Al Saunders Speaks From The Raider Nation

Earlier this week, Raiders offensive coordinator Al Saunders made headlines when he told 610 Sports that as long as new QB Carson Palmer was “breathing” he would play Sunday against the Chiefs.

That wasn’t all that Saunders had to say during the week. He spoke on Thursday with the Bay Area media and talked about the Raiders, but also touched on the Chiefs. Saunders spent 10 seasons with the team as wide receivers coach (1989-98) and five years as offensive coordinator (2001-05).

“I think it’s one of the real true great rivalries in football and certainly in the AFC; for so many years, Kansas City and the Raiders were the top echelon teams,” Saunders said. “I worked 10 years with Marty Schottenheimer there and he made it quite a rivalry between Kansas City and the Raiders. Then, Dick Vermeil followed up with the same thought process because we always felt like to win the division you had to beat the Raiders from a physical standpoint.

“Now being on the other side, it’s kind of interesting because we’re trying to turn the tables now and be more physical than the teams we play. So, it’s kind of fun.”

It was Schottenheimer who started the Raider Week tradition and turned the two games a year against the silver and black into key cornerstones of any season.

“He felt like it was real important to make a rivalry within the division and then he chose the Raiders because of the fact that they were division champions in succeeding years and were the team to beat,” Saunders said. “It was Raiders week and we had signs up in the locker room and Marty was really animated in his talks to the team before the game and during the week. It was really kind of fun because it was a special thing to be a part of. The Raiders were a great football team and we were fortunate to be very successful during that 10-year run also. So, it was just kind of good thing to be around.”

In this week, Saunders has become a fan of Palmer, who at the minimum cost the Raiders a first and second-round draft choices.

“He’s a big, physical guy that moves real well and has tremendous accuracy,” Saunders said. “He can make all the throws and I think that’s been well documented. If you look back at his career and the things he’s done in his career, the thing that he adds that’s really special is his personality really blends well with these players. I mean he’s a great communicator. He didn’t spend any time not getting with the receivers and talking to them with the backs and again, what he’s feeling and what he sees. When you have somebody that can communicate like that and has the respect and the skill set that he has, it’s really special at that position.”

As with any player, but especially a quarterback leading the offense, there’s always a problem with transition to a new system. That may hold Palmer back a bit in his early games with the Raiders.

“It would be like going to Italy and trying to order a hamburger,” Saunders said. “You know what it tastes like, you know what it looks like, you can go back into the kitchen and fix it, but you can’t find it on the menu. That’s the communication part of it; it is probably the most difficult transition for any player at any position from one team to another and how quickly they’re able to do that is indicative of how soon they are able to help.”

2 Responses to “Al Saunders Speaks From The Raider Nation”

  • October 21, 2011  - txchief says:

    Rayduhs suck! I hope Romeo blitzes that crap out of whatever QB the dirtbags roll out. Without McFadden and Janikowski ailing, dead Al’s boys will have some problems scoring.

  • October 21, 2011  - Gary says:

    Why order a hamburger in Italy? Anywhere in Italy.

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