Jim Harbaugh is the latest coach to have his hat thrown in the ring, this time by ESPN.
Harbaugh, who ESPN said told the Raiders, thanks, but no thanks, joins Jim Fassel and Marc Trestman as coaches who have reportedly already talked to Al Davis even while Tom Cable is still employed.
For what it’s worth, Fassel, talking on Sirius Satellite Radio, denies it.
“I mean, Tom Cable’s the coach. I think if a coach is in place you don’t start calling somebody and seeing if the job is open or not. Tom Cable is the coach. My son happens to be the special teams coordinator for the Raiders and they played very well this year. They set an NFL record, an all-time record, of net punt [yards] and gross punt [yards] this year.”
“ So I follow the Raiders pretty closely because my son is coaching there and I coached there at one time. But, no, I’m not lobbying for any job. I’m not lobbying for the Raider job. I have never in my life rooted for a coach to be let go so there’s an opening. I never have. I’m in the same fraternity. I just got my nose to the grindstone. I’m down here in Vegas working on getting situated down here and that’s where I am. Nobody’s reached out to me.”
Trestman has been unavailable for comment, but last December signed an extension to remain with the Montreal Alouettes through 2012 after winning the Grey Cup. The signing was followed by a press conference that resembled a coronation. As for whether there are any legal issues with hiring a coach under contract in another country, the Raiders have plenty of lawyers if they’re truly interested.
It’s bad form in the coaching fraternity to go after a job when there’s a coach still in place. And it’s just as bad for an owner to conduct actual interviews for a job that is filled.
Of course there are backchannel ways to gauge interest, but actual interviews?
If Davis has actually been lining up head coaching interviews, it’s the first time he’s done it with a coach in place. Even in the case of Joe Bugel, who wasn’t fired for 16 days after the 1997 season ended, interviews with candidates Jon Gruden, Bill Belichick and Art Shell did not begin until Bugel was fired.
The report regarding Baltimore quarterbacks coach Hue Jackson _ it’s been speculated it’s for an offensive coordinator job _ is the one that makes the most sense at this point, because it seems clear that if Cable were to hang on, he would be relinquishing play-calling, and Jackson would also represent someone who might be able to get through to JaMarcus Russell in a way that Paul Hackett and Ted Tollner could not.
Rich Gannon, talking with Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun-Times, thinks Hackett had an impossible job.
“You could bring in Vince Lombardi and I don’t think he would make JaMarcus any better,” Gannon said. “You have to have a guy who wants to be great and work. A lot of what has happened there has been out of Paul’s control. When they played the quarterback they wanted _ Bruce Gradkowski _ he was prepared and made good decisions and the football team was much more competitive. They got the same results with Charlie Frye.”
Hackett’s name has been floated as a potential Bears hire to work with Jay Cutler.