Midway through the season I reported that the Raiders had their eye on Marc Trestman and Jim Fassel as well as Jim Harbaugh as possible candidates should Tom Cable be fired as head coach. And now Adam Shefter of ESPN.com is also confirming that report through several sources.
Those sources have said that the Raiders have reached out to all three candidates in recents days to gauge their interest in possibly becoming the Raiders next head coach.
While Jim Harbaugh is one of the most sought after coaches in all of football after taking the Stanford Cardinal to a Bowl game this year. According to the sources, Harbaugh did not show interest in the job just has in prior years the Raiders have courted him.
Harbaugh was also said to be high on the list of candidates for the vacant USC job. But he turned down the opportunity as well as several other high profile candidates which led USC to hire former assistant Lane Kiffin to the position. USC could be in for a rough road of NCAA imposed sanctions which many speculate could be the reason Pete Carroll left. This could also be the reason why the head job there is not very attractive.
But the Raiders job is equally unattractive to a lot of coaches these days. And with the success of Jim's brother John as the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens combined with the surprise success of an upstart Stanford squad, Jim may have the luxury of holding out for an ideal situation if and when he decides to move on.
Jim Fassel recently took the Las Vegas Locomotives to the championship of the newly formed United Football League. He has been a candidate for the Raiders head job numerous times in the past few years including reportedly lobbying for the job last offseason while Al Davis was deciding whether to take the interim tag off of Tom Cable and make him the official head coach. Jim Fassel came out Wednesday in an interview with the Sirius/XM Mad Dog Radio show publicly denying the report that he spoke with the Raiders.
"I'm not lobbying for the Raider job," said Fassel. "I have never in my life rooted for a coach to be let go so there's an opening. I never have. I'm in the same fraternity,"
And while he may not be "lobbying" for the job these days, that does not mean he has not spoken to the Raiders about the open position or been interviewed.
Marc Trestman was the quarterbacks coach for the Raiders during the Gruden years and he was offensive coordinator for the Raiders when they made their run to the Super Bowl. He was let go along with the rest of the Bill Callahan staff following the 4-12 season that followed the Super Bowl season. He has re-emerged and has solidified his candidacy by taking the Montreal Alloutettes to the Grey Cup Championship in the CFL this past season. This after he was the CFL Coach of the Year the year prior which was his first season head coach of the team. And while many NFL analysts and coaching candidates may bok at the idea of joining a Raider organization that many see as dysfunctional, there is little doubt that the job would be one that Trestman covets. Add to that, the fact that we know Al Davis loves to hire from within and remains devoted to his former players and coaches and Trestman is far from a dark horse is all of this.
But head coach is not the only job to which the Raiders are in the market for. The team is actively seeking an offensive coordinator. So far the only candidate we know has been brought in to interview for the position is Hue Jackson who currently holds the quarterbacks coach position for the Ravens. No doubt Jackson is being looked at for the job he did in preparing Joe Flacco for the kind of success he has had in his two years as an NFL quarterback. Al Davis would like someone to come in and make JaMarcus Russell into the kind of quarterback he thinks he can be.
And if that is what he is looking for, Marc Trestman becomes a candidate for that position as well. Trestman has an extremely long list of quarterbacks that had their greatest success under his tutilage. If he would be willing to go from head coach in the CFL back to an offensive coordinator position in the NFL, Mr Davis would no doubt be considering him for that position. It would be my theory that Trestman would be named assistant head coach/offensive coordinator. That would mean a slight promotion from the position he held with the Raiders in 02-03 and it would also mean that Davis would have an easy replacement for Cable should he choose to fire him mid-season or after just one season on the job. Which, as we know, Al is known to do.
As Patrick Patterson pointed out last week in regards to Cable: No news is well...no news. That sums it up because despite NFL analysts such as Adam Shefter and John Clayton surmising that Tom Cable is more than likely out as the head coach, there is nothing to suggest he anything less than a 50/50 shot at keeping his job. Al Davis always excercises his due diligence before making a decision. He could replace Cable or he could keep him (at least for one more season) and bring in an offensive coordinator to take over the play calling duties and try to mold JaMarcus Russell into a "great" NFL quarterback.
And whether anyone else thinks that Russell can ever be successful doesn't matter. The only opinion that matters is Al Davis'. At least he is keeping his options open.