Part One: Head Coach
This will be a four-part series looking at possible changes in Oakland in 2009 discussing ways that the organization can go about putting together a competitive team.
The current season is over and the team is merely playing out the schedule. The season was effectively over the moment Al Davis had the press conference to hire Tom Cable.
Tom Cable has coached his way out of being the head guy coach in 2009, but to be quite honest he wasn’t ready for the head job.
His hire was premature, due to the fact that he is a No. 2 guy and not a No. 1 guy; in other words, at this team, he's better as an assistant than the head guy.
This statement will sound like a broken record, but once again, the Raiders are in the market for another head coach. The team has had five head coaches during what could only be described as a six year disaster. There is a way to stop this downward spiral.
I’m going to play the role of janitor and act as if I was tasked with turning things around.
The next head coach needs to be an offensive minded head coach and one with head-coaching experience. My reasoning for stating this is due to the fact that the team has some young talent that needs to be developed.
It also is a fact that since the team is starting over a few things must happen; 1) Al Davis needs to commit to a coach, let him do his job, and be patient; 2) Allow the coach to hire his own staff; 3) the coach needs to establish an identity on both sides of the ball.
As an example, running the ball with a controlled passing game on offense and stopping the run on defense. The latter is just as important as the first and something that must happen.
The list of candidates isn’t long, but here is my short list of names to consider:
Jim Fassel – The former NY Giants head coach (1997-2003) who helped to resurrect Kerry Collins career has expressed an interest to coach the team rumored to be via a letter. He has a 58-53-1 career regular season record; he has two wins and three losses in the postseason.
He’s a former quarterback that can teach the position and how to be effective. He started his coaching career at Stanford University and worked with John Elway. He has been an NFL Offensive Coordinator for the Raiders (1990-1992), Broncos (1993-1995), Cardinals (1996), and Ravens (2004-2006).
He would be a solid choice as the Head Coach who has the experience to put together a solid offense and develop a young quarterback.
Marc Trestman – Currently the Head Coach of the Montréal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League, his team had 11 wins and seven losses during the regular season and posted one win in the post season, the team lost the Grey Cup to Calgary 22-14.
He started his coaching career in 1981 as a volunteer coach at the University of Miami; he coached the quarterbacks (1983-1984).
He has been the Offensive Coordinator for the Browns (1989), 49ers (1995-1996) & (1998-2000), Raiders (2002- 2003). He was the quarterbacks coach/Assistant Head Coach with the Dolphins in 2004.
He returned to coach in college in 2005 & 2006 as the quarterbacks coach/Offensive Coordinator at North Carolina State.
He has put together some solid offenses over the years and worked with several well known players such as Bernie Kosar, Jake Plummer, Scott Mitchell and Rich Gannon to name a few.
He also worked with former Kentucky quarterback Andre Woodson prior to the draft on his throwing mechanics to improve his game and draft stock. He can put together a solid offense and can develop a young quarterback.
Dennis Green – The former Cardinals and Vikings head coach has a 114-94 regular season record and four wins and eight losses in the postseason. He was the head coach at Northwestern University that had gone one up and 35 down prior to his arrival.
He was the second African American head coach in Division 1-A history. He had a short stint as a running backs coach with the 49ers in 1985 under Bill Walsh. He was the Stanford Cardinal Head Coach (1989-1991).
He is a disciple of Bill Walsh’s West Coast offense. He was also the second African American head coach in the league after Art Shell coaching the Vikings (1992-2001).
He can put together a solid offense and can develop a young quarterback.
A sleeper pick would be UCLA Offensive Coordinator Norm Chow. He has been putting together solid offenses and developing young quarterbacks for decades.
JaMarcus Russell is the franchise quarterback and in the second of a six year deal, it is too early to call him a bust. He still has upside and his game is salvageable. It is imperative that the team commits to him and places him in the right system, teaching him to read NFL defenses and providing him protection and receivers would do wonders for his development as an NFL quarterback.