Raiders

Lechler no mere punter for Raiders

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Lechler no mere punter for Raiders

ALAMEDA -- A punter? Addressing the locker room after a big victory? And talking about grinding out the rest of the season because of what's at stake?There would be no stranger scene in all of the NFL. Unless that locker room belonged to the Raiders, and that punter was Shane Lechler."It's a good deal to be 7-4," Lechler told his excited teammates following Sunday's victory over Chicago in an iconic video captured by Raiders.com and published by NFL.com. "Everybody's happy, but guess what -- we've got a lot of football to play, men. We've got a whole lot of football to play. Some tough games coming up. Let's keep on the grind. I'm telling you, we've got to keep on the grind. If you want to keep this feeling, keep grinding."

Three days later, Lechler's sentiments were still being felt not only in the halls of the Raiders' facility, but throughout the streets of Silver and Blackdom. And not in spite of Lechler being a punter, but, probably because he is a punter. The best punter of his generation, if not of all time.That carries weight. As does the job he did against the Bears, limiting Devin Hester to a combined seven punt-return yards on two returns and booming one punt a franchise-record 80 yards."I think guys listen to guys who get it done," said defensive tackle Richard Seymour, who played with a similarly-respected specialist in New England in placekicker Adam Vinatieri."And (Shane is) a combination of both, where he's a veteran leader and also, he's a great player."Consider: Lechler entered this season with the highest career punting average in NFL history at 47.29 yards. Currently, Lechler's 51.5 yards-per-punt average for the season not only leads the league, but would break Sammy Baugh's single-season record of 51.40 yards, set in 1940 for Washington.And Lechler's 38.8-yards net average over his career ranks third in league history, but his 43.85 net average in 2009 is the single-season mark.Yeah, he's got a resume that would make any player stop and take E.F. Hutton-like notice."No one's going to listen to someone that's not getting it done," said safety Mike Mitchell. "We respect Shane because he's a guy that's getting it done. Sometimes I'll make jokes like, Shane still is a kicker, but at the end of the day, man, that dude, he's not getting paid like a kicker, he's doesn't play like your average kicker."When something needs to be said, he's going to be one of the guys to say it, and we're all going to listen."Lechler, drafted out of Texas A&M in the fifth-round of the 2000 draft, said he had addressed the locker room following a game "maybe" once before."I try to be accepted as a football player," Lechler said. "I hang out with the guys on and off the field as much as possible, although it's kind of getting harder to relate to these guys when you're my age."Lechler, 35, laughed."I hang out with all the guys all the time," he added, "and hopefully I'm not looked at as just a punter."He was looked at as a disgruntled punter in the wake of Tom Cable's dismissal in January. Lechler famously blasted Al Davis' decision to part ways with Cable and many wondered if that would affect his relationship with first-year coach Hue Jackson.Instead, Jackson insists he leans on Lechler as a team captain to maintain the pulse of the team. And Lechler has accepted such a role."I think (Hue) knew it wasn't personal," Lechler said. "I back my coach, and I'll back Hue the same way. I'm a big believer in stability and that's why I said what I said. I thought I made it clear there was nothing against Hue in the whole situation. It was the fact that I felt we were on our way."Like I said, anything with Hue, I'll back him 100 percent now, too. Like I have most of my head coaches."Lechler smiled when he said "most."But there are no similar semantics when it comes to discussing Lechler, who has seen the highs of a Super Bowl appearance following the 2002 season, the lows of seven straight seasons with at least 11 losses and the seeming resurgence of the Raiders this season."That's exactly how I addressed the team after the game," Lechler said. "This feels awesome, being 7-4, but guess what, a season goes 16 games and we can't even say we're .500 yet. Seven and four feels great, but we've got some tough, tough games."We've never played well in Miami. We lost to them there in our Super Bowl year, then we've got to turn around and go play at probably the best team in the NFL the following week (in Green Bay). With three out of our last five on the road, we've got a lot of football yet."And perhaps, a victorious postgame speech or two from Lechler.

