One is a 62-year-old two-time Super Bowl winner. Another is a current tight ends coach who has a 33-47 record in two failed stints as an NFL head coach. A third is one of the NFL’s latest young offensive gurus.
The three are part of a large and diverse group of candidates being interviewed by the Raiders for their vacant head coaching position. And, at this point, it seems an impossible race to call.
Who has the inside track? It’s anybody’s guess.
So far, the candidates are Mike Shanahan (the 62-year-old), a former Raiders head coach in the 1980s; Eric Mangini, the former Jets and Browns coach who was on the staff of the 49ers last season; Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, the architect of Andrew Luck’s effective passing game; Tony Sparano, the interim Raiders head coach who guided Oakland to a 3-9 mark after Dennis Allen was fired; Arizona defensive coordinator Todd Bowles; Eagles offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur; Jack Del Rio, Denver defensive coordinator; and Seattle defensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.
In addition, former Rams head coach Scott Linehan (now Cowboys passing game coordinator) has been reported to be on the Raiders’ list for an interview, as is ex-Jets coach Rex Ryan.
There seems to be no pattern to the search being conducted by general manager Reggie McKenzie and team owner Mark Davis.
Shanahan is old (by NFL standards), Mangini has failed twice and Hamilton is untested. Shurmur coaches a wide-open spread attack in Philadelphia, and Bowles, Del Rio and Bevell are defensive-minded.
Then there’s Ryan, a wild card, whose New York teams were usually solid defensively – but often were a mess at quarterback. Don’t the Raiders want someone who can guide young Derek Carr toward success?
From the outside, it seems as if the Raiders may not be certain what type of coach they want. Since losing out on ex-49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, now at Michigan, it appears the Oakland braintrust is taking a shotgun approach and hoping to hit paydirt.
Then again, maybe McKenzie and Davis already have someone in mind. Some have reported that Del Rio, with Bay Area roots and some success in Jacksonville, may be the No. 1 candidate.
Then again, don’t be surprised if another name or two pops up on the to-be-interviewed list. So far, it seems the Raiders are casting a wide net.