Who needs a defensive coordinator?
Hue Jackson said today: “Honestly I don’t think that’s the issue right now who the defensive coordinator right now because our system’s our system. We know exactly what we’re going to do. The guys who are there know exactly how we’re going to coach that particular side of the ball. Everything is moving in that direction.’’
Thus far, the Raiders 2011 defense looks like this:
Safeties - Mike Mitchell, Tyvon Branch, Stevie Brown
Cornerbacks - Stanford Routt, Chris Johnson, Walter McFadden, Jeremy Ware
OLB's - Kamerion Wimbley, Quentin Groves, Trevor Scott
MLB's - Rolando McClain, Travis Goethel
DE's - Matt Shaughnessy, Lamarr Houston, Jarvis Moss (not yet under contract, just a hunch)
DT's - Tommy Kelly, Richard Seymour, Desmond Bryant
I look at this list and I can't help but think that this is a talented nucleus of players. Even without Asomugha there are five first round picks. You put some role players into the picture and you've got a unit that could be very effective.
You might ask why I am jumping to the conclusion that Asomugha won't be a part of the team in the coming year. The way I see it is Nnamdi Asomugha is going to have a hard choice to make in the near future. I am under the impression that Asomugha and his agent have taken the wait-and-see approach. They are not looking to re-sign yet. They want to see what the going rate will be for the NFL's best cornerback in the prime of his career via free agency.
Once they find out what that price is, the Raiders are going to be involved in a game of hard ball. Between McClain, Seymour, WImbley, and Routt you are already talking around $40 million in player salaries this year. That's only on defense. The cap is getting squeezed tighter amidst all this free agent signing.
Perhaps an equally intriguing predicament the Raiders are facing right now is that they have yet to hire a defensive playcaller this offseason. Yet, at the same time, it appears that they are installing a strategy and are hiring their defensive coaches as if they don't even need a defensive coordinator. When asked who would call the plays for the defense this year, Hue Jackson replied, "Me."
That's right... Hue Jackson is a man of all hats, a jack of all trades.
Perhaps they should just let McClain call the plays on the field like Peyton Manning does for the Colts' offense. "Ronaldo," as he is referred to by Hue Jackson, is a very cerebral player and is fond of making his own adjustments at the line of scrimmage anyway. He took Nick Saban's Crimson Tide to a level they may never achieve again.
If all else fails, I vote for Chuck Bresnahan. You heard it here first.
One thing I know is that it's a lot easier to play any kind of defensive scheme when you are getting help from your offense. And Hue Jackson's offense is looking like it won't disappoint. All the stars are lining up right for the Raiders to have a return to glory in 2011. Eight wins last year left these boys hungry, especially on defense. Hue Jackson said the Raiders have a plan and we are now witnessing the unveiling. Don't expect trumpets though.
On Another Note:
The Raiders have officially re-signed Rock Cartwright and are in the process of closing a deal with John Henderson. They are also in negotiations with tight end Zach Miller.