Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Crazy Like A Fox?

If what we’ve heard is true, Mike Martz might be a bit of a crackpot. However, that would make him a crackpot with 53-32 record and a Super Bowl appearance under his belt, and a top 10 ranking in total offensive yardage in each of his 5+ seasons in St. Louis. Funny how we haven’t really heard his name connected with the Raiders job. Maybe Mr. Davis doesn’t have any interest in Martz (reasons could include Martz’s quirky reputation, high salary or control demands, etc.). Or maybe Mr. Davis’s maid is pouring Martz a cup of coffee in Piedmont this morning.

In this article, a local sportswriter frets that the Raiders might lose Al Saunders to the Rams. Are you worried about that? I think I might be fine with Al Saunders coaching the Rams and Mike Martz coaching the Raiders. I think Martz could figure out a way to get the ball to Randy Moss. I think that the Raiders might be due for a little star power in the head coaching slot. Maybe a mad scientist like Martz would be a nice antidote to the meek lab assistant known as Norv Turner. While other teams are tripping over themselves to hire unproven coordinators, and while the media bleat about Al Saunders, I believe that Al Davis might pull an entirely different rabbit out of the hat in the coming weeks.

Saunders might prove to be the real deal, but guys like Pat Hill (too late, he just signed a new deal with Fresno State) and Mike Martz excite my imagination more than Saunders, and right now I've got a lot more imagination than information when it comes to the Raiders coaching search.


Blogger Doobie said...

The whole Al Saunders to the Raiders buzz doesn't surprise me at all. I've mentioned this in the past, but I think Al's had his eyes on members of the 1999 Rams staff who won the Super Bowl the old Raider way...big play offense. Although the thought of Mike Martz makes me cringe, I can see Al hiring him.

But Al Saunders makes more sense. You get the WR coach of the 1999 Rams and a lower profile personality who won't hog the spotlight from Al.

I can see either Martz or Saunders happening, but Saunders makes more sense for Al.

12:33 PM  
Blogger Gray Flannel Suit said...

Gruden's hiring didn't excite me very much, but I guess that goes to show you that even relative unknowns can succeed.

(not comparing Sauders to Gruden, by the way)

2:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, the more I think about it, the more I think maybe the return of Art Shell as head coach of the Raiders isn't such a bad idea. All these hot shot offensive coordinators Al Davis interviews all promise the same thing, "Stretch the field with passing, & power running attack". That all sounds good until there are no holes for the running backs, & the Qb is flat on his back. Maybe Shell can come in and fix the badly broken offensive line. It's been 2 yrs since Gallery, & Grove were drafted, and they are still big question marks. Sims slipped badly, and the guards were close to invisible. Art shell could bring back the pride to this unit. He can teach them the toughness to run block, & the skill to pass protect. Without the line performing at a high level, the Martz', & the Saunders' of the world, cannot even get there high flying offense's off the ground. I think, looking back, that's probably what doomed Norv Turner. You can design all the great plays you want, but without blocking, they are going nowhere. I hope Shell will get a serious look.

3:15 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

With the Lions naming Rod Marinelli as their HC tonight, one additional candidate that I would like to see the Raiders interview is Russ Grimm (Offensive Line Coach-Pittsburgh). Grimm was the early front runner for the Lions gig.

I also think that Al could upgrade our Offensive Coordinator position by signing Saunders and letting Jimmy Raye go. Grimm (HC)/ Saunders(OC) or Petrino (HC)/ Saunders(OC) would get our house in order especially on the offensive side of the ball.

It is important to point out that none of the teams with coaching vacancies see Saunders as HC material. If Saunders doesn't want to be the Raiders OC, would Mad Mike step back into his OC shoes?

8:33 PM  
Blogger Doobie said...

No matter who comes in, Ryan will more than likely be out the door simply for the reason that the new guy will want to establish his own staff.

Grimm? Raiders? I think the media made that up just in the hopes that they could someday use those two words together in a headline. :) Seriously though, I don't think Grimm is HC material, at least not yet...although I certainly wouldn't mind him coaching the o-line.

5:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Saunders isn't good enough to be hired as HC for the Chiefs, why would we want him as HC?

7:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding hiring Ryan as undermining the HC, remember that Buddy Ryan and Ditka HATED each other when they won the superbowl in '85.

I think resigning Ryan was THE MOST IMPORTANT move yet because it retains continuity on the defense which is just starting to gell.


