Question: Atlanta (where offensive coordinator Greg Knapp was last season) and USC (head coach Lane Kiffin's last stop) ran different systems last year. What kind of system will the Raiders run?
- Jim A., Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.
Answer: I expect the Raiders to feature some aspects of the West Coast offense with the deep passing game. But they will go heavy on the run.
Kiffin has learned from the likes of Jeff Tedford, whose offenses at Cal have been heavy in the running game and a good mix of short, intermediate and deep passes. Kiffin also has learned from Jon Gruden, who runs a version of the West Coast offense. At USC, I saw an offense that relied on the run, used the tight end in the passing game and took shots down the field.
Knapp did try to bring the West Coast offense to Atlanta, which was met with mixed results from quarterback Michael Vick. What did work was the running game (Atlanta led the NFL in rushing the past three years, thanks in part to Vick's running ability).
That Kiffin hired Tom Cable, the offensive-line coach in Atlanta last year, is another indicator the Raiders plan to run a lot.
That said, I guess I can't say exactly what offense the Raiders will run. I do expect them to use two running backs regularly. I expect to see more short drops in the passing game with the ball getting out quickly. And if you're into old-school Raiders football, don't fret. The deep passing game won't be abandoned.
- Jason Jones