Thursday, January 8, 2009

Hawks to Interview Another Raiders Coach

by: Michael Steffes

While Al Davis sits on his hands deciding on the Raiders' next direction, his coaching staff is taking their futures into their own hands. Greg Knapp has come north; Tom Rathman has crossed the Bay. But there is one other Raiders coach whose stock is on the rise, and that is special teams coach Brian Schneider.

You may remember that earlier in the week the Seahawks asked permission to speak with Patriots special teams coach Brad Seely. Now, according to this report from the Raiders Blog on the Sacramento Bee's website, the Seahawks are going to interview Schneider for that spot as well:

The Chronicle reports special teams coordinator Brian Schneider was in Jacksonville for an interview and will also visit Seattle.
While it may seem that picking up Raiders coaches is leading the team in the wrong direction, by all accounts Schneider is a very good coach.

He presided over Shane Lechler, one of the top punters in the league, who also happens to be a free agent. Johnny Lee Higgins emerged as one of the top punt returners, averaging 13 yards per return with 3 touchdowns this season. Also, Justin Miller came over after his release from the Jets and averaged 24.8 yards on kick returns with 2 touchdowns. This is why he is such a hot candidate right now. Hopefully, he and Greg Knapp were thick as thieves.

As a Seahawk fan who has watched the special teams unit struggle in recent years, I think Schneider would be a welcome addition. He did a lot with lesser talent. He is a young, energetic coach with a lot of success at the collegiate level, but little experience in the pros. This fits the mold of some of the defensive coaches the Hawks are looking at. And who knows, maybe Shane Lechler would want to come north as well? Having a top punter can be a huge weapon when you are run-oriented and trying to use your defense to win games. ~END~