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Al Saunders stays with Raiders

Carson Palmer, Kyle Boller, Al Saunders AP

When the Raiders and new head coach Dennis Allen hired Greg Knapp to return to the team as offensive coordinator, it appeared that Al Saunders, the offensive coordinator in 2011, wouldn’t return.

But he will.

The team announced Wednesday that Saunders will remain, with the title of “senior offensive assistant.”

The hiring of Knapp suggests that the Raiders will return to the West Coast offense.  Saunders’ return could be an indication that he’ll have a big role in helping quarterback Carson Palmer transition away from the offense with which he was familiar in Cincinnati.

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31 Responses to “Al Saunders stays with Raiders”
  1. tdk24 says: Feb 8, 2012 3:15 PM

    If you’ve ever watched post practice press conferences with Saunders, you’ll see he’s one of the good coaches to have around. I’m glad they found something for him and more importantly, he decided to stay.

  2. rdrs68 says: Feb 8, 2012 3:24 PM

    The thunder you hear coming from the left coast is not another earthquake-it is Al trying to kick open his burial vault-west coast offense is NOT Raider football.

  3. therolandobottom says: Feb 8, 2012 3:29 PM

    Great news. The offense will be fine.

  4. rundmc81 says: Feb 8, 2012 3:30 PM

    Hopefully now the rest of the “Nation” will quit whining and let Reggie do his thing!!! Big things in ’12!!

  5. ronlm says: Feb 8, 2012 3:39 PM

    McKenzie and Allen are putting together a very interesting staff. Allen is defensive minded, so having two experienced guys in Knapp and Saunders on the offense is very wise. Also, Allen just hired the WR coach from USC, Ted Gilmore, who helped produce some terrific receivers last season for USC.

    Young and energetic defensive staff, to go along with an experienced offensive staff. Will have to see the product on the field, but I’m liking the mix so far.

  6. raidermick says: Feb 8, 2012 3:39 PM

    Very Glad to see this guy stay. – Good character and not power hungry. Just loves to teach really

    He was a water boy for the Raiders back in the 60’s

    Late…

  7. Grinds My Gear says: Feb 8, 2012 3:58 PM

    A smart coach will hire guys with the most experience to help the side of the ball game he doesn’t specialize in. It’s a good keep, Saunders has plenty of experience. Saunders is a great teacher of the game, and he ran all of the offensive meetings last season under Jackson while Jackson was the primary play caller. I like the fact that Allen surrounded himself with plenty of experience on the offensive side of the ball, and kept the inexperience towards the defensive side which he specialized him. This has it made out to be Allen gearing himself more towards the defensive side of things and work more hands on with his defensive staff, while getting two experienced offensive guys to look over the offense.

  8. jlb10 says: Feb 8, 2012 4:17 PM

    reports are that he even sign and extension

  9. nflofficeadmin says: Feb 8, 2012 4:23 PM

    Great news. We move forward. (If there was any doubt before, a new west coast offense renders the Carson trade a complete and meaningless waste.)
    Go RAIDERS!!

  10. mpoles says: Feb 8, 2012 4:23 PM

    The ‘West Coast’ offense has rather more to do with Raider history than many Raider fans understand.

    Originally, “West Coast” referred to the Sid Gillman / Don Coryell type offense that heavily influenced Al Davis in the 1960s and the people who succeeded him.

    One of those, the Raiders’ offensive coordinator (in all but name) in 1967 was a certain Bill Walsh. Walsh took some of the concepts of the Gillman / Coryell offense and added to it when he was OC in Cincinnati and then of course head coach in San Francisco.

    Kenny Stabler throwing deep bombs to Cliff Branch is more closely related to Joe Montana (or Rich Gannon for that matter) throwing slants to Jerry Rice than you might think.

  11. keeponhating says: Feb 8, 2012 4:27 PM

    I was disappointed when he was removed from OC. Hue the control freak was the one calling the plays last season. And our offense was less than spectacular. Hue was a good coordinator but when Al died he let the power go to his head. At least Saunders is staying in some capacity.

  12. raiderlyfe510 says: Feb 8, 2012 4:44 PM

    Carson Palmer played in the West Coast offense in USC under Paul Hackett and was an absolute disaster.Looked worse than Jamarcus Russell in the WCO. Norm Chow had to save Palmer’s career.

