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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Donald Penn: Raiders players trust McKenzie will add right pieces

Donald Penn: Raiders players trust McKenzie will add right pieces

The Raiders were pretty darn good last season. A 12-4 record proved that point. There was plenty of talent on a team with a penchant for high-wire acts in victory that masked the fact there were holes on the roster.

They need to be filled for the Raiders to improve in 2017, and new players will be imported through free agency and the draft.

Left tackle Donald Penn is excited to see who gets added, but said there’s no doubt talent is coming to Oakland. He speaks for Raiders players, who have faith that general manager Reggie McKenzie will make the right moves.

“Things that Reggie has done in past drafts have been great, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he brings back towards us,” Penn said recently during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network. “We can’t wait to get back out there healthy. We’re ready to hit the football world with a storm.”

While new guys are coming, a few might head out. The Raiders have several unrestricted free agents. Penn wants to keep his guys around – he mentioned running back Latavius Murray by name -- though he has some ideas for McKenzie’s checklist.

The Raiders don’t need much with most key players under contract – the Raiders should be less active in free agency over past offseasons – but a few key components could put this team over the top.

“If we stick to Reggie’s plan, we’ll be great,” Penn said. “I know he’s going to have a great draft, add a couple little pieces here and there – maybe somebody in the secondary to help out a little bit.

"On offense, you could always use a weapon. Maybe we get another receiver to take (pressure off Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper), but we have a good nucleus right now.”

Raiders LT Donald Penn: QB Derek Carr 'almost 100 percent'

Raiders LT Donald Penn: QB Derek Carr 'almost 100 percent'

Derek Carr is on the mend. The Raiders franchise quarterback had surgery to repair his fibula shortly after he broke it in a Week 16 victory over Indianapolis, and is recovering well during the offseason.

Carr insisted on intense rehab this winter in an attempt – however unlikely it may have been – to return should the Raiders have played in the Super Bowl. It slowed to a normal pace after the Raiders' loss at Houston in the postseason’s opening round, but those in contact with him say he’s making strides.

Left tackle Donald Penn was recently in contact with Carr, and provided an update on Monday during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network.

“I texted Derek (a few) days ago checking in,” Penn said, “and he said he’s almost 100 percent.”

Surgically-repaired broken filbulas take significant time to heal, and the Raiders plan to be conservative with their MVP candidate during the offseason. Derek Carr’s brother and NFL Network analyst David Carr, who was on set with Penn on Monday, said Derek could be back for offseason work.

“He’s doing good,” David Carr said. “He’s walking around already, stretching it out. You can’t do a lot for the bone, right? But he’s going to be back. He’s going to get a whole full offseason in. That’s going to be the best part.”