Question: I believe that effective coaching means everything to how well or how poorly the Raiders will do this year. I would be interested in your observations of on-the-field coaching compared with efforts by other previous coaching staffs - particularly offensive positional coaching. Also, what new wrinkles is the defensive coaching staff throwing in this year and maybe other coaching observations like player coach interaction and staff/head coach interaction. Who seem to be the informal leaders among the coaching staff? Who seems to have Kiffin's ear?
- John Powell, Atlanta
Answer: There's definitely a lot more energy in this coaching staff. The defense seemed to have it last year under Rob Ryan, but the pep was missing on offense.
The offensive line likes having Tom Cable as its coach after essentially have three line coaches last year.
As for leaders among the coaching staff, it's hard to say. Defensively, the players like Rob Ryan, linebackers coach Don Martindale and defensive line coach Keith Millard. Darren Perry is new, but I've heard positive reviews of his work as defensive backs coach.
When it comes to offense, Kiffin is in charge. He takes the time to monitor all aspects of the team, but he's putting his stamp on the offense he was hired to fix.
He'll work closely with offensive coordinator Greg Knapp, who will help run things, though Kiffin plans to call plays on offense.
- Jason Jones