Across the Pond by Dave Wilson
Monday, January 17 2011 @ 05:29 AM CST
Contributed by: Ore
Contributed by: Ore
Once Again In Oakland, The Grass is Greener...
As staff evaluations continue in Oakland, the lastest coach out of the door has been Defensive Coordinator John Marshall. I suppose that given that Mr. Davis has clearly voiced his made his displeasure with the teamís performance this year, it probably shouldnít come as a shock. As ever though, there are a number of ways of looking at things.
You could say that despite being given a much improved front seven (including 1st and 2nd round draft picks), Oakland was still ranked 29th against the rush, and gave up 30 points this year in six games. You could also say that the defensive meltdown in the second half against Jacksonville went a long way to costing us a playoff shot. A valid point. However, the Raiders went from being 26th ranked overall defense in Marshallís first year, to being ranked 11th this year. That is progress. We might have given up 140 yards per game against the run, but it was 14 yards per game down on last year. The Raiders also ranked second against the pass, and second in the league with 47 sacks on the year. Unlike previous years, our pass defense ranking was real. It wasnít artificially low because we were way behind and teams just wanted to run out the clock on us. As for being ranked overall number 11, if I had been offered that at the start of the year I would have grasped it with both hands.
Compare this with the case of Rob Ryan, who was defensive coordinator for 2004-2008. Ryan didnít burn any bridges when he left Oakland, and was a favourite of Al Davis. Ryan reportedly was a candidate for the Raiders head coaching vacancy, and some press sources believed that he interviewed for it. Thatís quite odd really, when you consider that in four of the five years Ryan spent at Oakland, the defense ranked 22nd or worse, and never better than 22nd against the run. In fact in his last two years they ranked 31st against the run. In his first year he even tried to run the 3-4, when there were clearly not enough 3-4 compatible players on the roster, leading to a 31st overall ranking. He even moved Warren Sapp to defensive end, when everyone told him it wasnít going to work. Now Rob Ryan is the Defensive Coordinator of the Cleveland Browns and has been since 2009. Where did they rank defensively?
They ranked 27th & 28th in overall defense during those years. There is a common denominator here. Rob Ryan. Now as a guy, I like Rob Ryan, and I know the players like him. I just wonder how he manages to find employment in the NFL. And yet Ryan was considered for a return to the Raiders. Why? I ask the question, is it more important to get on with Al Davis that to be a good coach? Did Tom Cable get shown the door because he proved Al wrong about JaMarcus Russell?
If Marshall was fired because of some bad games and breakdowns in the defense, then what about Hue Jackson? We saw a lot of progress in the offense, but you could equally argue that it was the most penalised unit in the league, which has to come down to the coach. There were also a number of games where the play calling was questionable and the offense failed to perform such as San Francisco and Miami. These games cost us just as much as the defensive breakdown in Jacksonville.
The reason for it all and Marshall being fired? My guess is this. Hue Jackson already knows he will be head coach, and he tells Mr. Davis what he wants to hear. Jackson has a defensive coordinator on board at the time of writing, it just isnít being announced yet. Therefore John Marshall is out of the door.
Because in Oakland, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Isnít it?
Keep those e mails coming.
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