Raiders

Raiders hire Al Saunders as offensive coordinator

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Raiders hire Al Saunders as offensive coordinator

Jan. 20, 2011GUTIERREZ ARCHIVERAIDERS PAGE RAIDERS VIDEOPaul GutierrezCSNCalifornia.com

Asexpected, the Raiders have hired longtime NFL coach Al Saunders as newcoach Hue Jacksons offensive coordinator, according to an ESPN report.The Raiders have not responded to calls seeking confirmation.Jackson, though, acknowledged his interest in Saunders duringTuesdays media conference while maintaining he would remain the teamsprimary play-caller.
GUTIERREZ: Hue Jackson era officially begins
Obviously, the name you just mentioned (Saunders) is someone whos outthere that we would love to talk to, Jackson said at the time.Later that evening, quarterback Jason Campbell talked about thepossibility of playing for Saunders again Saunders ran Campbellsoffense his first two years as a starter in Washington, in 2006 and2007 on CSN Bay Areas Chronicle Live show.
VIDEO: Jason Campbell on Chronicle Live
Hes a guy that, hes very smart, Campbell said of Saunders. Heknows the ins and outs of the game. Hes a great guy to be around. Hesvery professional. Id say hes a guy thats very intelligent about thegame, when it comes to the game of football.Him being in Baltimore over the last two years and them winning upthere, it just goes to show you he knows the winning edge. And thisteam is all about trying to win in 2011. Coach Jackson brought thatattitude here last year from Baltimore, the winning edge. Expecting towin.Pro Bowl tight end Zach Miller has also expressed excitement at theprospect of Saunders joining the Raiders, saying, That would besomething.Jackson and Saunders were on the Baltimore staff together in 2009 asJackson was the Ravens quarterbacks coach and Saunders was anoffensive consultant. This past season, Saunders served as the Ravenssenior offensive assistant.Saunders, who turns 64 on Feb. 1, played college ball at San JoseState. He has spent 28 years as an NFL coach, been affiliated with twoof the more vaunted offenses in league history San Diegos AirCoryell and the St. Louis Rams Greatest Show on Turf and spenttwo-plus seasons as San Diegos head coach, going 17-22 as DonCoryells successor from 1986 through 1988.Twice before an NFL offensive coordinator from 2001 through 2005 inKansas City and in St. Louis in 2008 Saunders 2004 and 2005 Chiefssquads led the NFL in total offense, though his 2008 Rams ranked just27th. In 2006 and 2007, he was Washingtons associate headcoachoffense, and playbook reportedly had 700 pages.Saunders has long been a favorite of Raiders owner Al Davis and has interviewed for Oaklands head job in the past.The Raiders defensive coordinator job is still open, what with JohnMarshall not being retained. Names being bandied about include currentdefenisive line coach Mike Waufle and Green Bay assistant headcoachinside linebackers Winston Moss, who played for the Raiders inLos Angeles from 1991-94.RELATED: Marshall's tenure with Raiders appears over
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Raiders expect Lynch ruling soon; 'it would be the fairest thing'

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USATSI

Raiders expect Lynch ruling soon; 'it would be the fairest thing'

Running back Marshawn Lynch formally appealed his one-game suspension on Monday afternoon.

The Raiders hope to hear a ruling by Tuesday.

“I think we expect to hear something early in the week, hopefully by tomorrow,” head coach Jack Del Rio said in a Monday press conference. “(It) would be the fairest thing so that the team can prepare.”

That’s the expectation, according to an ESPN report. The Raiders should know by Tuesday whether Lynch’s suspension for unsportsmanlike conduct will stand.

The suspension stems from a Thursday night incident where he left the sidelines to join an on-field fracas involving Raiders offensive linemen and Kansas City cornerback Marcus Peters. The third-year pro was penalized for a late hit on Raiders quarterback Derek Carr his linemen didn’t take kindly.

Peters and Lynch are extremely close friends and Oakland natives, and Lynch instinctively went out to protect someone he views as family. He inadvertently grabbed an official by the jersey and let go shortly after. He was flagged and ejected by rule.

