The Raiders have made a flurry of hires the past couple days. First came offensive coordinator Greg Knapp and within a little over a day, he had put together most of his staff. But thus far, the only coordinators and position coaches have been on the offensive side of the ball as the Raiders have been met with considerable resistance in their search for a new defensive coordinator.
The defensive coordinator position for the Raiders was pretty much up for grabs before the season even ended. This team was better than their record suggested and it was obviously the defense that was the cause. Chuck Bresnahan's days were numbered and rumblings of potential replacements grew louder as the season wore on.
When Jack Del Rio was fired as the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, he immediately became the top defensive mind on the market. The East Bay native grew up a Raider fan and, in the right situation, there seemed a good chance he would relish the opportunity to be the Raiders' defensive coordinator. But then the Raiders fired Hue Jackson and hired Dennis Allen away from the Broncos. The dominoes fell and landed Del Rio in Allen's former job with the opportunity to again work under head coach John Fox.
With Allen in place, if the Raiders were going to get a defensive coordinator, it would have to be a position coach looking for a promotion not a fired head coach. Recently fired head coaches rarely take well to the backseat behind an upstart young head coach in his first gig.
The first name that was floated as someone in whom the Raiders were interested was Chiefs longtime secondary coach, Emmitt Thomas. Thomas was a mentor of Allen's while both were on the Falcons' defensive staff together. The Raiders requested an interview with Thomas but as quickly as the word came out of the Raiders' inquiry, he opted to stay in Kansas City where he spent his entire playing career. On to the next candidate.
That next candidate was Saints defensive line coach, Bill Johnson. The connection between Allen and Johnson went even deeper. The two coached together nearly every step of Allen's coaching career--first at Texas A&M, then with the Falcons, and later with the Saints. Again, the Raiders requested an interview and were denied. Next candidate, por favor.
El next candidate was Richard Smith, linebackers coach with the Broncos. Allen probably had Smith's number programmed in his cel phone as the two worked together last season when Allen was the Broncos' defensive coordinator. But Allen had to go through the Broncos' organization, and yet again he was denied. Let's hear from bachelor number three.
Enter Greg Manusky. He enjoys candlelit dinners, long walks on the beach, and calls his mom at least once a week. He most recently served as the defensive coordinator for the Chargers. He served in that role for one season and was fired. Prior to that he had been the 49ers' defensive coordinator for four seasons; in just one of those seasons did the defense resemble respectability. Still, the Raiders were entering desperation mode and since no one could deny the interview, outside of Manusky himself, they scheduled an interview.
Manusky came, Manusky went, but left without a rose. He then went to Indianapolis for an interview and the Colts hired him as their new defensive coordinator. Let's see what's next on the menu.
With Allen's list of previous coaching comrades seemingly spent, it was Reggie McKenzie's turn to try and get one of his guys. He phoned his former team of 18 years, the Green Bay Packers, to ask permission to speak with secondary coach, Joe Whitt Jr. No word has come out on whether he was granted permission to speak with Whitt, but with nothing having been heard since the initial request was made, some believe the Packers shot down their former longtime executive.
If Whitt is indeed no longer in the mix, or perhaps even if he is, the next candidate the Raiders may get on the phone could just drive over the Bay Bridge for his interview. 49ers defensive backs coach, Ed Donatell did a masterful job with the cornerbacks last season and they nearly went to the Super Bowl because of it. I would think Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers would like to keep Donatell on staff if they can. The question is if Harbaugh would deny Donatell's shot at being a defensive coordinator. But then again, that's usually the question, and thus far the answer from other teams has been a firm "No."
At this point, they may as well wait until after the Super Bowl and see if there is anyone from either the Giants or Patriots staff that they like, though both teams were among the worst defenses in the NFL last season so their defensive staffs wouldn't appear to be the most ideal. The only worse passing defense than these two teams is the Packers'—the team for whom Joe Whitt Jr coached the secondary. So why would they be interested in interviewing him or anyone on the Giants and Patriots staffs?
