It has now been three weeks since the season ended and two weeks since the news came down that Hue Jackson was fired as the Raiders' head coach. Since then, what started as speculation has turned to interviews and the status of "frontrunner" has reportedly changed hands a few times. Here is the latest.
Even prior to the season ending, Packers' linebackers coach and assistant head coach Winston Moss was the name most involved with the Raiders. First it was as a top candidate to replace the sure-to-be-fired Chuck Bresnahan at defensive coordinator. Then the bombshell landed that Hue Jackson was fired, and Moss' name moved to the forefront of the head coaching search.
Up until this past weekend, Moss was still thought of as the frontrunner by most (myself included). But as of a few days ago, there was no indication that he had even been contacted about the job. Then a report surfaced via Adam Schefter that Moss and Raiders' GM Reggie McKenzie had an interview the Saturday before the Packers were to play the New York Giants.
Despite the interview, Moss still acted as if he had not received so much as a phone call, and said that he would be listening should the Raiders be interested. Now we are hearing that the interview didn't go especially well and McKenzie appears to have shifted his focus to other candidates.
The early speculation from Schefter when he broke the news was that former Lions head coach and current Eagles offensive coordinator, Marty Mornhinweg, was now the frontrunner. However, there is no proof that is the case.
In the meantime, another Raider coach has left for elsewhere. Defensive line coach Mike Waufle has joined Jeff Fisher's staff in St Louis. Waufle was one of the more coveted defensive line coaches in football, and it is not good news to see him out of the mix in Oakland. Prior to Waufle leaving, wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal was the only other Raider coach to leave — he joined the Jets in the same position.
Back to the head coaching search. The most recent news is that Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Dennis Allen has been asked to come back for a second interview with McKenzie. He is the first of the coaching candidates to receive a second look, which gives the appearance that he is the new frontrunner for the job.
While Allen is set to return, Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice is scheduled for his first interview with the team on Tuesday. Tice seems the least likely candidate. He had six years in Minnesota as a head coach and didn't impress.
[UPDATE: The interview between Reggie McKenzie and Mike Tice has been canceled. This could be further proof that McKenzie has zeroed in on his choice. With the news of the second interview with Dennis Allen coming just hours before the news of the Tice interview cancellation, it seems Allen may indeed be the guy.]
Other candidates to interview for the job include Dolphins secondary coach and interim head coach Todd Bowles and Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr. The team had an interview scheduled with Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy but McCoy canceled to focus on the Dolphins' job. The team was also reportedly interested in Packers coordinators Dom Capers and Joe Philbin. Nothing has materialized with Capers, and Philbin recently accepted the Miami Dolphins head coaching position. I don't see the team giving McCoy another opportunity at an interview.
With the AFC and NFC Championship games now completed, there are a couple more good head coach prospects available: Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano, plus 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.
Pagano was the Raiders' defensive backs coach for two seasons, and last year when his name came up as a potential head coaching candidate for the Raiders, he was quoted as saying his two seasons in Oakland "were plenty." He was of course speaking of Al Davis and the way he preferred to run the defense. But even with Al Davis now passed, I would think that kind of ill will wouldn't sit too well with Mark Davis who believes just as strongly in loyalty as his father did.
Roman is less likely. Prior to last season, he had never been an offensive coordinator at any level. He had coached in the NFL for 13 seasons, however. Fangio is a longtime NFL defensive coordinator including a five year stint with the Baltimore Ravens. He spent just one season on Harbaugh's staff at Stanford before he joined him with the 49ers.
McKenzie's interviewing of candidates has proven that there are no set rules on interviewing a coach while his team is still in the playoffs. They are more suggestions and guidelines, which means that it is possible if McKenzie were interested in Fangio, Roman, or Pagano, he may well have contacted them already. At which point they could respectfully request to wait on the interview.
The wait to know who the Raiders' next head coach will be may not go on much longer. The Senior Bowl is next Saturday, January 28, and McKenzie has said that he should have his head coach in place by that time if not sooner.
