Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Hell Freezes Over

Today, hell froze over. The U.S. Air Force admitted that a flying saucer did, in fact, crash in Roswell, New Mexico. And a Bay Area media outlet ran a positive article on Al Davis.

Indeed, with the local media gleefully feeding on the carcass of the 2005 season and bashing Al Davis at every turn, it was refreshing to see this article in the Oakland Tribune. Kudos to NFL Editor Jerry McDonald for going against the grain and showing Al Davis some respect and fairness. Once again, the Oakland Tribune (and ANG Newspapers by extension) sets the pace for quality in local sports journalism.

As I’ve said before, I am not hostile to the mere idea of criticizing Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders. Many folks have come in here and slammed Al Davis. I don’t agree with them, but they back up their takes and they still love the Raiders, and I respect their opinion. Many in the media, however, have decided that it’s open season on Al Davis, and they are firing shots without taking proper aim, which results in collateral damage to the journalistic principles of fairness, logic and integrity.

Now back to McDonald’s article, which showcases the skills that Mr. Davis is no doubt bringing to his current search for a head coach. McDonald reminds us of the following quote from none other than Jon Gruden (specifically, from Gruden’s autobiography, which was published after he left the Raiders): "His (Davis's) interviewing technique was magnificent. It was a stimulating, awesome line of questioning from a man who knew all there is to know about the NFL, including the salary cap, which other owners, club executives and coaches still have a hard time figuring out. He had seen it all in football."

That’s high praise, coming from someone whom we’ve been told (by the media) hates Al Davis. And now we have Gruden’s defensive line coach, Rod Marinelli, interviewing for the Raiders job. I guess Jon Gruden, despite his best efforts, just couldn’t convince Marinelli that Al Davis is the devil? That sound you hear is some favorite media spin coming to a screeching halt.

Here’s another tidbit from the article: “Gruden found the third interview to be as fascinating as the first. Two of the interviews took place at Davis' Piedmont home — which may help explain why the club's media relations staff often doesn't seem to know whether a candidate is in town or not.”

This is why I’m not commenting too much on the Raiders coaching search right now. If the Raiders staff hardly knows what’s going on, then I don’t have a clue. I have this gut feeling that Pat Hill might be a diamond in the rough (and that reuniting him with David Carr wouldn’t be the worst idea), but what do I really know? A lot of it comes down to nuances and intangibles, stuff that comes through in the interviewing process. A lot of guys look good on paper. But how do they look in person? There's probably a fly on the wall in Piedmont with an answer.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is funny how the perception of Jon Gruden & AL Davis' relationship is one of dislike. When the truth is, and this comes from a Jon Gruden family member, Jon Gruden, does not in fact speak ill of AL Davis. In Fact gives Props to AL, for giving him his shot at being a HC. Too Funny isnt it?

7:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've heard but only rumors that one of the reasons Gruden split was not Al but Amy Trask who was uncomfortable of Gruden challenging her potential role in the future of the organization.

My guess is the only people who wil ever know the truth are Al and Gruden. Needless to say, with the Bucs D-line coach talking to us I still wonder if Al's plan all along was let Gruden leave, get enough to rebuild the defense and bring him back with a dominating D.

As for the curret interviews, I'd have to say I like the fact he's looking at alot of AFC West guys who may have chips on their shoulders. In fact, with the mention of the Jerry McDonald article (who along with Bill Soliday are two top football journalists) there was also one in the CoCo Times commending Al for looking at Saunders.

12:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I must admit, I am one Raiders fan who has been very critical of Al Davis since the trading of Jon Gruden. That's not to say AD can do no right. I just don't beleive he can do no wrong. The thing is, I am rooting for Davis to win. I want him to, once again, crush the Shottenheimer's, & Shanahan's, & return the Raiders to dominance. With Gruden, I had the sense this was about to happen, but since he left, just the opposite has been true. That's why the Raiders next head coach is a very important hire for Davis. Al Saunders seems alot like Norv Turner to me. I am hoping for someone a little bolder.

12:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Am I the only person that thinks that Al should interview Mike Singletary, the D-Coord/Assist. Head Coach of the 49ers? I think the last defensive minded coach the Raiders had was John Madden, and would LOVE to see Singletary take that job!

2:21 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

It looks like Saunders is the clear front runner. Marinelli possibly interviewed as a possible replacement for DC Ryan who might exit to join Mangini's new staff in NY. Hill's self-imposed 10 day window to be interviewed will probably take him out of the running because we all know Al takes his sweet time in making HC decisions.

The thing that bothers me about Al's HC hiring process so far is that there seems to be no sense of urgency. Why haven't more interviews been scheduled? Why hasn't Singletary, Linehan, Hill, and Carthon been called in for interviews yet? What is he waiting for? Why limit the number of candidates?

My question about Saunders is whether or not he has the right make-up to be a successful HC? He has a brilliant offensive mind and track record, is good with play calling, x's and o's. It is unknown however whether or not he has the leadership skills to impose his will on the team to play solid, disciplined winning football. The "X" factor in hiring Saunders is that I think he might have a serious chip on his shoulder to prove his worth with the way KC bypassed him for the HC slot and hired Peterson's crony Edwards.

8:25 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Saunders may still be in the running (we know that the Packers, Jets, Saints and Texans won't be hiring him; does he have other suitors?), but I've got this feeling that Mr. Davis might have a trick up his sleeve. Maybe that's wishful thinking, but we'll see. I wouldn't rule out Shell, Hill or Singletary at this point.

8:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's what bothers me about Al Saunders. He is a well respected offensive coordinator, just like Norv Turner. A number of yrs ago, he failed as head coach of SD, just like Turner in DC. He is in his late fifties, just like Turner. Even KC, didn't consider him at all for there head coach opening. In fact, no one has been beating down his door for a long time. There has got to be someone out there a little more interesting then this guy. I think it might work better to hire a fiery guy like Sigletary as head coach, and surround him with strong coordinators like Saunders on offense, & Marinelli on defense. Seems like a better fit to me.

10:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What nags at me about Saunders is he was passed over for Herm Edwards. Herm Edwards? Nice guy, motivator, lousy HC. Happy to have him in AFC West. Huge red flag for Saunders. Maybe raider00 has it down, Saunders as OC under someone with some juice. Like to see Ryan stay here, though.

6:55 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

(Per ESPN) . . . 'Pat Hill and Bobby Petrino (Louisville HC) took themselves out of the running yesterday. Next up could be Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. The Raiders contacted Whisenhunt recently, but wouldn't be able to conduct a formal interview until Pittsburgh's playoff run is over.'

I'm with you Raider00. Sauders as OC, Marinelli as DC, and Singletary as HC would be an awesome coaching staff.

Apparently Marinelli has emerged as a strong candidate for the Lions HC vacancy. He has his 2nd interview today with Millen.

If Marinelli has a fiery, commanding presence, I would be fine with him as HC, Saunders as OC, and Ryan remaining as DC.

The next Raiders HC needs to exude passion and energy. It's ok for a coordinator to be a "football professor" but the HC should be a dynamic leader and motivator.

8:11 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Who knows, maybe Mike Martz is in Al's living room this morning. I'll take a crackpot like Martz over a bland Norv clone. I'll bet Martz could get the ball to Randy Moss.

10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe Mike Tice is in Al's living room this morning...we already know he can get the ball to Moss...an he'd be an extra source of Super Bowl tickets

10:41 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Correction on my earlier post this morning citing ESPN. Pat Hill is out of the running but Bobby Petrino interviewed last night with Al.

4:26 PM  

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