    Palmer is a Coryell QB. He needs to throw to a spot on the field. We needed Ernie Zampese as OC..The Raiders took a big step back with Knapp. Not only is Palmer a programatic non-fit McFadden was also ineffective in Knapp’s Zone blocking scheme. He’s not a one cut and go RB. He’s way too instinctive.

    It’s going to be a rough year…IMHO.

  13. fasteddy415 says: Feb 8, 2012 4:44 PM

    Don’t matter. The defense is very poor. No matter the coaches another .500 season.

  14. irishnativeson says: Feb 8, 2012 4:50 PM

    Huge Jackson Tampa area codes are (727) (813)

  15. raiderlyfe510 says: Feb 8, 2012 4:53 PM

    I meant Ken Zampese

  16. dannymac17 says: Feb 8, 2012 4:55 PM

    AMAZING news for a potential 4-12 team.

    amirite?

  17. tatum064 says: Feb 8, 2012 5:10 PM

    fasteddy415 says:
    Feb 8, 2012 4:44 PM
    Don’t matter. The defense is very poor. No matter the coaches another .500 season.

    ======================

    Like that Tynes FG, Niner fan?

  18. AlohaMrHand says: Feb 8, 2012 5:22 PM

    Anyone notice in the photo accompanying this photo there’s a bar wire fence behind Palmer?So the Raiders DO practice in prison!

  19. 44mpo says: Feb 8, 2012 5:24 PM

    This is great news! I think Saunders is an offensive wizard, and having him still with a hand in our offense will be a good thing. My only concern if there becomes an ego battle between Saunders and Knapp. Everything I’ve read suggests the two employ quite different approaches.

  20. ceo4eva says: Feb 8, 2012 5:36 PM

    this is good news for Campbell

  21. ronlm says: Feb 8, 2012 5:44 PM

    Personally, I think there’s way too much made of the Raiders moving to a WCO in 2012. Anyone who knows anything about Palmer knows he doens’t have the proper skillset to run a pure WCO. But then again… no team truly does that anymore anyway. It’s a blending of two or three different systems/beliefs. Some teams will be stronger in the WCO, but defenses have gotten wise and can shut it down… so teams need to blend.

    And this is exactly what I think retaining Saunders means. The Raiders, for too long, have tried to run a mostly Air Coryell system… requiring the QB to drop 5-7 steps, allowing the deep receivers to become open. Defenses have LONG understood how to battle that… blitz the hell out of it and it will end up shutting down. Having Knapp’s experience in the WCO and Saunders experience in stretching the field, the two men can work together to develop a system in which they can match up well with whatever D they are facing. That is the idea behind it IMO… whether or not it’s successful remains to be seen.

    But I will say this… both Knapp and Saunders are extremely sharp individuals… who will not have any undue pressure from above in how to run their squad. Al Davis was a defensive minded coach and owner… but he loved the deep strike plays on offense and has pushed his will in order to make it happen.

    Good hire in Knapp and good bringing Saunders back.

    BTW… you go back and watch McFadden’s Arkansas highlights, and you will see a one cut, donw hill runner… almost exclusively. To the point of me thinking he was too one dimensional. Just in the last couple of years, he has developed into a RB who can make several people miss. At this point in his career, I have no problem in believing that DMac can make the transition to any scheme they want to put him in. He’s about as well rounded of a back as there is in the game right now. Keeping him healthy is going to be the larger question.

  22. autumnwind999 says: Feb 8, 2012 6:07 PM

    Saunders > Knapp

    The coaching change has been a disaster. Should’ve kept Hue. Took the offense from No. 31 to No. 6 in his first season as OC and held at No. 9 this season despite losing McFadden for 10 games, Moore and Ford for a long stretch and changing QBs mid-season.

    Hue would’ve had the Raiders at 12-4 with a new DC. We’ll see about Allen, but that’s where the bar is in my mind.

  23. ronlm says: Feb 8, 2012 6:19 PM

    How can you say the coaching change has been a disaster at this point? There hasn’t been a single practice, pre-season game, or actual game. Gotta at least give them the benefit of the doubt, yes?

  24. pettergriffen says: Feb 8, 2012 6:56 PM

    autumnwind999 says:
    Feb 8, 2012 6:07 PM
    Saunders > Knapp

    The coaching change has been a disaster. Should’ve kept Hue. Took the offense from No. 31 to No. 6 in his first season as OC and held at No. 9 this season despite losing McFadden for 10 games, Moore and Ford for a long stretch and changing QBs mid-season.

