Raiders head coach
Photo Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie/USA TODAY Sports

New FSM Feature: Raiders Future Head Coach Possibilities

Franchise Sports Media

 

Who could be the best possible person to lead the Raiders into the future? Are they on staff, or will Mark Davis go outside the organization to find his new head coach?

 

Raiders head coach
Photo Credit: Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

As we get closer to Week 18, the Raiders certainly have a big decision to make concerning the head coaching position. After Jon Gruden’s history of insensitive emails came back to haunt him, Mark Davis was left with an interim leader of his squad. Rich Bisaccia has done his best for the Raiders, but they may have to make a more significant decision even with the credit due.

With an 8-7 record, 5-5 under Bisaccia, the Raiders have maintained their position in the hunt for the playoffs. Still, Mark Davis has to figure out the subsequent trajectory for this team.

Bisaccia has done a commendable job considering everything he has had to deal with this season, both on and off the field. The players like him respect him, and he has brought some stability to the team. But the team’s play hasn’t been as consistent as a team fighting for a playoff spot needs. His .500 record so far indicates how the team has played under his watch, up and down. So is Bisaccia the right man to lead the Raiders in the future, or do they need to go outside the organization to find their new leader?

Let’s take a look at a few other potential head-coaching possibilities for the Raiders.

 

Byron Leftwich is out there as a candidate, and the Raiders would be justified in considering him.

 

Raiders head coach
Photo Credit: Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

Leftwich has experience as an offensive coordinator in Tampa Bay with playoff and Super Bowl experience. Tom Brady certainly taught him what a championship offense looks like and how to handle the lofty expectations of being a front-runner. Leftwich does not have experience as head coach, but he knows what it takes to win, which he did in college and the NFL as a player and now coach.

Hiring Leftwich could serve as an excellent move for the Raiders as they begin to find themselves in playoff situations. Leftwich could positively impact the squad and is the hot name for potential head coaching openings this cycle. The Jacksonville Jaguars, who drafted him in the seventh pick in the first round of the 2003 NFL Draft, will also interview him for their opening.

Leftwich would help whomever the quarterback is, whether it’s Derek Carr or someone else. Leftwich has quickly earned the designation as a “QB guru” and a leader. He has worked well with Brady, which isn’t an easy thing, and would be huge on improving chemistry on the offensive side of the ball, namely with Josh Jacobs, Darren Waller, and Hunter Renfrow in his offense. Hiring Leftwich would add the kind of leadership the Raiders need while adding new and fresh blood to an organization that needs a transfusion.

 

It’s not just Leftwich however, as the Raiders have many more options, including a former rival who is ready for another shot as a head coach.

 

Raiders head coach
Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The Raiders need someone they can trust to lead their players, especially after everything that happened this season. Jon Gruden made final decisions regarding player personnel and had a good relationship with the team before getting in trouble. Josh McDaniels knows a thing or two regarding building good relationships with the team, as the offensive coordinator has been a good presence for the Patriots this season.

His work with rookie quarterback Mac Jones has paid off, and it’s caused a lot of stir among other organizations as well. Bill Belichick has praised McDaniels as a very reliable assistant in past seasons, and many think he is the heir apparent to Belichick when he decides to retire. That type of praise means a lot coming from Belichick, which has caused other organizations to take note. Not only does McDaniels have experience in the playoffs, but he also has worked and shadowed an all-time legend coach.

McDaniels has received a lot of credit for his time with New England, mainly due to his interactions with the players and fellow coaches. This type of leadership could serve very well for a derailed Raiders team, overcoming setbacks like no other. However, nothing can be confirmed for the near future, and Mark Davis can certainly attest to that.

 

There is a slight buzz around Todd Bowles and his chances of taking over the role.

 

Raiders head coach
Photo Credit: Jeff Chiu/AP

Leftwich may be great for young players like Zay Jones and Bryan Edwards, but Bowles could be a great addition regarding defense. The defensive coordinator has playoff experience and could help improve the Raiders as they build around Maxx Crosby.

The inexperience as head coach may be the elephant in the room for many candidates this year, but Bowles knows what it takes to win on the defensive side. He watched his defense hold the Chiefs to 9 points in the Super Bowl, and it comes down to trust that it could translate in Las Vegas.

Mike LaFleur is another name that could be a good fit, as he was a great help to Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco. LaFleur comes from a family of coaching, as his brother Matt LaFleur is the head coach of the Packers. However, being praised by an all-time great coach in Mike Shanahan shows his success has nothing to do with nepotism. LaFleur’s resume makes you consider the knowledge of greatness that can be reflected on the Raiders, given who he’s worked with in the past.

Should LaFleur be offered the position, the opportunity of working with a better team may allow him to ignite a spark. He could bring old plays from San Francisco, and the ideologies granted him as part of the Shanahan coaching tree.

 

Shaking things up isn’t a bad idea sometimes, and it’s something else the Raiders could consider.

