This promises to be one of the busiest – and most interesting – offseasons in many years for the Oakland Raiders.
With new general manager Reggie McKenzie now in control of football operations, there is much to do, starting with hiring a new coach, setting up a front office, evaluating players and preparing for the draft.
ESPN reported Thursday that McKenzie already has plans to interview Todd Bowles to replace the fired Hue Jackson as head coach.
Bowles, the Miami Dolphins assistant head coach and secondary coach who served as interim head coach the final three games of the season after Tony Sparano was fired, is on McKenzie’s short list of candidates, sources told ESPN analyst Chris Mortenson.
Others believed to be on that short list are three Packers assistants, linebackers coach Winston Moss, secondary coach Darren Perry and quarterbacks coach Tom Clements. McKenzie will have to wait until after the Packers are out of the playoffs, however, to make a move with any of those assistants.
Bowles, who was 2-1 as interim head coach in Miami, has been with the Dolphins since 2008 and previously was a secondary coach with the Dallas Cowboys.
Because McKenzie comes from Green Bay, where he was part of the Packers organization for 18 seasons, there’s no doubt that organization will start to influence the Raiders, whether it’s the hiring of a Packers assistant as head coach, or the hiring of executives to assist McKenzie in the front office.
Also, McKenzie admitted to Vittorio Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle Wednesday that he likes the West Coast offense and the 3-4 defensive scheme, both used by the Packers.
“That’s what I am familiar with,” McKenzie told Tafur. Those also are the systems run across the Bay, by the 49ers.
McKenzie has a lot on his plate right now. While he seems to want to lock up a head coach as soon as possible, he says he’ll take his time evaluating players.
“There will be no quick decisions at all because the last thing I would want is to let go of someone and he turns out to be a Pro Bowl type of player,” McKenzie told Tafur. “Mistakes will happen. They happen because of haste and I don’t want to act in haste. So we’ll evaluate all our personnel and when time comes, when it’s time to make a move, if we have to we will.”
McKenzie also said that he did not fire Jackson because of Jackson’s fiery, postgame speech after the final game of the season when he said he was “pissed” at his team.
In a couple of interviews this week, Jackson said he regretted not cooling off a bit before talking to the media after the Raiders loss that kept Oakland out of the playoffs.
McKenzie said nothing Jackson said caused his firing.
“I’m not going to go into details, point by point, of what he did and what he didn’t do,” McKenzie told Steve Corkran of the Bay Area News Group. “This decision centered (on) my wanting to bring my own guy in, OK? That’s the main point. …
“It had nothing to do with the press conference, that didn’t matter to me. Everybody says things they wish they’d taken back. I’ve said a lot of things I wish I hadn’t said. But that’s not going to change my determination.”