Well, so much for continuity...
It was reported late last night that the Oakland Raiders had reached out and offered current Houston Texans' quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp their offensive coordinator position. It was reported earlier today by NFL Network's Jason La Canfora that Knapp accepted the job offer.
The move makes sense as Knapp and head coach Dennis Allen worked together for two years with the Atlanta Falcons in the mid 2000s. The trend of Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen finding "their guys", rather than inheriting someone else's, continues.
What has many members of Raider Nation scratching their heads is why the incumbent coordinator, Al Saunders, has effectively been shown the door. He is currently the only assistant coach under contract for the Raiders.
This is Knapp's second stint as the coordinator for the Silver and Black. His first go around was when he was hired by then head coach Lane Kiffin to improve an anemic offense. The Raiders' offense was 25th and 29th in the league during the two years Knapp served as coordinator.
Between 2001 and 2006, Knapp achieved success as the coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers and Atlanta Falcons. His offenses finished in the top six in rushing each of those years. In San Francisco, Knapp's offense was managed by Jeff Garcia, while in Atlanta, Michael Vick ran the show.
Knapp was left with the task of tending to JaMarcus Russell in Oakland, so fans can take solace in the fact that this time around, Knapp has a competent quarterback in Carson Palmer to work with. Knapp also did a fine job with T.J. Yates this past year after Matt Schaub went down with a season-ending injury.
Knapp utilizes a run-first, West Coast offense. A new system will of course take some getting used to, but fortunately, the Raiders have all offseason to install the new playbook.
However, while a run-first attitude sounds like a natural fit for the Raiders, keep in mind that Knapp likes to use the fabled zone blocking scheme, a scheme Hue Jackson drifted away from when he took charge of the offense. Running back Darren McFadden struggled mightily under this blocking scheme and saw his production skyrocket when Jackson implemented a more power-based scheme.
It is unknown whether or not Saunders will stay on the coaching staff in another capacity. The defensive coordinator position as of now still remains a mystery, with names such as Ed Donatell, Bill Johnson, and Greg Manusky being bandied about. However, with Allen being more of a defensive mind, the offensive coordinator position arguably carries more weight.