The Oakland Raiders coaching staff will look very different in 2011. The transformation started last year when the Raiders brought in Hue Jackson to run the offense and Mike Waufle to coach the defensive line.
Those moves paid off quickly, as the Raiders had one of the better offenses in the league and second-best rushing attack in the NFL. The defensive line was also one of the best in the league and led the league in sacks.
When Tom Cable was let go, Jackson was promoted to head coach, and that's when everything changed for Oakland. That one move made the Raiders an immediate playoff contender in 2011, but they didn't stop there, as more coaches were brought in to make the Raiders better.
Al Saunders was hired as the offensive coordinator, Greg Beikert as the linebackers coach, Steve Wisniewski and Bob Wylie will coach the offensive line. Rod Woodson will coach the defensive backs and Chuck Bresnahan was brought back as a defensive assistant.
All these coaches will help make the players better, but more importantly, it appears that they will be bringing in new schemes that the Raiders haven't seen in a long time, especially on defense.
“I think we’re going to do some things this year on the defensive side,” Woodson said according to Jerry McDonald of the Oakland Tribune. “Some more looks, some more things for the corners to make plays, to face the football hopefully a little bit more so they can [make] interceptions and be playmakers.”
Those words from Woodson should be music to Raider Nation's ears. Not only will that help the defense make more plays against the passing game, it will also help them stop the run. If your back is to the ball on defense, it is tough to make a tackle and that is why the Raiders defense gives up so many big run plays.
Charles Woodson was a great player in Oakland's scheme, but when he went to Green Bay, he became an all-time great in their defensive scheme.
The Raiders defensive backs will be making a lot more plays on defense in 2011. With the new scheme and (Rod) Woodson coming back as coach, it could help the Raiders bring back Nnamdi Asomugha.
The Raiders offense will also look different in 2011.
With Cable gone, the Raiders will move to a power blocking scheme as opposed to a zone blocking scheme.
Al Davis mentioned that Jackson was limited on offense last year and seemed to suggest that it was because of the blocking scheme. The Raiders did move away from it in 2011 and that could have been the reason the Raiders had more success in the running game.
The zone scheme allows for smaller smaller players than in a power blocking scheme and that could be why the Raiders' pass blocking struggled in 2010.
The offense will only get better in 2011 with Jackson and Saunders running the show. Look for the Raiders receivers to have a much bigger impact than they've had in recent years.
Jason Campbell and the receiving crew will benefit from having Jackson back and with the Saunders addition.
The Raiders have always had athletes and a lot of talent on their team. I've always questioned whether or not they had the right coaches to help them improve. The constant changing of coaches has hurt the team.
It appears that Davis has grown tired of losing and fighting with his coaches. He appears to trust Jackson more than any other coach in recent memory. He is also bringing in former players that he trusts to coach their former positions.
The coaches have changed, the schemes look like they will change and the attitude is changing in the Raiders locker room.
Perhaps the biggest change that will make Oakland a contender for years to come is the way Davis handles his coaches. It appears he will trust them more and have more patience with them and that is all thanks to Jackson.
Jackson knows how to get along with Davis and keep him involved. It's a new decade and the Raiders have a Super Bowl appearance to make. Don't be surprised if Jackson is leading the charge when it happens.
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