Whether Norv Turner's second stint as a head coach is more successful than his first remains to be seen but his biggest advantage now is that his offensive philosophy seems to mesh with owner Al Davis.
That system relies more on the vertical passing game and the power running game. The Oakland Raiders named Turner their head coach Monday to replace the dismissed Bill Callahan, who is now the head coach at the University of Nebraska.
"Norv Turner throughout his career has been a tremendous coach in the running game," Davis said. "It's a power running game. He used some of the west coast offense but also part of what we call the vertical game. This influenced me tremendously because not only has he done that and been the administrator for super bowl teams, championship team. He has called the plays. I think it's vital to the raiders that we have one man calling the plays from the sideline."
The feeling with Davis is also that teams have found ways to slow down the West Coast Offense and it cannot be done solely on its own.
Turner was 49-59-1 in seven seasons as the Washington Redskins head coach but he comes with an impressive offensive background. Turner was Jimmy Johnson's offensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys from 1991-93, helped lead the Cowboys to two straight Super Bowl titles. The Cowboys had perhaps the best quarterback/running back/ wide receiver trio in modern history with Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin. Aikman indicated that while Johnson was a great head coach, the Cowboys might not have soared to great heights without Turner.
Turner spent the last two seasons as the Miami Dolphins assistant head coach/offensive coordinator. Turner handled the play-calling duties in 2002 with running back Ricky Williams rushed for 1,372 yards with nine touchdowns. It marked the 10th time in Turner's 13 seasons as either a head coach or a coordinator that a running back surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing mark.
"I don't know the specifics but there's a lot of things that go into making those decisions but I'm not going to be the guy that tells jerry rice he ain't gonna be here," Turner quipped.
"We have good running backs here," Turner said. "I've looked at some film and I've been impressed with garner and Wheatley. Fargas is a young back. I don't know if you ever lock in and say that it has to be one of these guys. We're going to do everything we can from the standpoint of free agency or the draft."
Vince D'Adamo can be reached at email@example.com