Tuesday, January 16, 2007

James Lofton - New Head Coach?

I find this report from the San Diego Union-Tribune hard to believe: "While the Chargers are dragging their feet regarding the future of their head coach, the team's most hated rival appears ready to fill its head coaching position with a Chargers assistant. Receivers coach James Lofton and the Oakland Raiders are working on details of a contract, sources said Tuesday."

Of course, we heard that John Shoop was a front runner (oops), and that Mike Martz was on the short list (oops again). The standards of accuracy and attribution with regard to coaching vacancies are obviously pretty low.

So either our friend at the Union-Tribune is totally misguided, or he's on to something, in which case...Well, let's not jump the gun.

P.S. Thanks to Jesse for the tip.


Blogger gcp said...

Well, our friends in Diego have so much respect for our franchise that they would never attempt to sabotage our searching process, would they?

6:56 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

On one hand we were all sure that Sarkisian would be the head coach, and we know that this is the Raiders so this shouldn't surprise us.

On the other hand, I remember when both Sean Payton and Bobby Petrino were sure to be Raiders head coaches, so until the Raiders give a press release, nothing is certain.

Since I won't be doing anything tomorrow, once they release something about this, I'll have my own take on it.

7:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ESPN's PTI brought this up as well...

-franco, raider fan in ireland

7:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Schefter just said "The Raiders are looking at McDaniels of the pats and then hastily added. . . and Sarkeesian (his pronounciation). The segment included Green but was mostly on McDaniel. It seemed he threw the name of Sark in there just to cover himself. It was weird, like he forgot at the last moment. No mention of Lofton.

I'd actually prefer McDaniel but we waited for Wisenschmuck and got dissed. What makes anyone thing McDaniel will sign?

7:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ESPN (John Clayton)is confirming that negotiations with Lofton are taking place to name him the next head coach. IF the reports are legitimate, can someone please bring me up to speed on James Lofton the coach? How would this go-around with an ex-Raider HOF'er be different than Shell's tenure(not endorsing Shell but rather inquiring why we wouldn't opt for an X's and O's coach)? Would his hiring mean that we would lose Sarkisian in any capacity?

8:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Panty-
As much as I know about Lofton's extensive career on the field, I don't know much about his personality and whether he can regain the trust and respect of the team. Is Davis rolling the dice with a younger Raider HOF'er and how exactly will he be more effective than Shell with the current roster? IF Lofton's given the HC position, who becomes his offensive coordinator?

9:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Lofton's the man, can he bring LT with him ???

Or why not just hire LT as player/coach ?

And Tom Brady as Qb/OC.

Just kiddin'....sort of

9:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I actually advocated Lofton for offensive coordinator throughout this season, especially when I thought Art would be back next year. WR coach to offensive coordinator is not an unusual transition, Al Saunders did it, among others. Whisenhunt was a TE coach before he called plays. He's also been working under one of the best offensive coordinators in the game in Cameron, so he's probably well versed. But head coach? I dunno.

I've been on board with Sarkasian for over a week now. Besides his reputation as a smart coach, I think he will bring a youthful enthusiasm that this team really needs, and I don't see that from Lofton.

My money's still on Sarkisian but there's a reason I'm not a betting man. Especially when it comes to predicting Al Davis's next move!

4:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can't say much about Lofton other than I'd rather have him than Fassel....most reports this AM pulling back from the "deal is imminent" slant from last night

6:50 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

I really wonder: What are the standards here, journalistically speaking? It seems like everyone is quoting unnamed sources, and when what they say doesn't come true (by a longshot), then it's simply, "Oh, well, better luck next time."

Look at how Shoop, Martz and Green have been reported with regard to the Raiders job. It's all over the map, which means at least half of these reports are absolutely dead wrong, with no basis in reality.

I could write that sources tell me that Mickey Mouse is on the short list of candidates. Does that mean it should be a headline in a major metro newspaper?

It's one thing to speculate from an opinion standpoint, it's another to "report" the "facts" with the help of allegedly "credible" sources, and then to be totally off base.

In the real world, that gets you in trouble. In sports, it gets you a pat on the back and "better luck next time" from your editor.

8:21 AM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

BREAKING! A source has just told me that Jerry Porter is being named Head Coach/Wide Receiver no later than Thursday!

