The Raiders have been moving quickly hiring their coaching staff the past few days. The most recent is bringing in Frank Pollack to coach the offensive line as first reported by Foxsports.com. Pollack replaces Bob Wylie who coached the Raiders' offensive line last season. That means out with Wylie's power blocking scheme and in with Pollack's zone blocking scheme.
Pollack worked as the assistant offensive line coach with the Houston Texans. The Texans ran a zone blocking scheme and it now becomes clear that Knapp would like to bring the zone blocking scheme back to the Raiders.
That is unfortunate because of all the coaches the Raiders had last season, the most deserving to return was offensive line coach Bob Wylie and assistant offensive line coach Steve Wisniewski. The offensive line play was the best it had been in many years under Wylie and Wisniewski. But it appears Knapp wants his own guys who fit his scheme.
Knapp ran the zone blocking scheme during his previous two season stint in Oakland from 2007-08. He had marginal success with it as Justin Fargas ran for over 1000 yards in '07 and reached 853 yards rushing with 14 starts in 2008.
Darren McFadden jumped out to a strong start in his second game as a rookie in 2008 when he ran for 164 yards on 21 carries. But he struggled to find his footing under the system after that and was unable to reach 100 yards again over the next two seasons, only going over 50 yards twice.
It wasn't until the team began making a shift back to power blocking in 2010 that McFadden was able to have his first great season. He went over 1157 yards that season and finally looked like the running back the Raiders had hoped he would be coming out of college.
Over the 2009 season McFadden averaged 3.4 yards per carry while Michael Bush averaged 4.8 yards per carry. So it would seem Bush is more suited to the zone blocking scheme than is McFadden. However, McFadden did begin to show a new running style that season, and it is possible that his turn around had as much or more to do with that than the switch out of the zone blocking scheme. Injuries also played a role in McFadden's struggles.
As I detailed when Greg Knapp was hired, the Raiders' line is mostly made up of linemen who are capable of playing zone. Jared Veldheer and Stefen Wisniewski, both of whom were not starters during the previous ZBS days, are smart and agile enough to make the switch. Samson Satele has the athleticism for it and Cooper Carlisle is a veteran of the ZBS since he has been a Raider and during his time with the Broncos before that. Right tackle Khalif Barnes might be the only lineman who would have difficulty with the transition.
This is yet another questionable hire by Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen with a few other questionable interviews such as that of former Chargers and 49ers defensive coordinator Greg Manusky.
It is hard to tell what they are thinking from one move to the next but one thing is certain, they want their guys. Thus far, running backs coach Kelly Skipper is the only returning coach from last year's staff.
See the entire list of up-to-date coaching moves with the Raiders coaching staff live blog.
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All you jerks like Spartacus are probably the same group of naysayers that said the Raiders would never be good again until Al passed away. NONE of you know whether this coach and his staff will be good or not, you are just pessimists and probably are bitter about everything in your life. All we know abourt McKenzie and Allen is that they are both HIGHLY regarded talent according to all reports. Assistants are just that, assistants, and while they certainly make an impact it is the head coach that molds and guides the franchise toward whatever results they achieve, and that includes his assistant coaches. The Texans had the #1 RUNNING GAME IN THE LEAGUE this year running the ZBS with Pollack as assistant line coach and he worked with Knapp...PLUS they are keeping Wiz as assistant line coach...I have been a TRUE Raider fan for well over 40 years and I, for one, am very optimistic...Allen could be the next great thing or the next big flop, we will just have to wait and see...meanwhile all this negative BS is completely unfounded....many, many times in this league highly regarded, experienced head coaches have FAILED and first time HC's have had success...all you negative ja's need to get a life!
I must be entering the ' Acceptance ' stage of my grief process, or at least the despressed apathetic stage. I guess at least we didn't hire Manusky. How are you guys copeing? Anybody hear anything about Saunders? I know he interviewed with KC, I just haven't heard if he's been let go or not.
Lots of moves - that's what's scary to me. Even if all these moves are the right ones - can we get it together the first year or will there be a year of getting acquainted? We're wasting time that we don't really have. Just hoping it all gels fast.
So far as the o-line... the problem with the old ZBS was he had crappy players. Gallery was a bust in my book - he never played anywhere near his draft position level (another reason to not worry so much about picks - our last 1 and 2 were Jamarcus and Gallery - two loooooooooooosers). Grove always managed to get hurt just when things seemed to start rolling. The o-line was the biggest problem in the Cable years imho - it contributed to both the failure of DMC and Jamarcus. That said, Satele is more suited for the ZBS imo. No he's not a great player, but he's cheaper and more durable than Grove - so that trade was still a good one in my book.
