Where The Oakland Raiders Off-Season Is Headed

Jake StablerContributor IJanuary 21, 2010

Al Davis is clearly out of ideas how to fix the offensive woes that have plagued the Oakland Raiders.  That’s why he is interviewing people.  Guys like Marc Trestman, Jim Fassel, Jim Harbaugh, Hue Jackson – all of whom are qualified to be head coach  - have been more or less confirmed to have been in Raiders HQ for a chat with Al.  Next up will possibly be Kevin Gilbride and perhaps Winston Moss,, who doesn’t seem to have a leg up as far as fixing the offense since he is a defensive coach.

The interviews are not an indication Al is looking to replace current head coach Tom Cable.  It means he is genuinely interested in outside ideas how to fix the offense (since Al believes he already has all the defensive answers).

Let's whittle the list.  Harbaugh is not leaving Stanford and Trestman is not leaving Toronto or wherever he is in Canada. 

Another possibility is Al is trying to identify a fit for an offensive coordinator position.  This seems a role perfectly suited for Jim Fassel, Hue Jackson or Kevin Gilbride.  However, if Al really does bring in Moss , then we can take a leap of speculation and figure there really is a possible head coaching change being mulled.  Or it could be simply Mike Haluchak will be ousted from his current linebackers coaching role.  Though in that case, why would Moss want to make a lateral move from Green Bay where is also assistant head coach?  Moss is the wildcard in the soup at the moment.

Then we would have to ask why Gilbride would want to make a lateral move as well.  Perhaps Gilbride, Jackson, Fassel and Moss would see any Raiders coaching position as a means to get into the organization so they are "in line" for a head coaching interview next season (when presumably Cable is finally fired).

It's a bit of a surprise Ted Tollner won't be elevated to offensive coordinator.  It would seem to me Tollner’s extensive experience and knowledge would be sufficient to lean on.  But, the way things went this past season, perhaps Al felt his prized QB Jamarcus MeatLoaf was not responding to the system in place.

This would make perfect sense, since MeatLoaf was more often than not a catastrophic failure.  It would also imply Al sees a need to go in a different direction with the QB coaching as well.  It seems Paul Hackett, the current QB coach on staff, will be let go.  Interviewee Hue Jackson could be considered as a replacement or as offensive coordinator.

My prediction is receivers coach Sanjay Lal will survive the forthcoming coaches cut.  He better get the latest hands of stone on the roster catching passes or he will surely be gone soon enough.

We know Al is not going to give up on Jamarcus Russell.  He has invested too much pride and money in him to simply cut him loose.  In Al’s perspective, there has to be an adjustment made with the coaching style or methods so that MeatLoaf raises his game.

Since Al is no dummy we have to believe he has done his absolute best to figure out what the obstacles with the offense are in the perspective of Jamarcus.  Then we must also assume Al will look to bring in additional resources to give MeatLoaf the best chance to succeed.

Though, it has become increasingly clear all MeatLoaf cares about is the money so in my view, it really does not matter what coaching changes Al makes.  Unless Jamarcus does a complete about face and really prepares himself to be a professional he stands to tank the 2010 season.

We all know what it will take for Jamarcus to restore credibility.  He has to play great.  The problem is we don’t know if he can really pull it off since from the looks of it, he doesn’t have the desire to make that sort of commitment.

So 2010 could very well end up with Al continuing to pay him for being a backup onwards through the remainder of his contract.  As we know, Al’s icy death grip will never admit failure.  He would rather keep the guy around than cut his losses.

My feeling is there is no way the Raiders will restore themselves as a playoff team with Jamarcus.  Everyone who has seen the guy play surely realizes this.  Al’s last gasp is to prove everyone wrong.

That’s what this is all about:  pride and poise in the face of overwhelming odds.