Just kidding, of course, but, RT, that's the standard. If I can say it, and draw attention to myself, it won't hurt me if I'm wrong. But if I'm right, I'm the baddest prognosticator of the bunch. So if the above statement becomes fact, I want my own show on ESPN.

Lofton is, of course, a HOF WR. Most of his early career was spent with GB. I think he won a Super Bowl with them. Then he came to the Raiders, into a crowded corps (at the time), and didn't get much playing time in his second year. The Raiders released him, where he went on to Buffalo, and played in a couple of Super Bowls for them - one year, beating the Raiders in the AFC Championship game, 53-3.

I think he coached for one or two years at the college level before joining SD's staff as WR coach in 2002. Many have said that Lofton displays a considerable coaching prowess, which is why Davis interviewed him last year.

The only basis upon which this report can be true is if Lofton was very impressive with his interview last year. It would mean that Davis purposely didn't set up an interview with Lofton this year until after SD was eliminated in the play offs, instead of the week following the regular season.

If this hire is for real, I will be seriously surprised. The NFL will be seriously surprised. Nobody said the name Lofton in any other context than the Rooney Rule.

8:44 AM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

Steve Corkran is now claiming to have talked with Lofton, who has said he's in the process of negotiating the deal. According to Lofton, what nobody knew last year is that he was the runner up candidate.

All that we know about his coaching is what we see from SD's WRs. I've also heard that he's famous for his ability to get the players behind him.

It occurs to me that this is the unspoken of quality that Davis is searching for. Davis hired Shell because of his success the first time around in getting the players on board after the head games from Shanahan. Davis fired Shell because he failed to deliver the second time around. That's why the player interviews were the killer for Shell.

The last coach to get the players on board was Gruden, although he did start to lose them toward the end. Callahan was an ass, and Turner doesn't have much of a personality. So Davis is looking for that "Gruden magic." Shell worked the first time, but Shell thought what Davis was looking for was discipline the second time. When discipline alienated the players, Shell was gone.

8:57 AM  
Blogger nyraider said...

If Lofton is to be hired, which I believe is a reach, then we still need solid O-minded individuals for OC and QB coaches.

Just because a guy can communicate well and be liked by the players doesn't make him a good coaching prospect. Establishing friendships with the players is not the job of a HC. We need a no-nonsense X's & O's coach who can come in here, win games and earn the respect of his players.

Maybe Lofton is that guy, maybe he isn't. I just hope he's not hired for the wrong reasons.

9:14 AM  
Blogger nyraider said...

It seems as though Al Davis is content to just keep rolling the dice in one low-percentage move after another.

You'd think with his age and declining health he'd want to shift the percentages to his favor and hire an established winning coach (i.e., unproven prospects and retreads need not apply).

9:23 AM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

Upon further review:

While the Raiders and Lofton are discussing contract terms, Lofton has not been given an offer, nor has he been told that an offer is going to be forthcoming. Lofton expects to hear from Davis later in the week for further talks.

This seems to be the same track taken by Sarkisian. We didn't hear much regarding Ryan's inteview. But Ryan is already under contract, and he's in house. Ryan and Davis can have on going discussions simply because they work in the same building.

However, I now have to consider that the coaching prospects currently stand at three: Sarkisian, Lofton, and Ryan. Not necessarily in that order.

9:24 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Yes, I was a bit struck (in the wrong way) by Lofton's demonstrative statement that "what people don't know" is that he was the "runner up" last year. He already sounds a bit defensive.

Even if he was told that and even if it's true (and he could have been told that without out it being true), it's the Raiders' place, not his, to make that information public.

However, quotes get taken out of context or reported incorrectly all the time, and even if quotes are accurate, the spirit of them doesn't always translate well to the cold printed word.

So for now I'll consider it an isolated incident and hope that it doesn't foreshadow a pattern.

10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with some of the above comments that this story comes from the media trend of favoring sensationalism over fact checking. I think either Lofton or Sarkisian would make for the best HC from the choices that are out there, but I'm leaning more toward Sark. He's young, hungry, and passionate (based on his enthusiastic comments coming out of his interview with Al Davis) about the prospect of running a professional football team. I also think that his current role at USC gives him a bit more experience in working as a "higher level" of coaching. I like Lofton, but I think he may be just a bit too raw as a coach to take on an HC job. I'd say his big edge over Sark would be his ability to motivate- he strikes me as a guy who can relate to the players well, but that doesn't always translate into a winning HC.

