Now with reports pretty much stating that Jim Harbaugh is moving to Ann Arbor Michigan to coach the Wolverines, who are some of the good and bad choices for the Oakland Raiders head coaching position. Before we get into that, what the heck happened to Jim Harbaugh?
Why did Harbaugh Not pick the Raiders?
Contrary to what Michigan fans will say, Harbaugh is pretty much taking a step backwards for more money. Why would he do that when a Superbowl is so important to him?
Take it for what you will, but rumors are leaking in the local media that the main issue with Harbaugh is that he was sick of the behavior of the NFL players. He wanted full control over discipline and the 49ers told him no. Last year in an interview Harbaugh ripped into Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks because they had so many issues with PED suspensions and off the field matters. Unfortunately during this year, the 49ers had several arrests and problems that occurred and Harbaugh was confronted with his statements. He was embarrassed by the arrests and off the field issues the 49er players were having and when the 49ers didnt’ comment at times or just let things go, Harbaugh was the one that had to answer for the behavior and lack of discipline and it made him look like a hypocrite. It made him look very bad and he didn’t like it. In a local interview he once said that he would never allow anyone that committed domestic violence to be on his team.
In the psycho world of college football; at Michigan; he will be worshipped and paid and given anything that he wants and he will get to work less hours. To think though that he wont be back into the NFL in 3-4 years would be naive. For the control freak Harbaugh, he will have all the control he wants. And to be honest, it’s hard to blame him.
Retreads v.s. Young hungry Coordinators:
Years ago before he took the New Orleans Saints job, I wanted Dallas assistant head coach Sean Payton to be the Oakland coach. The Raiders interviewed him and Bill Parcells raved about him but they didn’t hire him. Many Raider fans and media didn’t want him because they said he had no experience. Unfortunately hiring coaches with experience losing usually leads to one thing; losing. Sean Payton now has a Superbowl ring and the Raiders in 12 years are 57-135 which is the worst losing stretch in 124 years.
I also love when people say, “the Raiders need someone with post season success and experience”. Well then bring up some names. Gruden, Cowher, and other analysts are not leaving million dollar jobs where they barely have to work so they can work 20 hour days and never see their loved ones. Mike Holmgren is talking about the great times with his grand children so thinking a soon to be 67 year old who hasn’t coached since 2008 and had a disastrous front office stint in 2010-12 with the Browns is going to hop up out of bed and be the head coach or full time GM for an NFL team is naive. Holmgren does like attention and seems to always like to put his name in the NFL rumor mill like Gruden, but it’s nothing more than that. I see him possibly being a consultant for some time but even then I don’t see him doing anything full time. It’s easy to want something but you need to be realistic.
With Harbaugh gone; these are my 4 best candidates to be the Raiders next head coach.
- Todd Bowles Defensive Coordinator, Arizona Cardinals; Bowles is an organized no nonsense guy, who is a great teacher and developer of the defensive front 7. He has the formula to win in the NFL; stop the run and rush the passer. Even with so many injuries this year, Arizona lead the very tough NFC west for most of the year, and their defense again lead the way. The 49ers are already trying to interview him. Maybe he will convince the Raiders to stop drafting so many busts at DB in the first and second round over the last 12 years and concentrate on the front 7.
- Dan Quinn Defensive Coordinator, Seattle Seahawks. Reports are that he”s leaning towards the Jets because he’s from there. He’s another tough minded no nonsense guy who isn’t the flashy Rex Ryan type and doesnt’ like the limelight, but man can he coach. Even with many players leaving Seattle, they now are healthy and dominating on defense like they were last year. He’s an ultra aggressive coach who likes when the quarterback is on the ground. Seattle always is hard to run on as well and he’s very well respected by everyone. They play an intimidating style that makes the defensive fans from the 70’s drool with excitement.
- Ray Horton (My sleeper pick); Defensive Coordinator, Cleveland Browns. How that defense survives with that terrible offense is beyond me. The Cleveland 3 and outs. Horton has an uncanny knack for evaluating talent and is a great builder of defenses. Another tough minded guy who is ultra aggressive. He was a finalist last year for the Arizona job which shows how much people think of him. He’s a diamond in the rough but with Cleveland’s pathetic offense and ownership, he’s not getting the credit he deserves.
- Darrell Bevell: Offensive Coordinator, Seattle. Bevell is more laid back than the other 3 but he was the one that talked Pete Carroll into drafting Russell Wilson. When ESPN ripped on Seattle for picking Wilson, Carroll joked and said, “don’t look at me, he’s the Bevell project”. Bevell changed the offense twice for Wilson the last two years after Golden Tate and others left the team. He loves the power running game with a mix in of passing variations. He’s a good play caller and Wilson gives Bevell a lot of credit in regards to his development. Derek Carr could do a lot worse than have him as his head coach.
My worries are that the Raiders will do what they do many times in this situation. They will take forever to make a decision. Paralysis by analysis. The 49ers are already setting up interviews as we speak (or as we read). .
Coaches NOT to consider.
