Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis took time out from choosing a head coach Saturday to promote assistant coach John Fassel to special teams coordinator.
Fassel, the son of former New York Giants coach Jim Fassel,
joined the Raiders two years ago. He essentially shared
responsibility for Oakland's standout special teams last season
with Brian Schneider, who agreed Wednesday to join Pete Carroll in
the same job at Southern California.
Davis still is debating whether to keep interim coach Tom Cable,
who went 4-8 and won his final two games after Davis fired Lane
Kiffin on Sept. 30. Raiders senior executive John Herrera said
Saturday that Davis is "considering talking to one or two more
guys," and should decide whether to pursue those interviews soon.
Only three of Davis' candidates for the top job are known,
including Cable. Davis interviewed Giants offensive coordinator
Kevin Gilbride on Thursday, and Green Bay Packers assistant head
coach Winston Moss also has spoken to the club.
Fassel's previous contract recently expired along with the deals
of nearly every assistant on Cable's staff, but a large portion of
Oakland's assistants has stayed on the job anyway, Herrera said. A
handful of key coaches have moved on, including offensive
coordinator Greg Knapp (Seattle), defensive coordinator Rob Ryan
(Cleveland) and running backs coach Tom Rathman (San Francisco).
Don Martindale, the Raiders' linebackers coach for the past five
seasons, spoke with Davis on Saturday about becoming Oakland's
defensive coordinator. Martindale has been pursued by Denver and
Cleveland to join their new coaching staffs.
The Raiders have lost at least 11 games in each of the past six
seasons, but Cable believes Oakland's strong finish portends better
results in 2009. Oakland also has the seventh overall pick in the