2:07 PM  
Blogger TheFreakingPope said...

Well, at least Al is keeping things interesting!

I would agree that this is the media machine at work. They just want Al to make a decision so that they can begin the criticism.

So much for having an answer today.


2:36 PM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

It's not like Al is keeping us entertained. All he's doing is doing what Al does - talking to people, and not giving releases as to what he's been talking about.

It's the media that's keeping us entertained by spouting their speculation as though it was written on some tablets they found on a hill top.

In the end, it might turn out that Davis has selected some perfectly logical choice, which makes us ask, "why didn't I see that coming?" For all we know, Ryan has been the selection all along and the others have all been OC candidates, being interviewed at Ryan's request.

2:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

blandarocked hit it on the head re: Al Davis vs. the Media and all of this speculation. As much as they sometimes come off disliking or mocking the way Al Davis works, I sometimes think that the sports media loves Al Davis' methodolgy. If he was predictable like some other owners, there would be no room for rampant speculation- and there would be no attention grabbing headlines. Al Davis leaves huge gaps for the NFL pundits and analysts to work in. This is an ideal situation for the ever increasing need for content that the sports media faces. Now more than ever with the 24/7 NFL network, sports figures like Al Davis are a godsend for sports journalists.

3:08 PM  
Blogger Doobie said...

Hiring Lofton would be a ludicrous move. What exactly has he done to warrant a head coaching position? Be in the Hall of Fame? Last time I checked that strategy didn't work out with Art Shell (the 2006 incarnation) or with Jackie Slater coaching the O-Line. And I'm still not sold on Biletnikoff coaching the WRs on the team either.

Quick, someone name me a prominent SD WR since 2002. Reche Caldwell? Eric Parker? End-of-career candidates David Boston and Curtis Conway? So hiring Lofton would mean hiring someone who coaches WRs on a team that predominantly hands off and/or throws to it's TE. On paper that's like hiring the head of Conair's telephone department (you know the hair dryer company that...for some reason...starting making home phones).

At least with Gruden, you had some coaching pedigree with Mike Holmgren. Is Lofton somehow considered some sort of Schottenheimer protege?

I dunno. Right now, if it's true, the whole thing stinks. If you're going to hire a coach who deserves it, hire Rob Ryan. If he once again snubs a quality defensive candidate for an apparent reach of an offensive coach, then history is probably also going to repeat itself in the draft too...i.e. don't expect to get a QB or RB with the op overall pick.

3:20 PM  
Blogger nyraider said...

If Al's looking for pedigree, he need look no further than where he found Ryan... New England. The Pats and McDaniels seemed to have a handle on how to play the Chargers, something the Raiders can't seem to master.

Lofton is probably a quality individual, but let's not hand him the keys, please!

If P. Manning finally beats the Pats this weekend, Al can pursue a qualified X & O guy in McDaniels. If he's HC material, it probably won't cost Al a lot of money to make him the Raiders HC, i.e., if he'd even take the job.

3:34 PM  
Blogger gcp said...

I like the thought of McDaniels, but I am not going to scream the sky is falling if they hire Lofton. At least he has been coaching for the last 5 years in the NFL for a team that beats us every year. I read that he is thought of as an emerging candidate, or course this was a pro Raiders web site. I just don't see the possible Lofton hiring as the end of the world, for all we know he is a great motivator and Al will bring in Sark to run the O, it would beat last years tandem!

3:48 PM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...


95% of what we think we know about Al Davis doesn't come from Al or even people who have worked with him. It comes from folks in the media who claim to get their knowledge from an undisclosed source?

Recently a reporter asked Al if he thought he'd get the kind of coach he liked. Al's response was, "What do I like?"

Everyone claims that Al Davis only likes the Gilman style offense, because that's what the Raiders used in their glory days. But Al hired Shanahan in the mid 80s (West Coast), then Shell (Gilman), then White (West Coast), then Bugel (Gilman), then Gruden (West Coast), then Calahan (West Coast), then Turner (Gilman/West Coast hybrid), then Shell again (Gilman). We know that Davis likes the deep strike because he's said as much, but who doesn't like the deep strike (with the exception of Jon Gruden, and John Shoop)?