    Hue would’ve had the Raiders at 12-4 with a new DC. We’ll see about Allen, but that’s where the bar is in my mind.

    =========================

    dude who cares about hue “woulda coulda shoulda” jackson.. ok!! I dont care how good you think he would be. i cant stand him and hes a shady guy.. so much that no team cares to hire the guy with #9 offense OK?????

    GET IT?

  25. piratesofthecoliseum says: Feb 8, 2012 8:01 PM

    I think it speaks volumes that not one team has hired Hue, the bucs are struggling to find an OC and they don’t want him!! And to say he would have us at 12-4 next season when he clearly lost the locker room is just plain ignorance!!!

  26. dondiraider says: Feb 8, 2012 8:57 PM

    Without question this is the most important hire for McK & AD for not only the O but to the D as well. Saunders headcoachng experience allows AD to focus on developing his green DC and manage team and have a mentor on staff AND help Knapp become a real OC!

  27. coachglove says: Feb 9, 2012 12:59 AM

    “AlohaMrHand says: Feb 8, 2012 5:22 PM

    Anyone notice in the photo accompanying this photo there’s a bar wire fence behind Palmer?So the Raiders DO practice in prison!”

    “Bar wire”? Really? You do know it is called BARBED WIRE right? Idiot.

  28. raidersfreak says: Feb 9, 2012 2:12 AM

    I was buying into what Hugh was selling but towards the latter part of the season I was getting tired of the same ole story. We had a great practice and are preparing well for this game. Only for him to come back and say we weren’t hungry enough when they loss and all the big talk like it was only one game and we are getting written off. Well wake up Hugh you were folding and you weren’t paying attention. Especially to that shady D

    The green bay game wasn’t even competitive while other teams gave it all they could I couldn’t bear to watch it. I know we weren’t going to beat green bay unless everything was flowing just right but it wasn’t even an effort put forth to be competitive by Hugh’s team.

    Reggie spoke of that game and with his long great experience he knew Hugh didn’t have what it took to be that coach who was prepared not only to give it his all against the champs but other teams that the Raiders should of took care of when they should of won. The raiders had some great efforts. Like against the bears and a few others but the D oh my look at every game threw out the season. Just horrid especially the Lions game with 5 min to go with a nice lead. I can go on but if their was a defensive problem that needed fixing bad and he traded the house for a QB and as the head coach not being able to fix the D as well that tells you sumthing there. He thought a QB would fix the team as that D kept getting exposed The chargers finally blew up Hugh’s dream and a problem he either ignored or couldn’t fix it and ended on that note.
    Anyways Go Raiders in 2012 lets get back glory I think were going to start making some noise now with the new leadership.

  29. radrntn says: Feb 9, 2012 1:30 PM

    rdrs68 says:
    Feb 8, 2012 3:24 PM
    The thunder you hear coming from the left coast is not another earthquake-it is Al trying to kick open his burial vault-west coast offense is NOT Raider football.
    ***************************************
    hmmmm thats funny , i though Gruden implemented a west coast offense ….Seems Al was very happy when his team got the super bowl with it………..Bottom line, all Al cared about was winning.

  30. radrntn says: Feb 9, 2012 1:32 PM

    AlohaMrHand says:
    Feb 8, 2012 5:22 PM
    Anyone notice in the photo accompanying this photo there’s a bar wire fence behind Palmer?So the Raiders DO practice in prison!
    ************************************
    seems like you are very familiar with those surroundings while you are spending time with rosie palms and her 4 friends.

    In reality the Raiders have those up to keep individuals like you away.

  31. spinmovr says: Feb 9, 2012 2:54 PM

    Love the move to keep Saunders. I like the points ronlm brings up too. I’m not sure we need a complete overhaul to our offense going forward. Palmer was good enough to hit the passes we needed in 2011 and clearly our running attack is strong.

    I agree that the west coast offense as a “thing” is an antiquated term. Teams install plays for the talent they have and Oakland has RBs that can catch, WRs with limited route running skills and no threats at the TE position. We won’t be looking like the Super Bowl 49ers. Palmer can throw deep into spaces and our WRs can burn anybody running straight. That’s what our passing O will look like in ’12. The challenge for Knapp and Saunders is to get opposing CBs and Ss to play close enough to the line to make our outside speed more dangerous. Saunders was key in getting Palmer comfortable on the fly last year and running offensive meetings. Plus he’s already comfortable NOT calling plays on Sunday.

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