The Oakland Raiders have announced via their twitter account that their former All-Pro guard, Steve Wisniewski, will join the team as the assistant offensive line coach. Funny, they don’t even have a regular offensive line coach yet, so I guess he joins with the opportunity of being promoted right away, similar to when Jim Zorn joined the Washington Redskins as their offensive coordinator only to become their head coach seemingly moments later.
Wisniewski’s hiring may provide a clue that a certain player could become the next great Raiders guard via the 2011 NFL draft. I won’t name any names, though it is quite possible he will still be available when the Raiders number 49 pick in the second round rolls around. Steve Wisniewski, this certain unnamed player’s uncle, played 206 games over 13 seasons with the Raiders from 1989-2001. He made the Pro Bowl eight times and was a two-time first-team All-Pro.
“I’m back to my first love, the Oakland Raiders and working with the offensive line,” Wisniewski said.
Wisniewski’s new job will be helping the new head coach, Hue Jackson, and the new offensive coordinator, Al Saunders, in trying to develop an efficient passing game to go along with the NFL’s second best rushing attack from the 2010 season.
Saunders says he is looking forward to working with a talented and young group of wide receivers and a quarterback whose “strengths and weaknesses” he knows well from their time together in Washington. Hopefully now that Jason Campbell has a few more years under his belt in the NFL as a starter, the strengths will outweigh the weaknesses substantially.
Under Saunders in 2007, Campbell threw 13 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 13 games. He had a passer rating of 77.4 that year before succumbing to a dislocated knee during the last three weeks of the season.
The Redskins made the playoffs that year with backup quarterback Todd Collins taking over the duties of directing an offense with 700+ pages worth of plays. Saunders’ number one goal this year will be to help the passing offense that ranked 23rd of 32 teams live up to its potential.
Odds are that Coach Jackson will not allow Saunders to intertwine all of his massive playbook into the Raiders system, but these are two coaches who will complement each other’s style very well and are capable of putting players in the proper place to make plays on Sundays. If the Raiders can manage to contain certain role players in their offense, they have the capacity to be better than the 23rd ranked team through the air next year. It would also be nice if certain players — *COUGH* Chaz Schilens *COUGH* — would not be so fragile!
The coaching staff for the Raiders is beginning to take shape, even if the roster isn’t exactly following suit. But I have to say, thus far, I like the post-Tom Cable era in Oakland. If the Raiders keep making the right choices in their future coaching staff, then the team will continue the ascent from the bottom of the barrel to the top of the mountain.
Bill Romanowski mentioned recently on his The Green Room series on Comcast Sports Net that Al Davis’ press conference was his way of purging the past six years of stuff from his heart and soul. So Davis’s outpouring of information that has been rolling around in his head for so long symbolizes a new beginning for one of the NFL’s most storied franchises.
According to this piece on Hue Jackson, the Raiders’ second year coach could be just the right guy to lead them back to glory.
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