Oakland has their man?

*Updated* The Oakland Raiders have already interviewed two men for their vacant head coaching position and are looking at a third – but the race may already be over according to multiple sources.

Al Davis and senior personnel chief Michael Lombardo have met with Chiefs offensive coordinator Al Saunders and Chargers receivers coach James Lofton and are tentatively scheduled to meet with Fresno State head coach Pat Hill but word is after Saunders the rest are to fulfill the need to look at a minority coach – Lofton – and explore options if a deal with Saunders cannot be worked out.

"I would say the chances of landing Saunders is 75 percent," said a league source. "He has a flight to Detroit tomorrow morning but will cancel it if Oakland makes an offer."

He did make the trip to Detroit, his second interview with Matt Millen, but his preference is believed to be the Oakland position because he would get to face Kansas City twice a year - a team that passed over him twice for its head coaching position and a team he wouldn't mind sticking it to because of that.

"I do think Al would have gotten hired here if Carl hadn't gotten Herm Edwards," Dick Vermeil said.

Detroit, incidentally, is rumored to have Pittsburgh offensive line coach Russ Grim at the top of their head coaching list and has not made an offer to any coach.

Saunders actually interviewed for the head coaching position in Oakland several years ago and it is no coincidence that he is back on their radar.

As offensive coordinator for the Chiefs over the last five seasons, Saunders' offense has led the league in total yards for two consecutive seasons. And in 2003, the Chiefs ranked second in total offense.

In fact, Saunders offensive prowess has been so solid that it has not dropped out of the top five during his tenure with the Chiefs – and that is without a wide receiver the likes of Randy Moss, although Tony Gonzalez is certainly Pro Bowl worthy.

"Saunders is the leading candidate," remarked another source.

So, while the Raiders continue to talk to other parties, the preference is to land the 53-year old Saunders and begin moving forward to assemble a staff.

The question the Raiders are wrestling with is whether Saunders reminds them too much of Turner - an offensive minded coach that does not have a flare for personnel.

"I just hope that some of the geniuses out there will figure out that he's the right man for the job," Vermeil said.

With so many openings around the league, the Raiders may say they are taking their time, but to build the staff they want a deal may be struck quickly.


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