Follow me on Twitter @LeviDamien or befriend me on facebook.
who knows, i wasn't overly happy about the gruden pick back then and it worked out. i just dont know what they see in this guy, even though i dont know or talked to him personally, nor do i know half about football as he does, and im 3 years older than him! they say the broncos defense improved so much, well lets see, we lost our qb and r.b., rivers had his worst season ever siunce he's been a starter, and the chiefs lost almost every good player they had, especially on offense minus dwayne bowe, and this guy turned their d around? it was more so the division came back to them (especially us, damn you hue). i dont know. theyre also saying theirs a mystery candidate along with allen and apparently winston moss. who knows, but we need a booster shot in the worst way (and i mean us the fans). nonetheless, enough crying, im selling whomever we hire and backing him, so as i so often say, GO RAIDERS!!!!!!
Common fellas, remember Reggie has the approval of Wolf and Madden. We shall trust him in his dicisions. Madden and Wolf have been around for some time and want the best for the Raiders, Reggie is their guy, and I truly believe we are going in the right direction, with the guy Reggies "gut" picks.
I don't really know too much about Mr. Allen, but i like his take on Defense:
“We’re going to be built off speed and athleticism. We want to be a very fast, violent, aggressive type of defense.’’
... I want us to be that too!
I think Dennis Allen would be a good hire. He's a classic "bend but don't break" defensive minded guy. As in, going for turnovers, and big plays on defense. Not neccesarily caring how many yards he gives up
I really hope that Dennis Allen is not our next HC. I don't know why, but I just don't like the guy.
If Allen is hired I would assume this would mean sticking to a 4-3 defense? If that's the case loosing Waufle will really sting! Unless Waufle could be lured back as DC? Not sure if that would be allowed though.
I hope Carmichael is in the minx too and the rush is now on to get him before the Colts can. I think he would be an excellent HC. May even be able to lure Brees over... I wish anyway!
anxious to see what he's waiting on, or more importantly who. it seems to me, and this is just me, as a new gm you want to get back to success fast and you want to excite the people (especially season ticket holders), what better way to do it than bring back gruden! he has openly said he would love to coach all this talent, cause its more than what he had when he was here. dont know where this is going, but some of these names on this list dont excite me at all! like marty, or this dennis guy!
@raidersbuzztap what about Vic fangio as head coach?
@tfds Very good read! Thoughts on Allen?
@massillonraider Completely agree. Love to see Gruden back. No one else seems good but what do I know lol
@CGison1 You may be right. But we know Al didn't see it that way. And will Mark see it that way? That's the question.
@LDizzle Mark wants not to be seen as his dad I can see him doing things differently to.make the Raiders more accessible to others.
Gruden was relieved of his contract so he could go else where and had nothing to do with his performance. Technically, you can say he got fired if you want to make it sound worse. Al asked him if he wanted to go to Tampa and Gruden in a round about way said yes so he let him go in exchange for some draft picks. Do you remember what kind of team we had that had him go 8-8? It was not a vey good one, but his style enabled the team to stay in every game they ever played, even with Chuck B as the D coordinator. He got some good players and he did pretty darn well in the last couple years. He should've never have been more than just a HC in Tampa, that's why I think he'll do well back here. As I said, wishful thinking.
@CGison1 @massillonraider Gruden did go to the Super Bowl and he beat Callahan. They both took somebody else's team to the SB but Gruden obviously had the upper hand. If Gruden was still coaching the Raiders at the time they would've won. They very well could've won a couple more earlier but thanks to the tuck rule and Saragusa those chances were wiped. Gruden and Al Davis were a perfect fit for each other. Gruden did well the previous years having to work with guys like Donald Hollas and still manage to win games. Callahan came in and opened up the passing game, it was a different style than Gruden preferred, Gruden liked a conservative boring ball controlled offensive but he got results. Although Callahan did well the first year he could not make anything happen and could not make adjustments, he admitted himself he didn't know what else to do. I liked Callahan as an offensive minded coach but I'd prefer Gruden as HC. And ya we know the chances of him coming back are pretty close to nil but hey, there's wishful thinking.
@LDizzle "That's it. I've had it with this dump! We've got no food, we got no jobs,... our pets' HEADS ARE FALLIN' OFF!!!"