Here’s the latest and greatest on the Raiders’ search for a head coach, courtesy of Jerry McDonald at the Bay Area News Group. Tony Sparano is still the odds-on favorite, in the name of continuity of player approval. And an argument can be made that Sparano, as well as OC Greg Olson and DC Jason Tarver, did the best they could with what they had to work with.
So far Darrell Bevell (Seattle OC) and Pat Shurmur (Philly OC) were interviewed a few days ago, and Denver DC Jack Del Rio was interviewed today. Eric Mangini and Todd Bowles are rumored to be interviewing in the next few days, and Dallas OC Scott Linehan may also be on the short list.
Bevell or Shurmur are both solid offensive specialists, and could help fix the holes in the Raiders’ offense. Especially Bevell, who worked extensively with Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, and now with Russell Wilson in Seattle. Shurmur, unlike Bevell, has actually been a head coach (in Cleveland), though not a successful one.
The Eagles offense Shurmur oversees is fast and innovative, but the Raiders may not have the personnel to run it, and as the Eagles’ late-season fade showed, the quick-scoring nature of the offense sometimes left the defense on the field longer overall, and gassed by the fourth quarter. Either way, both Bevell and Shurmur would need to select a top-flight defensive coordinator to complement their offensive schemes.
Mangini or Bowles are essentially the defensive versions of Shurmur and Bevell; like Shurmur, Mangini has head coaching experience with a middling team, and like Bevell, Bowles has never headed his own program but is highly regarded in his specialty.
Out of all these possibilities, Jack Del Rio might have the best shot in this. He has nine years of head coaching experience with the Jaguars, and has run solid defensive schemes in Jacksonville and now in Denver. Throw in a decent OC (such as Marc Trestman) who can help continue Derek Carr’s development, and you might have a team that can engineer a real turnaround.
Whoever Mark Davis and Reggie McKenzie settle on, it has to make sense, and it has to be a tangible improvement. While Sparano, Olson, and Tarver didn’t do quite enough in the eyes of most fans to warrant bringing them back, there’s also no point in cutting them loose if there’s not someone markedly better to bring in.