Raiders begin interviews for new coach
ALAMEDA – The Oakland Raiders began interviewing candidates Monday to fill their vacant head coaching position less than a week after deciding not to bring Tom Cable back for a third full season.
Owner Al Davis decided last week not to pick up a a $5 million, two-year option to retain Cable. He spent much of last week reviewing the 2010 season, when the Raiders went 8-8 for their first non-losing season since winning the 2002 AFC championship.
Now the attention turns to finding the team’s sixth head coach since Jon Gruden left for Tampa Bay following the 2001 season.
“The interview process has begun,” senior executive John Herrera said. “No candidates will be named at this point.”
While offensive coordinator Hue Jackson is believed to be a favorite for the job, Davis likely will take advantage of the opportunity to interview candidates from outside the organization to gain insight into how other teams are operating.
Jackson came over after last season and assumed the play-calling duties from Cable. The improvement on offense was the biggest reason why the Raiders won three more games than they had in any of the previous seven seasons.
Led by quarterback Jason Campbell, a breakout season from running back Darren McFadden and big plays from rookie receiver Jacoby Ford, the Raiders finished sixth in the league in scoring with 410 points. That was the sixth-most points scored in a season in franchise history and more than doubled the 2009 scoring output.
Jackson already is under contract for next season as an assistant. He interviewed for the San Francisco job last week before the 49ers hired Jim Harbaugh.
Cable lasted longer than any Raiders coach since Gruden, posting a 17-27 record since being promoted from offensive line coach to interim coach early in the 2008 season after Lane Kiffin was fired.
The Raiders made big strides to improve under Cable but fell short of making the postseason for an eighth straight season. Oakland became the first team since the 1970 merger to win all of its division games and not make the playoffs.
The Raiders went just 2-8 outside the AFC West this season, with five of those losses coming to teams with losing records.