I still dont understand why fans would want a coach that is losing in one place and then think all of a sudden they are going to do great things at another place. I mean if you have Tom Brady I can understand it, but that is rare. Losing coaches usually do one thing again. They lose. This is a list of those coaches that the Raiders need to avoid.
- Rex Ryan, former NY Jets coach: A legend in his own mind that would love to do a movie on himself. He loves the sound of his own voice and at times is more of a snake oil salesman than a head coach. Fans love him because he tells them what they want to hear but they just aren’t listening anymore. The once darling of the New York media, he is now getting hung by the same people. As a coordinator out of the limelight he’s very good. As a head coach in 6 years he has only 2 winning seasons and in the last 4 years he’s only 28-38. He’s not a head coach, plus he’s a pain. His offenses rarely impress and even in his first 2 years they weren’t juggernauts. The Jets get worse the longer he coaches. Bad sign.
- Tony Sporano; present Oakland Raiders coach; I’m not going to get mad. Let’s just say he’s not a good head coach. The Raiders were outscored in their last 3 road games 130-27 and in their last 4 road games they averaged 8 points a game. He was fired at Miami for a reason and his ultra conservative nature is downright annoying. Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler would tell him to open things up he’s so conservative. And if I have to see him and Greg Olsen on the sidelines any more it may be too much to take. He’s a good football guy; seems like a good person, but he is not a good head coach. No coach is getting fired from a job to be an offensive line coach so he isn’t staying.
- Mike Smith, former Atlanta Hawks coach:
He didn’t seem to be that into the offensive side of the ball. The Atlanta Falcons clock management was awful during his tenure and his record the last two years was 10-22. Not all of it is his fault. I think Matt Ryan is overrated; but Atlanta has become a train wreck with a lack of discipline and mental errors and that has to be put partly on Mike Smith. Some of his clock managements screw ups are of legend in Atlanta. No
- Doug Marrone, present Buffalo Bills head coach:
This would be a waste of time. He’s a good option but not great so I’d pass. ESPN put up a story that Bills coach Doug Marrone has a 3 day window where he can go to another NFL team so now some Raider fans have wondered about him coming to Oakland. Marrone has done a solid job at Buffalo and if you take away the defensive injuries the last 2 weeks, they arguably are a good quarterback away from being a top NFL team. Reports back east though say Marrone is not interested in leaving. I find it hard to see him leave a team with a lot of talent; especially with wide receiver Sammy Watkins and that great defense; and go to a team that has the worst DL in the NFL and can’t score. I think he stays in Buffalo so it is kind of a waste of time..
- Adam Gase, Offensive Coordinator, Denver Broncos:
The name Adam Gase is beginning to be thrown around the ESPN rumor mill as a possible new head coach in the NFL. Remember whatever some of the experts say to do; just do the opposite.
In 2000 Adam Gase was a graduate assistant at LSU. That means he was pretty much a volunteer coach, which wasn’t that long ago. In his entire life he’s been an offensive coordinator for a year and a half. He’s an OC on an offense that has a control freak quarterback in Peyton Manning who pretty much runs the offense. He is throwing behind a really good offensive line and maybe throws to the best group of receivers in the NFL where Wes Welker finds it hard to get playing time. If anyone thinks Adam Gase is the architect for the Denver offense and would be a good head coach then I’ve got a big Orange bridge in San Francisco I want to sell you; real cheap.
- Jack Del Rio, Defensive Coordinator, Denver Broncos:
He’s a local boy from the bay area. He is beginning to be a popular choice for the Raiders job recently. I’m not a huge Jack Del Rio Fan. I think he did an alright job at Jacksonville but he had issues too. I like him as a defensive coordinator but as a head coach, there are much better options. His career record as a head coach is 68-71 and in 9 years the Jags only had 3 winning seasons. On the positive, for the most part most of the years he coached the Jacksonville defenses were fairly good but his teams always seemed to struggle offensively over the course of a season. He went to the playoffs twice in 9 years and was 1-2. I think he’s another one of the well liked ex-players who always seems to be talked about as a head coach because of his popularity..
History of Bad Coaching Decisions by Oakland: Looking back, part of the Raiders issues when hiring a coach was control. Al Davis wanted nothing to do with a coach that wasn’t a yes man. That’s why he and Gruden eventually parted ways. Another problem is the Raiders wait too long to find a coach. Again; Paralysis by analysis.
What has happened in the past with the Raiders is that they take their time; sometimes a very long time; to pick a coach and in today’s NFL that is a huge mistake. Usually all of the good coaching prospects are hired fairly quickly, and they are left with retreads or young assistants with no clue to what is going on. Many also have not paid their dues through the assistant ranks and they really are in over their heads when they get hired as head coaches.
If Oakland takes too long, they will end up with another Norv Turner or Dennis Allen type and this time next year they will again be looking for a coaching option. Time is of the essence if the Oakland Raiders are going to rebuild this franchise and they need to take a chance on an up and coming assistant who have paid their dues in the NFL. The NFL is a better place when the Raiders are doing well. And to be honest I am tired of writing about all of the losing the Raiders have been doing over the last 12 years. Happy Raider fans are more fun than angry and depressed ones.