The main reason for the bad pass defense numbers is that the Packers (32), Patriots (31), Saints (30), and Giants (29) is their high-powered, fast-scoring offenses. They put teams in desperation mode, forcing them to pass the football. Since they don't control the clock with the running game, the opposing teams have more possessions. This combination means a lot of passing yards and a lot of interceptions. While the Packers and Patriots were the two worst passing defenses in the NFL they also both led the league in interceptions by a large margin. The Giants were fourth in interceptions.
So, perhaps a coach can be taken from either of the two Super Bowl teams' defenses. Two coaches on the Giants' staff jump out at me: David Merritt and Jim Herrmann. And not just because their last names look like a stutter. Merritt has been the Giants' secondary/safeties coach for six seasons while Herrmann is the linebackers coach and previous to that, he was the defensive coordinator for nine seasons at the University of Michigan. None of the Patriots' position coaches look enticing.
But first, the Raiders will have to ask one or both of these teams if they may interview their coaches. And we know where that leads. Right back to the drawing board... Or college... perhaps the UFL?... CFL?... Home Depot parking lot?... Mike Singletary? (OK, let's not get crazy).
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And it is official through the Raiders.com page:
Tarver from Stanford the new DC!
This is a pretty good hire. Tarver did a nice job for Stanford, and I could see this working out very well for the Raiders, especially McClain. Defensively, we should be ok now. Still not happy about the hiring of Knapp to run the offense, but hopefully, with Carson Palmer as our quarterback, Knapp's playcalling will look better than in did with JaMarcus Russell..
Let's be honest here, Palmer is a lot better of a QB than Russell! Even I can admit that! Plus Knapp was working mostly with Fargas as the main RB and a bunch of below average WR's. You can only only make so much happen with that sort of offensive talent.
@Spartacus Don't you worry that much about the offense. If Carson Palmer stops forcing so many passes, this team should be OK. I have to read anything about the hiring of Tarver is done yet. I hope we get done this tomorrow
@Black_Nightmare "Oakland Raiders: Just reconfirming what we told you Saturday afternoon. Stanford co-defensive coordinator Jason Tarver has accepted the defensive coordinator job with the Raiders. Done deal. "
There's several sites that have reconfirmed it, probably wanted to wait until after the SuperBowl before they report anything official!
@nilbymouth@Black_Nightmare It's official at the Raiders.com : http://www.raiders.com/news/article-1/Tarver-Named-Raiders-Defensive-Coordinator/5cb81089-62ce-46b8-a2bb-1c6cb643210e , Tarver it is!
Nice Vid @nilbymouth ! Good fiery start to the defensive side of the ball, especially as Allen himself is a Defensive guy! Looking forward to the coming assistant hirings!
I really hope this is correct. This guy looks like not just a great DC but a HC in the making. I think it says a lot about his coaching when through his time at the 49ers he was kept on by 5 different Head coaches (counting Jim Tomsula when Singletary was fired) and Harbaugh wanted to keep him as well but he took the job at Stanford instead.
Great little video about him here:
Ok, it ended up being Jason Tarver for DC (former CO-DC at Stanford ; https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Jason_Tarver)..
Think Coach Allen will be pretty heavily involved in the preperation for the games then!
Stanford was a 3-4 D, so could be a change of scheme in the new season!
@Harder2000 Is it official? Ilike the hire! (I've said it before). Stanfords defense's numbers were pretty amazing last season. He did a great job filling for Vic Fangio at Stanford. He's also a LB specialist, I hope Death Ro McClain will benefit a lot from this.
Makes sense! As you say @nilbymouth , they kept getting shut down so the College ranks was really the most viable option at this point!
... And as you say @Black_Nightmare , he did quite a job for Stanford, and with a 3-4 Defense and a LB specialist this might be a really good option which (hopefully) will greatly benefit Death Ro (and Curry who also has immense talent) so the LB corps will become a strong part of the team - an important aspect of stopping the run!
