As the coaching carousel continues to spin, a number of coordinator vacancies remain open. The Raiders have yet to pair head coach Antonio Pierce with his next OC, but a number of candidates have been connected to the position.
Former Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury has interviewed for three openings during the 2024 cycle, including those of the Bears and Eagles. Chicago and Philadelphia have elected to go in a different direction, but Vegas has not landed on a top candidate yet. Kingsbury interviewed with the Raiders, and Mike Garafolo of NFL Network notes he is expected to land a coordinator gig in Vegas or elsewhere this year (video link).
Kingsbury spent the 2023 season with USC after his Cardinals tenure ended in underwhelming fashion the year prior. He is still well-regarded with respect to his offensive acumen, Garafolo notes, making him a strong candidate to return to an NFL staff. With Pierce’s background from his playing days and coaching career coming on defense, the Raiders’ next OC will be a key figure on the team’s new staff. Kingsbury is not the only high-profile coach linked to Vegas, however.
Former Eagles and 49ers head coach Chip Kelly is believed to be “targeting” the Raiders’ OC position, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes. The 60-year-old’s last NFL stint came in 2016, and he has been at the helm with UCLA ever since. A recent report cited Kelly as a candidate to return to the pro ranks this year, but he has yet to conduct any known interviews. Like Kingsbury, Kelly would offer signficant play-calling experience on a Raiders team looking to improve on offense and find stability at the quarterback position moving forward.
Of course, Pierce will be a figure to watch closely as his staff takes shape. After a well-received interim HC stint to close out the 2023 campaign, he was given the full-time position earlier this month. The Raiders were also in the midst of their general manager search when that decision was made. Further details on the process of choosing ex-Chargers GM Tom Telesco – and Pierce’s involvement in it – have emerged.
The latter sat in on the second round of interviews with each of Vegas’ three GM finalists, owner Mark Davis recently explained. Telesco, interim GM Champ Kelly and Colts assistant general manager Ed Dodds conducted follow-ups with Davis and a select number of other personnel. Pierce was present for each in-person sit-down, even though Telesco’s was the only one which took place after Pierce had officially been hired.
“The initial interviews with the GMs were only them and the group of five or six that we had,” Davis said, via The Athletic’s Vic Tafur (subscription required). “Once we narrowed it down to the three finalists, I wanted to make sure that Antonio was in on those interviews as well. So, he was in all of the second interviews with the three candidates.”
The Pierce-Telesco partnership is now in place, but in addition to the OC position, there are unanswered questions on the team’s coaching staff. One of those is the role Marvin Lewis will take on. The longtime Bengals coach was one of the veteran staffers who assisted Pierce during his interim stretch, and he will stay in the organization moving forward. As Tafur notes, Lewis appears set to work with the coaching staff rather than the front office.
Plenty is yet to be determined in Las Vegas as the hiring cycle continues. The team’s search for an offensive coordinator will be worth watching closely, as will the relationship between Pierce and Telesco as they aim to give the franchise long-term stability following the failed Josh McDaniels-Dave Ziegler endeavor.