This season wasn’t what Mark Davis had in mind when he went the unconventional route and gave head coach Jack Del Rio a contract extension with two years still remaining on his initial deal with the Raiders.
With the season now essentially down the drain, Davis is probably tied to a head coach that no team would be clamoring to attract if Del Rio were suddenly available.
After a remarkable 2016 season, there’s a strong case to be made that Del Rio deserves another year to make amends, but this is the NFL and patience isn’t always a virtue in the industry. Furthermore, the Raiders can’t afford to roll into the desert in a few years with an AFC bottom feeder.
Considering the buyout that it would take to replace Del Rio, it’s hard to imagine Davis bailing on his hand-picked head coach, but here are the concerns if Del Rio is back for a fourth season.
First and foremost, the team looks lost. It’s one thing to come in and clean up a culture left by another coach. It’s much more difficult to clean up your own culture.
The coordinators have absorbed much of the criticism this year, but there’s real concerns that some of the issues that manifest during Del Rio’s time in Jacksonville are now cropping up in Oakland.
Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio famously didn’t seem to have a lot to do with the Jaguars offense. He’d be the first person to say so.
Former running back Fred Taylor would be the second person.
“At the end of the day, [Del Rio] is not a head coach,” former Jaguars running back Fred Taylor said back in 2011. “He’s a great defensive coach. But he’s not a head coach.”
Taylor said he didn’t appreciate the inconsistency Del Rio brought to the position – saying it was unlike what he experienced with Tom Coughlin and Bill Belichick.
“With Jack, you never knew what you were getting. You don’t know if you’ll get a hard-ass one day, a buddy-buddy one day. You never really knew.”
Interestingly, Taylor also noted that that he could call the offensive plays from his living room when Del Rio was with the Jaguars.
And there’s more where that came from. Here are some of the other accusations that mounted against Del Rio in Jacksonville…
1 – Many believed he had a habit of throwing his assistants under the bus. These assistant coaches even had their own club.
2 – He was considered “arrogant and inflexible” and married to an outdated offense.
3 – Some players and coaches felt that once he got paid, he didn’t put in the same dedication.
4 – Relationships with players and coaches often soured over time.
Are these patterns something that are beginning to surface in Oakland?
Well, he fired Bill Musgrave – whom he also fired once in Jacksonville – and the offense has only occasionally looked like a competent offense since.
As for relationships with the players, there’s much more to this dynamic than what has entered the public forum. Consistency among his players is something you’re going to hear more about in the weeks and months ahead.
Outdated offense? No explanation needed here.
Which leads to another theory that doesn’t sound all that ridiculous anymore. Did Del Rio fire Downing so that he could have more input into the offense?