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Raiders retain Saunders, bring back Defillipo

While the defensive staff of new defensive coordinator Jason Tarver are still to be hired, the team continues to fill out its offensive staff. The two “new” additions are not so new to the Raiders.

First, Al Saunders is being retained. This may seem odd for some, considering his job as offensive coordinator was given to Greg Knapp. Saunders is being brought back as a senior offensive assistant. His specific role is undefined but his veteran coaching presence will undoubtedly be a valuable contribution to this staff.

Saunders was the only Raider coach who was under contract after January 15th when the rest of last season’s coaching staff contracts expired. He was allowed the opportunity to interview for the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator position while still under contract with an open invitation to return in some capacity.

The Raiders have added a year to his contract which extends it out to 2013. He will offer some continuity as the most senior returning coach on staff which should help Knapp to better coach his new players.

Knapp also brought in a familiar face of his own, hiring John Defillipo as the team’s new quarterbacks coach, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Defillipo was on Knapp’s staff during his previous stint in Oakland. This time, he will work with Carson Palmer instead of banging his head against the wall over JaMarcus Russell.

Defillipo has spent the past two years as the quarterbacks coach at San Jose State.

These two hirings come a day after the team reportedly hired Ted Gilmore as the team’s wide receivers coach. The Raiders have officially announced the Saunders retention. Expect the other confirmations in the the next couple days.

In the meantime, stay up to date by checking in with the Raiders coaching staff live blog.

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