Special teams coach Fassel leaves Raiders for Rams

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Special teams coach Fassel leaves Raiders for Rams

John Fassel, who has overseen the Raiders' record-setting special teams unit as its coordinator the past three years, is leaving Oakland for a similar position with St. Louis under new Rams coach Jeff Fisher, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.Fassel is the third member of last year's staff to depart the Raiders, joining defensive line coach Mike Waufle in St. Louis and receivers coach Sanjay Lal, who accepted the same position with the New York Jets.Offensive coordinator Al Saunders is the lone holdover from former coach Hue Jackson's staff still under contract, though new coach Dennis Allen was non-committal on Monday about Saunders' future with the team.

In fact, general manager Reggie McKenzie said Monday that Allen was "close" to having his staff ready, which could include some holdovers."There's a couple of guys he wants to keep, yes," McKenzie said. "But a wholesale of them? He's going to work through that. He's going to see who he can get and who he can't."Raiders assistants still unaccounted for: defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan, linebackers coach Greg Biekert, tight ends coach Adam Henry, assistant linebackers coach Ricky Hunley, safeties coach Kevin Ross, running backs coach Kelly Skipper, assistant offensive line coach Steve Wisniewski, cornerbacks coach Rod Woodson and offensive line coach Bob Wylie."Here's what I want," Allen said, "I want a group of guys who are obviously smart and intelligent, great communicators. But more than anything else, I wants guys who are going to be loyal, committed guys to the cause. I think honesty and integrity go a long way."Fassel, known as "Bones" for his skinny frame, initially came to the Raiders in 2008 in a special teams quality control role in 2008 from Baltimore. And this past weekend three of his charges in placekicker Sebastian Janikowski, who tied the NFL record with a 63-yard field goal in the season opener at Denver, punter Shane Lechler, who had a franchise-record 80-yard punt against Chicago, and long-snapper Jon Condo all played in the Pro Bowl.

Relocation approval 'offers more clarity' when Raiders recruit future free agents

Relocation approval 'offers more clarity' when Raiders recruit future free agents

PHOENIX -- The Raiders are entering a limbo period, with just a few seasons in Oakland before relocating to Las Vegas. NFL owners formally approved a move on Monday, though the Raiders don’t want to leave the East Bay until a new stadium is ready in 2020.

While there are contingencies to leave the market early based upon how fans react to the Raiders remaining in Oakland after committing to Las Vegas, that isn’t what the Raiders want. After years of stadium uncertainty, they leave the NFL owners meetings with clarity regarding their long-term future.

General manager Reggie McKenzie believes that should help free agents considering silver and black. The uncertainty prompted questions in recent years that McKenzie can answer when recruiting veteran talent now that relocation has been approved.

“By Mark saying that the plan is for us to be in Oakland for two more years (at least), but we will be in Vegas, I think it offers more clarity,” McKenzie said. “It lets the players know. It’s better than two months ago, when everyone had questions. When you were talking to a free agent, they know we want to move but weren’t sure if it was going to pass. They didn’t know. Now they know a decision has been made by the league to let us move.”

That will help McKenzie more in the future than present. Roster turnover is high these days, meaning most currently employed by the Raiders won’t play for the home team in Las Vegas. Only David Amerson, Kelechi Osemele and Marquette King are would be under contract when the team wants to move.

The Raiders are working on extensions for Derek Carr, Gabe Jackson and Khalil Mack, with others possibly locked up down the line.

In addition to playing with Carr and Mack and for head coach Jack Del Rio, there’s another attraction to signing with the Raiders. There’s no state income tax in Nevada, meaning a contract there is worth more than the same deal in California. The Golden State generally takes 13.3 percent of significant income earned there.

There will be other issues about playing in Las Vegas, where gambling is legal, a drink can be had 24 hours per day and vices abound in a place called Sin City.

The Raiders will construct a support system to keep players focused, and are ready to handle any questions players and their families may have about an upcoming move.

“Now there are questions from the drafted guys about when they become free agents, because they might be in Vegas. That’s going to be different. There are questions that way, but it’s not going to alter the way we go after players. Some of the guys, parents and agents may have questions, but I don’t think it’s anything out of whack.”

 

NFL centralizes replay reviews, Del Rio wants more freedom in challenges

NFL centralizes replay reviews, Del Rio wants more freedom in challenges

PHOENIX – Fans won’t see special teams players leaping over the long snapper in an attempt to block a field goal or extra point. Seattle’s Kam Chancellor made some big plays with that technique, but won’t have the chance anymore.

The NFL outlawed that option on Tuesday as one several rule changes enacted at the league meetings.

“There are some safety concerns,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “that are legitimate.”

The NFL also centralized replay reviews, taking that power away from officials on the field. NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino and associates at the NFL’s command center will handle reviews in an effort to add consistency to important calls.

Del Rio hoped replay challenges would be expanded further, but a proposal by Seattle and Buffalo allowing coaches to challenge any play save scoring plays and turnovers, which are automatically reviewed, did not pass.

“I think there are a number of coaches who feel like, if there’s an obvious error, we should have a mechanism to correct it,” Del Rio said. “We catch most of them, so you’re talking about a small percentage. It’s hard to move the needle for such a small percentage. That’s the problem. The fact is, if it’s important enough that we’re willing to use that challenge, we’d like that right and ability. Things happen, and you don’t want to lose a big game, a game that decides whether you advance in the playoffs or make the playoffs and it’s something you could overturn, that you could challenge or change. Why not?”

Here's a list of new rules and bylaws adopted by the league on Tuesday.