New GM first, or new coach? The Raiders must decide how to proceed – the NFL Nation

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“The one thing I know is what I do not know. The one thing I knew was that I needed to bring the right people in here.” – Mark Davis, after introducing Reggie McKenzie as Raiders general manager on Jan. 10, 2012.

HENDERSON, Nev. – It’s the classic chicken and egg dilemma in the NFL world that often turns upside down – which comes first, the general manager or the coach? And when it comes to the Las Vegas Raiders led by Mark Davis, who took control of the franchise following the death of his father, Hall of Famer Al Davis on October 8, 2011, the power structure has gone one of three ways. .

After hiring McKenzie, Davis stepped out of the way, and two weeks later McKenzie went outside the box, choosing Dennis Allen as the team’s first defensive-minded head coach since John Madden. Davis, one might say, regretted the appointment almost immediately, and Allen, after 4-12 consecutive seasons and a 0-4 start in 2014, was fired.

Interim coach Tony Sparano dropped out of the conversation either by a) burying a football on the training ground to ward off bad juju or b) being buried on the then St. Louis Rams 52-0 or c) both. So it was Davis who took the reins to find the next coach. Madden, who along with Ron Wolf and Ken Herock had advised the younger Davis on hiring McKenzie, was a sparring partner for Davis when he hired Jack Del Rio as coach in 2015. McKenzie was on the roster while Del Rio ran games.

But when Jon Gruden, long a target for Davis, let it be known in late 2017 that he was ready to join the Raiders again and help shepherd the move to Las Vegas, Del Rio was done. The same was McKenzie, who had not heard that Gruden would join the Raiders again – Al Davis switched coaches to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the 2001 season – until he saw reports of the move the morning after the 2017 final. Del Rio announced his own firing after the end of the season at the Los Angeles Chargers and McKenzie lasted 13 games with Gruden, who gained almost total control over football operations.

Enter Mike Mayock, who was brought in from the NFL Network to help run the draft and who immediately acknowledged that Gruden had the final say in personnel matters. Davis told that it was a “51-49” proposal that shifted in Mayock’s favor over interim coach Rich Bisaccia with Gruden’s sudden resignation on October 11 in the wake of his email scandal.

But when Mayock was sacked earlier this month, Bisaccia were a viable candidate to hold on to the head coach concert after leading the Raiders through an unreal amount of turbulence to the team’s first playoff spot since 2016 and only its second since 2002, the question remains – which position does Davis fill first, GM or coach, and who has the ultimate power?

As shown above, Davis has gone GM over coach with McKenzie and Allen, a relative 50-50 split with McKenzie and Del Rio and coach over GM with Gruden holding the keys to the castle.

A look at names associated with both the GM and coach openings does not give a clue as to how the next partnership could go down. Jim Harbaugh, for example, is likely to order the “51-49” control as a coach leave Michigan for Las Vegas, while it’s hard to see Davis entrusting Bisaccia with more control, what with Bisaccia already referring to itself as an “in- game “manager” for Raiders.

Of the other coaches attached to the job, San Francisco 49ers first-year defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans and New England Patriots inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo would apparently fall into the Bisaccia category, given their lack of experience as head coaches. Same for Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who have both been head coaches before but were unsuccessful. Both coaches (Bowles with the New York Jets and McDaniels with the Denver Broncos) had unpretentious finishes on those stints, especially McDaniels, who was once beaten 59-14 by the Raiders.

Meanwhile, eight candidates have appeared on the GM search, with Indianapolis Colts assistant GM Ed Dodds, a former Raiders intern under Al Davis when Harbaugh was the team’s QB coach, the apparent frontrunner.

Others to be interviewed include Patriots personal player director Dave Ziegler, who is openly linked to both McDaniels and Mayo, Chicago Bears assistant director personal player Champ Kelly and Cincinnati Bengals scout Trey Brown.

Buccaneer’s vice president of player staff John Spytek, linked to Bowles, Pittsburgh Steelers scouting coordinator Brandon Hunt and Atlanta Falcons scout Ruston Webster – the only known candidate with previous GM experience who served with the Tennessee Titans from 2012 to 2015 – is also in the running.

In the House, Raiders director of pro-scouting Dwayne Joseph, who joined the Raiders with Mayock, has emerged as a candidate. And a duo of Joseph-Bisaccia would represent continuity for a playoff team, right?

Al Davis used to take the time to find a coach and used the interview process as a barometer of what else was going on in the league.

Mark Davis leaned on Madden, who died in December. So you have to wonder who is in his circle of trustees now and attending the interviews – former Pro Bowl back-turned senior adviser to owner and president Marcel Reece? Acting President Dan Ventrelle? Senior Vice President of Football Administration Tom Delaney?

But again, that comes down to a simple but sometimes unanswered question – the chicken or the egg?

Which, of course, leads to the follow-up – what exactly will the next tandem do with quarterback Derek Carr and his expiring contract? Too early?

Stick around.


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