Monday, July 30, 2007

Remembering Coach Walsh

Today is a sad day for Raiders everywhere. One of our own has died.

Though he is better known as Head Coach of the team across the Bay, many do not realize Bill Walsh began his NFL coaching career in 1966 as Offensive Backs Coach under then Head Coach, Al Davis. As you know, once a Raider, always a Raider. Coach Walsh remained a friend of Al Davis and the Raiders until his untimely demise today from symptoms related to leukemia.

While in Oakland, Davis taught Walsh the Sid Gillman offense he had learned in San Diego. The premise of the Gillman offense is stretch the field vertically. Walsh took this premise and modified it to stretch the field horizontally.

This offense is what is commonly referred to as the "West Coast Offense" nowadays, and a version of it is currently being installed in Oakland by Lane Kiffin. To put it plainly, Walsh's system revolutionized the way the game of football is played today. Verily, most of the teams in the NFL currently run or have run a version of Walsh's offense. The term 'genius' is often found in sentences with Walsh's name in them for a reason.

To get some input into this system, Kiffin called upon Al Davis to contact his friend and invite him to Raider practice. Walsh was at Raider practice just a month ago. You can see pictures of Walsh in Raider gear with JaMarus Russell and Coach Kiffin here (June 14, minicamp day 3, images 8 and 9).

Kiffin had this to say about Walsh's visit just a month ago:

"It was important for me to get him over here to practice. It's one thing to ask a question. It's another thing to have him watch practice and get some thoughts from him on what he's seeing out there. I've spent some time preparing for him.

What can't you get out of that? To have him over here was great."
~ Lane Kiffin

Bill Walsh once said of Al Davis:

"He was one of the great coaches I have ever observed ... a truly great coach. Had he chosen to remain in coaching, he would be considered one of the great coaches of all time."
~ Bill Walsh

The same can be said of Walsh, for there is no question Bill Walsh is one of the great coaches of all time. Our condolences to his family and friends - our thoughts and prayers go out to them.

Read more about Walsh's life here.

See Al Davis' press conference regarding Bill Walsh in two parts, here (part 1) and here (part 2).

Much thanks to Ben in NJ for the tip on the interview!

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Treuth

About this time every year players get cut. It is one of the worst aspects of football as only 53 players can make the roster. We sure remember Pete Banaszak getting nervous and jerky. As Pete said, "I was always worried that I was going to be cut as sure as God made green apples. Funny that I ended up being a Raider as long as anybody."

Like Banaszak, Adam Treu made his living as a Raider by being a role player. Treu made certain the snaps to Janikowski and Lechler were always spot on. While we worried about everything else last season - including and especially the Center --> QB exchange - we never worried about having one of those Tony Romo moments with a snap on a kick.

The reason? Treu got it done for a decade. The longest tenured player on the team, Treu made it through countless changes to the coaching staff. Treu started out with the great Joe Bugel as his Head Coach back in the day. His longevity in the face of having to ingratiate himself to a new head coach regularly speaks to Treu's ability to be a team player.

That said, one writer decided to speculate on the cause of Treu being cut this week. The speculation can be found here. It says:

"I wonder if the Raiders' late-minute release of center Adam Treu was because of his 11 years in the league, diminishing skills or just maybe because he was the guy who blew the whistle on the new coaches for practicing too intensely this spring. At least one player suggested the last reason was the one that ended his Raiders career. As he said, 'Anyone holding to the old ways we worked is going to be gone.' "

As you know, the Raider coaching staff lost a week of practices because they were reportedly too hard on the players, as described here.

While Pat Kirwan is a friend of Lane Kiffin and his reports on the Raiders are generally pretty unbiased and accurate, Kirwan's rumor that Treu might be the one who snitched on the Raider coaching staff to the NFLPA for practicing too hard seems pretty far fetched to Raider fans who follow the team closely. Treu just isn't that kind of guy.

So here is a reply to the rumors from the family:

"Shame on any of you who would think that about Adam. Rumors just kill me and this one has the potential to stick. Comments about his ability or his speed or his snaps are fine . . . but this?? No way.

Of all the things Adam could've called in over 10 seasons, this is the one they're going with? He was in the training room the entire offseason since his quad tendon snapped off of his kneecap and had to be surgically reattached with cables and screws.

This past week has been difficult enough so to have his name attached to something like this has been rough.

Pat Kirwan needs a spanking and not the kind of spanking he's probably into.

It's simply NOT true. Please spread the word.

Thanks so much!"

~ Tracy Treu

So we see, the unfortunate truth is Adam Treu was cut due to the lingering effects of a torn quadriceps tendon. For the first time in his ten-year career, last season Treu was unable to play. This week, Adam was unable to pass a physical; the years of wear and tear on his knees finally caught up.

The Raiders do not typically make a statement at the release of one of their players (e.g., you will not find statements at the release of Courtney Anderson, Jarrod Cooper, etc.). The fact they did for Treu tells you something about the esteem the organization holds him in. This statement can be found here.

It says:

“In the excellence of The Oakland Raiders over the last 10 years, Adam certainly made an indelible contribution.”
~ Al Davis

We wish Adam and the Treu family all the best in the future and thank him for his service and are happy to know the treuth.

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