Coaching candidates, survery says

Now that we've discussed ad nauseum why the Oakland Raiders justifiably fired head coach Bill Callahan Wednesday the question becomes who and when fills that vacancy?

Trying to figure out what owner Al Davis does is like trying to drink coffee with a fork. While we can't tell the "when" part just yet, we can tell the "who" part – at least potentially. Will it be a big-name like Dennis Green? Will it be a college coach? Will it be an assistant within the Raiders or another team? Stay tuned.

Maurice Carthon: The Dallas offensive coordinator has not accumulated a lot of attention but he's a Bill Parcells disciple and a minority candidate, a quality that has never deterred Davis from consideration of a candidate.

Ted Cotrell: One of three New York Jets assistants that head coach Herman Edwards dismissed. Cottrell, who was the Jets defensive coordinator, was a candidate to replace Steve Mariucci in San Francisco, which later hired Dennis Erickson. Cottrell, however, is likely to remain a candidate for somebody even though the Jets finished 28th against the run and 21st in yards allowed.

Tom Coughlin: He coached the Jacksonville Jaguars in their first eight years. The Jags reached the AFC Championship game twice in his tenure. Coughlin, however, figures to have his name continue to surface for head coaching jobs even though his overbearing ways wear thin.

Romeo Crennel: The New England defensive coordinator's name came up for head coaching jobs last year and figure to do so this season especially since the Patriots have one of the best defenses in the NFL.

Dennis Green: Green has a lengthy resume and will continue to garner ample interest. The downside here is that even though Green and Davis are reportedly friends, the former is likely to command more authority than the latter is willing to give.

Jim Fassel: His New York Giants teams were a perplexing bunch, doing well when not expected but laying a giant sized egg when expectations were high. Fassel, however, was a Raider assistant at one point, meaning he knows what he would be up against working for Davis.

Kirk Ferentz: The Iowa coach's name figures to come up for head coaching vacancies in the NFL. Ferentz, however, has a great deal at Iowa.

Jim Haslett: Haslett, like Fassel, was a Raider assistant and again knows what it means to work for Davis. Despite a third consecutive inconsistent season, New Orleans did not show Haslett the door as some expected and there's no sign that it will.

Jim Mora Jr.: Mora has drawn a serious look for the Atlanta Falcons vacancy after guiding the San Francisco 49ers defense through at times difficult situations. Knowing the way Davis likes to nab players from across the Bay, hiring Mora would not be a complete shock.

Rick Neuheisul: The former University of Colorado and Washington coach was dogged by controversy at the end of his coaching stints at both schools. Expect Neuheisul's name to come up frequently for the Oakland job because he is looked at as a bright offensive mind. Take it for what it's worth but Neuheisul was a visitor one day at Raiders training camp.

Nick Saban: Like Ferentz, Saban has an outstanding situation at LSU but is expected to have his name bandied about after leading LSU to the national championship game.

Art Shell: When the Raiders have an opening, Shell's name instantly gets mentioned. Davis has said at various times that firing Shell was one of his biggest mistakes. Shell is one coach who can command respect for disciplinary issues – an area the Raiders far short of big time.

Lovie Smith: Most people think of offense when talking about the St. Louis Rams but Smith has developed the Rams into one of the league's better defensive clubs. Considering how lousy the Raiders defense was he should merit ample consideration. Smith has never been a head coach but then again neither was some guy by the name of Jon Gruden.

Bob Stoops: Stoops has led Oklahoma from purgatory to being a national powerhouse, playing for their second national title in four seasons. However, most coaches trying to make the jump from college to the NFL quickly discover that there's more autonomy in college.

Vince D'Adamo can be reached at

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