Raiders announce Cable's return, hire 13 assistant coaches

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AP

Raiders announce Cable's return, hire 13 assistant coaches

Jon Gruden put some respected assistants on “red alert,” for a time when he would return to coaching. Count Paul Guenther, Greg Olson and Rich Bisaccia among those he wanted as top lieutenants.

They became defensive, offensive and special teams coordinator, respectively, formally announced last week during Gruden’s introductory press conference.

Those guys went to work hiring a full staff. They interview several during a busy week, and formally announced 13 hires on Thursday morning.

Most names had been reported previously, with former Raiders head coach Tom Cable as the marquee name returning to lead the offensive line.

Defensive line coach Mike Trgovac was a new name and a good get. He spent the last nine years coaching the position in Green Bay, and was Carolina defensive coordinator from 2003-08. He has worked with Gruden before, with Philadelphia from 1995-97.

Trgovac has been particularly effective in Green Bay. Since he started running that defensive line, the Packers fourth in sacks and fifth in rushing touchdowns allowed.

Trgovac, senior defensive assisstance Jim O'Neill and receivers coach Edgar Bennett have experience as a coordinator. O'Neill was 49ers and Cleveland Brown defensive coordinator. Bennett was Packers offensive coordinator the pass three seasons, though he did not call plays.

The Raiders snagged Derrick Ansley from the University of Alabama to coach defensive backs, and Guenther brought David Lippincott from Cincinnati to coach linebackers.

The Raiders hired former NFL scout Dave Razzano has director of football research, and he’ll compile statistical analysis from game film on the Raiders and their opponenets.

The Raiders retained Travis Smith (quality control – defense) and Nick Holz (quality control – offense), who have survived two regime changes.

Here’s a complete list of 13 assistant coach hires announced by the team. A quarterback coach is not among them. Olson said Wednesday the Raiders are still contemplating whether to hire one. That position isn’t vital, considering how involved Olson and Gruden will be with signal callers and Derek Carr in particular.

Coach                              Title

Ansley, Derrick                       Defensive Backs

Bennett, Edgar                        Wide Receivers

Berbenich, Tim                        Quality Control – Offense

Cable, Tom                              Offensive Line

Holz, Nick                               Quality Control – Offense

Lippincott, David                    Linebackers

O’Neil, Jim                              Senior Defensive Assistant

Razzano, Dave                        Director of Football Research

Singleton, Jemal                      Running Backs

Smith, Frank                           Tight Ends

Smith, Travis                           Quality Control – Defense

Storer, Byron                          Assistant Special Teams

Trgovac, Mike                        Defensive Line

Here’s some background on each coach, provided by Raiders media services: 

Ansley: Joins the Raiders for his first NFL season after spending the past two years coaching defensive backs at the University of Alabama, helping the Crimson Tide win the 2018 BCS National Championship…Served as the cornerbacks coach at the University of Kentucky from 2013-14 before being promoted to the secondary coach in 2015…Spent the 2012 season as the defensive backs coach at the University of Tennessee…Served as a graduate assistant at Alabama from 2010-11 and helped the team win the 2011 BCS National Championship…Began his collegiate coaching career at Huntingdon College working with defensive backs from 2005-09.

Bennett: Enters his first season with the Raiders after spending the past 13 on the Green Bay Packers’ coaching staff…Served three seasons as the team’s offensive coordinator from 2015-17…Spent three seasons (2011-14) as Green Bay’s wide receivers coach…Entered the coaching ranks in 2005 as the Packers’ running backs coach, where he served six seasons from 2005-10…Before becoming a coach, worked four years in the Packers’ front office, serving as the teams’ director of player development form 2001-04…Played eight seasons in the NFL as a running back for the Packers and Chicago Bears from 1992-1999, totaling 3,992 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns on 1,115 carries. 

Berbenich: Enters his 15th season as an NFL coach, his first with the Raiders…Spent the past five seasons with the Indianapolis Colts…Served the last two years as the team’s offensive assistant/assistant quarterbacks coach…Spent the 2015 season as the team’s defensive assistant…Joined the Colts in 2013 as an offensive assistant, a role he served for two years…Was with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for six years (2006-11), working the first three under Head Coach Jon Gruden…Joined the staff as an offensive quality control coach in 2006, before being promoted to assistant running backs coach in 2008 and assistant wide receivers coach in 2009…Entered the NFL with the New York Jets in 2000 as an intern in the team’s operations department and was hired on full-time in 2002…Joined the coaching ranks in 2003 as an offensive assistant and spent the 2005 season as New York’s offensive assistant/quality control coach.

