Ranking the 5 Most Likely Replacements for Hue Jackson
At the introductory press conference for the hiring of general manager Reggie McKenzie, when asked why he fired head coach Hue Jackson, McKenzie said, "I wanted to bring in my own guy."
Well, be it that McKenzie hasn't hired anyone yet, you can draw the conclusion that McKenzie's guy is on the Green Bay Packers staff.
Having come from Green Bay and all the success they've in recent years, McKenzie made no secret of his desire to follow their model.
And now that the Packers' season is over, due to the 37-20 thumping they took from the New York Giants yesterday, McKenzie's search for a head coach will soon come to an end.
At the press conference, McKenzie hinted that his list of candidates for the job is a short one. So far, the Raiders have interviewed one candidate and according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, there are only four more. http://espn.go.com/blog/afcwest/post/_/id/38817/its-packers-open-season-in-oakland
So the list of McKenzie's candidates is only five.
Aint Gonna Happen
I know, it's hard to let go of the last guy to do something big in Raider Nation, but Jon Gruden isn't coming back. Out of nowhere, there have been all kinds of rumors and inquiries about the possibility of Gruden coming back.
Sorry Nation, I just can't see that one because while Gruden remains friends with Raiders owner Mark Davis, he isn't McKenzie's guy. Plus, if Davis wanted Gruden back, he would have likely taken the package of him and Bruce Allen.
Now that we've cleared that up, let's get to the candidates.
5: Todd Bowles
Todd Bowles was an assistant head coach and secondary coach for the Miami Dolphins for most of 2011. Then he was until moved up to interim head coach after former Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano was fired.
Bowles has to be on the list because he has already been interviewed by the Raiders for the position. His pass defense ranked No. 8 in the NFL with a very young group and he went 2-1 as an interim head coach in 2011.
But I have him down at No. 5 because I believe McKenzie's guy is on the Packers staff. But looking at what Bowles did this year, I can see why McKenzie would want him for a backup plan to one of his guys.
4: Joe Philbin
At the introductory press conference, McKenzie said, "I only know one way," speaking of his experience with the Packers. He also said, "I've been working at it for 18 years, and it started with Ron Wolf."
That's a heck of a start McKenzie had under Wolf, who was the GM the the time hiring McKenzie as director of player personnel. From McKenzie's time under Wolf until just this year, the Packers went 194-110 with three Super Bowl appearances and two wins.
So naturally, McKenzie is going to start with someone who comes from the place that does it the only way he knows. Joe Philbin came up the Packers ranks, starting as a position coach and settling on offensive coordinator.
He isn't higher because Philbin is a West Coast offense guy and Carson Palmer isn't a West Coast offense fit. McKenzie speaking favorably of the quarterback at the press conference leads me to believe Palmer is in Raider Nation to stay.
But I guess you never do really know.
3: Darren Perry
If you really think about it, the Raiders offense isn't what really needs fixing. Al Saunders should be left alone at his offensive coordinator position because he's one of the best ever at it anyway.
So the best way to go for the Raiders is a defensive guy who will bring in his staff on defense.
Defensive guys usually have to go through an extensive interview process to find an offensive coordinator and vice versa.
Darren Perry is the Packers secondary coach who is from the Dom Capers coaching tree. That gets the No. 4 spot, but position coach to head coach isn't usually the route NFL coaches take.
But you never know—McKenzie is intent on bringing a Packers guy over.
2: Dom Capers
Capers figures to be high on the list because of everyone on the list, he has the most head-coaching experience. It also doesn't hurt that he's a defensive guy from the Dick LeBeau coaching tree.
His head coaching experience might not have been so great, but he may be ready now. That experience as a head coach is the reason why I have him at No. 2 on McKenzie's short list.
He's not higher because the No. 1 guy seems to be more of McKenzie's guy.
1: Winston Moss
I believe that Winston Moss is McKenzie's guy to lead the Oakland Raiders into the future. Why I believe Moss is McKenzie's guy isn't the most difficult thing to figure out.
Moss is a good linebackers coach, developing Clay Matthews while an assistant head coach in Green Bay. But I believe his time there, along with being a former Raider player like McKenzie, has much to do with it.
McKenzie cherishes his opportunity to come back home to Raider Nation and help the Raiders. I believe he wants to give the first opportunity to restore the glory of the Raiders to another former Raider.
He's also an assistant head coach who deserves the opportunity to make the next jump.
I know he looks like the twin brother of Davis, but the crying for Jon Gruden has to stop. Joe Philbin and Dom Capers are likely to stay where they are, so I wonder if they are backup plans or the reverse Rooney-rule.
With Jeff Fisher turning the Dolphins down for the St. Louis Rams, Bowles still has a shot at remaining there. With Capers remaining the defensive coordinator in Green Bay, Perry will likely get to move up to that position with the Raiders.
From there, Moss, the former Raider, gets his opportunity to be the Raiders head coach.
Just win baby!