Oakland Raiders: Five Potential Future Head Coaches

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Aug 8, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Oakland Raiders assistant head coach/offensive line Tony Sparano talks to his team during a break in the game with the Minnesota Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium. Vikings win 10-6. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

1. Tony Sparano

According to reports (as this was being written), the Raiders have named or will name Offensive Line Coach Tony Sparano as interim Head Coach. Sparano was very recently the head coach of the Miami Dolphins, who he guided to a 29-32 record and one winning season before being fired late in the 2011 season.

As the interim Head Coach of the Raiders, Sparano will have a 12-game audition for the head coaching position, and a realistic chance at winning the job if he manages to turn the team around into something resembling a competent NFL franchise.  When Al Davis fired Lane Kiffin after four games of the 2008 season, offensive line coach Tom Cable was promoted to head coach and led the Raiders to an unimpressive 4-8 record, but that was enough to win him the job for another year. Interim head coaches have earned the permanent job on multiple occasions in the past, most notably with Jason Garret and the Dallas Cowboys, so it is a possibility, especially if the Raiders don’t find a quality coach who wants the job outside of the organization.

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Colts are reportedly hiring Tony Sparano Jr. for the team’s most important position
Colts are reportedly hiring Tony Sparano Jr. for the team’s most important position /

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  • Sparano is in his second year with the Raiders after spending 2012 as the Offensive Coordinator of the New York Jets.  The New York Jets offense performed even worse than the Raiders last year with rookie quarterback Geno Smith at the helm, finishing 25th in total offense and 29th in scoring. So far this year, his offensive line has helped the Raiders average a paltry 3.4 yards per carry after averaging 4.6 yards per carry in 2013. Also, although he took the league by storm with his innovative “Wildcat” package and led the Dolphins to an 11-5 season in 2008, he hasn’t managed to do much innovating since, and he went 18-27 in his last three years in Miami, with the Dolphins offense never finishing in the top half of the league in total offense in that time. He also had very good defenses throughout his tenure in Miami – which wouldn’t be the case in Oakland – and still managed to lose more than he won. Of course, if he manages to go even 6-6 the rest of the way, it will be very hard to argue against him keeping the head job going forward, but he certainly doesn’t have the strongest resume out there.