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Raiders confirm hiring of Saunders as offensive coordinator

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- The Oakland Raiders have officially hired longtime NFL assistant Al Saunders as their offensive coordinator.

The Raiders updated their coaching roster on their website Tuesday. The only newcomer on the list is Saunders, although there are many other openings to fill, most notably defensive coordinator.

Among the coaches from last season's team no longer listed on the site are offensive line coach Jim Michalczik, quarterbacks coach Paul Hackett, linebackers coach Mike Haluchak, assistant offensive line coach Chris Morgan and passing game coordinator Ted Tollner.

Most of the other coaches from last season's team are at the Senior Bowl in Alabama with new head coach Hue Jackson, who was hired last week to replace Tom Cable.

Saunders spent the past two seasons as an offensive consultant in Baltimore. He was on the same Ravens staff as Jackson in 2009. Jackson joined the Raiders this past season as offensive coordinator.

Saunders has coached in the NFL for nearly three decades. He went 17-22 in two-plus seasons as head coach for the San Diego Chargers from 1986 to 1988 and has spent most of his career as a respected offensive assistant. He has interviewed in the past for openings in Oakland and finally landed the job this time.

Saunders already is familiar with the top two quarterbacks on Oakland's roster. He was offensive coordinator for two years in Washington with Jason Campbell and was the coordinator in St. Louis in 2008 when Bruce Gradkowski spent time with the Rams.

While Saunders is on board as the coordinator, Jackson will retain the primary play-calling duties in Oakland next season. Jackson helped oversee a vast improvement on offense this past season, as the Raiders finished sixth in the league in scoring with 410 points -- more than doubling their total from 2009.

Senior Bowl on NFL Network:
On Saturday, Jan. 29, top senior college football players compete in front of NFL talent evaluators at the 2011 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. Coverage begins on NFL Network at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Along with the quarterbacks, Saunders will have a young group of skilled position players at his disposal. Running back Darren McFadden had a breakthrough season with 1,664 yards from scrimmage and 10 touchdowns and teamed with Michael Bush on the league's second-ranked rushing offense; tight end Zach Miller is going to the Pro Bowl after leading the team with 60 catches; and speedy receivers Jacoby Ford, Louis Murphy and Darrius Heyward-Bey provide potential deep threats.

Saunders spent eight seasons running offenses in Kansas City, Washington and St. Louis. His best success came with the Chiefs, who led the NFL with 380.9 yards per game and were second in scoring at 27.0 points per game during his five seasons running the offense from 2001 to 2005.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) rushes during an NFL football game between the between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Peter Joneleit)

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