He missed most of Thursday’s 31-30 victory over the Chiefs, and the NFL suspended him one game without pay on Friday. That could cost Lynch a $79,411 game check and a $31,250 per-game roster bonus.

ESPN reports that Peters by phone spoke at Lynch’s appeal hearing, where the running back’s team also cited precedent of others contacting an official without getting suspended. Leaving the sideline, however, may not help his appeal.

Del Rio said he hadn’t spoken with Lynch since the ejection.

“I said the other night I was disappointed that we had a player leave the bench,” Del Rio said. “It’s something we talk about – don’t leave the bench area.”

The Raiders ran with Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington after Lynch’s ejection, and combined for 67 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. The pair with shoulder a rushing load Sunday at Buffalo if Lynch is unavailable.

“They don’t have the size and the power but they have a little more quickness, they catch the ball a little easier, better route-runners, things like so,” Del Rio said. “So, if you’re playing a little more wide open, in some respects they give you a little more juice. Marshawn give you the power back when you want to finish people and in tough situations. Those guys give you more than a change of pace.”

 

Raiders put Amari Cooper in position to break out vs Chiefs

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AP

Raiders put Amari Cooper in position to break out vs Chiefs

Raiders receiver Amari Cooper has been creating steady separation for a few weeks now. That didn’t break him out of a prolonged slump.

Coaches were impressed by Cooper’s route running in a Week 5 loss to Baltimore. It only earned two targets and an eight-yard catch. They tried to find No. 89 more often in a Week 6 loss to the L.A. Chargers, though six targets generated five short catches for 28 yards.

Low production stretched through a four-game losing streak, with nine catches for 51 yards. Including stats from to early wins, Coopers season stats (18 catches, 146 yards and a touchdown) were worse than nearly 200 others.

Even that astonishment didn’t make Cooper demand the gosh darn football, please. The low-key Cooper attitude: The ball will find me.

It finally did in Thursday night’s 31-30 victory over Kansas City. Several times in fact.

Cooper had 11 catches for 210 yards and two touchdowns. He was targeted 19 times. Nineteen. That’s no coincidence.

They moved him around, including significant snaps in the slot. He was targeted 11 times from that position, per analytics site Pro Football Focus, and produced six catches for 95 yards and a touchdown.

They schemed opportunities and quarterback Derek Carr used them to create big plays early.

Carr’s first pass went 12-yards to Cooper. His third was a 38-yard touchdown strike. His seventh was an in-stride delivery that Cooper took across and then up the field for a 45-yard score.

Just like that, Cooper was off and running for the first time this year.

“We put him in positions to make plays, obviously,” Carr said. “We knew that there were certain things that we liked. Nothing changed in his demeanor or his mentality or the way he worked or anything like that. We just stayed the course. We know what we have here and we know that if we just stay the course and work and grind through the tough times.

“…For ‘Coop’ to just continue to grind and get on the other side of it, I just felt good for him. You guys know Amari. I think we all felt good for him.”

Cooper said the early explosive touches provided confidence. Ability produced a signature performance. The Alabama product is excellent extending production with his legs, and had 78 of his yards come after the catch. That’s an average of 7.1 yards after the catch per reception, per PFF.

His second touchdown reached him 15 yards downfield, and he hit the jets and reached the end zone. He turned a short catch into 15 crucial yards to start the game-winning two-minute drill, and later high pointed a 39-yard receptions.

“The way he finished after the catch was really special,” Carr said. “Obviously, we all know he can go up and get a ball and all those things. That second touchdown where he cam across, the burst that he had, that’s freakish. Not a lot of guys have that. To turn the jets on like that and just out run the angles of the defense, that was really special. I think just after the catch he just played with some dog in him, which we know he has. We were able to get him the ball and let him shine and do what he does.”

Cooper’s showcase was vital to a huge victory that kept his team in the hunt. It also ended a rough month where Cooper and the Raiders both struggled. Veteran running mate Michael Crabtree was never concerned with the downturn and told the young receiver to stay the course during tough times.

“(I told him), ‘Just be you,’” Crabtree said. “It’s just about everything coming together. Coop’s a fighter, man. Coop has got skills. I don’t worry about Coop and I’m sure he doesn’t worry about me. That’s why we are so good together.”