The Raiders announced (sort of) the hiring of Al Saunders to be the offensive coordinator over a week ago.
He went on to St. Louis in 1999 for the same position before returning to the Chiefs in 2001. From 2002 to 2005, Saunders saw success in Kansas, which allowed him to reach a lucrative deal as the offensive coordinator with the Washington Redskins.
Offensive free agents such as Antwaan Randle El and Brandon Lloyd flocked to D.C. to play for Saunders, considering him an offensive genius. However, a slow start by the Skins prompted criticism from the media when it was revealed that Saunders' playbook was reportedly 700 pages long.
Some speculated that the length of the playbook was too difficult to completely comprehend, and therefore Saunders' schemes wouldn't work. He eventually was fired in Washington after two years before another stint with the Rams in 2008. He left the Rams to become an offensive consultant for the Baltimore Ravens in 2009.
It is up for debate whether Saunders' lengthy playbook or the players in his system are to blame for his lack of success in Washington. Quarterback Mark Brunell struggled under Saunders' offense, while Jason Campbell, the Raiders' current quarterback, found success in Saunders' system until he was injured. Even his replacement that 2007 season, Todd Collins, was successful in winning four straight games and leading the Redskins to the playoffs.
If Saunders does decide to implement his 700-page playbook, it could create problems for a young Raiders offense. The Raiders have many receivers with three years of experience or less. Jason Campbell has played under Saunders before so should be able to thrive with Saunders' coaching scheme. Campbell needs consistency, as he has seen a new offensive coordinator each season he has played.
With Hue Jackson back calling the plays, this time as head coach, and a familiar face as his coordinator, Campbell could have a breakout year in 2011. It all depends on how the other offensive players take to the changes.
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