While it looks like the team may miss out on top head coach “free agent” Jim Harbaugh, the Raiders appear to be looking at a variety of possible head coaches, including interim head coach Tony Sparano.
Sparano filled in as the interim head coach for the Raiders after Dennis Allen was fired following the team’s week four blowout loss to the Miami Dolphins in London. While his record was just 3-9 for the 12 games he coached, Sparano should have earned the right to be looked at for the permanent job.
The former offfensive line coach took over a winless team and proceeded to go winless in his first six games as head coach, but it didn’t appear to be due to a lock of effort by the players. Sparano has a knack for getting his players to play hard, and that certainly showed until the clock hit 0:00 on Sunday of week 17.
Many times when a team has no playoff hopes, the veterans will not play as hard. That certainly was not the case for the Raiders, as veterans Justin Tuck, Pat Sims, Charles Woodson and more had solid games against the Broncos.
The Raiders finished 3-3 over the final six games, including a three-game home winning streak. All three wins came against teams with playoff aspirations, defeating the San Francisco 49er’s, Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills.
Sparano did a good job resurrecting the Miami Dolphins after a horrible year, and he may be able to do the same for the Raiders. The players sure seem to like playing for him, and that means a lot in a league with many characters.
He has also done wonders for the offensive line, which did a great job protecting Carr throughout the season. Many people thought the offensive line would be a weak point for the Raiders, but it turned out to be one of the stronger points of the team throughout the season, much to do with Sparano’s coaching.
Now I’m not saying that Sparano SHOULD be the top candidate for the position, but merely that he deserves to be looked at as a head coaching candidate for the position. I think he could be a strong coach, especially if he has great assistants around him.
Reports have surfaced that Mark Davis likes Sparano quite a bit, and it will be interesting to see how the coaching search progresses.