Cable: Begins his second stint with the Raiders, bringing over 30 years of coaching experience to the post…Spent the last seven seasons (2011-17) as the Seattle Seahawks’ assistant head coach/offensive line coach, helping the team win Super Bowl XLVIII…Originally joined the Raiders in 2007 as the team’s offensive line coach, before serving as the interim head coach for the final 12 games of 2008 and head coach from 2009-10…Entered the NFL coaching ranks in 2006 as the offensive line coach for the Atlanta Falcons…From 2004-05, was the offensive coordinator/offensive line coach at UCLA…Served as the University of Idaho’s head coach from 2000-03…Served as the University of Colorado’s offensive coordinator/offensive line coach from 1998-99…Spent six seasons (1992-97) as the University of California’s offensive line coach…Spent one season in 1991 as UNLV’s offensive line coach after coaching the defensive line at Cal State Fullerton for one year in 1990…Began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Idaho (1987-88) and San Diego State (1989).

Holz: Enters seventh season with the Raiders…Spent 2017 as the team’s assistant wide receivers coach, after two seasons as the Silver and Black’s quality control – offense coach from 2015-16 and three seasons as the team’s offensive assistant from 2012-14, working closely with the team’s wide receivers…Prior to joining Raiders, spent four years (2008-11) at Stanford University as assistant quarterbacks coach…Began his coaching career at the University of Nebraska as an offensive quality control coach in 2007.

Lippincott: Joins the Raiders for his 11th NFL season, having spent the previous 10 seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals from 2008-17…Was the assistant linebackers/quality control coach for six seasons in Cincinnati from 2012-17…Spent the 2011 season as the team’s defensive quality control coach…Joined the Bengals in 2008 as a coaching assistant, a role he served in for three seasons…Coached at the University of Richmond for three seasons from 2005-07, serving as the assistant defensive line coach from 2005-06 and the safeties coach in 2007…Spent two years as a graduate assistant at the University of Minnesota from 2003-04…Began his coaching career at Bluffton University as the team’s defensive line coach from 2000-02.

O’Neil: Enters his first season with the Raiders and ninth year as an NFL coach…Brings three years of experience as an NFL defensive coordinator to the post…Served as the San Francisco 49ers’ defensive coordinator for the 2016 season…Spent two seasons as the defensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns from 2014-15…Coached linebackers for the Buffalo Bills for one year in 2013…Spent four years with the New York Jets (2009-12), serving as the defensive backs/quality control coach in 2009 before being promoted to assistant defensive backs coach for the 2010-12 seasons…Served as the defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach at Towson University in 2005…Spent two years at Northwestern University from 2003-04, serving as a graduate assistant/defensive backs coach…Coached at the University of Pennsylvania in 2002 as the team’s assistant offensive line coach…Began his coaching career at the University at Albany in 2001 as the assistant offensive line/tight ends coach.

Razzano: Enters his first season with the Raiders after spending the previous six years as an area scout with the Indianapolis Colts, focusing on the western United States and assisting on special assignments for both pro and college scouting…Holds 25 years of scouting experience, which also includes stints with the San Francisco 49ers (1988-92), St. Louis Rams (1992-2006) and Arizona Cardinals (2006-09).

Singleton: Enters his first season with the Raiders and third NFL coaching season…Spent the last two seasons as the Indianapolis Colts’ running backs coach…Served as the special teams coordinator/running backs coach at the University of Arkansas in 2015…Coached running backs at Oklahoma State for four seasons from 2011-14…Spent nine years over two stints at the Air Force Academy…Served as the run game coordinator/running backs coach from 2007-10 after spending the 2006 season as the running backs coach…Was a varsity assistant from 2003-05 after getting his start in 2000 as a prep assistant.

