The Las Vegas Raiders are going to have to go back to the drawing board. After an extensive interview process, the team decided it wanted to hire Kliff Kingsbury as offensive coordinator.
However, there’s been a change. Kingsbury has withdrawn his name from consideration for the Raiders’ offensive coordinator job, per a February 3 X post from ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
This is a big surprise for the Raiders as it looked like all the two sides had to do was sign the contract. It’s unclear why Kingsbury decided to withdraw his name but it’s bad news for Las Vegas. Head coach Antonio Pierce has a defensive background and wanted a strong offensive mind to run the offense.
Most of the top offensive coordinators have been hired so now the Raiders are at a major disadvantage. This isn’t a great start to Pierce’s tenure as the man in charge. He’s not going to call plays so it’s important he has a good staff. Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham appears to be staying put so the defensive coaching staff is very good but now there are major question marks on offense.
Is Chip Kelly the Favorite for the OC Job?
Prior to offering the job to Kliff Kingsbury, the Raiders had interviewed UCLA head coach Chip Kelly twice, per a February 1 X post from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Now that Kingsbury is out, speculation is stirring about Kelly being the favorite for the job.
The Raiders were clearly considering Kelly if they brought him in for interviews at least twice. Similar to Kingsbury, he has experience at the college level and calling plays. He’s been a head coach since 2009 but it looks like he wants to take a step down and focus on offense.
There was a time when Kelly was considered one of the offensive football minds but that hasn’t been the case since he was at Oregon. The Philadelphia Eagles did have a top-five offense in 2013 and 2014 when Kelly was the head coach but that was a decade ago. Perhaps he will thrive in a role where he only has to focus on the offense.
At this point, the Raiders don’t have many options left so taking a swing on Kelly could be the best move. Though it does come with some risk considering he hasn’t called plays at the NFL level since 2016.
Other OC Candidates for Las Vegas Raiders
Out of the candidates the Raiders are known to have interviewed, Mike Sullivan, Chip Kelly and Luke Getsy are the only ones still available. Getsy and Sullivan called plays for lackluster offenses last season so they’d be uninspiring hires.
The Raiders could also decide to reopen their search to more candidates. The Washington Commanders haven’t made a decision on offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy yet. He could be an option if Washington goes in a different direction. The team could also just bring in Sullivan or Getsy for a year to see how they do and consider reopening the search next season.
Either way, this is far from ideal for Las Vegas. This is the first big adversity Antonio Pierce has to deal with since getting the full-time head coaching job so it’ll be interesting to see how he responds.
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