Oakland Raiders  

 

Saunders is front-runner for Raiders' offensive coordinator job

Veteran coach Al Saunders met with new Oakland Raiders coach Hue Jackson on Wednesday about the team's offensive coordinator position, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

Al Saunders could be reunited with Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell, whom he coached with the Redskins.
Al Saunders could be reunited with Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell, whom he coached with the Redskins. (Jeff Roberson/Associated Press)

Saunders, a former coordinator and head coach who is a consultant for the Baltimore Ravens, has interviewed for Raiders' head-coaching job in the past. He is a philosophical fit with Jackson and Raiders owner Al Davis, and league sources expect the team to hire him.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Tuesday that the team allowed Saunders to talk to the Raiders because he would never want to deny a coach an opportunity.

"We'll just have to see what happens," Harbaugh said. "Obviously you never want to lose really good coaches. Al Saunders is a great coach and a great man. He's tremendous and he's been huge for us."

Saunders has been an offensive consultant for Baltimore the past two seasons, working on the staff with Jackson in 2009. Jackson went to Oakland last year as offensive coordinator and was promoted to head coach in place of Tom Cable earlier this week.

Jackson said Tuesday at his introductory news conference that he will remain the primary play-caller in Oakland as head coach. He mentioned Saunders as someone he would like to interview for the coordinator job.

Saunders began his NFL career as the San Diego Chargers' receivers coach in 1983. He later was the Chargers' head coach for parts of three seasons, amassing a 17-22 record. He has been an offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs and the St. Louis Rams, as well as the assistant head coach for the Washington Redskins, where he spent two years with current Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell. During Saunders' first stint with the Rams, as assistant head coach/receivers coach, St. Louis won the Super Bowl.

The offensive coordinator job is just one of many the Raiders need to fill. The only assistants still under contract are defensive line coach Mike Waufle and defensive backs coach Kevin Ross. Defensive coordinator John Marshall will not be back next season, although some of the other assistants still could be retained.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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