Frank Smith: Joins the Raiders after spending the past three seasons (2015-17) as the tight ends coach of the Chicago Bears…Brings 13 years of coaching experience, including the last eight within the NFL ranks…Began his NFL coaching career with the New Orleans Saints (2010-14) as an offensive assistant/offensive line coach…Prior to joining NFL ranks, Smith served as the offensive coordinator/offensive line coach at Butler University from 2007-09…Started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Miami (Ohio) University from 2004-05.

Travis Smith: Enters his seventh season with the Raiders, after previously serving as outside linebackers in 2017 and quality control - defense from 2015-16…Served as the team’s defensive assistant from 2012-14, working closely with both the linebackers and defensive line…Joined Raiders after spending three years in the college ranks as offensive technical intern at the University of Colorado in 2011 and tight ends/defensive line at Santa Monica Junior College in 2010…Began coaching career as an undergraduate assistant at Cal Poly in 2009. 

Storer: Enters his first season with the Raiders and his fifth year coaching in the NFL…Begins his second stint on assistant head coach/special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia’s staff…Served as the San Diego Chargers’ assistant linebackers coach in 2013 after spending one season as the team’s assistant special teams coach in 2012…Spent the 2010-11 seasons as the assistant special teams coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers…Played three seasons in the NFL for Buccaneers from 2007-09, appearing in 16 games.

Trgovac: Enters his first season with the Raiders after spending the past nine years (2009-17) as the defensive line coach of the Green Bay Packers…Joined the Panthers in 2002 as the defensive line coach before being promoted to defensive coordinator from 2003-08…Served as the defensive line coach for the Redskins from 2000-01…Served his first stint with the Packers in 1999 as the defensive line coach…Began his NFL coaching career with the Eagles from 1995-98, working on the same coaching staff as Head Coach Jon Gruden for the first three seasons…Prior to coaching in the NFL, spent 11 seasons coaching defensive linemen at the college level with Notre Dame (1992-94), Colorado State (1990-91), Navy (1989), Ball State (1986-88), Michigan (1984-85).

Raiders media services contributed to this report

Raiders DC Paul Guenther talks Khalil Mack, Gareon Conley and more

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USATSI

Raiders DC Paul Guenther talks Khalil Mack, Gareon Conley and more

Paul Guenther hasn’t been Raiders defensive coordinator long. He has been in Alameda about a week now, interviewing potential position coaches and pouring over last year’s game tape.

He has some initial impressions on the group that struggled at the start and improved throughout the year. Generally speaking, however, Guenther sees talent on the roster.

“I believe there’s a lot of good players here, a lot of good, young players,” Guenther said Wednesday in a conference call. “You’ve got to get them out and develop them and get them to understand your system. But I think there are a lot of good pieces here for a foundation, for sure.”

Guenther’s system, where it came from and why he brought it to Oakland is a story for another day. Thursday morning, to be precise, so stay tuned for that.

Guenther’s early evaluation of key Raiders, however, supports his statement about a strong foundation. He is most excited, as you’d expect, about working with edge rusher Khalil Mack and several others in silver and black.

Here’s what Guenther said about…

-- DE KHALIL MACK: “Having a talent like that and ability of a guy like that, certainly you want to make it the centerpiece of the defense. We have to continue to develop our younger players to bring those guys up to speed and add people as we go through the draft and free agency. He’s a guy that you can really build a foundation through and around. He’s an exciting guy to be able to coach for sure.”

-- CB GAREON CONLEY: “He was my favorite corner coming out. His ability, he’s smooth in the pedal, he’s a good press corner, which we love to have. I’m excited to work with him.”

-- S OBI MELIFONWU: “Obi is a big guy that when you turn on the tape, you’re like, ‘Man, who is this son of a gun?’ He’s playing half the field, he’s down in the box playing the run.”

-- LB NAVORRO BOWMAN: (an impending free agent): “NaVorro is a prototype middle linebacker, really. The thing that impressed me most with NaVorro is that they got him here midseason and by the end of the year, it appeared to me that he was kind of the leader of the unit, making a lot of calls. You can see that on tape. It looks like he is a smart guy that understands the game. I love smart guys that love playing football. Hopefully we can get him back in the fold and keep him a Raider.”