Raiders

Gruden believes 'there's a good chance' he's next Raiders head coach

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AP

Gruden believes 'there's a good chance' he's next Raiders head coach

Jon Gruden won’t say what many others will, that he’s expected to be the next Raiders head coach. ESPN’s top NFL color analyst, maybe just for one more week, didn’t offer bold predictions Wednesday on his employer’s national morning radio show.

He did concede, however, that odds are great he’ll coach a Raiders team he led from 1998-2001.

“There’s a good chance,” Gruden said. “I’m excited about where I’m at in terms of studying the game and preparing to come back and coach. I just don’t want to sit here and speculate. I don’t know what’s going to happen.

“It’s been a long couple weeks. I know they’re going through their process of interviewing candidates. Until they’re done I don’t know, but I did have a good meeting with (Raiders owner Mark Davis). I’ve known Mark a long time and have a lot of respect for the Raiders football organization.”

The Raiders plan to interview other people for a head coaching vacancy created after Davis fired Jack Del Rio after Sunday afternoon’s loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. They also plan to comply with the Rooney Rule, which states NFL teams must interview at least one minority candidate for head coach or general manager position.

Rumors about salary and pay structure have circulated since ESPN reported the Raiders were coming strong for Gruden and formed an offer tempting enough to draw him out of the broadcast booth. His last NFL coaching gig was with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, from 2002-08.

An extremely high salary seems like a given, but an ownership stake was also reported to be part of the compensation package. Gruden shot that one down in no uncertain terms.

“There’s no validity to that at all,” Gruden said. “None. Zero. No ownership, that’s for sure.”

Many media outlets, including this publication, have reported that Gruden is expected to get the job. An official announcement could come next week, after he has called Saturday’s AFC playoff game between Kansas City and Tennessee.

Gruden didn’t word things so strong. The hire, Gruden says, isn’t set in stone yet.

“That’s up to Mark Davis,” Gruden said. “I have had conversations with Mark, and they’re still, I believe, going through the interview process. When he knows, I think we’ll all know.”

 

Ex-Raiders coach Tom Flores a semifinalist for Pro Football Hall of Fame

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AP

Ex-Raiders coach Tom Flores a semifinalist for Pro Football Hall of Fame

Tom Flores, who coached the Raiders to two Super Bowl championships, was announced Tuesday as a modern-era semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2019.

Flores also won championship rings as a backup quarterback with the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl IV, and as an assistant coach under John Madden with the Raiders in Super Bowl XI.

Flores compiled a record of 83-53 in nine seasons with the Raiders, and was the first Latino head coach in NFL history. The Raiders won Super Bowls XV and XVIII under his guidance.

His final season as an NFL head coach was in 1994 with the Seattle Seahawks. Flores advanced to the final 25 for the first time in the Hall of Fame process. A group of 102 nominees was announced in September.

Flores is a polarizing candidate, with a passionate supporters group and others who believe his entire body of work is lacking consistency required for a gold jacket. Reaching this stage is a step forward for Flores, who is as pivotal as anyone outside Al Davis in guiding the Raiders through a golden area. 

To be eligible for election to the Hall of Fame, a nominated player or coach must not have participated as an active player or coach for five consecutive seasons.

Flores, 81, and former Miami linebacker Zach Thomas are the only previously eligible individuals who were voted as semifinalists for the first time. Thomas' career ended in 2008.

The final 25 includes three first-year eligible players: Cornerback Champ Bailey, tight end Tony Gonzalez and safety Ed Reed.

Former Tampa Bay and Denver safety John Lynch, in his second year as 49ers general manager, was announced as a finalist for the seventh consecutive year. Lynch, a nine-time Pro Bowl selection, is a five-time Hall of Fame finalist.

Wide receiver Isaac Bruce is the only other semifinalist with 49ers ties. Bruce ended his career with the 49ers in 2009. He made four Pro Bowls during his 14 seasons with the Rams. Bruce ranks fifth all-time with 15,208 receiving yards.

Defensive lineman Richard Seymour, a seven-time Pro Bowl performer, is the only other semifinalist who played for the Raiders. After eight seasons with the New England Patriots, Seymour played his final four years with the Raiders. He is a semifinalist for the second time.

Running back Ricky Watters, QB Jeff Garcia, and defensive lineman Bryant Young were among the nominees with 49ers ties who did not become semifinalists. Former Raiders cornerback Albert Lewis, guard Steve Wisniewski, and cornerback Eric Allen also missed the cut. 

The list of semifinalists will be reduced to 15 modern-era finalists on Jan. 3. Those 15 individuals, along with senior finalist Johnny Robinson and contributor finalists Gil Brandt and Pat Bowlen, will advance to the final stage on the eve of Super Bowl.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame bylaws stipulate that from four to eight new members will be selected each year. No more than five modern-era finalists can be elected in a given year.

