While every member of an NFL coaching staff plays an important role in developing a successful team, most people focus on the big three coaching positions: offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator and head coach. And for understandable reasons, as these three coaches are tasked with running the team. Much like an NFL quarterback, these are the guys who get all of the blame when things go wrong and a lot of the credit when they go right.
The Oakland Raiders have taken their time evaluating the coaching staff this off season, but what was considered a rather shaky and fluid situation only a few weeks ago is now looking fairly standard. The Raiders will be returning all of their big three coaching positions with Dennis Allen and offensive coordinator Greg Olson already on contract for 2014 and Jason Tarver signing a new deal on Tuesday.
The biggest fear for the Raiders was that offensive line coach and assistant head coach Tony Sparano would leave town to join Lovie Smith and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. At one point it appeared only a matter of time before Sparano was announced as a member of Smith’s staff. Until the Raiders signed him to a two year extension, that is.
With those two signings, the Raiders will be returning the majority of their coaching staff and its most important members. Well, for the most part. Raiders special teams coach Bobby April has not yet re-signed with the Raiders and was a very valuable member of the coaching staff. But given the way things have played out over the past couple of weeks, it would not be surprising if it is announced that April also has a new contract with the Raiders.
After consecutive four-win seasons, it was no surprise that there was a lot of speculation about the Raiders coaching staff. Long before the season ended, the hot topic of conversation was whether or not Dennis Allen and his staff would survive to see a third year. Now that owner Mark Davis has decided to keep Allen, he also appears to stick with the theme of continuity and allow Allen to keep the guys he wants in place.
While Mark Davis is clearly not his father, he has still shown a propensity to do things his own way rather than simply following the mold set by other NFL owners. Davis, for example, could have ended much of the speculation surrounding the Raiders coaching staff that was swirling around in the media. Instead, he sat back and watched it take place. Luckily for Raiders fans, the similarities between Davises do not appear to be present in the level of patience they exhibit.
Keeping the staff together was not an easy decision. There were valid arguments for firing everyone as well as for pursuing a path of continuity. Only time will tell whether or not Davis made the right decision, but at least he is totally committed. He is letting the team sink or swim according to the guys he put his trust in, Allen and Reggie McKenzie.