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Raiders' staff is green in key areas

2/6/2012

If there is a criticism about the new-look Oakland Raiders, it's that they are inexperienced at key leadership spots.

The Raiders continued that trend Monday by naming Stanford co-defensive coordinator Jason Tarver as their defensive coordinator. Tarver is 37. He was the sixth defensive coordinator candidate the Raiders interviewed or tried to interview.

He was not on the radar of many teams prior to becoming a candidate in Oakland in recent days. Tarver didn’t call the defensive plays at Stanford. Prior to his one-season stint on The Farm, Tarver spent 10 years with the San Francisco 49ers in a variety of roles. He was last the 49ers’ outside linebackers coach.

Tarver is considered a bright, young coach, and he is clearly highly intelligent. He has a degree in chemistry and earned his master's degree in biochemistry and molecular biology. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

But the truth is, he is going from being a co-coordinator who didn’t call plays in the college game to being a defensive coordinator in the NFL.

It makes you wonder if new Oakland coach Dennis Allen will change his philosophy and decide to call the defensive plays. Allen, who was Denver’s defensive coordinator for one season before getting the Oakland job, said he will not call the defensive plays, and that he will be a game manager during games. However, there were rumblings in recent days, that Allen, 39, could change his mind.

Because Allen is a defensive-minded coach, fully expect him to have the greatest influence on the side of the ball that needs the most improvement in Oakland.

Along with Allen and Tarver being inexperienced in their roles, new Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie is a first-time G.M.

I’d like to see some more experience on this staff in key roles. It does help that offensive coordinator Greg Knapp has several years of experience in his role. I’m not saying this group will not succeed because of their inexperience. All of these men have great potential. But they are going to have to grow in their roles together.