Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Raiders could look to Green Bay staff
By John Clayton
The Raiders' firing of Hue Jackson could point them in a direction of hiring a current Packers coach -- possibly offensive coordinator Joe Philbin or linebackers coach Winston Moss or secondary coach Darren Perry.
Does that mean the Raiders are turning away from Raider philosophy and switching to the Packers' style? Quite the contrary. Before Al Davis died, he reached out to Ron Wolf and John Madden, old friends of the organization, to make sure that it continues to be run in the Raider tradition. Wolf worked for Davis before taking the Raiders' personnel grading system to Green Bay.
That was important to Davis. He wanted to make sure the Raiders drafted or signed man-to-man cornerbacks, fast receivers, strong-armed quarterbacks and big offensive linemen. Wolf, Madden and other former Raiders employees have helped to make sure that legacy continued.
It's important that the new Raiders coach work closely with general manager Reggie McKenzie. The one thing Davis feared was a splintering in the decision-making process after his death. When he ran the Raiders, Davis made all the major decisions.
Coaches learned early during their tenures that Davis wanted things run his way. Coaches usually had to wait for Davis to make personnel decisions on cuts or even declare which players were active for games. He liked hiring young coaches and always kept track of them as they developed around the league.
He gave Jackson some decision-making authority during his first season as head coach, but Jackson's firing indicates McKenzie must have believed there might be disagreements about how to improve the roster after an 8-8 season in which the Raiders lost the division to the Denver Broncos.
After the trades made by Jackson, particularly the Carson Palmer deal, the Raiders will have to be efficient. They are nearly $7 million over the 2012 salary cap, and they have only two draft choices in 2012 -- a fifth- and sixth-rounder.
McKenzie and the new coach don't have the luxury of squabbling over the direction of the team. Moss makes sense as a possible Raiders coach because he was a leader in the locker room when he played for the Raiders. Perry coached three seasons with the Raiders. Philbin is simply a good football coach.
All three would get along well with McKenzie. Of course, McKenzie could reach outside the Packers staff and interview other candidates. The problem with hiring coaches from the Packers is that they could be tied up through the Super Bowl and unable to accept the job until early February. Philbin's situation could be affected by the recent death of his son.
McKenzie can reach out to Wolf, Madden and former Raiders executive Ken Herock for advice and support if necessary. It's the way Davis wanted things.
John Clayton, a recipient of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's McCann Award for distinguished reporting, is a senior writer for ESPN.com. Follow Clayton on Twitter