Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Welcome Jack Del Rio

I think I'm down with Jack Del Rio as our new head coach.

Look at this murderer's row since 2006: Shell II, Kiffin, Cable, Jackson, Allen (and Sparano, if you want to get technical). By those standards, Del Rio is an upgrade.

Now, those standards are pretty low, which is why I have no doubt that Del Rio is an upgrade. But how much of an upgrade? Hard to say at this point, but hey, at least the arrow is pointing up.

I don't necessarily consider it an advantage that Del Rio is an East Bay native who rooted for the Raiders back in his youth. I'm over this sentimentality business with the Raiders. It doesn't matter come gametime. An elite coach will find a way to win, ties or no ties.

There's a bit of "deja vu" with this as well, as it's our second time in a row that we've hired a Broncos defensive coordinator as our head coach. 

That said, Del Rio brings a bit of gravitas to the proceedings. Not necessarily a lot, but at least some. He's had tenure as a head coach, has been to the playoffs, and is still relatively young. There are worse starting points.

The Raiders' interviewing process seemed a little strange to me. If the reports are true, there wasn't much consistency to the various interviews, and it's hard to say how involved Reggie McKenzie was in the Del Rio hiring. We do know that Reggie didn't tag along on Mark Davis's trip to Hooters after the big Del Rio interview.

The choice of coordinators will be key. Trestman could be a good grab, his stock is low, but he's known as a cerebral quarterback guru. In the wake of his Cutler-hastened exit from the Bears, it's easy to forget just how well he had Josh McCown playing last year. 

Anyhow, let's see how this plays out. This isn't the most sexy selection, but it seems to be a solid one. 

I've given up on the Raiders taking quick, bold, innovative strikes toward a swift turnaround. They don't seem very capable of that, it's apparently not in the organizational nature. 

But if they're going to plod along, it seems to me that they're plodding in the right direction: upward.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Same Ol' Raiders?

Say out out loud: "John Madden, age 78 and 30+ years removed from coaching, sits in with Mark Davis on an interview with Mike Shanahan (!) for the Raiders head coaching job."

When you say it out loud, how does it sound to you? To me, it sounds friggin' crazy. 

What is it about the Raiders gravitating to the rear-view mirror instead of the windshield?

Look, I love John Madden. I also love Jim Otto, but I don't want him to play center next year. 

Of course, that's a little harsh. Madden has a ton of experience and perspective. I get that.

But at some point, we just need to make a clean, firm break from the past, don't we? If only to telegraph the right message to the rest of the world (ie: other top coaching candidates and coveted free agents). 

So no matter how helpful Madden might be, or how viable Shanahan might be as a candidate, what do you think when you hear "John Madden sat in on a Raiders interview with Mike Shanahan"?

You think the same thing you thought when the Raiders went 4-12, 4-12 and 3-12 under new ownership and new management: Same 'ol Raiders.

Yet the decks are still clear. The road is wide open. There's still time. No decisions have been made, and the candidates are aplenty. 

Let's hope that the windshield, and not the rear-view mirror, wins the day.