To Move A Mountain
Jerry McDonald had a very interesting and revealing blog post today where he shed some light on the change of playcalling duties for the Raiders. Apparently Head Coach Tom Cable stripped Offensive Coordinator Greg Knapp of his playcalling duties following the 0 to 24 Falcon debacle. Some other facts from Jerry's blog post and additional points by C.J.:
* The Raiders have not scored a TD in the last 9 quarters and have a total of 9 TDs in 9 games.
* The Raiders have 1 first half TD in 56 possessions.
* The Raiders do not have a single offensive player with more than 1 TD. The 9 TDs were scored in order by Lelie, Curry, McFadden, Bush, Russell, Higgins, Miller, Walker, and Griffith.
* The Raiders scored 28 offensive TDs in 2007 under Lane Kiffin.
* The Raiders averaged 19.5 points per game in Kiffins' 4 games this year and 7.0 points per game under Cable. The Raiders have failed to score a TD in 3 of 5 games with Cable as Head Coach.
With Cable taking charge of the playcalling duties vs. the Panthers, the Raiders struck a better balance between rush attempts (36) and pass attempts (39) but simply failed to execute.
What is the picture that this playcaller switch, poor record, and regressing offense paints for the future? The playcaller switch, although probably the correct adjustment, leads me to believe that Knapp won't return in 2009. The poor record and impotent offense of 2008 will be the impetus to move Cable back to Offensive Line Coach in 2009.
What really needs to happen is a combination of major changes immediately following the 2008 season. Ideally the Raiders would identify and hire a GM. The newly hired GM should recruit a new Head Coach. The new hire Head Coach would clean house on the existing coaching staff and hire a new staff where he sees fit. The next item on the agenda would be for the Head Coach & GM to work in a partnership with the owner to evaluate the personnel roster and make the necessary moves.
Of course this is the logical, normal way of tackling the current set of circumstances. Raider fans are painfully aware of the fact that logical and normal are not synonymous with how the Raiders typically conduct business. Would a GM come aboard if Al hires Jim Harbaugh as Head Coach first? Would Harbaugh and a new GM have the real authority to put the Raiders house in order? Will scholarship players such as Sam Williams still exist on the roster under a new regime?
What's it going to take turn this fiasco around? It is a mighty tall order but every facet of how the Raiders conduct business needs to be evaluated, improved, or changed. This includes but is not limited to the coaching staff, players, player personnel department, scouting staff, marketing, finances/salary cap. All of these areas fall under the direction or authority of Al Davis. All of these areas need to be revamped, altered, or heavily scrutinized in order to put a winning product on the field.
Bold, decisive leadership is required to enact the type of changes to impact and move this franchise in a positive direction. Or as my wise colleague Raider Take said in his usual brilliant fashion, "I'm waiting for the kind of change you can see and taste. There will be nothing vague about it."
Update Nov. 12: According to Nancy Gay at the S.F. Chronicle (see link), Greg Knapp was stripped of his playcalling duties by Al Davis not Head Coach Tom Cable.