Jack Del Rio A Strong Candidate To Be Raiders Next Head Coach

UPDATE: According to Mike Klis of the Denver Post, the Raiders have asked permission to interview Denver defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, and are trying to work out an interview in Denver today.

In this Denver CBS-4 poll, most believe losing Del Rio would hurt the Broncos more than losing offensive coordinator Adam Gase.


After a fruitless effort to lure Jim Harbaugh 30 miles east, the Raiders have begun their methodical search to replace Dennis Allen and his mid-season relief, Tony Sparano. Technically, Tony has a chance, but he’s probably Plan D or E – which actually isn’t too far away (Plan A = Gruden, Plan B = Harbaugh), but let’s assume the Raiders won’t get rejected by Plan C.

What we know is that Mark Davis would prefer a head coach with experience. Maybe he’ll roll the dice on an inexperienced coordinator, but after Dennis Allen it seems unlikely Mark or Reggie McKenzie will want to jump on another of those grenades.

Some of the pool of candidates with head coaching experience are Rex Ryan, Pat Shurmur, Eric Mangini, Jack Del Rio, Josh McDaniels, Mike Smith, Marc Trestman, and Sparano. Of that group, Ryan stands out, but hasn’t yet been linked to Oakland and most believe he’ll have better options – namely Atlanta. As far as the rest, Del Rio tends to stand out – at least in terms of what seems to be important to Davis and McKenzie.

Del Rio won in Jacksonville and most resembles what McKenzie hoped he had in Allen. He’s seasoned and well-respected around the league – and if he comes to Oakland, it shouldn’t be slim pickings at the coordinator positions as it was with Allen three years ago.

As it relates to Davis, Del Rio isn’t far removed from the Raiders culture (and that’s very relevant). He grew up in the area, went to college down the road (USC), and his parents are avid Raider fans.


More than maybe any owner in the league, Davis trusts heavily on a core of advisers – largely comprised of former players. CBS Sports’ Jason LaCanfora believes Del Rio has “very strong backers” within Davis’ inner circle. Of course Davis also sought out Del Rio in Denver for a short exchange before the Raiders final game – not a headline, but more proof that a relationship exists.

With McKenzie and Davis sharing the responsibility of hiring the next coach, keep a close eye on Del Rio. He fits well with what both are looking for and there’s more momentum in his direction than what’s been reported. It’s unlikely that the Raiders don’t interview Del Rio which makes it a little suspicious that they haven’t been linked to him yet – he’s presumably available with Denver on a bye.

For everyone unhappy with the idea of Del Rio, don’t forget that he went to the playoffs with Byron Leftwich and David Garrard – no easy task with Peyton Manning in the division. As a former linebacker, Del Rio would also be a solid investment in Sio Moore and Khalil Mack – arguably (as Moore is related) the core of the Raiders defense.

If you’re the betting type, maybe take your odds on Del Rio now – they might not get any better than they are today.