1: Realistically speaking, how far along are we from being a playoff caliber team? With the growth of JR, Miller, Higgins, Henderson, Bush, Richardson, (ALL from the 2007 draft class ) we seem to have a young nucleus of young players that want to play ball. Add to the fact that we have a playmaker in Mcfadden and our offense seemed to look respectable down the stretch and we aren’t as horrid that most people think.
Defense is another story. Still have major holes in the front seven and we still get our lunch money stolen too often. THE D needs to get tougher in the front seven and more physical in the backfield; I don’t see a lot of guys I would take to a bar fight on my DEFENSE outside of Gibril Wilson, Tommy Kelly and maybe Thomas Howard. Yet instill, with this said, based on playing in the AFC WEST we should be able to win the division next year if we make some much needed tweaks with the roster. I still think 1/4 of the roster needs to be purged.
2: Who is this mysterious general manager or personnel guy that AL DAVIS is talking about? He stated during the KIFFIN PC that he would be bringing in somebody this off-season, possibly a guy to serve as the communicator between Davis and the HC. I know there are people who want us to hire a traditional general manager that will choose the head coach, etc, but that has never been the Raider way. We have always had guys who have been more of guys who have been strong personnel evaluators (Ron Wolf) or guys that are communicators between the coach and the owner (Bruce Allen). Here are some of the guys that I would consider:
Mooch – has Bay Area ties. Tom Cable was his OL Coach at CAL and he may be able to attract some guys with CALI roots. Plus I would love to get him just to stick it to the Niners for firing him several years ago.
Tom Gable: He is the pro personnel guy in SF. I remember reading in articles this off-season that he was on our RADAR but was never offered a deal or wanted to stay for the time being. He is worth a shot since he is a local guy and has helped with the drafting process of what the Niners have.
Jaws from ESPN: He knows the game of football, runs the NFL EDGE with another guy I would consider in Merril Hodges. He can probably become a top talent in terms of figuring out if a guy is worth a chance in the later rounds.
Ron Wolf: Let him become a consultant.
Other than these guys, I would just look at some of the more successful trees such as Parcells people. Or go look at what Philly and NYG are doing. They have bright scouts and directors. Really it is the directors and scouts who help put a team together.
3: Is Cable back as HC or do we go in another direction? Cable won 4 games after being handed a complete mess with the DAVIS and Kiffin saga. Although the team played like a bunch of misfits at times, we did manage to win 2 games down the stretch, and were able to close the season on the high note. If giving a good enough coaching staff around him, he may be able to succeed, but the ways that way we lost to New England, San Diego, Atlanta, New Orleans, Baltimore has left a sour taste for me to swallow. If we were at least more competitive in those games, I would say hire him right off the bat, but at the moment I cannot say this. But I would like him back on the staff in some capacity – as the offensive coordinator. Some of the play-calling that he demonstrated was fabulous. When was the last time we ran a half back option pass that worked? Not even Marc Trestman was that creative.
So who are head coaching candidates that I would consider at the moment.
Mike Mularkey (OC of the Falcons)
Jack Del Rio(I would like him as HC or DC..)
Other choices would be offensive assistants from establish systems that are working. Really the next guy would have to be one who is going to push the right button, and have these guys competing hard week in and week out and producing wins.
We have plenty of time to talk about the draft. Maybe next time we can break down the obvious areas of where this team needs to address. Currently watching Mizzouri Bowl Game. JEREMY MACLIN is the next TIM BROWN if used right.
Black Hole Eric