Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 12/31/12
The team synonymous with head coaching changes stood pat with Dennis Allen, but the Raiders did dismiss four first-year assistant coaches from his staff. Offensive coordinator Greg Knapp, line coach Frank Pollack, linebackers coach Johnny Holland and special teams coordinator Steve Hoffman were all looking for work the day after a season-ending 24-21 loss to the San Diego Chargers ended the Raiders' season at 4-12. Knapp and Pollack took the fall for an offense which saw its running game plummet from one of the NFL's best to No. 28. Under Hue Jackson, the Raiders were second in the NFL in rushing in 2010 and seventh in 2011, with the most rushing yards in the NFL over that two-year span. "I think what happened is, you realize it wasn't working," coach Dennis Allen said. "We weren't able to get the production we needed to. I felt like we needed to make a change." With Knapp coming in as quarterbacks coach for the Houston Texans and bringing along Pollack to coach the offensive line, the Raiders re-instituted a zone blocking scheme an ended up averaging only 88.8 yards per game. The Raiders had only four rushing touchdowns all season -- quarterback Terrelle Pryor got No. 4 with a 3-yard run against the Chargers -- and feature back Darren McFadden gained 707 yards on 216 carries, averaging 3.3 yards per attempt. It was a huge drop for McFadden, who also struggled in the zone scheme before Jackson arrived and instituted more power and gap schemes. During the two Jackson seasons, McFadden averaged better than five yards per carry. The Raiders finished 26th in the NFL in scoring at 18.1 points per game, and their 21-point output against San Diego in the finale was their most points scored since Nov. 2, a 42-32 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Allen said he is not wedded to a particular system or philosophy for the next offensive coordinator. He said senior offensive assistant Al Saunders will be considered for the position. Saunders was the offensive coordinator for Jackson, who served as head coach and play-caller. "I think the zone running scheme is a productive running scheme," Allen said. "We didn't have the success we needed to have and there's a lot of factors that contribute to that. I'm not tied to a specific system. I'm tied to trying to find out what our players can do really well and put them in those positions and give them a chance to have success." Holland, who coached Raiders linebackers, was unable to get anything out of middle linebacker Rolando McClain, who was suspended for two weeks then inactive for the las three games of the season in favor of journeyman Omar Gaither. Hoffman's special teams unit generated very little on returns for the Raiders while occasionally were gashed, as was the case in a 99-yard game-opening return by Mike Spurlock against San Diego.
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