Oakland Raiders: Creating Order From Chaos Starts With Coaching

For the first time in seven years, Raider Nation is cautiously optimistic.

Many things have transpired in the last few months to raise the hopes of the fans. This is much more than the wishful thinking that has occupied Raider fans for the last few years. There is a sense of order in the Raider Universe that stands in stark contrast to the chaos and dysfunction that has mired the Nation previously.

In Part I, we will look at the New World Order as it pertains to Coaching. Part II will look at Personnel.



Defensive Coordinator John Marshall

The most significant coaching change is often the least cited change in the Nation. At the end of the 2008 season, long time defensive coordinator Rob Ryan was fired from the Raiders. The significance of this change cannot be understated. 

A key to the Raiders demise in the last seven years can be found in the run defense. In 2002, the Raiders were ranked third in run defense. In 2003, they were ranked dead last. Rob Ryan was brought in to improve the defense and failed miserably.

A look at prior years indicates some fluctuation in Raiders defense rankings from year to year. But the Raiders, for the most part, always stayed within the top 15 teams for run defense, despite personnel and coaching changes.

Under Ryan, the highest run defense ranking achieved was 22nd. Twice, in a five year period, the Raiders were ranked next to last. 

It's important to note that the poor run defense occurred no matter who was playing.

As fans in 2010 lament the absence of a big bruising defensive tackle, it should be noted that Ryan's first year saw the acquisition of both seven-time Pro Bowler Warren Sapp and four-time Pro Bowler Ted Washington. While Washington was a little long in the tooth at 36 years old, Sapp was a youthful 32 when he came to the Raiders.

2004 saw the last ve...

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