Intruiging hire at least, and with Allen being involved it could turn out to be something really good imo! Also, seeing as Allen want's to be heavily involved in the gameplanning and such, getting a less known DC might have been the best option anyway, seeing as an established DC would probably want to do it all his own way, not necessarily Allens.
Looking forward to see our Defensive Assistant hirings now!
* Haha, naturally they took the information down on Wikipedia (love it when it happens), but it is still announced on the Raider Current Coaches section:
@JarrodRollins I'm afraid the Moss ship has sailed. He had his head filled with a head coaching interview that never materialized. It is a nice thought but I don't expect Moss to be too eager to leave his job as assistant head coach in Green Bay to take the Raiders DC job.
@LDizzle@JarrodRollins Yeah, I agree. If the HC interview didn't work, offering him a DC position would be almost an insult. I always wanted Darren Perry for DC at Oakland, but that seems like it's never gonna happen. The thing is if Oakland asked for permission to interview Joe Whitt (who is just the CB coach), I'm sure it is because neither Perry nor Moss would be available/interested.
We have all seen what happens when you bring in a DC that just isn't up to the job... the results can be disastrous.
I would personally, for 2012, depending on whom is left to be interviewed have Allen take on the DC duties, which is his proven and why he actually has the HC jobs or at least take on the playcalling duties anyway and wait until next year until the end of the season for decent FA Def Coords to come available. I know he said he wouldn't play call, but, if we have a losing season because of a bad DC. He'll be the coach fired.
I don't think McKenzie would fire Allen after one season unless the season was a complete disaster. He knows as well as anyone all the times we have been denied permission to interview a guy they are after. At least Allen is a defense minded coach so he might have to resort to having more of the play calling himself. If this was the OC position then we would really be screwed!
@nilbymouth I am thinking that this next season won't be a disaster, but that it won't an improvement either. I am just not liking that almost the entire coaching is being replaced. Honestly, I am seeing us going 7-9, maybe.
I think maybe you are correct about Mckenzie giving him a chance.. to be honest I have a feeling we'll be picking higher in the 2013 draft that anyone wants but not as high if Allen was offensively minded.
I think we will be competing for the Division title this year again. With the talent this team has, if Allen can get the players disciplined this team can make some moves. Chargers are up and down with Norv Turner back I don't expect much more from them than this season. Broncos I expect to come back down to reality and Allen will know better than most how to stop Tebow. The Chiefs are my biggest concern. If they can return all their stars healthy they could be a threat but will still be vulnerable with Cassell at QB.
But I don't expect much more past competing for the Division title though this upcoming season. And if this team plays hard and committed football I will be happy!
Is it actually worth faxing very NFL team to see which Defensive position coaches are available to talk to. Personally this rule you are bale to deny a position coach the opportunity of a better job, more money for another team is completely ridiculous. There honestly should be a rule put in that if a team deny's a coach the chance to interview they need to be given the wages of the equivalent coordinators position in their own team. Not every coach would be offered a job but it would give much more freedom. If a team values their coaching so much, they'll just pay the money.
I'll say it now, we need to start hitting the best DC's in college... the position coaches that will be allowed to go now probably not worth interview in anyway... Kirby Smart needs a phone call!!!!
Not a bad idea at all!
@ukraider78 I agree. It's just I'm just not 100% sure if Kirby Smart would be interested in another DC job (even at NFL level) since he has said he wants to be a Head Coach. Now, it's just like Manusky being hired by the Colts, it doesn't matter that much if your DC is not the best simply because you have a defensive specialist as Head Coach who just won't let him do any stupid things. You just need someone who keep it efficent and who doesn't think you can call for a damned Tapma-2 defense while facing a 99-yards-needing offense who hapens to have Calvin Johnson as a WR!!!! On the last minute!!!!!!! With McClain being responsible for covering Megatron all the freakin way!!!!!!!!!!!! Ok... I can't get over that play yet... Anyway, I agree with you, Smart would be the smartest chocie. Chavis from LSU would be a great option too.