8:03 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Regarding Saunders not meriting the HC job with the Chiefs, we can apparently add the Jets, Packers, Rams, Saints, Texans and Lions to that list.

I've been getting a little flak via email for the Martz take. That's fine, but I'd like to hear some better alternatives. What have Sherman, Jauron, Mariucci, Haslett and Capers done lately? Martz's team was 12-4 in 2003. A few years before that, it was 14-2.

According to reports, Petrino is now out of circulation. Barring a magical reappearance by Art Shell, and putting Saunders aside for the moment, who do we have?

8:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Martz is "Perfect" for the job for several reasons.
1. Great Offensive mind and I think he would work well with Ryan.
2. Needs to prove he still has it and would love to show the Rams he does.
3. The longer he is not hired by someone his contract will not break the Silver and Black bank.

Lets not forget about Ken Whisnhunt of the Steelers, who might be Al's choice and needs to wait for him to be able to interview. Just a thought.....

8:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whew!!! Thank God it won't be Saunders!!!

11:02 AM  
Blogger Doobie said...

Just as anonymous said, it won't be Saunders...the Skins just signed him as offensive coordinator.

11:12 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Regarding the Saunders breaking news, I heard it here first, thanks to Doobie.

We should have known Saunders wasn't coming to the Raiders once Ray Ratto declared him the inevitable coach of the Raiders yesterday:

11:29 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Glad to hear that Caveman Ryan has been re-signed as DC.

I would love to see Al hire Singletary or Carthon as the HC. OC Whisenhunt is just another football professor similar to Saunders and Turner. The Raiders need a passionate leader not another "offensive genius". Even retread Haslett would be worth considering since he brings energy and toughness plus has a history with Al.

As usual Al has everyone guessing and scratching their heads. As RT said in earlier post, is there another wild-card up Al's sleeve? Did a mystery HC candidate interview at Al's pad and take a sercret oath of silence until a "final" decision is made on the position.

12:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a complete farce, barrel scraping once more.

We'll ge another Joe Bungle just you wait and see.

Whisenhunt or anyone with any reputation left intact is coming to coach here.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

The negative media spin on the Saunders situation is underway, courtesy of the Chronicle's home page (

"Al Saunders, prime candidate for Raiders head coach, decides he'd rather be Skins' coordinator."

Who says he was deciding between one or the other? If Mr. Davis didn't offer him the job, then there's no "rather" to this story. Has anyone verified that Saunders was offered the job?

2:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't really mind the Raiders taking their time looking for a new coach. I wouldn't have felt any better if they had run out in a rush and hired someone in 3 days. To be honest, it doesn't look like there are any Grudens out there this yr. I havn't been blown away by any of the names mentioned so far. One thing though, I hope Al Davis waits as long as needed, even til after the Super Bowl. The last time, when he hired Turner, if he would have waited one more week, he could have had a shot at Crennel, or, Weis. It would have been worth it.

2:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Al Davis was asked about Mike Martz. His reply was Martz might be an option. When the reporter clarified the question, Davis replied that he thought the reporter was talking about Martz as an offensive coordinator.

Davis doesn't think of Martz as a head coach (neither do I, BTW), which makes me think Al did learn from the Norv Turner experience:

Someone who is great at Xs and Os (like Martz or Norv) but is not really much of a leader belongs at OC. Martz and Norv will prosper there and neither is HC material.

I believe Al is concerned about Martz's health as well. The final straw is Martz's Rams were as dysfunctional as Callahan's second year as head coach in Oakland. Ask him about Kyle Turley...

With Ryan and Millard reportedly resigning as DC and D-line coaches respectively, at least some things appear settled. I like Millard a lot and am willing to give Ryan more time, but it is an interesting notion that these assistant coaches would be resigning left and right without knowing who will be their HC... maybe they do?

On the other hand, I have no idea who will be hired as HC! Mike Singletary, Ron Rivera, Pat Hill, and Ken Whisenhunt all sound like good choices to me--but you can believe it won't be Mike Martz.

3:20 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Stick 'Em, you're too informed and reasonable to attend this little Martz party.

You make some good points about Mad Mike, but I don't think the Norv comparison is fitting...Norv's record of results (wins and losses) doesn't come close. And Kyle Turley never threatened to kill Norv (although Randy Moss might have).

