In order to be the head coach for the Raiders, the following qualities are key:
- Ability to manage chaos
- Ability to deal with a circus at times
- Experience managing veterans, rookies, media, and front office folks
- Creativity, Adaptability, Flexibility
I believe those first two skills are the key ones. The other two are more typical of any of the jobs open right now. As I looked at the possibilities out there, especially given that there are now five openings: Denver (Yea, baby!), Detroit, Jets, Browns, and da Raidehs.
Each of the openings requires a different skill set, but I think that the ownership situation in Oakland is key. I believe that it would be in our best interests to hire a GM before a head coach, but I don't think that should actually happen.
So, let's take a look at the candidates—regardless of whether they've been denied or confirmed by anyone.
(In no particular order)
1) Dennis Green - His name always circulates, because he's "friends" with Al Davis. However, he's been gone too long, and his rough edges in Minneapolis and Arizona wouldn't do well in Oaktown. Odds: 100:1
2) Bill Cowher - After the Super Bowl win, everyone has decided that he's the next Holmgren/Belichick. I disagree, because, as I recall, his team's did not handle prosperity well in the playoffs and often lost to lesser teams.
In addition, he can write his ticket in the current environment and could end up in Denver (and the subsequent roster turnover from Shanny's patsies to Cowher types bodes well for my Raiders). Odds 50:1
3) Jim Harbaugh - I'm not sure why folks are so high on him (although his brother did well with Billick's roster), but I think he's got to stay at Stanford to finish the job he started before he makes the next jump. Odds: 25:1
4) Mike Martz - Puhleeze. He's an offensive coordinator with delusions of grandeur. He's too arrogant, and again, he hasn't done anything in recent years to warrant even a first look, let alone a second. Even with Al's love of offense, Martz is damaged goods. Odds 75:1
5) Steve Spagnuolo - Defensive-minded guy, rumored for other jobs. I don't see a defensive coach coming to Oaktown. Odds 50:1
6) Marc Trestman - Former Oaktown guy, knows the environment, but I don't see it. I think that he's been out of it a little too long, and he may not even want to return to the current Raiders situation. Odds 25:1
7) Hue Jackson - Going from QB Coach for a rookie coach to Head Coach at one of the most chaotic and challenging environments doesn't strike me as very good odds for success. We've already seen what a coach who's trying to make his first gig with the Raiders can look like. Thanks Lance. Odds 25:1
8) Paul Hackett - Re-tread NFL coordinator from past lives. I don't think he's head-coach material, and he fails my "creativity" criteria above. Odds 100:1
9) Eric Mangini - Rejected Jets guy who never really was given much to work with. Pennington had injuries, and their drafts left a lot to be desired offensively. In addition, he's not a good communicator and is defensive minded. Not a good match for Oakland's world. Odds 100:1
10) Jim Fassel - The ultimate retread. Yes, he's been in Oakland before and did a pretty good job in NY during his time there. However, I think that NY is completely different from Oakland, and the roster is in a different place as well.
Our path to success is via the younger guys, and we need a guy who can relate to them well. I don't think Fassel is that guy. Odds 20:1
11) James Lofton - Recent hire by Al. Seems to have done a good job with the wideouts this year. Hasn't been a coordinator, so the jump to head coach would be a challenge.
In addition, with Al's propensity for hiring a coaching staff in pieces, it could be tough for James to pull them all together. The flip side is—if you went with an inexperienced coach, maybe they'd lean on Al's patchwork staff more, and that could be successful. Odds 12:1
12) Rob Ryan - I think Rob Ryan will leave the team if he's not made head coach. I also think that his chance to take the team was when Kiffin left. Davis didn't pick him them (even though he interviewed for the head coach previously), so that says a lot. Odds 15:1
13) Tom Cable - Cable has done a good job the last several weeks. I believe he's gotten the players minds turned around and won the last three of six, including the "spoiler" role against Tampa in a meaningless cross-country game for our folks.
I believe Davis sees that potential. It would be interesting to see what Cable would do in growing from this experience, surviving in Oakland, and starting with his own playbook and some new assistants. Odds 4:1
The one person I didn't list here is Bill Parcells. He'd be a great fit—for the front office. I still don't think he'll choose us, but if he did, I don't think it would be as Coach.
Depending on how Al handles the hiring of the GM and Head Coach, as well as how much Al changes based on the past two seasons total failure with Kiffin, and newfound success with Cable, it could be anybody's guess to see what happens.
I believe that Cable has shown some good qualities—especially the last two weeks, as well as a willingness to do it his way. Even with the failed fake FG with Seabass "Wheels" Janikowski around the end, he still stuck to his guns. He's definitely gotten rid of most of the garbage that Kiffin pumped into the system and into guy's heads.
If Al chooses someone other than Cable, then instead of 2009 being a "building on 2008" year, it becomes a "start from scratch year", b/c we'd have new DC, new HC, and new GM.
Those items combine to make it a very tough year, depending on how the above decisions are made. My personal hope is to minimize change, stabilize the organization, and get started moving forward.
In order to do that, call the Cable Guy!