@ukraider78 Very well said!
How about Alabama Defensive Coordinator Kirby Smart? What they did against LSU in the title game was amazingly impressive. It's at least worth an interview.
I'm pretty sure no NFL team is gonna let Oakland hire one of their assistants unless he's either incompetent or insignificant. Guys without a team? Sadly enough I think Singletary is the best option amongst them (and I'm not being ironic like Levi). From the college ranks I'd love to se Kirby Smart or John Chavis in Oakland, but the first is looking for a HC job and I'm not sure if he'd accept a DC job even if it's the NFL (he said being Alabama's DC is the best non HC job in the country). I still have some hope in the Whitt thing, and God knows I wouldn't complain for having Donatell as DC.
I agree. It's a crap rule! Another team should not be allowed to block one of their coaches receiving a promotion. Simple as that. Does anyone know if the DC would carry the "Assistant Head Coach" tittle would that make any difference in being allowed to hire another teams position coach for the HC job?
@nilbymouth It wouldn't make no difference. The rule says all assitant coach job interviews may be denied by the team. I don't like the rule, but I knid of see why it exists. I'm thinking of really rich teams (i. e. Dallas Cowboys) who could just invent some new high profile coaching staff vacancies just to deprive a team from their assistants. Something like a "Passing game coordinator" just below OC but abve position coaches could be invented just to steal a good position coach from a divisional rival.
@nilbymouth Yeah, I agree, like I said: I DON'T LIKE THE RULE. You could simply force the teams to grant permission to any team to interview their assistant coaches for a better job, and give the Comissioner the ability to ban any hiring he considers to be made only to affect a rival. I mean, even the fantasy leagues does that.
Good point. But at the end of the day making coaching decisions like that I think would end up just shooting themselves in the foot. Too many leaders not enough followers.
I like secondary coach Ed Donatell from the Niners best right now. But one guy I was thinking of that no one has talked about is Niners DLine coach, Jim Tomsula.
Hopefully the 49ers won't block us from interviewing any of their coaches! Right now though the list of available DC is slim to none.
@JarrodRollins I'd love to get Tomsula, but I'm afraid he's gonna stay at SF. He was interim head coach last year for one game and the niners won't let him go after the huge job he's done with Aldon Smith. I don't think they're gonna let Donatell go either, but imo Tomsula is their most regarded position coach right now.
should have just let saunders stay and run the offense and Allen oversee the defense would have made more sense
@JoshMcDaniels2 Not really. It's clear Allen has never worked with Saunders so he knows about nothing about his scheme, Saunders would have been either running an offense the HC doesn't know or being forced tu run an offense he doesn't know... If you let him run the offense alone, it would be like havng 2 head coaches (wich is the same to have none at all). On the other side, Allen's made it pretty clear form day 1: HE'S NOT CALLING THE PLAYS. He needs both OC and DC guys he trusts, but capable of calling all their plays. And I think that's the right way to do it or you'll be caught wearing too many hats just like Hue was.
Let's pray the Raiders can hire a quality Defensive Coordinator...Wasn't that the reason McKenzie hired Allen in the first place??? His pension for Defense??? The Raiders cannot blow this hire and have to dig deep to find the right guy....With the risky moves Allen has made on offense, defense has to be solid...
@Raidah Yeah, I was thinking of taking the job myself, but I never go to Home Depot so there's no real chance they offer it to me. Raidah for DC!!! He may not be the best candidate but guys have been U. S. President with less.
@Black_Nightmare I'm going to spend all day reviewing all the plays and defensive schemes on Madden 12 and then I'll be ready in no time!
When I submitted an application for a business license the local strip club filed a complaint with the city council. Something about Food Handlers and buffet style dining.