Originally published on SBReport.net on Jan. 18, 2013
The Oakland Raiders have yet to find their new offensive coordinator, a little over two weeks after the firing of Greg Knapp.
Though it has been reported that McKenzie doesn't have a timetable as to when a hire will occur, it would be beneficial for the team to have a set coaching staff as they head to the Senior Bowl. It would be good for any new coaches to also have the extraordinary opportunity to evaluate the seniors playing in the game for a whole week.
Meanwhile, offensive coordinator vacancies are being filled around the league with names such as Ken Whisenhunt (San Diego Chargers), Norv Turner (Cleveland Browns), Adam Gase (Denver Broncos).
While Raider Nation grows uneasy about the lengthy search, head coach Dennis Allen and members currently on the coaching staff prepare for the Senior Bowl. Allen and his staff leave for Alabama on Saturday for a week of preparation with the roster before the game next Saturday.
Though many of the big names have been hired off of the availability board, many credible names still remain available for Allen to hire.
Al Saunders has been on the Raiders coaching staff for the past two seasons and knows the roster well. Saunders would be beneficial to the Raiders as he knows the strengths and weaknesses of the players after watching them succeed and struggle in two different offenses under Hue Jackson and Greg Knapp. Though Jackson served as the play caller in 2010, Saunders was listed as the team's offensive coordinator.
With Saunders already under contract, there is no reason for Allen to name him the offensive coordinator yet should he still be looking at other options. Saunders will be there for promotion should Allen decide this is the route he'd like to take.
With former Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians heading to the Cardinals for their head coach opening, reports quickly surfaced linking Stanford offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton to the Colts because of his experience with Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.
If Hamilton was presented the option between the Raiders and the Colts, you'd think he would take the Colts as they are a young playoff team with his former star quarterback.
It has only been reported that the Raiders have interviewed Mike Martz, and Jaguars quarterbacks coach Greg Olson.
Martz's name seems to have frightened the Raider Nation after his failed stint with the Chicago Bears.
Olson has served as an offensive coordinator on three separate occasions in the NFL: Detroit Lions (2005), St. Louis Rams (2006-2007), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2009-2011). Olson helped develop Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman during his tenure in Tampa Bay.
Chan Gailey continues to be an interesting name in regards to the Raiders search as he has plenty of NFL coaching experience and saw some success with the Buffalo Bills.
Gailey is believed to be a bright offensive mind that produced a strong rushing attack in Buffalo and got the most out of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Gailey has 12 years of coaching experience in the NFL to go along with college coaching experience . Gailey also has connections with former Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Reeves, who coach Allen thinks highly of and considers a mentor. Gailey would be a viable option still for McKenzie and the Raiders.
Mike Tice's name has also been tossed around but he lasted just one year with the Chicago Bears as their offensive coordinator before Lovie Smith was fired. While Tice would be a solid offensive line coach (which Oakland also needs to fill), hiring Tice may provide similar results to last year's hiring of Knapp.
Former Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg's name has also been tossed around due to his availability and the fact that McKenzie interviewed him for the head coaching vacancy last year before he lost out to Allen. Mornhinweg also worked with McKenzie in Green Bay, serving as the quarterbacks coach in 1995 and 1996.
Though he has a poor record as a head coach in the NFL, Mornhinweg has provided some solid offenses as offensive coordinator with the Philadelphia Eagles as he provides a balanced attack of pass and run.
Whoever the Raiders decide on, the team would benefit if they could do it quickly. The team has a great opportunity for their new coaching staff to get an evaluation process that no other team gets as the Raiders coaching staff heads to Mobile, Ala. for the Senior Bowl. The Raiders coaching staff will be able to see NFL Draft candidates in practice, in meetings, in the locker room and on the field.
McKenzie and Allen still need to fill the linebackers coach, special teams coach, and offensive line coaching positions as well as the offensive coordinator position.