They tell us that Davis likes the QBs with the strong arm. Well this fits some of the Raider QBs, but not others. Stabler and Gannon were both dart throwers and scramblers (until the Snake's knees went bad). The successful deep ballers were Lamonica and Plunkett. All of the others have fallen somewhere in between.

But you're right. Davis likes the controversy, otherwise he'd correct it. Davis loves being the mystery man. He loves it when people who will never know him say they can predict every move. That's power in and of itself.

4:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did anyone else notice that Bobby Petrino hired his brother Paul Petrino, to be the Falcons WR coach ?

I'm not saying that this was a deal breaker last year, but, with Freddy B. so firmly entrenched as Raiders WR coach, it may have been a turn off to Bobby.

I guess it's safe to say that no matter who is the next Raiders HC, Freddy B. will be their WR coach, like it, or not.

5:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BR: Again, I agree with you 100%

It's easy for people to take shots at Al Davis and call him senile, crazy, or say that the game has passed him by. That's the myth that's been perpetuated by most sports media outlets. It falls right along the same lines as calling Raider fans criminals and thugs who are just as likely to knife an opposing fan as look at them.

We all know the latter stereotype is false, and the same holds true for the former I'd wager.

If Al Davis was as incompetent as many would have us believe then the team would be in much, much worse shape than it is. Is every decision he makes correct? Of course not. But building and maintaining a winning franchise in the NFL is tough- it has to be or the league would become boring as it would be dominated by just a few teams.

If anything, I'd say that Mr. Davis may be getting a bit impatient. Generally you give people time to work the kinks out, and at least from a coaching standpoint, we've yet to keep anyone long enough for them to really build and implement "their system". In one sense it is a bad thing, but looking at it from a different perspective it could just be that Mr. Davis is trying to find something that will restore his team to its previous glory and keep it there for a good length of time. Maybe what he is looking for is someone who will commit to that, but more importantly, someone who will commit to the organization. Someone who wants to stay for the long term and not bounce around to the next big paycheck.

Sark seems to fit that bill, and perhaps Lofton has shown a similar sense of team loyalty- despite how his former tenure with the Raiders went.

5:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoever is named coach, we need only watch the staff that is assembled in order to know if anything has really changed. Be it Lofton, Ryan, Sarkasian.. whoever... if Freddie B is still the WR coah and Rod Martin the trainer etc etc, then absolutely nothing has changed but the puppet dangling from the strings.

Sad, sad day for us. Chargers keep Shotty. Only in the AFC west can a coach have complete job security sans winning playoff games and championships: simply dominate the Raiders and your job is safe. Shanny and shotty can keep their jobs for an eternity and not win another playoff game as long as they dominate Oakland. What has shanny done since Elway left: field better than average, well-prepared teams that can't win a playoff game. Same with Shotty.
I really was hoping Shotty would be gone... away from our division. Now he gets one last chance. We're in a lot of trouble if this guy goes to the AFC championship or to the superbowl next year. He'd be rewarded with a new contract. And gentleman, we need this bastard out of the AFC west.

6:54 PM  
Blogger Doobie said...

Blanda, RRR, regardless of whether or not any media conceptions are true or not, it still hurts the team. Whatever they may be: Al's difficult to work for, the game's passed him by, etc. these all affect the people working...or potentially working...for the team. It's affected coaches from coming to the Raiders and it's hampered morale of players who don't believe a style of play that worked in the 70s is going to work again now.

And a lot of people are talking about the misdirection supposedly intentionally dispensed by the organization. How do we know that it's really just chaff? The Raiders lashed out at the NFL Network reporter who claimed Art Shell was about to be fired, then they wound up firing him a few weeks later. Who's to say the guy's story WASN'T right in the first place?

