The Oakland Raiders continue to go back to their recent -- and unsuccessful -- past to fill out their offensive coaching staff all the while keeping an experienced hand.
NFL.com is reporting that 2011 Oakland offensive coordinator Al Saunders is staying with the team as a senior assistant. The report said Saunders had a year added to his contract that will run through 2013. Saunders won’t be offensive coordinator or quarterbacks coach, two roles he covered last year. His specific role is unknown.
Still, I think it is good that he is being retained in some role. This is a young staff. Saunders is an NFL veteran. His experience will help even if it is not in a major role.
Meanwhile, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports the team has hired John Defilippo as its quarterbacks coach. He was Oakland’s quarterback coach in 2007-08, which were JaMarcus Russell’s first two seasons. Defilippo has been the quarterbacks coach at San Jose State the past two years.
He reunites with offensive coordinator Greg Knapp. He was the offensive coordinator in Oakland in 2007-08. Yes, Oakland’s offense was anemic those years, but the talent was depleted. The two coaches are inheriting much better talent now.
New Oakland coach Dennis Allen (who worked with Knapp in Atlanta) is clearly comfortable with Knapp and Knapp is comfortable with Defilippo.
Meanwhile, the Raiders reportedly hired USC receivers coach Ted Gilmore for the same position. He worked for former Oakland coach Lane Kiffin at USC.
UPDATE: Ole Miss secondary coach Keith Burns has reportedly been added to Oakland’s staff. He has a long history with Allen. His role has been specified, but it could be as an assistant secondary coach. The word is former Kansas City assistant Tim Krumrie is a candidate to be Oakland’s defensive line coach.
UPDATE: The Raiders just formally announced Saunders will be retained as a senior offensive assistant.