I thought the Raider offensive line looked its best in years under the power blocking scheme. Why change something that worked so well??? I am not impressed with Allen's coaching hires at all, and think this guy is a fraud...I hope Allen proves me wrong, but with each hire this guy makes, I fear that the Raiders have made a terrible mistake in hiring him as head coach...
I 100% understand this move. With Knapp we were always going to go back to ZBS then he should have a guy who he knows can coach it well, that understands what he wants. They are going to be on exactly the same page.
Also when we last played the ZBS we had Cable as our OL coach and lets face it, he is an awful OL coach. This was proven by the fact, despite playing ZBS for a number of years as soon as a decent OL coach comes in, surprise surprise sacks go down, rushing yards go up.
As Levi points out, we do have the players who can cope with ZBS. I'm not to fussed if Satele stays. I don't think he is so bad and was quite often playing through pain last year, He always seemed to be injured but played on. RT is the biggest concern on the OL and I personally would much rather have Barnes replaced. He is quite frankly one of the, if not the worst RT who starts in the NFL and this is the first position on the OL that needs to be addressed.
There is also a great bit of news Steve Wisniewski is being kept on as OL Ass Coach. I see this partnership working..
I am so much impressed after seeing your blog.it gives us knowledge so i just wanna say its knowledgeable.
To my Brethren in Raider Nation who are predicting failure for McKenzie and Allen; have faith Brethren. McKenzie may not be the most articulate GM in the NFL, but he wasn't hired to be a brilliant spokesman. He was hired because he has an eye for talent and an in-depth knowledge of how a highly successful NFL team should run. We can already see evidence of these qualities. Unlike Al, Reggie moved quickly to fire a coach and hire a new one. He conducted a thorough search of highly thought of candidates who garnered interest from other teams around the league. McKenzie also gave Allen a 4-year contract and will allow him to choose his staff and coach the team the way he sees fit. Allen comes highly recommended by Denver's vets who credit him for turning around their D(our teams weakest area). He is also known for his ability to instill discipline and toughness. All of this demonstrates that Reggie is already delivering on his promises to bring more structure, discipline, accountability and modernity to the organization. Will this translate into more wins? Only time will tell. Until then, let's try to remain faithful. Bless.
Going back to the ZBS almost guarantees that we will keep Satele at center. Does anyone else realize that? Satele needs to be gone. He sucks!
We have reportedly kept Big Wiz as Assist. Oline Coach. That is the only coaching move that I have liked thus far. Every single hire has been horrendous to me, this includes the hiring of Allen as HC.
@AsherMathews Run DMC or Bush likely suited to that?
alot has to do with being denied interviews and Coach Allen has a system he wants so his coaches will fit that!
I remember when hue got fired he said the organization would be gutted.....looks like he was telling the truth. When u remove cancer your don't take the working part of the body out i guess Allen and mckenzie didn't get the memo
The Texans have one of the most impressive ZBS schemes in the league, they really know how to evaluate, plan and execute it to their advantage, so it seems to be the right team to plunder a O-Line coach from if you want to change to the ZBS!
Personally i prefer the powerscheme as it is a simple scheme that is easy to teach and hard to screw up, but a well-functioning ZBS can be outstanding! ... Biggest issue with the ZBS is that if it doesn't work properly because the unit doesn't function as one, you will see a whole lot of stops for loss!
Let's hope Pollack has what it takes to implement the scheme properly, and that we have (will get) the O-Linemen we need to succeed!
@Ibleedblack Wow. You come off as a total chode with this comment as it is completely unnecessary.
I don't really care for the hiring of Dennis Allen as HC as I do not think that the improvement of the Broncos D wasn't nearly as much as what everyone makes it out to be. yes they were dead last in 2010, but all that means is that they had nowhere to go but up. If he had made them into a top 10 defense, then I would have been impressed. The only major improvement that the Broncos made was in their sack total going from 23 to 41.
I have found what Allen has done with the coaching staff to be uninspiring to say the least. He, in all honesty. should have left the offensive coaching staff alone as Oakland had a top 10 offense last season. Why mess up a good and improving thing? Greg Knapp's previous stint in Oakland did not go well, regardless of who had to work with. It almost smacks of Al's rehiring of Bresnahan last year. Knapp's hiring just seems to go away from what is Palmer's strengths as Knapp is a dink and dunk kind of guy.