Somebody please enlighten me on the presumed fascination with Ken Whisenhunt. The Steelers employ a ball-control offense powered by The Bus and Big Ben, with a nifty assist from Fast Willie Parker (a rather unique trio). Hines Ward isn't too shabby, either, but their defense is, I think, what enables the Steelers style of offense work so well. So why is their offensive coordinator such a hot commodity?

4:11 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

By this weekend the Raiders will have the only vacancy at HC. I 100% with you would be foolish to rush into hiring an ill-suited HC like GBay did by hiring McCarthy.

If, and this is a BIG if, Al is willing to think outside his usual box, there are plenty of high caliber candidates from the D-side of the ball. Singletary would be an inspired choice. Lewis (NYG), Rivera (Chi), and Haslett would also be good candidates.

From the O-side of the ball, Carthon (Clev) would be a top-tier candidate and Grimm (Pitt) and Wisenhunt (Pitt) should be considered for an initial interview.

At this point, my short list is Singletary & Carthon. I like Singletary because of his unquestioned leadership skills and clearly it only a matter of time before he becomes a HC. I like Carthon because of his impeccable coaching pedigree.

Lastly, I hate to rain on your parade RT, but I just don't see Martz being a good fit for the S&B. His W/L record is impressive but adding 1 more maverick to the organization is a combustible mix asking for trouble.

6:25 PM  
Blogger Doobie said...

I'm telling ya, Calico...I don't like Martz either, but it's a decision I can see Al making. And, Stick'em, that Al Davis comment about Martz sounds like a perfect smoke screen. I'm still predicting Martz...especially now that Saunders is gone...but only because I think that's what Al's past trend dictates.

If I had my druthers of what's left, I'd pull for Ron Rivera. He's not an offensive guru, but he is an accomplished defensive coordinator and he sports a Super Bowl ring while playing on one of the best defenses ever with the '85 Bears.

In addition, the '04 Bears defense...Rivera's first season as DC with the Bears...was the highest scoring defense in team history. So he may not provide big play offense, but maybe big play defense will sell Al...especially after the Raiders D finished with, what, five INTs this year? One of wihch was by Warren Sapp?

7:00 PM  
Blogger Doobie said...

One more thing...a Ron Rivera/Rob Ryan run defense in Oakland might not be such a bad thing, especially with such a young defense to teach. If the Quad R's (I'm someone would come up with a better nickname) can provide a smothering defense, you might be able to overlook Kerry Collins' deficiencies. Besides, I know it's a cliche, but defense DOES win championships and it might be wise for Al to look in that direction for once.

7:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it just me, or did the Bears defense not look so hot this past Sunday. Does anybody know who the D-coordinator is for the Pathers ? I wouldn't mind that guy getting an interview at least. Just a thought

8:50 PM  
Blogger x said...

I totally agree with raider00 about the OL. They were pathetic all year. Grove and Gallery didn't seem to improve and Sims was horrible. Makes you wonder why Gallery wasn't moved over there. OL needs major improvement. Shell would be a good choice in that respect.

A couple other notes: I really don't think Saunders would take an OC position, after interviewing as an HC. That's a lateral move from his current position.

Ryan's hiring is going to scare off some candidates who want their own staff. I was disappointed to see that. Plus, wasn't Ryan the same DC that kept using a three man rush and stubbornly refused to ditch the 3-4 all last year (2004)? That was really disturbing.

And Madden? He should be kicked off the Raider Alumni Club after fawning over Tom Brady all year. I almost threw up listening to him go on and on.

As I write this, I see Saunders may be gone anyway. This may not be a bad thing as I think the Raiders need a HC with some passion and discipline. Singletary might not be a bad choice. We'll see....I have no idea.

9:33 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Raider00: The DC of Carolina is Mike Trgovac. The reason we don't hear much about him is that HC Fox gets most of the credit for building a championship caliber D.
As far as the Bears D vs. Carolina, it really was unexplainable ... more of an anomoly (sp?)

Doobie: The thought of KFC coming back as our signal caller in 06, with or without a smothering D, is enough to make me hurl my flavored coffee on to the deck. You, RT, and Chris Mortensen might all be right about Mad Mike being the next HC but I also wouldn't be shocked if he ends our next OC.

"X" & Raider00 - You are so right about the O line being a major disappointment expecially Gallery, Grove, and Sims. I would be thrilled if the Raiders moved up a few spots to take D'Brickshaw Ferguson and slide Sims to OG.

