Raiders tap Fassel for special teams

1/17/2009 - NFL Oakland Raiders

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- 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 upcoming draft.