Hue Jackson was highly regarded and look what happened to him. His ego got the best of him and he made mistakes that he never should have made.
I think you need a refresher course. Before DMac was injured, who had the #1 rushing offense? We did. Even with losing our star RB for the season, we still finished seventh in rushing offense. Not to mention that DMac was also leading the NFL in rushing yards at the time of his injury or at least he was close to the top.
I have been a Raider fan my entire life. I find it absurd that if we don't like a coaching hire that it'd make us any less of a fan. You need to forcibly remove your head from your rectal cavity and realize that we do not have to think like you do to be a real fan of the Raiders.
I disagree with Spartacus on a few things but calling him a jerk and calling him out is not called for! We have some great debates and one of the best things about this site is that we can all be throwing ideas around and have a debate about what we think without stooping to the stupid name calling like on some sites!
@Ibleedblack Excellent points on the ZBS my Raider brother!!! however, I for one enjoy reading Spartacus posts along with most of the guys here. Our opinions differ and I don't think it's necessary to belittle or name call each other because of it. Giving a reason on why they agree or disagree with a move the team makes is welcomed. I enjoy most everyone's opinion on these boards even if I think they're way off in left field or not. I just LOVE Raider talk, period. Good, bad, neutral, doesn't matter. I like this site especially, 99% of the time these guys are respectful to each other. I always envision us all sitting in someone's garage or tailgating and kicking ideas back and forth and having a good laugh while I write or read posts. I don't take it too serious, this is all fun, well except when we lose, ha! Lots of angles to consider from so many fans in the Nation, the Raider Nation. I see their points, either I agree or don't, I may comment to show why I do or don't or if I think its to no avail then I won't bother. I wouldn't call them names to their face so I wouldn't do it on the boards regardless how tough I think I am or he is, it's irrelevant, it's the Internet! I'm not always spot on with my points either, maybe not even half, heck I probably couldn't even coach little league but it doesn't make me less of a fan, and the reality for me is my opinions come from a pattern of what I see from the team until i see different. Just because I think the team may be blowing it on personnel moves or on the field doesn't mean I hope they do. I always hope I'm wrong, I'd much rather win than be right! So let's come together for a group hug, hahaha, nah, just pass me a beer bro and let's kick some ideas around ;-)
@Ibleedblack Ok, I don't know what it is, the loud way you say it (I can actually picture you just yelling at the monitor while you wrote this post) or the true in your words, but I'm touched. Too many guys here are making a big fuss about losing the games we haven't played yet. Have a little faith guys! We're starting to look like those dumbs at NE who were asking for Belichik to quit because they lost to the Giants... C'mon!!! Let's support our team! If we weret here on the Art Shell year, and the FatMarcuss Russel years, let's be there now when good things may actually happen!
@DylanAlexander I'm doing just fine... No suffering in the offseason. It's the mid-season and lost games when I start to feel depression. Now, when it comes to Saunders going to KC, I'm not sure he's even leaving Oakland. What I read was he went to KC to talk but he expected to stay here at Oakland. That makes me think he's not convinced of departure and he's just looking for a backup plan. Now, I'm not sure he's stayin', but we don't have neither a QB coach nor a WR coach and he might be negotiating with Denis Allen and Reggie McKenzie about that.
@Spartacus I'm not to sure he is a fraud, I just think that by the time we hired him all the decent coaches had already gone and because of the stupid NFL rule were teams can deny interviews of position coaches for Coord jobs his options have been, well, very limited.
And as Knapp is a 100% ZBS guy you want him coaching ZB and not PB. Asking him to coach something he has never done before could be a recipe for disaster. I'm not so fussed about the change in scheme. As long as we have the right coach teaching them what to do.
@ukraider78 when we first hired Cable, i actually thought he would make a good OL coach for us! Didn't know him too well, but most analysts seemed to give him pretty good reviews back then!
Turned out that he didn't do anything good with our O-Line, although in his defense he really had no talent to work with at the time!
That said however, this year the SeaBirds allowed the 4th most sacks (50) and 1st most QB hits (114) through the season - may not be top talent, but there definately is worse units in the league, so it seems like he just isn't as good as most (including myself back then) thought he would be!
Good riddance back then, and even though i liked Wylie, let's hope that the new ZBS, with a hopefully good coach Pollack and more talent, will succeed and create something near what the Texans enjoy from their line at the moment!
@RastaRaider A through search of highly thought of candidates? What coaching search were you watching? Mornhinweg, Tice are highly thought of? Maybe as position coaches but certainly not as head coaches.
