A Mossy Situation
By: Jordan Ramirez
Raiders fans are all too accustomed this time of the year. While the NFL’s prominent are battling for a Super Bowl the Raiders are instead in organizational flux. Not since the days of Chucky were the Raiders stable on the coaching front, or at least seemed stable. Most believed that Hue Jackson was the new poster boy for Al Davis’ coaching circus. And while Al is no longer running the show, his son acted only as a Davis could: swiftly and with self in mind.
But, this isn’t Al Davis’ circus anymore. Mark Davis and, more importantly, Reggie McKenzie are searching for their new poster boy this time around. McKenzie made it known he wants to start anew with someone he trusts for the head coaching job. Hue Jackson, while undoubtedly changing the Raiders offense from an historic atrocity to respectable force, was far too eccentric for his own good.
The power hungry Jackson single handily initiated the Carson Palmer trade, proceeded to call it “the greatest trade in football,” called out players and coaches after their season ending loss to San Diego and most strikingly, became the hyperbolic symbol for everything wrong with the Al Davis years this past decade. He made strides on the offensive end, but his inability to make nice with new owner Mark Davis cemented him to the NFL coaching waiver wire.
McKenzie and Co. now begin the search for the 18th head coach in the franchise’s illustrious history. Winston Moss is a name fans are all too familiar with: Moss was a candidate for previous head coaching vacancies with the Raiders and was a favorite of Al Davis. While Moss is the consensus favorite for the job, McKenzie has not shied away from interviewing other candidates. McKenzie mentioned having a “short list” of candidates for the job, yet his search has been quite the opposite.
Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr., Broncos coordinators Mike McCoy and Dennis Allen, Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, Bears offensive line coach Mike Tice and Packers coordinators Joe Philbin and Darren Perry have all been rumored to either be getting an interview or are on this so called “short list.” Who is the best candidate for the job you may ask? Look no further than the Lambeau locker room.
“I think whatever I’ve taken from the past with the Raiders, and Al Davis not being there any more, you’ve got to say going forward that it’s going to be different,” says Winston Moss in a recent AP interview. “It’s going to be different from the standpoint of, Reggie wants to go in a new direction, so I’ll sit down and speak with Reggie to get his vision, what direction he wants the organization to go in. That’s going to play a lot in to it.”
Moss, who played for the Raiders from 1991-1994, knows Reggie McKenzie very well; but he also knew Al Davis. If Moss was so willing to join the Raiders before the new regime was in place, when Al was alive, is the Mark Davis led Raiders just as appealing? It would seem so, but those comments are worrisome for those hoping Moss is handed the head coaching position (Hint: Me).
At first glance the Raiders and Moss seem like a perfect fit: former Raider, well respected in the inner circles, “ready” for a head coaching job and most importantly, a well-established relationship with the new GM. In fact, Moss and the Raiders seem almost too perfect. Don’t get me wrong, I want Moss to get this job, but I’ve learned (as many Raiders fans have) to expect the unexpected with this team. We’ve heard the hoopla and praise for Reggie McKenzie, but we still don’t really know who McKenzie is. If his first press conference is any indication McKenzie will be just as secretive about his operations as Big Al was.
Moss has served as the Packers assistant head coach and linebackers coach for the last six seasons. Moss is praised for his leadership skills and great relationships with his players. Hue Jackson was the X’s and O’s guy turned head coach. Most coaches these days are former coordinators that give their new team a completely new look on the field. With Moss, there is no X’s and O’s expertise in place. This brings up my biggest squabble with Moss potentially becoming the Raiders head coach.
If Winston Moss is hired then the respective coordinator hires will be equally as important. McKenzie said in his opening PC that the head coach will have complete control over his staff. I’m cautiously optimistic on those prospects. While a potential McKenzie and Moss system has given me no reason to question their judgments, the Raiders fan inside me has a hard time fathoming the idea of a good hire or impressive addition to the team. That’s not to say that can’t change (I’m hoping it will soon), it has just become a nature of habit.
With that said, I firmly believe that Winston Moss is the right man for the job. The relationship that Moss and McKenzie formed in Green Bay is a very attractive one. Their relationship just screams stability and championship experience. The more minds from established, proven front offices and coaching staffs the better. As the Raiders continue their Extreme Makeover: NFL Edition reality show it seems as if the Raiders are on their way towards becoming a continued force in the NFL. The job is just in its early building blocks, but with Moss on board the construction will finish sooner rather than later.
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