AFC West: Johnny Holland

Raiders move quickly to fix offense

December, 31, 2012
The Oakland Raiders made a quick statement about their unhappiness over a disappointing first season to the Reggie McKenzie-Dennis Allen era.

But it seems like the two men are safe.

The big move was the firing of offensive coordinator Greg Knapp. Also fired were special-teams coordinator Steve Hoffman, offensive line coach Frank Pollack and linebackers coach Johnny Holland. Allen made the announcement Monday.

"Decisions like this are very difficult," Allen said in a statement. "I have a great deal of respect for all of these men and I appreciate their contributions to the Oakland Raiders this season.”

Knapp’s offense was a major disappointment. Oakland did not take to Knapp’s version of the West Coast offense and the zone-blocking running scheme. Oakland was particularly poor in the red zone.

Running back Darren McFadden had a poor season under Knapp and he was never comfortable in Knapp’s scheme.

Knapp was a curious decision by Allen. He wasn’t his first choice, but he was paid well in Oakland. Knapp was the Raiders’ offensive coordinator in 2007 and ’08 and he was stripped of his duties by Tom Cable in the 2008 season.

Whoever Allen hires, expect the Raiders to try to employ a more power attack that flourished under former coach Hue Jackson. It seems to fit the team’s personnel better than Knapp’s scheme.

I think defensive coordinator Jason Tarver should be safe. If he wasn’t, he probably would have been shown the door quickly like Knapp was.

Tarver’s defense was a sieve for much of the season, but it tightened some in December. The Raiders' biggest issue on defense is talent. I think it has a good coaching base there with Allen and Tarver.

AFC West notes

February, 9, 2012
The word is Oakland may be closing in on hiring Johnny Holland as linebackers coach. He was fired last year as the linebackers coach in Houston. He worked with Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie in Green Bay and he played at Texas A&M prior to new Oakland coach Dennis Allen playing there.

Former Kansas City defensive line coach Tim Krumrie is a candidate for the same job in Oakland.

UPDATE: The Raiders announced the hiring of Holland and announced former Ole Miss secondary coach Keith Burns will be the assistant special teams coach.

Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin spoke glowingly of Todd Haley when he introduced him as the Steelers’ offensive coordinator Thursday. There had been speculation Tomlin was forced by ownership to hire Haley.

Haley grew up in Pittsburgh and he is the son of legendary former Pittsburgh personnel man Dick Haley. The Chiefs fired Haley as their head coach in December.