Now the addition of Knapp, and possibly Manusky, and subtraction of Saunders and Wylie make me less than thrilled with the direction that this coaching staff is heading. I mean Knapp basically took a demotion to go from OC to QB Coach and Manusky was fired. Not to mention that most of the main parts of the offensive coaching staff should have been kept cuz the offense was good last season. Has Allen never heard the expression, 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it?' I feel that he should have just focused on what he wanted to do with the coaching staff on the defensive side of the ball and left the O alone.
@JarrodRollins As @nilbymouth mentions, it could be feasible that we would make a move on Chris Myers, C of the Texans. He and Pollack knows eachother and Pollack would no doubt welcome the addition of getting the C (heart and soul) of the very succesful ZBS line he just came from! Would be a great match for us!
After the change to ZBS i actually would prefer to keep Satele on the team (as a back up if we can get Myers), because he is really a much better fit for the ZBS with his speed and agility! That is also why you see him spring the long runs D-Mac had, as he hustles down field quicker than most O-Linemen does!
He had a tough time when he came from Miami, but that was because the entire O-Line was in flux, nothing really worked back then! ... Then we changed to the PBS and he would be matched straight up with some of the much stronger D-Linemen which he is too small to handle, so he struggled at times! But he has been one of the better, if not the best, on this team regarding secondary blocks and blocking downfield in general imo!
Would at the very least be a serviceable, quality back-up for the inside in the new ZBS imo (but i understand your frustration though, felt it too, and most Raider fans have been discouraged when seeing him being pushed back sometimes in the PBS)!
Not necessarily! Texans Center Chris Myers is going to be a Free Agent. Knapp and Pollack may be able to lure him to the Silver and Black.
@JarrodRollins I actually like the hiring of Allen, the only problem being is that by the time he was appointed a lot of possible coordinators had gone. The likes of Nolan, JDR, Spaguonlo, Williams. Then Allen advises he isn't going to be doing any play calling, which means the likes of the names above would be essential as they are proven to be able to run defences correctly. And that is just the defence lol
I would definitely give AL a call and try and speak to Kirby Smart their DC. The AL defence this year was, well quite amazing and schemes are schemes. You put the right schemes in and you stop people from scoring.
I'm not saying that he is my choice, I'm saying we should look at a lot more DC options other than that of failed NFL coordinators who are looking for work.
@antonioswancy they kept the wiz!!!!!!!!
@Jamalsagod DMC, I would think. He's substantially better. But neither did well under this OC when he was here in 09.
If we do go to the ZBS I hope Chris Myers is targeted from the Texans to play Center so Wiz can play Guard!
@Harder2000 that's easy to see Harder simply because of Arian Foster. that man is WAY BETTER than DMC is with a ZBS... which i find odd because they're the same type of RB... I'm hoping this all isn't a sign that DMC is as good as gone... everyone knows he sucks without a PBS ...
I am not so sure if I would call Hue Jackson highly regarded anymore! He is struggling to find a job as a position coach let alone a job as a OC at the moment. Looks like he has really shot himself in the foot at the moment and teams are not too interested in taking him on right now. I think it just shows that maybe McKenzie made the right decision firing Jackson after all.
Thanks for the support guys...I enjoy reading all of your posts as well, and yes, Nilbymouth and I have had some very good debates, but it is never personal. We are all Raider fans and all strive for the same thing: Raider victories, it's just how to get there is how we agree and differ...I just happen to really enjoy offensive football, and now that we have acquired a top tier QB (Carson Palmer), I really wanted an offensive minded coach who could not only connect with Palmer, but carry on and enhance what I thought was a great product. I am just from the school of thought that if it ain't broke, don't fix it....
Saunders is still under contract so in order in go to the Chiefs he would have to first get permission of McKenzie / Davis. If the rumors of them blocking Emmitt Thomas of coming here are true then maybe they will repay the not so nice favor. Either way, if he does join the Chiefs it will because he is not wanted here by McKenzie / Allen in some form of coaching.
@ukraider78 @Spartacus I could see both points, I'm torn because I saw da Raidahs on the verge of greatness, well atleast on the offensive side of the ball and overhauling the O staff was the last thing the team needed. On the other hand Levi made some excellent points, knapp has not had this talent to work with in such a long time, only time will tell. I have to assume coach Allen has his own vision for this team on how it should be run, I'm hoping in the end it will all come together
... And agreed! Keeping Wiz sr. is definately a good news! He has the Raider tradition and mentality, he will make sure that the intensity is there again this year! Good OL coaching team!
