Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

January 1, 2008
Awaiting the official word on Ryan

The NFL Network is reporting Rob Ryan has already been fired as Raiders defensive coordinator.

Nothing official came out from the team today, but that should come tomorrow.

Ryan was hugging his players on the sidelines Sunday and the way players spoke about him, they all know what’s coming.

Rumors have Ryan reuniting with an old friend from his New England days, Eric Mangini, and becoming the New York Jets defensive coordinator. That would put Ryan back running the 3-4 defense he was successful with in New England as linebackers coach, but flopped when he tried to install it in Oakland.

I’m supposed to be “off” today, but I checked out the Bowl games with an eye on what impact they could have on the Raiders.

I wanted to get another look at Jake Long, the top-rated offensive lineman from Michigan. He appears to be a better athlete that Robert Gallery, the last Big Ten tackle the Raiders drafted.

I also watched some of the Gator Bowl to see Chris Long, better known to Raider fans as Howie’s kid, from Virginia. He’d be a great fit with the Raiders. He’s an every down defensive end, which the Raiders need. But I think the Raiders need a defensive tackle more so…

I watched the Rose Bowl until I couldn’t stand the lopsided game anymore. I wanted to see if USC’s Sedrick Ellis might be Warren Sapp’s replacement at defensive tackle next season. He’s strong and looks like the kind of tackle that can occupy blockers, though he’s on the short side. But so was Sapp coming out of college.

I also wanted to see the USC defense to get an idea of what Lane Kiffin might want to run defensively.

The Trojans blitz (which the Raiders rarely did) and apply constant pressure. The Raiders have the athletes at linebacker and in the secondary to run something similar to what USC runs.

It was mentioned during the telecast that USC linebackers coach Ken Norton could end up the UCLA defensive coordinator.

Don’t be surprised if Kiffin makes a move for him to help mold his young linebackers. I’m not sure if Norton is ready to be an NFL defensive coordinator, but it’s the type of move Kiffin might want to make. After all, his quarterbacks coach, John DeFillippo, is only 29.

Norton would be a longshot, but worth a thought. I think Kiffin’s mentor, Pete Carroll, would rather see Norton in the NFL than helping the cross-town rival.

Ed Orgeron, another former USC defensive coordinator out of a job is another name that will surface, along with Kiffin’s father, Monte.

--Jason Jones

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About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

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