I'm really starting to think the game has passed Al by. His heart's in the right place, but he just can't seem to learn the errors of his ways. We can dispute what Al's strategy supposedly is all offseason (which we will), but here's all the information I need to know:

2003: 4-12
2004: 5-11
2005: 4-12
2006: 2-14

This is the worst funk the Raiders have been in...even since their conception in 1960. They only had three losing seasons then until Al turned it around in 1963. This is four consecutive bad years, with the last one being the worst in most of our memories. After this four year stretch, any other owner would have fired the GM by now.

But Al can't do it. The least he could do is relinquish GM control to someone else and let them run the team. But it just won't happen. Right now, it seems that retirement or death will come sooner than Al ceding control to someone else. So until then all we can do is wait and hope that he still has a trick or two left up his sleeve.

7:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To All...........Say what you will about all the coaching prospects. We all would like to see a coach like Gruden but......We will not! If we look at the coaches he has brought in to the "ring of fire" the common thread is "Weakness". Yes, each of the "top" names are all Al Davis pupets...Sark or Lofton would do whatever it took to get the job.....We are looking at the same movie with different actors.....I am soooooo sick of these losing seasons but Al will keep a death grip until the end....Then the team will be free to find a true coach that can lead and make the changes needed to take us back.......Tell me one coach beside Ryan that will not be Al's Boy toy?.....Thats what I thought. What a freeken wast of time......We need a ball buster.....Shell with his statue act didnt have the balls to make it happen and our next coach will be in the same seat.....What a joke! The next "tums" moment will be at the Draft when we pick up a FS or DB with speed. Just what we need!

7:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Something new....

The Oakland Raiders brought in Southern California quarterbacks coach Steve Sarkisian for a second interview Wednesday as the team intensified its search for a new head coach. From CBS Sportsline off of Raider News.

I think Al gave Lofton enough rope and he hung himself. The "negotiations" and "runner up" comment did him in. . . I hope.

I want the right guy but the longer this takes the fewer qualified candidates remain for the other important coaching positions.

7:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't buy into the suggestion that Al Davis' impatience is to blame for the last few disastrous seasons? IMO, it would be his lack of clear judgment and his inability to swallow some of his pride. Shell should have never have been hired again, but if AD thought that this was the best direction for his franchise, he should have eliminated the obstacles that prevented Shell from succeeding. Do you really think that Art Shell wasn't thinking long term about his tenure in Oakland? Incredibly devoted to the franchise, Shell bleeds silver and black, and AD regarded the opinions of players, who admittedly didn't play to their potential because of their displeasure with mgmt, over team stability. All prospective HC candidates know the pressure in Oakland is augmented by the presence of AD over their shoulder, and this has cost the franchise dearly in that we haven't been able to hire a coach who AD trusts enough to implement their system. In his defense, Davis has every right to be impatient when you see last place teams vault into the playoffs the following season(this year New Orleans, a team that had legitimate reasons to flounder, but were saved by an extremely competent GM).The idea of giving any coach time to implement their system can only succeed if an owner can accept the idea of "rebuilding" a franchise in the manner which best suits the strengths of the HC (look at Chicago and how they were structured around Lovie's defense while having a less than inspiring offense). All teams make mistakes, but what separates the W's and L's are the lessons learned from the mistakes. Are we talking about not failing to see a pro-bowl quarterback in the seventh round of the draft or taking a kicker in the first? Yes, building a championship or a perennial playoff contender is hard, but it is being done. The foundations that certain teams have established, ie. New England, are predicated on sound judgment and solid decision-making. Of the four contenders left in the playoffs, team owners have hired 4 of the best GM's in the industry who have been able to work with their HC's to develop an effective system for today's NFL. Yes, things could be worse, but the silver lining is knowing that with the right decisions over the next few months, Raider Nation will return to their past glory.

8:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have they talked to any defensive guys? if not then i doubt ryan will be the HC

10:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Dont get your "pantys" in a bunch!....There is only one way we can judge the next coach and know that next season will improve. That is if we see HUGE changes in the staff.....GM dowm to the "good ol boys" club....If the new coach comes in and everyone else stays.......we are SURE to have a very bad season.....I do not care who we draft.....Our team is in need of total restructuring and as far as I can tell.....Al is putting yet another bandaid on a gunshot wound...........Change is the only way we will improve....Let the freekin coach pick his staff and his own Offense....STOP drinking the Cool Aid.....Its killing the patient!

10:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great work.

2:20 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home