Raiders make Hoffman hiring official


Raiders make Hoffman hiring official

The Raiders formally announced the hiring of Steve Hoffman as special teams coordinator, the latest addition to the new staff of head coach Dennis Allen.

Hoffman replaced John Fassel, who joined Jeff Fisher with St. Louis Rams.

Raiders team press release:
The Oakland Raiders have named Steve Hoffman special teams coordinator. Hoffman hasserved as an assistant coach at the NFL level for 22 seasons, including the past three years asspecial teams coach for the Kansas City Chiefs.Under Hoffmans tutelage in 2011, Chiefs P Dustin Colquitt established a career high with a45.9-yard punting average. Hoffmans coverage units ranked sixth in the NFL in 2010, allowingopponents an average of just 20.2 yards per kickoff return. Kansas Citys special teams groupshowed dramatic improvement in his first season with the Chiefs, as the team improved from29th in 2008 to 12th in 2009 in the comprehensive NFL special teams rankings compiled by RickGosselin of the Dallas Morning News. Colquitt registered a 40.8-yard net punting average in2009, the top single-season mark in Chiefs history. In addition, K Ryan Succop posted an 86.2field goal percentage in 2009, which tied for the highest mark by an NFL rookie since 1970.Prior to joining the Chiefs, Hoffman spent two seasons with the Miami Dolphins (2007-08) asassistant special teams coach. In 2007, K Jay Feely established a Dolphins single-seasonrecord by connecting on 21 of 23 (91.3) field goal attempts. Hoffman also tutored P BrandonFields, who led all NFL rookies with a 43.2-yard punting average in 2007. He was assistantspecial teams coach with the Atlanta Falcons in 2006.Hoffman served on the Dallas Cowboys staff for 16 years (1989-04) as kicking coach. Inaddition to his duties with kicking specialists, he spent seven sevens as offensivedefensivequality control coach (1989-95). He later coached kickers and served as offensive quality controlcoach (1996-99) before finishing his tenure in Dallas as defensive quality control coach (2000-04). During his time in Dallas, Hoffmans specialists established 15 club records and he was apart of three Super Bowl Championship teams, as Dallas claimed titles in Super Bowls XXVII,XXVIII and XXX.Hoffman instructed kickers and punters at the University of Miami (1985-88) prior to joining theprofessional ranks. With the Hurricanes, he mentored P Jeff Feagles, who went on to becomethe NFLs all-time leader in punts (1,713) and punting yards (71,211).The Camden, N.J.-native played quarterback, running back, wide receiver and handled kickingand punting duties during his collegiate career at Dickinson (Penn.) College. He spent one yearpunting for the Washington Federals of the USFL (1983) and attended NFL training camps withWashington (1981, 1983), Seattle (1984) and New Orleans (1985).

McKenzie, Del Rio ‘unified since Day 1,’ ushering Raiders into next phase

McKenzie, Del Rio ‘unified since Day 1,’ ushering Raiders into next phase

Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie and head coach Jack Del Rio have done three pre-draft press conferences now. They’ve got the routine down, knowing when to deflect questions, when to put people off the scent and, more importantly, how to seem unpredictable.

They were in lockstep again Friday, less than a week before the 2017 NFL Draft.

During their first, McKenzie offered one criticism of his head coach.

“Can you guys get Jack out of my office?” McKenzie said in 2015, with tongue firmly in cheek.

The rhetorical question was answered with a laugh. McKenzie was acknowledging how much Del Rio and staff wanted to support the scouting process. McKenzie ultimately pulls the trigger on draft day, but Del Rio has a loud voice in the room as he looks for players who fit his locker room and his schemes.

McKenzie has open ears, taking advice from the entire coaching staff while arranging his draft board. This time of year especially, coaches and scouts are working together.

“It’s been unified since Day 1,” Del Rio said. “Reggie and I are very unified and much on the same mission and that is to bring a world championship home to this organization. Everything we’re doing is attacking that, adding these impact players where we can.”

The pair was focused on improving a lackluster roster that featured Derek Carr and Khalil Mack but finished 3-13 the year before. Now their partnership is entering Phase II.

They must decide which players to add, and decide which previously drafted players to keep. There are some obvious extensions in the works, with Carr, Mack and Gabe Jackson. They had to let some homegrown talent go in free agency as they attempt to upgrade depth and build a championship roster that can build on last year’s success.

“There’s a whole different phase that we’re about to go through as an organization as you begin to mature, some of those players have to be re-signed or not. Those are decisions you have to make in all of this. This is year three for us working together and I feel like the relationship with the scouts and the coaches and the sharing of information is excellent. We want to continue to work that way.”

Locals among cornerbacks who can help Raiders early in NFL Draft


Locals among cornerbacks who can help Raiders early in NFL Draft

The Raiders have an opening in their secondary.

Finding a slot cornerback is a top priority with DJ Hayden now in Detroit. TJ Carrie is an option there, but the Raiders could add a young, versatile talent capable of taking a more prominent role down the line.

That’s true despite the fact Sean Smith signed a free-agent deal through 2019 last year and David Amerson received a contract extension through the 2020 season. Those contracts, however, become pay-as-you-go deals after this season.

The dead money goes away, freeing the Raiders to look for long-term upgrades if they see fit.

Head coach Jack Del Rio loves creating competition and depth, especially at such an important position in today’s NFL. The Raiders like larger, physical cornerbacks with ball skills, and there are plenty in this year’s draft.

Many analysts have the Raiders taking a cornerback at No. 24 overall, and that’s a realistic possibility. They could certainly look to help last year’s No. 24-ranked secondary in the early rounds.

Let’s take a look at some top options available in this week’s draft:

Good fits:There are quite a few quality cornerbacks who could be available at No. 24 overall, even if there’s an early run on the position.

Oakland native and Washington alum Kevin King visited the Raiders during the pre-draft process, and certainly fits what the Raiders like in a cornerback. He’s confident and aggressive, unafraid to use great physical traits to make plays on the ball. He’s tall and long and isn’t afraid to tackle.

USC’s Adoree Jackson has the quality ball skills the Raiders like, and is adept high-pointing the ball. Analysts say he can play several coverage techniques and has the agility to make up for mistakes. He can work in the slot, but at 5-foot-10 isn’t as tall as the Raiders like. They’d have to take him in the first round. He may not last beyond that.

San Jose native and Colorado product Chidobe Awuzie is another interesting local defensive back ready to turn pro. He can play outside or in the slot, and analysts say he has excellent one-on-one coverage skills but needs tackling work. He was a solid slot blitzer at Colorado, and could fill an immediate need crucial against so many three and four receiver sets.

Louisiana State’s Tre’Davious White has experience playing the slot, and could help right away there before transferring outside if asked. He can cover extremely well, though analysts say he isn’t much of a tackler. He might be a tweener as far as the Raiders are concerned, not worthy of the No. 24 pick but long gone before the Raiders pick in the second round.

Central Florida’s Shaquill Griffin visited the Raiders this spring, and rightfully so. A willing run defender with good ball skills and tackling ability who could be available in the third round should intrigue them.