Raiders need a Wise choice

All signs are pointing to a Wisenhunt courting a day after the Super Bowl for the Oakland Raiders. Two darkhorses are also waiting in the wings.

With Oakland the only team lacking a head coach, they would seem to have choices. But, there is one less hat in the ring after Mike Martz withdrew his name from the dwindling list of candidates.

Martz is now looking at an offensive coordinator post in Detroit.

It leaves Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Wisenhunt in the driver's seat. Rumblings in Mobile, Alabama pointed to Wisenhunt interested in sitting down with Al Davis to discuss the possibility of moving west but there were indications from several people familiar with Wisenhunt's thinking that it was simply a chance to interview for a job this year to get his feet wet before turning the job down.

Based on what others have done it would not be shocking.

The Raiders have taken their time interviewing prospective candidates and are left with just two people who have interviewed and have not turned down the job or accepted other offers. San Diego Chargers wide receivers coach James Lofton and their own quarterbacks coach John Shoop.

Al Saunders has since left the Kansas City Chiefs to become offensive coordinator of the Washington Redskins and Rod Marinelli, the former defensive line coach in Tampa Bay, signed a four-year contract last Thursday to be the Detroit Lions' new head coach. Both were hot names in Oakland.

San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Cam Cameron has reportedly turned down an opportunity to interview for the open positiion.

The problem many who have interviewed are running into is choosing their own staff. Davis clearly wants to retain Shoop, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and wide receivers coach Fred Biletnikoff. That has turned many eager candidates aside as they seek more input in naming their staff.

But, coordinators often run hot and cold. While one could be a candidate today, next year that same "hot" name could be in the forgotten category.

Which is why Wisenhunt will make a sound decision based on the feel of the interview with Davis and Michael Lombardo before putting himself at the edge of the plank.

Wisenhunt is the "wise" choice today and perhaps all along.

Fallback options include Baltimore assistants Rick Neuheisel and Jim Fassel, according to a Raiders source. Neither has interviewed for the position but both are expected to get consideration, especially with Wisenhunt's uncertain stance.


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