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Oakland Raiders

Stadium: O.co Coliseum | Coach: Dennis Allen
Team RankingOverallRushingPassing
Offense21st125.0 (12th)208.8 (23rd)
Defense21st107.9 (10th)255.8 (27th)

Raiders report: Strategy and personnel

 
Inside slant | Notes, quotes, anecdotes
 
Assistants are beginning to find their way out of Oakland after behind held to their contracts until they expired.

Quarterbacks coach Jim Harbaugh has accepted the job as head coach at the University of San Diego.

Defensive line coach Mike Waufle has been hired for the same position by the New York Giants. He was also being sought by the Detroit Lions.

Offensive coordinator Marc Trestman is a finalist for the head coaching position at Cornell.

Special teams coach Bob Casullo has been interviewed by two teams including the Seattle Seahawks.

One coach who apparently won't be moving on is tight ends coach Jay Norvell.

Callahan wanted to bring him aboard at Nebraska as his offensive coordinator but the Raiders have denied him permission to leave because he has another year left on his contract in Oakland.

Among coaches who are under contract: defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan, running backs coach Skip Peete and line coach Aaron Kromer.

UNIT-BY-UNIT ANALYSIS

QUARTERBACK
Starter -- Rich Gannon. Backups -- Marques Tuiasosopo, Rick Mirer, Rob Johnson, Tee Martin.

Davis said he has not yet made a decision on what direction the club will go at quarterback but sounded impressed with what was in the draft.

RUNNING BACKS
Starters -- RB Charlie Garner, FB Zack Crockett. Backups -- RB Tyrone Wheatley, RB Justin Fargas, FB Chris Hetherington, RB J.R. Redmond.

The order of the depth chart is actually uncertain. Garner only carried 35 times in the second half of the season and was de-emphasized. It depends on the style the new coach prefers -- Garner's elusiveness or Wheatley's power.

TIGHT ENDS
Starter -- O.J. Santiago. Backups -- Teyo Johnson, Doug Jolley.

Johnson and Jolley are the club's future but 2003 was a wasted year aside from the progress they may have made as blockers.

WIDE RECEIVERS
Starters -- FL Tim Brown, SE Jerry Rice. Backups -- Jerry Porter, Ronald Curry, Doug Gabriel, Alvis Whitted, John Stone.

Major decisions are on the horizon here. Both Brown and Rice are dropping hints they are not ready to retire at 38 and 42 (as of next season), respectively. After combining for 173 catches, 2,141 and nine touchdowns in 2002, they fell to 115 catches for 1,436 yards and four touchdowns in 2003. Was it age, the disintegration of the team's passing game or their contributions? Probably a combination of all three. After a breakthrough 2002, Porter took a step back for him with 28 catches for 361 yards and just one touchdown.

OFFENSIVE LINE
Starters -- LT Barry Sims, LG Frank Middleton, C Barret Robbins, RG Mo Collins, RT Langston Walker. Backups -- C Adam Treu, G Brad Badger, G Matt Stinchcomb, T-G Chad Slaughter, G Corey Hulsey, T Joe Wong.

All-Pro RT Lincoln Kennedy has retired, elevating former No. 2 pick Walker to the starting lineup. Sims struggled at times handling speed rushers. Middleton finished the year on IR with a torn quad. Robbins performed better than any of the team's linemen until his knee gave out at the end. Collins also finished the year on IR with a bad knee.

DEFENSIVE LINE
Starters -- LE Lorenzo Bromell, LT Dana Stubblefield, RT John Parrella, RE Tyler Brayton. Backups -- E Trace Armstrong, T Rod Coleman, T/E Chris Cooper, E Akbar Gbaja-Biamila, E Sam Williams, E DeLawrence Grant, T Sean Gilbert, T Terdell Sands, E Grant Irons.

Nowhere are the Raiders more in a state of flux that on the defensive line. Among starters, only the rookie Brayton was able to make it through the entire year without falling prey to injury. With help from a big, powerful LT -- either through free agency or the draft -- the solution to the porous run defense could be forthcoming.

LINEBACKERS
Starters -- SLB Napoleon Harris, MLB Tim Johnson, WLB Eric Barton. Backups -- OLB Bill Romanowski, OLB Travian Smith, OLB Eric Johnson, OLB Shurron Pierson.

The Raiders have a decision pending on where Harris will play. Due to injuries, he went from starting MLB to the Sam position late in the year. Smith replaced Romanowski and had his best season until a knee injury shelved him the final six weeks.

DEFENSIVE BACKS
Starters -- LCB Charles Woodson, RCB Phillip Buchanon, SS Derrick Gibson, FS Rod Woodson. Backups -- S Anthony Dorsett, CB/S Nnamdi Asomugha, CB Tererance Shaw, CB Clarence Love.

Charles Woodson says he wants to play in Oakland but can or will the Raiders afford him? Buchanon is a bundle of potential who has yet to put it all together. Asomugha could become the starter if Woodson departs. Rod Woodson, at 39, wants to come back. Gibson finally hit his stride late in the year.

SPECIAL TEAMS
Starters -- K Sebastian Janikowski, P Sean Lechler, PR Buchanon, KR Gabriel.

The strongest area the Raiders had was in their kicking game. Lechler led the league in punting average (47.1) and Janikowski made 22 of 25 field goals with only one miss under 50 yards. Buchanon was second only to Dante Hall in punt returns and brought back two for touchdowns. After a slow start, Gabriel finished strong and returned a kickoff for a touchdown in the finale.

Copyright (C) 2003 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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