Following is an alphabetical list of the 25 semifinalists, along with number of times each individual has been selected as a semifinalist:

Steve Atwater, S – 1989-1998 Denver Broncos, 1999 New York Jets | (Times as a Semifinalist: 8 – 2012-19)
Champ Bailey, CB – 1999-2003 Washington Redskins, 2004-2013 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2019)
Ronde Barber, CB/S – 1997-2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2018-19)
Tony Boselli, T – 1995-2001 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2002 Houston Texans (injured reserve) | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2016-19)
Isaac Bruce, WR – 1994-2007 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 2008-09 San Francisco 49ers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2015-19)
LeRoy Butler, S – 1990-2001 Green Bay Packers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2018-19)
Don Coryell, Coach – 1973-77 St. Louis Cardinals, 1978-1986 San Diego Chargers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 11 – 2005, 2010-19)
Alan Faneca, G – 1998-2007 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2008-09 New York Jets, 2010 Arizona Cardinals | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2016-19)
Tom Flores, Coach – 1979-1987 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders, 1992-94 Seattle Seahawks | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2019)
Tony Gonzalez, TE – 1997-2008 Kansas City Chiefs, 2009-2013 Atlanta Falcons | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2019)
Torry Holt, WR – 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars | (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2015-19)
Steve Hutchinson, G – 2001-05 Seattle Seahawks, 2006-2011 Minnesota Vikings, 2012 Tennessee Titans | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2018-19)
Edgerrin James, RB – 1999-2005 Indianapolis Colts, 2006-08 Arizona Cardinals, 2009 Seattle Seahawks | (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2015-19)
Jimmy Johnson, Coach – 1989-1993 Dallas Cowboys, 1996-99 Miami Dolphins | (Times as a Semifinalist: 6 – 2014-19)
Ty Law, CB – 1995-2004 New England Patriots, 2005, 2008 New York Jets, 2006-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2009 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2015-19)
John Lynch, FS – 1993-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 7 – 2013-19)
Clay Matthews, LB – 1978-1993 Cleveland Browns, 1994-96 Atlanta Falcons | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2012, 2017, 2019)
Kevin Mawae, C/G – 1994-97 Seattle Seahawks, 1998-2005 New York Jets, 2006-09 Tennessee Titans | (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2015-19)
Karl Mecklenburg, LB – 1983-1994 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 8 – 2012-19)
Sam Mills, LB – 1986-1994 New Orleans Saints, 1995-97 Carolina Panthers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2016, 2019)
Ed Reed, FS – 2002-2012 Baltimore Ravens, 2013 New York Jets, 2013 Houston Texans | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2019)
Richard Seymour, DE/DT – 2001-08 New England Patriots, 2009-2012 Oakland Raiders | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2018-2019)
Zach Thomas, LB – 1996-2007 Miami Dolphins, 2008 Dallas Cowboys | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2019)
Hines Ward, WR – 1998-2011 Pittsburgh Steelers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2017-19)
Darren Woodson, S – 1992-2003 Dallas Cowboys | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2015, 2017, 2019)

Editor’s note: Matt Maiocco is on the 48-member Pro Football Hall of Fame Board of Selectors.

Raiders trio of 2019 NFL first-round draft picks all take a tumble

Raiders trio of 2019 NFL first-round draft picks all take a tumble

ALAMEDA – The Raiders enjoyed Sunday’s 23-21 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on its own. It was a morale boost for those working tirelessly to prepare, and that much was clear in a festive postgame locker room.

The Silver and Black’s draft positioning didn’t appreciate it. It didn’t like the Dallas Cowboys or Chicago Bears winning, either.

All three Raiders first-round draft picks got worse Sunday. Picks earned from the Khalil Mack (Chicago) and Amari Cooper (Dallas) trades are taking significant hits from winning streaks brought about, at least in part, by guys the Raiders traded away.

That’s a rough turn all the way around, especially after ceding the No. 1 overall pick to the 49ers.

Here’s a look at the Raiders draft order after Week 11’s action:

No. 2 overall (Last week: No. 1)
How it was earned:
The Raiders didn’t fall far, but adding more wins with the NFL cellar tightly packed could spell trouble for the Raiders being able to choose the player at the top of their draft board. They need a pass rusher something fierce.

Winnable games on the Raiders remaining schedule are hard to find, but they could steal a few more before the season ends. Stranger things have happened.

Not many, but some.

No. 16 overall (Last week: No. 14)
How it was earned:
The Cowboys crawled back to .500, and could surge down the stretch in a wide-open NFC East lacking quality teams now that Washington quarterback Alex Smith is done for the year.

The Raiders want the Cowboys to start losing, and Dallas needs more trademark team turmoil to get that done.

No. 25 overall (Last week 23)
How it was earned:
The Bears are posing a real problem, and proving why the Raiders were a bit hasty in dealing Mack before the regular season started. Believing Chicago would be bad was part of the reason why Mack was traded to Chicago, though Mack made the Bears defense excellent.

The Bears are steamrolling toward the playoffs, and possibly an NFC North title, meaning this draft pick could stay low.