Speculation Stirs as Raiders Schedule First Head Coaching Interview

mark davia

Getty Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis.

The Las Vegas Raiders have been slow-playing their head coaching search as they’ve been interviewing general manager candidates. However, it looks like that’s about to change as the team has finally set up an interview.

According to a January 14 X post from NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Raiders have set up an interview with former Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier on January 16 for the head coaching opening.

Frazier was in the mix for the Raiders’ head coaching job in 2022 before the team decided to hire Josh McDaniels. Frazier has been a popular head coaching candidate for years now but his stint with the Vikings is likely what has kept him from getting a job. In four years with Minnesota, he went 21-32 before getting fired.

Frazier was with the Bills as defensive coordinator for six years before the team moved on from him prior to this season. The team has the No. 2 scoring defense in the NFL in 2022 prior to his dismissal. He’s got a long track record of being one of the best defensive coaches in the NFL. If he doesn’t end up becoming the Raiders’ head coach, he could be a candidate to be the next defensive coordinator if Patrick Graham moves on.

Timing of Interview Is Interesting

It’s certainly notable that the Raiders have now started to interview head coaching candidates. The thought has been that the team is waiting to hire a general manager first so now that they’re interviewing coaches, that may mean that an announcement on who the new general manager will be coming shortly.

Notably, the Raiders interviewed interim general manager Champ Kelly over the weekend in addition to several other candidates last week. The Raiders have satisfied Rooney Rule requirements in their general manager search so the next move is to make a hire.

The Washington Commanders have already filled their general manager opening so the Raiders could fill there’s at any moment. Kelly is likely the leader in the clubhouse. Owner Mark Davis has spoken highly of the executive and they’ve already had him in the building. Plus, there’s interest in Kelly around the NFL. Once the Raiders officially hire a general manager, the coaching search should pick up very quickly.

Does Leslie Frazier Have a Chance to Get HC Job?

The Raiders clearly like Leslie Frazier as they’ve brought him in to interview before. However, it’s hard to see him as a realistic candidate to replace Josh McDaniels full-time. Defensive end Maxx Crosby has already put the team on notice and hinted that he could request a trade if Antonio Pierce isn’t retained as head coach.

It would be one thing if Mark Davis wants to take a swing on a proven winner like Jim Harbaugh, Bill Belichick or Mike Vrabel but Frazier didn’t have much success with the Vikings. The players likely couldn’t get behind the idea of hiring somebody like Frazier to replace Pierce. The Raiders would have to really like what the coach brings to the table if they’re willing to take a stand against the players.

The team hasn’t set up an interview with Pierce yet but that will likely come near the end of the interview process.

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