@JarrodRollins Blessings Brethren. Mornhinweg is an assistant head coach who was being looked at by the Colts. Mike McCoy drew interest from us and the Dolphins, as did Todd Bowles. Allen was said to have been next in line for the Rams job had the deal with Fisher fell through. McKenzie also considered Mike Tice, Dom Capers, Winston Moss and Pete Carmichael Jr. Thorough? Absolutely. Highly thought of? Mostly.
I'll give you that the assistant hires/inquiries are less than thrilling but we kept Wiz and Kelly which shows the new regime will consult with the old one on offensive matters. Also keep in mind that assistant coaches commonly experience success and failure multiple times throughout their careers. Knapp is a good example of this as is Manusky(who was just hired as the new Colts DC). An assistant's success and failure is tied largely to their players first and foremost and then their head coach. If Mckenzie continues his tradition of being a sharp talent evaluator, and Allen is a hit as a head coach, the assistants will succeed due to a successful structure built from the top. There is evidence to suggest things are moving in that direction. Bless.
@Harder2000 Satele was sometimes pushed back in the PBS? I nicknamed Satele 'The Turnstile' cuz he was pushed back damn near every play. Satele sucks and he is a marginal back up center, at best. At worst, he should be out of football completely.
Replacing Barnes and Carlisle is a must. Barnes just sucks eggs and Carlisle is getting really old. Carl Nicks or Ben Grubbs would be a great replacement for Carlisle. Just about any RT would be better than Barnes. I knew we should have kept Eric Pears, ugh.
@nilbymouth If we change to the ZBS (which it obviously seems we are), getting Chris Myers to come in and call the shots at C would definately be a great choice imo! Pollack and Myers know eachother well, and he could be the player to help the others to quickly catch on to the new scheme, which undoubtedly will be like that of the Texans!
Communication is key in the ZBS, so having a proven veteran shoring up the inside and helping the other players through communication and calls on the line could be a golden opportunity!
@DARKKUSH@Harder2000 I keep reading this about McFadden sucks in the Zone Blocking Scheme but he had a ZBS back in Arkansas and he did just fine there. He just sucked back in the '08 and '09 cause this team still wanted Robert Gallery to play LT, Mario henderson to be a player, Cornell Green to be somebody and Jake Grove just to pretend to be somebody out there. And nothing of that EVER happened. Seriously, we had virtually no line back then. I don't know why people try to find the answer to: "Why RunDMC couldn't run back in his first two years?" in the blocking scheme when it's painfully obvious he had no one to block and he spent a lot of time injured. That's why DMC sucked in ZBS!
Carlisle is old, yet still has something left for the ZBS. If he isn't replaced this year we could very well do with a good developmental project to groom for the next!
Personally i think Nicks could excell in the ZBS as well, but he would be expensive and the price of quality ZBS blockers are lower than that of PBS!
A potentially great match (perhaps wishful thinking) would be to sign both Chris Myers (C) and Mike Brisiel (G) from the texans line! They did a great job together and know eachother perfectly well as well as Pollack! Both are pure ZBS blockers, so their value is pretty low compared to their level of play in the ZBS and we could retain both a lot cheaper than what it would cost to sign Nicks alone (who i really like though)! They would help solidify the line and help get the group updated for the new scheme!
Also, Wiz and Jared would get to stay and grow as the left side of the future!
That way we only need to replace Barnes, and to that we have Campbell and Big Barks to battle it out or a player could be drafted to help.
Zach Hurd, Satele (imo) and/or a developmental pick could then back up the middle..
As much as I would love to see Nicks or Grubbs, if we move to the ZBS then I believe both of those guys would not be suited. Also Carlisle isn't too bad of a ZBS player so if the move to ZBS happens I could see keeping Carlisle around for another year and then drafting a later round prospect to develope behind him for a season.
BTW I also really wish we had kept Pears. Barnes is just plain awful and needs to go whether we stick to the PBS or change to the ZBS.
@CreedLewis Yay! I just looked at the staff blog and saw that we did retain him. However when I wrote my comment; there was no indication that we kept him. Yay!
@Black_Nightmare Satele is definately a better fit for the ZBS (small but very quick, agile and clever), which is why Cable went and got him way back then, but if we could get Myers i would prefer that as he knows the system and the call already - also think Satele might be a tad small to move to G permanently, but if he could be retained cheaply he would be a nice fit and a great backup to have (if Myers were to be signed, otherwise he would probably be a starter)..