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Reports: Del Rio Raiders new head coach

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Here is beat writer Jerry McDonald’s early story about the Raiders reportedly hiring Jack Del Rio to succeed interim coach Tony Sparano as the Raiders next head coach:

The Raiders hadn’t yet made it official, but all signs point to Jack Del Rio as the 21st head coach in franchise history.

Del Rio met with Raiders owner Mark Davis, general manager Reggie McKenzie and Hall of Fame coach John Madden for more than four hours Tuesday in a second interview.

Both the Associated Press and cbssports.com’s Jason LaCanfora cited sources saying a four-year deal had been reached.

An announcement could come as soon as Wednesday, with an introductory press conference press conference scheduled for Thursday or Friday.

Del Rio, 51, gets the job over interim coach Tony Sparano, who was a popular choice among team members and who openly campaigned for the job following the regular season.

According to an Associated Press report, Sparano was told he was out of the running, clearing the way for Del Rio.

The head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2003 through 2011, Del Rio was a three-sport star athlete at Hayward High who grew up a Raiders fan.

The Jaguars were 68-71 with Del Rio as head coach with wild card playoff appearances in 2005
coach with wild card playoff appearances in 2005 and 2007. He was fired with a 3-8 record in 2011 and hired the next season as the defensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos.

The Broncos had the NFL’s third-ranked defense in 2014. The Broncos and coach John Fox agreed to part ways Monday, and vice president John Elway said Del Rio was a candidate to become the Denver coach, although no interview had been scheduled.

According to the ESPN report, Madden signed off on Del Rio’s hiring.

In Jacksonville, Del Rio’s teams stressed defense and the running game. A defensive coordinator in Carolina for a season before taking over in Jacksonville, Del Rio’s teams were considered fundamentally sound but did not blitz heavily.

Del Rio is considered tough and uncompromising, qualities former Raider and Hall of Fame defensive back Rod Woodson believes will be beneficial.

“He won’t be easy on the guys, and maybe that’s what they need right now,” Woodson told 95.7 The Game.

Former Raiders linebacker Bill Romanowski told 95.7 he doesn’t know Del Rio personally, but thinks he brings a presence to the sideline.

“There’s a toughness about him,” Romanowski said. “I look at Jack Del Rio and I think, that’s a tough guy.”

A third-round draft pick out of USC, Del Rio played 11 seasons in the NFL for the Rams, Chiefs, Cowboys and Vikings. He played in 160 games, starting 128, with 13 sacks, 13 interceptions and 12 forced fumbles.

When Del Rio left Hayward for a scholarship at USC, it was the same season the Raiders moved to Los Angeles.

“My team followed me to college,” Del Rio said.

Much of the focus during the search was on head coaches with NFL experience.

Del Rio, Sparano, Mike Shanahan, Pat Shurmur and Eric Mangini had all been NFL head coaches. Other candidates who interviewed were Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and Indianapolis offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, whose teams are participating in championship games Sunday.

The last four hires before Sparano — Lane Kiffin, Tom Cable, Hue Jackson and Allen — had no NFL head coaching experience.

Other coaches still under contract include offensive coordinator Greg Olson and special teams coordinator Bobby April. Mike Smith, the former Atlanta Falcons coach who was Del Rio’s defensive coordinator in Jacksonville, is available and a possibility to assume that post for the Raiders.

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Steve Corkran

  • Zymurge

    I don’t believe that Reggie made bad choices in FAs last year. What he did make, probably in conjunctions with Mark, was a decision to not pursue the big ticket names in order to keep the cap healthy while they build through the draft. Thus, the plan to bring in older bridge players on the cheap. And he did a fairly decent job of executing THAT plan.

    Your list is not going to happen because you’re listing several of the elite FAs at their position. Anyone can easily point to those because it’s the top talent. But it’s not part of (what I believe is still) Reggie’s plan. I don’t think he spends big in 2015, but instead targets more youth from the second and third tier of the market in order to add to the core without killing the cap.

    Some of the names on the bottom of your list might be options in that regard.

  • Zymurge

    http://www.nflshop.com/Oakland_Raiders_Jerseys/Pro_Line_Mens_Oakland_Raiders_Derek_Carr_Team_Color_Jersey

    For Marcus you probably need to look in the Chiefs department, because knowing him he won’t allow any Raiders versions to be sold any more.