 

Raiders head coach
Photo Credit: Green Bay Packers

Going back to brother Matt LaFleur, the head coach has spoken on the outstanding leadership of his cornerback coach/passing game coordinator Jerry Gray. Like Bowles, Gray brings strong leadership to the defensive side of things, a quality that most good coaches have. He’s been a part of legendary defenses like the ’03 and ’04 Bills, raising the question of whether he’d be able to add on more responsibilities.

Gray would be a great leader for the defense and the Raiders organization as a whole. There’s resiliency already residing in the clubhouse, and Gray would be a great fit in working off that. Gray’s name started to get mentioned earlier in the year when he took over calling the defensive plays for a game against the then-undefeated Arizona Cardinals. The Packers were without DaVante Adams and held the Cardinals’ high-powered offense in check while coming away with a critical win.

Players sing the praise of Gray for the work he does on the field and in the film room with them. Many credit him for their careers, including Jaire Alexander, former Raider Rasual Douglas, and rookie Eric Stokes. Even Packers defensive coordinator Joe Berry has said Gray has been a huge help in turning around the Packers defense.

 

Could Buffalo provide the way to the next Raiders head coach?

 

Raiders head coach
Photo Credit: Nick Wojton/USA TODAY

He was one of the marquee NFL coaching candidates in 2021, but it’s fair to say some of the allure surrounding Brian Daboll has gone away this year. Sean McDermott’s frustrations regarding Buffalo ranking 20th in run play rate (39.9%) fails to understand something relatively simple. But Daboll’s offense is starting to click again as the Bills are getting ready for another playoff run.

Daboll is making the best out of personnel geared to throw the football early and often. Unfortunately, Josh Allen isn’t a 20-attempt quarterback, the Bills’ receiving corps isn’t paid to block, and this offensive line isn’t healthy enough to dominate in the trenches. Maybe Daboll isn’t the offensive wizard everyone thought, but a disciple of Belichick and Nick Saban is still getting a lot out of a quarterback who many thought would never be great. Daboll still deserves a shot to be a head coach. If he leaves, maybe McDermott can find a conservative play-caller who appeases him.

Daboll is in his fourth season as the Bills offensive coordinator and was named the 2020 AP Assistant Coach of the Year. He won a national championship as the offensive coordinator at Alabama in 2017. Daboll also coached in New England for a total of 11 seasons and won five Super Bowl titles as an assistant (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLIX, and LI).

The Bills offense ranked second overall in both yards (396.4) and points (31.3) per game in 2020. The Bills scoring production improved by 11.7 points per game from 2019 to 2020.

 

Another name to keep an eye on is Nathaniel Hackett, who is the Packers offensive coordinator.

 

Raiders head coach
Photo credit: Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

Hackett, the son of former NFL and USC head coach Paul Hackett, began his NFL career as a quality coach under Jon Gruden with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2006. He served there for two years before moving to the Buffalo Bills in that same role for the 2008 and 2009 seasons. He worked with quarterbacks such as Bruce Gradkowski, Chris Simms, Jeff Garcia, Ryan FitzpatrickBrian Brohm, EJ Manuel, and Kyle Orton during his early years as an NFL coach. Since then, he has worked with Blake Bortles and  Aaron Rodgers.

Last off-season, he interviewed for the Atlanta Falcons head coaching job and eventually lost out to Arthur Smith. But Hackett’s current quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, called Atlanta to recommend him for the job personally and spoke glowingly about him. That is high praise for the former Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator who led the team to AFC Championship Game with Bortles as his quarterback and Leonard Fournette as his running back.

While LaFleur is the play-caller in Green Bay, Hackett has been an integral part of cultivating game plans on a week-to-week basis for quarterback Aaron Rodgers and this offense.

In 2020, Hackett’s offense ranked first in points per game and scored a touchdown on 80 percent of their red-zone visits—an absurdly high rate and a specific part of the game plan that fell under Hackett’s control. The Packers also have 38 wins over these three years.

Between working alongside Rodgers and being a part of one of the more innovative offenses in football, Hackett’s name will be trendy on this hiring cycle.

These candidates have all been part of championship-caliber teams. That is the point of all this; however, the Raiders are looking into guys who have been there before. The Raiders’ inexperience can turn into a formality with the right leadership. Should the Raiders find someone who knows what it takes to make the promised land, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the on-field play drastically improve in the right direction for Raider Nation.

 

The future has something to hold for the Raiders. This season’s setback is a setup for a major comeback.

 

 

Raiders head coach                       Raiders head coach                       Raiders head coach                       Raiders head coach                       Raiders head coach                       Raiders head coach                       Raiders head coach                       Raiders head coach                       Raiders head coach                       Raiders head coach                          

-Duncan Dye   Franchise Sports Media

Follow Duncan on Instagram @duncan.dye42

Follow The Franchise on social media

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook

YouTube