Al Davis

Raiders' Mark Davis believes dad, Al, would love rookie Henry Ruggs

Raiders' Mark Davis believes dad, Al, would love rookie Henry Ruggs

With the No. 12 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Raiders went back in time, and owner Mark Davis believes that philosophy would have made his father, Al, proud.

The late Al Davis, who was a Raiders owner and general manager from 1966 through 2011, loved speed. He coveted it as a way to pressure defenses, sometimes even a bit too much. So with the top pick in the draft this year, Mark took one out of his father's book and added Alabama receiver Henry Ruggs. 

“Henry Ruggs was the player I wanted for the last six months,” Davis recently told The Athletic's Vic Tafur. “My dad was always trying to replace Cliff [Branch] with so many different types of guys. … Speed, speed, speed and we really got away from that the last five, six, seven years.

"We really didn’t have anybody that could run. Nobody could run."

[RAIDERS TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

That changed in a hurry with the addition of Ruggs. The former Crimson Tide star ran a blazing 4.27 40-yard dash at the NFL Pro Scouting Combine. That speed translated to big numbers in college, too. 

Ruggs combined for 83 receptions, 1,487 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns between his sophomore and junior seasons. He's a freak athlete, and Davis has high expectations for him.

“I watched Henry Ruggs and his speed and quickness and his strength were pretty impressive," Davis said. "And then if you see his basketball highlights, my God. He made some nice tackles on interceptions and he’ll block too. He is a complete player. I was just so thrilled that we drafted him.

"Maybe that’s the piece that we haven’t had that’s Raiders football. You throw it deep the first play and the safety is worried the whole game.”

[RELATED: Raiders' 2020 rookies won't have same impact as '19 class]

The Raiders' offensive is full of returning players. Quarterback Derek Carr will lead the way for his seventh season, running back Josh Jacobs looks like a star and tight end Darren Waller had a breakout season. As a rookie, though, Ruggs should be well-positioned to make a big impact from Day 1.

And Al Davis would be proud.

Raiders owner Mark Davis gets over losses by going to P.F. Chang's

Raiders owner Mark Davis gets over losses by going to P.F. Chang's

Al Davis never got over what might have been the biggest loss he experienced as Raiders owner.

Maybe he should have gone to P.F. Chang's.

That's apparently what his son Mark does after defeats as the team's current owner.

In explaining how he rebounded from the NFL's decision to move the Rams and Chargers to Los Angeles -- his preferred destination for the Raiders over Las Vegas -- Davis revealed his typical method for getting over losses.

"I have lost games before,” Davis told The Athletics' Vic Tafur. “That’s how I have learned to live my life -- you lose on Sunday, you’re pissed about it, I go to P.F. Chang’s on Monday, I have lunch and then I am on to the next week. 

"We got our ass kicked in LA, and we went back to Oakland with our tails between our legs. And then [Former Coliseum Authority executive director Scott] McKibben backtracked and tripled our lease, and it was total disrespect. It was like, how are we going to work with these people?

“Vegas had been after us for years, but I told them I will only talk to you if Oakland and Los Angeles don’t happen. Losing the LA vote was probably the best thing that ever happened for us."

[RAIDERS TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

[RELATED: Davis on rumor Raiders let Carr get hit for not kneeling]

Davis seems to have no regrets with the way things turned out. Even still, the Raiders are bound to lose plenty of games during their tenure in Sin City.

Good thing for him, there currently are three P.F. Chang's within the city limits.

What Bill Belichick remembers from interviewing for Raiders job in 1998

What Bill Belichick remembers from interviewing for Raiders job in 1998

The Raiders were in the market for a new head coach back in 1998. Joe Bugel was let go after one 4-12 season, and owner Al Davis interviewed several candidates to run his team and help return it to prominence.

Davis was the final say and sole decision-maker on these matters, but he asked his CEO, Amy Trask, for her opinion on the candidates available.

“That was the one coaching search in which Al ever involved me,” Trask said in a Jan. 2019 episode of the Raiders Talk podcast. “I met with the candidates, and he asked me after I had met each one who I recommended he hire. Without any hesitation whatsoever, I said Bill Belichick.”

Davis didn’t end up going with Belichick, but still ended up making a great hire. Jon Gruden was the guy, and the young offensive wizard helped take a downtrodden group to .500 twice before vaulting it into the AFC’s upper echelon.

Gruden took the Raiders to the AFC title game following the 2000 season and got jobbed by the Tuck Rule in a 2001 divisional-round loss to the New England Patriots and their second-year coach -- Bill Belichick.

Though Trask was thrilled with the Gruden hire and his subsequent contributions to the organization, the Patriots dynasty proved that she made a great recommendation.

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Barret Robbins' Mysterious Disappearance]
 

Belichick wasn’t ever a frontrunner for the Raiders gig. He was a defensive specialist and Davis has a long history of hiring offensive minds dating back to Tom Flores. The Raiders' defense, however, largely remained under Davis’ purview.

Belichick has great reverence for Davis and remembered his interview with the Raiders legend fondly in an interview before the Raiders and Patriots played in 2011.

"He's a great mind," Belichick said, via NFL.com. "It was unlike any other interview I've ever had with an owner because he was so in-depth, his interview was so in-depth really about football, about 'Xs' and 'Os' and strategy and use of personnel and acquisition of -- all the things really that a coach would talk about, that's really what he talked about. That made it pretty unique."

[RELATED: The real story of Robbins' Super Bowl disappearance]

Belichick, who was the Jets defensive coordinator at the time of his interview with the Raiders, said he knew during the interview he wasn’t going to be a top candidate, but he still enjoyed the conversation with a brilliant, detailed football mind.

"You know, it was good because we talked a lot about football and (Davis is) very, very knowledgeable about the game, personnel, schemes, adjustments and so forth," Belichick said. "He was asking a lot of questions about what [the Jets] did defensively.

"You kind of don't want to give too much information there because you know, he's running the [Raiders] defense. He wasn't really too interested in talking about offensive football."

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]