10:03 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

NY Raider, you make good points. I'm not entirely sold on Martz (he's got some baggage, as stated)...But he has a record of results as a head coach and he's still available. That makes him one rare bird at this point. He's not lacking in confidence and even arrogance, and I don't mind that, either.

I'm all for the type of young coordinator-turned-coach you describe (and about seven teams who've already gone before us think they've got him; history suggests that about four or five of them are dead wrong). But who is that (names, please)? I sure don't know. From where I'm sitting, It's hard to tell the next Jon Gruden from the next Mike White.

My safe pick at this point would be Mike Singletary, because his eyes popped out of his head when he played and he supposedly commands respect. But is he really qualified to lead all phases of the game and the team? Perhaps, perhaps not.

6:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Much love to Doobie for invoking the Al baffles'em with BS principle! Isn't it great to have an owner who's every word we take as the gospel...even when he's lying? LOL!

Anyways, Mike Martz is pretty open about how he doesn't really pay attention to the defense and special teams, so a well-rounded soul he ain't. That's why he may be pegged as an OC. After Lovie Smith left, the Rams' defense started appearing on milk cartons.

Which brings us to Ron Rivera. One question worth asking about Rivera is how much of the Bears' "D" success is due to him? How much is actually Lovie?

I'm with those calling out for the '06 Raiders to resemble the '85 Bears...Rivera...hell, bring back Buddy Ryan if it works!

Sweetness and the rest of that Bears team is the only non-Raider team in the history of time and space I have even a crumb of a warm spot for in my sticky little heart...

Which brings us to Singletary. Whether or not Singletary can recite his Xs and Os with a bright light shining in his eyes and a rubber glove slapping his face...oops, sorry, flashbacks of the field sobriety of less importance to me right now than his leadership ability.

Maybe that position is a knee-jerk reaction to two years of Mr. Roper's brother, Norv Turner... but we'd have someone who at least looks like a Raider coach again with Rivera, Singletary, or Whisenhunt to go with Caveman Rob Ryan!

The reason I would interview Whisenhunt is simply my obsession with having a big-time mayhem "D" complemented by a smash-mouth power running game.

Can he bring it? If we gotta have an offensive-minded HC again, at least bring in one that values time of possession instead of the Kerry one, two, three and out Collins show. I want to actually see an offense on the field for my Benjamins.

Uncle Al said something about the ball-control style working in cold stadiums (Three Rivers...Soldier Field, etc.) but not in sunny California. I'll bet Al wants to score a whole lotta points to keep up with the big time offenses in the AFC instead.

If he listened to my comments from the peanut gallery, we'd probably end up with Mike Ditka! ROTF!

7:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AL....Please dont Stoop and Hire Shoop for HC! He looks more like Mr. Rodgers than Turner and FAILED at every team he has worked with. Stick-em was speeking of the Bears.............Well our man Shoop was the "O" coordinator for them. He was so bad that the fans put up a website named "" to get rid of the Geek. You CAN NOT have a "Commitment to excellence" if you hire Shoop.

7:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shoop was brought in as Raider QB coach because he got a performance resembling an actual performance out of KFC at Carolina in the '90s. Hence, Shoop's future seems tied to KFC's...

Given Collins consistently threw off his back foot, sailing passes up to the nacho vendor in row 13... ran a hurry up offense verily reminiscent of termites monotonously munching away at the foundation of my house...all while utilizing a playbook no more complicated than the Tales of Winnie the Poo I read my favorite seven year old at nite...well, let's just say the chances of Shoop being promoted are nil.

All the current assistants are lucky to have a job (with the exception of Keith Millard), much less have a hope in hades of being promoted to head coach.

Some of them, including DL coach Sam Clancy, DB coach Clayton Lopez, OLB coach Pat Jones, and defensive quality control coach Chris Griswold have felt the axe already...

8:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One thing I like about Whisenhunt is the Squealers use of trick plays. Not that gadget plays are all that successful in the NFL, but it shows Whiz is thinking about the personnel he has available (e.g., college QBs Hines Ward and Randal-El) and trying to fit his offense to utilize his players' strengths.

The Raiders have had a problem with trying to fit the square peg players into the round holes of their philosophy--see KFC the cigar store Indian trying to loft one while the O-line collapses like a wet Dixie cup this season as exhibit A.

Maybe Whisenhunt would throw the ball to the TE and address the other problems we saw in Norv's scheme?

12:36 PM  

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