  • David Afraimi

    Thanks!

  • PlunkforHOF

    snorting with laughter.

  • So your saying Gannon is a smarter QB right now, Gannon was also older when he took off with us , don’t say Carr can’t do the same at a younger age

  • 24

    Genius!

  • Ronin559

    With up to $70m in cap space he is going to have the money to go after one or two of those elite guys. All of those guys are still young and are guys you can build a team around. Reggie’s Greenbay roots would indicate he uses his cap to keep his guys, but with the lack of draft pick in 2011 & 2012 there are no guys on the team to resign other then Steven Wisniewski. Don’t forget that there is a minimum cap as well as a maximum, they can only carry over so much to next year. So they have to spend it this year or next.

  • xdirtyxpnwxraidersfan

    How many of these guys would wanna come play for us for the love of the game and not just the paycheck.

  • Zymurge

    There’s a difference between smart and experienced. One you’re born with and basically doesn’t change through your career. It’s how fast your brain learns and processes information, often called IQ. It’s what the Wonderlic gives one measure of.

    Experience is something you keep adding to and having more knowledge to leverage. You can use experience to improve your decision making as well as to make faster decisions by knowing what matters.

    Gannon is smart. He has shall we say an elite brain for a QB to go with decent mobility and a barely adequate arm. It’s his smarts that got him through his career and that allowed him to blossom once paired with a system that utilized it to it’s full potential. Gruden knew he needed a very smart guy to run his offense and that’s why he tapped the journeyman instead of getting a younger, more physical QB.

    Carr has a huge head start in experience, which is why he plays like a guy with more years in the league. But I question just how elite his brain is, given a low 20 on the Wonderlic. What I think is that he is way ahead in career years on the experience part that makes it easier for him to make decisions. The downside is that where most young guys improve in their first few years as they gain this experience, Carr may already be further down that path and not have as much upside.

  • MVTA Raider

    O.K…. I’m reluctantly on board with the Del Rio hire…. Still pissed that Davis didn’t fire Freckles the Clown (RM)… I sure as hell hope that Del Rio cleans that damn coaching staff out. I’m SO sick of seeing this damn team underperform in so many damn areas…

  • MVTA Raider

    Can’t you get the RAIDER Image to make a 32 Allen jersey? I thought they’d put any name/number on their authentic jerseys…. Unless I’m missing something here…

  • JUGULATOR

    Seriously?, may not have as much upside? he just started every game of his rookie season, something no other rookie QB has ever done….

  • Zymurge

    You just helped make my point. Why was he able to start all 16? Because he came in more prepared than the typical rookie. Some are early bloomers, some are late. He could just be closer to his top which allowed him to be ready this early. Makes since given his unprecedented amount of NFL exposure as a teen.

    There is no God given upside that says once you hit the NFL you will improve by X%. Most guys, especially at QB, make most of their improvements in the mental game, where lots of reps helps them with recognition. I think Carr is just that much further along on that route.

  • I don’t think that’s the case here, Olsen I think is a average OC, working with average recievers, let’s see what happens if we get just one elite receiver like a Tim brown . Elite recievers help young QBS

  • Ronin559

    Don’t fool yourself, all of these guys know it a business at this point of their career. Most of these guys are Free Agents for the first time and this is where they make the money to live off the rest of their lives and their children’s lives. There is no such thing as a home town discount for these guys. If we were talking about guys at the end of their careers who already cashed in like Brady or Woodson then you can factor “love of the game” but right now money talks. That would go for any team, and in particular the guaranteed money is what they are looking for.

  • JUGULATOR

    My point is wait a few more years to judge

  • Zymurge

    Absolutely! No rookie can be judged on a single season. My point is that I think Carr’s teenage prep is so different than the norm that he got an accelerated start towards his ceiling relative to his peers. He’s closer there. It may still be higher or we could be seeing another Matt Ryan where he was good as a rookie and then stayed around that level, never making it to great. My one biggest concern with him is the low Wonderlic and his tendency to check down too quickly. Kind of reminds me of Soupy in that regard.