Ed Szczepanski-US PRESSWIRE
A look back at the first week of the off-season and the happenings with the Oakland Raiders, the AFC West and around the league.
Raiders news from the past week
The one thing that just about every Raiders fan did agree on was the removal of Greg Knapp as the OC and thankfully right away last Monday he was surgically removed from the organization. It may have been Reggie McKenzie's choice and it may have been a mutual decision by Reggie and Dennis Allen but that is the closest that we will get to knowing who to thank.
Along with Knapp went Special Teams coach Steve Hoffman whose special teams unit was a disaster all year. I hardly remember a year that the returns were so terrible as they were this past season and even Shane Lechler fell from grace with his worst year ever in the NFL. The one bright and shining aspect of the special teams was Sebastian Janikowski but he doesn't need coaching, he just was blessed with a golden leg.
Besides Knapp and Hoffman came the dismissal of two other assistants in LB coach Johnny Holland and OL coach Frank Pollack. Johnny Holland was the biggest surprise since he did get decent performances out of 4th round rookie Miles Burris and free agent acquisition Phillip Wheeler, but maybe it had something to do with whatever transpired with Rolando McClain. As For Pollack, he worked very closely with Knapp on the zone blocking scheme and it makes sense that if Knapp would go then Pollack should go to.
Those are the big moves by the Raiders and it was followed with some extremely minor moves of signing players to future/reserve contracts. Those players are OG Jason Foster, LB Jerrell Harris, DB Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, WR Travionte Session, TE Mickey Shuler and T Jason Slowey. These players all will be allowed to participate in team activities throughout the off-season with the Raiders. Good for them, even if the likelihood of them helping the team much is slim to none.
The Raiders coaching staff was also picked as the coaching staff for the North squad in their annual Senior Bowl. This is a great opportunity for Dennis Allen to scout some of the upcoming talent by directly coaching them for the week. He not only will get to see the players go through the drills first hand like the other teams will, he will actually get to set up the drills for them and see how coachable the players really are. Hopefully this will result in some excellent info for the Raiders in their drafting process.
Around the division
There was some big news in KC where they found their coach for the foreseeable future. The Walrus himself Andy Reid has come to land and has taken over the operations of the Raiders historic rival. It is yet to be seen how much this will effect the AFC West but the rest of the division being terrible hasn't really helped anybody so maybe some added competition will help instead. It certainly makes things a little more interesting one way or another. Reid may not have ever won the big game but he has been very successful for a long time in the NFL and is quite the impressive hire for Kansas City.
San Diego is concentrating on finding their next GM first and the head coach second. They have it down to two major candidates in Jimmy Raye, the Chargers Director of Player Personnel, or Tom Telesco, the Indianapolis Colts’ Vice President of Football Operations. The Chargers say that the GM options available have the same coaches on their want lists with Bruce Arians appearing to be at the top of the list of candidates.
Other possible candidates are Tom Gamble, the San Francisco 49ers’ Director of Player Personnel or Marc Ross the Director of College Scouting for the New York Giants. Gamble appears to be heading to the Jets as their GM as he has delayed an interview with the Chargers and outright cancelled a second interview with the Jaguars.
As for the Broncos they are getting ready to take on the Ravens in the playoffs this upcoming weekend. The Ravens beat the Colts in their Wildcard game and now will travel to Mile High Stadium to take on the Broncos just 6 days later. The game between the Broncos and the Ravens will be played on Saturday at 4:30 ET.
Denver's offensive coordinator Mike McCoy has been a hot name for a head coaching position but has not had any interviews yet due to the Broncos still being in the playoffs. It is likely he will end up somewhere after an impressive year in 2011 working with Tim Tebow and then an even more impressive season with Peyton Manning. Of course more of the credit for this year's Denver offense goes to Manning over McCoy but it does appear he will be sought after once teams have the chance to interview him.
Around the League
The Seattle Seahawks defeated a bum legged RG3 in Washington over the weekend and now will fly to Atlanta to take on the Falcons Sunday at 1pm ET. With the way that Robert Griffin the 3rd was running in that game its a shame that former Raiders and Broncos coach Mike Shanahan had left him in the game. Shanahan at least was questioning his decision afterwards but when the best surgeon in the world in Dr. James Andrews doesn't like the idea of a player playing you shouldn't have to wait until afterwards to question whether he should've been out there.
The Green Bay Packers also will live to see another day just like the Seahawks will. They will be traveling to the Bay Area to take on the 49ers in the late game on Saturday night. It promises to be a fun game to watch and if both the Seahawks and the Packers were to win it will be a rematch of the game termed "Fail Mary" in which the replacement officials botched the final play of the game which ended with last second victory for Seattle. Now that would be a NFC Championship game that would be interesting to watch!
The Houston Texans defeated the Bengals in a game that must have been painful for Cinci fans to watch. Andy Dalton was not able to do much of anything despite the Texans never really pulling away. Dalton is of course the heir to the QB throne left vacant when the Raiders Carson Palmer decided to retire over continuing to play in Ohio. It might not be true and could never be proven anyway but its hard not to think that Palmer would have seriously increased the Bengals chances in that game. Now Houston takes on New England on Sunday at 4:30pm ET in what should be a fun game to watch.
Chip Kelly surprised all you Oregon fans that constantly fill Silver and Black Pride with your quaking! He appears to have decided to spurn the NFL yet again and try to make all of your Crystal Dreams a reality for you Duck fans. Check out the "Chip Don't Go" video by Mat Kearney which may or may not have helped sway Kelly's decision.
I am disappointed about this because I was really curious to see Kelly bring his offense to the NFL but I guess that wont be happening now. The Browns can't be too happy about Chip's decision as their waiting for Kelly made them miss out on their 2nd choice in former Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone who signed on to coach the Buffalo Bills.