Is the new Raiders O.C. already in house?

Is the new Raiders O.C. already in house?
January 4, 2013, 10:00 am
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There's already a built-in familiarity with "Coach Flip" at 1220 Harbor Bay Parkway. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

No doubt the Senior Bowl is akin to an annual job fair for coaches and teams. Besides scouting out talent for the upcoming draft, coaches are on the lookout for their next jobs and, in turn, staff vacancies are looked to be filled by those in power.

The Raiders, along with the Detroit Lions, are coaching in his year's Senior Bowl but Oakland has four vacancies on staff, including the glaring hole at offensive coordinator. So does that speed up the process of coach Dennis Allen hiring an O.C. to replace the fired Greg Knapp, or might the Raiders head to Mobile, Ala., still looking for an offensive playcaller?

"I don’t have a timeframe for getting somebody in," Allen said Monday, before the Raiders accepted the invitation to coach in the Senior Bowl. "I want to make sure we get the right guy, and however long that takes for us to get the right guy, that’s how long that that takes. We’ve got to identify the potential candidates. We’ll start with that process and we’ll try to identify the guys that we think are best for this job. We’ll try to start the process as soon as we can and we’ll go until we get the right guy."

An early look, then, at some potential candidates for Raiders offensive coordinator…

John DeFilippo
Don't laugh, or sneer. The Raiders current quarterbacks coach may lack in experience as a playcaller at the NFL level, but he was an O.C. at San Jose State, as well as the Spartans' QB coach, in 2011. He was a Dennis Allen hire, so he's got that going for him, which is nice (Caddyshack reference) so there's already a built-in familiarity with "Coach Flip" at 1220 Harbor Bay Parkway. He'd be a leap, no doubt, but he'd be a logical leap as this new regime continues to find itself, especially since he's already worked with Terrelle Pryor. And yes, he was in Oakland when JaMarcus Russell was, too. But what is DeFilippo's offensive philosophy, and would he want to be an O.C.? He is intriguing, though, and would come at a much better price for the budget-conscious Raiders.

Al Saunders
Yes, we are staying in the Raiders locker room and eschewing the flash that's out there. But we're also being practical. As the saying goes, Saunders has forgotten more about offensive football than many candidates know. It was written in this space many times last year that Allen should have retained Saunders as his offensive coordinator -- yes, I know it was Hue Jackson's offense, but Saunders knew it intimately -- and made him the playcaller with the same explosive offense before Knapp was hired. This is a chance to right that hindsight-is-always-20/20 wrong going forward. Again, the familiarity would seemingly work in the Raiders' favor as there would be less of a learning curve than with someone completely new. And he knows what plays work for not only Darren McFadden, but Carson Palmer. But does the Raiders senior offensive assistant want the gig, or, as his two-year contract is up, is he done?

Pete Carmichael
His contract with New Orleans reportedly expired, Carmichael has the Super Bowl-winning resume that would make any staff salivate. The Saints offensive coordinator the past five years, and QB coach the three years previous, Carmichael has helped New Orleans boast one of the most explosive offenses in league history…with a little help from Drew Brees, of course. Entering 2012, the Saints had the top-ranked offense in four of the previous seven seasons, and finished this year ranked No. 2, with the No. 1-passing game. The Saints also led the NFL in scoring in 2008 and 2009. And, oh yes, there is a familiarity with Raiders coach Dennis Allen from their time together in New Orleans. Still, after what he's helped build in the Big Easy, it would be hard to see Carmichael walk away. Unless, of course, with Sean Payton returning from his BountyGate scandal, Carmichael wants new challenges.

Norv Turner
The lovefest between Turner and Allen the week of the season finale between the Raiders and Chargers was interesting to say the least. Neither coach could say enough positive things about the other leading up to the game. And Turner, a day before being fired in San Diego, could not have had a bigger smile on his face as he gave Terrelle Pryor a huge hug after the game. Might Turner be in play to return as Allen's O.C. to Oakland, where he was the head coach in 2004 and 2005? "That's maybe what he was hinting at," Pryor said with a laugh. The sense is that Turner is a better offensive coordinator than head coach so…but Turner will command big bucks. Bigger than the Raiders will be willing or able to pay. Then again, Turner will still be getting paid by San Diego in 2013, so he could conceivably give a discount. Yet, Allen wants an O.C. that will be around a while. Dallas seems to be a logical landing place for Turner.

Hue Jackson
Wait, what? Exactly. Sorry, Hubert fans, but it's just not happening. Not even after he turned Darren McFadden around and had the offense humming for two years. Simply too many idealogical differences and burned bridges. Besides, you really think Jackson wants to come back so soon to work under someone else at a place he was once king, self-appointed, but you get the point? No, this ship has sailed, but it still makes for interesting water cooler talk, no?

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