Raiders

Raiders get permission to interview Saunders

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Raiders get permission to interview Saunders

Jan. 19, 2011RAIDERS PAGE RAIDERS VIDEO

ALAMEDA (AP) New OaklandRaiders coach Hue Jackson has started the process of putting togetherhis new staff, getting permission to talk to Baltimore assistant AlSaunders about filling the offensive coordinator vacancy.Ravens coach John Harbaugh saidTuesday that the team allowed Saunders to talk to the Raiders becausehe would never want to deny a coach an opportunity."We'll just have to see whathappens," Harbaugh said. "Obviously you never want to lose really goodcoaches. Al Saunders is a great coach and a great man. He's tremendousand he's been huge for us."Saunders has been an offensiveconsultant for Baltimore the past two seasons, working on the staffwith Jackson in 2009. Jackson went to Oakland last year as offensivecoordinator and was promoted to head coach in place of Tom Cableearlier this week.
RELATED: Al Davis states his case against Tom Cable
Jackson said Tuesday at hisintroductory news conference that he will remain the primaryplay-caller in Oakland as head coach. He mentioned Saunders as someonehe would like to interview for the coordinator job. Saunders hasinterviewed in the past for head coach and coordinator jobs in Oakland.
VIDEO: Hue Jackson introductory news conference
Saunders has been a coach for nearlythree decades in the NFL. He went 17-22 in two-plus seasons as headcoach for the San Diego Chargers from 1986-88 and has spent most of hiscareer as a respected offensive assistant.He spent eight seasons runningoffenses in Kansas City, Washington and St. Louis. He spent two yearswith current Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell with the Redskins.The offensive coordinator job is justone of many the Raiders need to fill. The only assistants still undercontract are defensive line coach Mike Waufle and defensive backs coachKevin Ross. Defensive coordinator John Marshall will not be back nextseason, although some of the other assistants could still be retained.
RELATED: Marshall's tenure with Raiders appears to be over

Irvin, Mack given a day off from Raiders practice

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Irvin, Mack given a day off from Raiders practice

ALAMEDA – Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin were out at Raiders practice Wednesday for the stretching period. Both edge rushers left one-at-a-time during the individual period, which was open to the press, headed into the main building and did not return.

There was no perceived reaction, certainly no surprise, from the coaching staff or players on the field. Irvin and new defensive coordinator John Pagano were seen joking around on the field before practice began in earnest. 

Both Irvin and Mack were given a practice off. A Raiders official called it a day off/rest-type day that was not injury related. The Silver and Black typically practice in pads or shells on Wednesday, but were in jerseys and sweats in the interest of recovery.

This day off's timing did raise an eyebrow.

Wednesday marked the first practice Irvin has missed since training camp. Mack hasn’t missed one in months.

Mack and Irvin’s downtime also came a day after beloved defensive coordinator Ken Norton’s firing.

Several defensive players were upset about Norton's firing, but Mack and Irvin especially were among those loyal to Norton. Mack and Norton developed a bond after the coach was named defensive coordinator in 2015. Norton and Irvin go way back to their days together in Seattle. Irvin credits Norton for helping him get on the right path and stay there.

Neither player was happy Norton got the axe. Irvin made his displeasure clear, tweeting “BULLS***” shortly after news of Norton’s demise broke. Mack told ESPN “I like to keep my thoughts private.” Defensive stars declined comment Wednesday or didn't appear in the locker room when the media was present. 

It isn’t immediately clear if the non-injury related day off was related to Norton’s dismissal. Head coach Jack Del Rio won’t speak to the media again until Friday. New defensive coordinator John Pagano is scheduled to speak Thursday afternoon.

Del Rio addressed the media before Wednesday’s practice, and was asked how he’ll handle players unhappy with the in-season shake-up.

“I don’t try and 'handle' them,” Del Rio said. “I think the biggest thing is to understand the relationship, respect that, give him a little space and then at the end of the day, we’re going to get on with our work. But, I’m human. It wasn’t easy for me either.”

Del Rio: 'Nobody should feel comfortable,' following Norton firing

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Del Rio: 'Nobody should feel comfortable,' following Norton firing

ALAMEDA – Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio put out a statement Tuesday explaining why he fired defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr.

He went into greater detail Wednesday afternoon, his first time facing the media since a change was made

Specifics will be discussed further down this story. We don’t, however, want to bury the lede.

Del Rio’s main message wasn’t about Norton. It applied to all in Silver and Black. This season has not met lofty expectations. That is unacceptable.

“I know one thing,” Del Rio said. “Nobody should feel comfortable, because what I’ve been watching is not good enough.”

Del Rio didn’t absolve himself from blame. Norton got fired, but everyone has played a part in this disappointing 4-6 record.

“It’s always shared,” Del Rio said. “A change was made, obviously. We all share in it, all of us, starting with me. It’s coaches and players. It’s a team game, and we’re all in it together. And nobody is coming to help us.”

The Raiders must look inward to start a prolonged winning streak they’ve shown little evidence they can create.

The seat will be warm under players and coaches alike, even if only one change was made. Expect further shakeup on the coaching staff after the season, if vast improvements don’t come down the stretch, possibly with several position coaches being shown the door. More than a few higher profile players could be cut or allowed to leave, especially on defense.

While Del Rio has taken more heat the past month than at any other time in his Raiders tenure, expect him to be around a longer term. He was given a contract extension in February, and has significant capitol built after changing the culture in Oakland and re-teaching this team how to win. One bad year, even if this season continues heading downhill, shouldn’t erase that.

Del Rio was looking to shake things up, and Norton was the obvious move. Experienced play caller John Pagano was on staff – he was Chargers defensive coordinator from 2012-2016 – and firing the popular Pagano’s style could create some new waves and looks that any offensive Norton would make an impact in the locker room and prove this story’s opening quote, that no one should feel comfortable.

Del Rio hopes firing Norton will be a shock to the defense’s system.

“I really felt like I needed to shake things up,” Del Rio said. “We couldn’t continue doing what we’ve been doing to this point. So I made the call. The whole idea is to change what we’re doing and make sure…what I’m looking for at the end of the day is for us to play fast on defense. We weren’t playing fast enough. We weren’t playing confident enough.”