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Monday, September 29, 2008
Oakland's Davis meeting with assistants for a reason

By Bill Williamson
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

The news that Al Davis is meeting with offensive assistants on the Raiders staff is evidence a change is near. Nothing is official, but this may be the sign that a coaching change is imminent.

Davis is meeting with offensive coordinator Greg Knapp, offensive line coach Tom Cable and consultant Paul Hackett tonight.

They could be the candidates to replace Lane Kiffin. Earlier in the process, receivers coach James Lofton and running backs coach Tom Rathman were considered candidates to replace Kiffin along with defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and linebackers coach Don Martindale.

There had been speculation Knapp would not want the job and that he would likely reunite with Jim Mora next year in Seattle. The two worked together in Atlanta. But Knapp would be a natural fit to take over in Oakland since he works so closely with quarterback JaMarcus Russell and running back Darren McFadden, the core of the offense. There would be little change in the overall scheme if Knapp took over.

Cable has also been linked to Mora's staff in Seattle. He could be attractive to Davis because he has done a fine with the offensive line. The unit has shown improvement, especially in the run game, under Cable's guidance. He uses a zone-blocking scheme that Denver has used for years.

Hackett is the most experienced of the group. He is a special projects assistant with the Raiders. He was brought in this summer. Hackett was the head coach at Pittsburgh and USC and has been an NFL offensive coordinator. He knows the Raiders' style of offense well.

Davis is meeting with these coaches for a reason. Stay tuned.