Posted by Jaboner Jackson at 4:15 p.m. EST / 1:15 p.m. PST from Washington D.C. With all quiet on the negotiating front between the NFLPA and NFL, it's time to take a step back from the recent Oakland Raiders offseason moves and figure out how Al Davis has managed to continually overpay his players and underpay his coaches. And the answer is simple: Al Davis is in fact the head coach of the Raiders.
Al Davis became a football legend while employing man-to-man press coverage for his own team when he was coach. He was inspired by John Wooden, who was coaching the UCLA Bruins at the time. In 1963, Davis started tinkering with Wooden's 1-3-1 full court press by implementing and refining the 'bump and run' defense in football. Davis figured that if his big, fast cornerbacks could jam the receivers at the line, the quarterback would have to hold onto the ball an extra beat and his defensive line could take the quarterback down hard.
Although we poke fun at Crazy Uncle Al at times, Davis was not always crazy. In fact, he was a young, forward thinking coach. He created press-man defensive coverage. He was an innovator.
Accordingly, Davis requires that every team he fields employ the defense that he invented, since he understands it better than anyone. When the Raiders finally announced Chuck Bresnahan as defensive coordinator yesterday, the hiring was moot. The defensive philosophy comes from Davis. It's up to the coordinator to make it happen with the players that Davis provides. John Marshall simply blitzed too much for Davis' liking. The reason why Davis always hires offensive minds for the head coach position is because he is firmly in charge of the defensive side of the ball. Hugh Jackson calls him 'Coach Davis' for a reason.
This offseasons moves by the Raiders mean that Davis remains firmly entrenched as the head of everything in Oakland. After conceding decisions to Tom Cable for the past two years, he is putting his own stamp back on the team. And Hugh Jackson is too green to voice objections.
The Raiders have only had success recently when a coach was truly able to coach. Jon Gruden was the last real coach the Raiders had. Gruden discussed his coaching with Davis regularly but ultimately ran his own offense. The defense was run by Davis through Chuck Bresnahan, who was also the coordinator during the Gruden era. When Gruden couldn't get control of his own 53 man roster, Davis traded him. Davis asserted himself.
And Coach Davis hasn't won a Superbowl now in 30 years. It's going to be a long season, Raiders fans.