Uninspiring Candidate List Part of Ill-Conceived Oakland Raiders Coaching Search

The Oakland Raiders fired Dennis Allen in September, so they’ve had three months to map out a strategy for hiring their next head coach. It appears that plan was for owner Mark Davis to bat his eyelashes at Jim Harbaugh from across the bay for months, throw money at him at the last minute and pray.

The ill-conceived plan to land Harbaugh has the Raiders back to square one. They now have to compete with all the other teams for candidates, they won’t be at the front of the line and they aren’t going to be the favorites if any of them get multiple offers, in all likelihood.

If there is some sort of vision for the future of the Raiders, it’s not clear from the way they’ve started the coaching search. Above all, the Raiders need someone capable of attracting top free agents that the players also respect from day one, but there aren’t any of those types of coaches on the list.

One thing is for sure: The Raiders don’t seem to want a hot, young coordinator like Allen was when they plucked him from the Denver Broncos three years ago, which means hiring someone with head coaching experience. In the NFL, an available candidate with experience as a head coach also has the experience of losing that job.

So the list of candidates the Raiders are interested in reads like a bad joke. It starts with interim head coach Tony Sparano and somehow gets worse with Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio and San Francisco 49ers special assistant Eric Mangini. Then there’s Mike Holmgren, who hasn’t coached since 2008.

If Harbaugh was a Hail Mary, the other candidates are somewhere between a draw up the middle and a two-yard pass on 3rd-and-10. They all work sometimes, but very rarely.

Of those candidates, only Holmgren had a winning record as head coach, but he’s also 66. It’s a...

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