Reports: Del Rio Raiders new head coach

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.


Raiders seek permission to interview coordinator of hot offense

The Raiders have requested permission to speak with Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, according to an ESPN report Sunday.
Linehan, 51, posted an 11-25 record as the St. Louis Rams coach from 2006-08. He got fired four games into his third season, just as Dennis Allen did with the Raiders this season.
Linehan is in his first season with the Cowboys, and he has received a lot of credit for turning the Cowboys offense into one of the league’s most explosive units.
Running back DeMarco Murray led the league in rushing, wide receiver Dez Bryant caught 88 passes for 1,320 yards and 16 touchdowns and quarterback Tony Romo led the league with a 113.2 passer rating.
Overall, the Cowboys finished fifth in the league with an average of 29.2 points per game, a figure the Raiders didn’t reach even once in 16 games.
The Raiders already have interviewed Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur.
Raiders interim coach Tony Sparano, Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, 49ers tight ends coach Eric Mangini. Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton and Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio also are being targeted by the Raiders.