leach supporters have suggested that any QB can succeed under Leach's system.

Yes, even JaMarcus Russell.

But throwing the ball 55 times a game can be very dangerous and detrimental to a QB's health. As made apparent by how quickly Bruce Gradkowski and Charlie Frye went down throwing 35-45 times a game.

Then there's the fact that defensive play is much faster in the NFL: The pass rush is faster, coverage is tighter, windows in zone coverage are smaller, and defenders are smarter.

Sure, no doubt a QB like Russell can succeed in Leach's system in the Big 12, but success in the NFL may be a completely different story.

Look at Graham Harrell.

Texas Tech's former record-breaking, Heisman-hopeful star QB. He broke numerous NCAA QB records including single season pass completions, single season pass TDs, and was second in career completions.

Yet, he was labeled a system QB and went undrafted. He was then picked up by the Cleveland Browns to practice under a try-out basis and failed.

He went to the UFL, where no team showed any interest. Then he finally landed a spot buried in the depth chart of the Canadian Football league's Saskatchewan Roughriders.

That fact either speaks volumes that any QB can be great under his system or that his system just won't work in the NFL.

With the Raiders running an offense designed by Mike Leach, the Raiders would resemble some of the leagues pass-happy offenses like the Colts, Eagles, or Patriots. And no one wants that.

However, if Leach were to hire an offensive coordinator to put his pass-happy ways in check and help the Raiders bring a balanced attack, I would take him over Cable any day.

 

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