January 17, 2022 - 2:39 pm
Updated January 17, 2022 - 8:13 pm
As news broke on Monday that Raiders general manager Mike Mayock was being relieved of his duties, interim coach Rich Bisaccia and his staff had been trying to carry on as usual.
Bisaccia, who replaced Jon Gruden as head coach on an interim basis in October, said he had spent a busy couple of days since the Raiders’ playoff loss to the Cincinnati Bengals conducting typical head coaching duties. That includes meeting with owner Mark Davis and the players.
Beyond that, there wasn’t much clarity.
“As of right now, I’m the acting head coach,” Bisaccia said during a mid-afternoon press conference.
A little more than two hours later, after the Raiders had announced that Mayock had been relieved of his duties, Bisaccia’s status was even more in doubt.
Mayock was one of Bisaccia’s most ardent supporters. His firing seems to open the door for a new general manager to pick the head coach of his choosing, or be part of a package deal with whoever they decide on as the permanent head coach.
Either way, Mayock’s exit was not good news for Biasaccia.
The longtime special teams coach absolutely wants to return as the permanent head coach next season. But that rests with Davis, who has a big decision to make.
Did the work Bisaccia did holding things together and helping the Raiders get to the playoffs merit getting the full-time gig? Or should Davis go outside the organization the find the next football leader of his franchise?
The Raiders’ ascension to the postseason this year with a relatively young roster, coupled with an owner willing to invest in a winning program, a new stadium and a new practice facility make the Raiders’ job one of the more attractive of the eight head-coaching openings in the NFL.
That is part of the reason Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh continues to be linked to the opening, and why there is reason to believe there is mutual interest in him coming to Las Vegas.
Whatever direction Davis chooses, he is obligated to open up the job to an interview process that satisfies the NFL’s Rooney Rule. It requires teams to interview at least two external minority candidates for any head coaching opening.
While Davis and the Raiders have not yet revealed any external head coaching or GM candidates, multiple reports indicated the Raiders have asked permission from the New England Patriots to interview inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo.
Bisaccia said Monday that he and Davis have been in communication over the last two days about the job. Bisaccia said he understands the process that must occur before any decision can be made.
“There’s due process. He has to interview some other candidates, as I well know,” Bisaccia said. “I’m very respectful of the process, what it’s supposed to look like, how it’s supposed to work. I think we’ll be in constant conversation. We’ll certainly talk before the week is over.”
In the meantime, Bisaccia and his staff tried as best as possible to create a sense of normalcy. With the Raiders’ season coming to an end on Saturday in a wild-card playoff loss to the Bengals, they spent Sunday conducting exit interviews with players. By Monday, they got busy writing up individual player evaluations and will get those turned in by Wednesday.
At that point, most coaches typically take a two-week vacation before starting to get ready for draft and free agency. But the uncertainty about the head coaching situation creates a sense of precariousness.
Bisaccia said he expects to be taking some time off soon. Other than that, his future in on hold.
“We’ll just wait to see what happens from there,” Bisaccia said.