The Denver Broncos are out of the playoffs, and the Raiders might have more cause than usual to celebrate the demise of an old rival.
Sunday’s 24-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC’s Divisional Round allows the Raiders to further pursue Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio to fill their head-coaching vacancy, should they choose to do so.
Del Rio first interviewed with Raiders owner Mark Davis in Denver on Jan. 3.
NFL sources have indicated that Del Rio is a strong favorite to become the Raiders’ next head coach, though interim head coach Tony Sparano remains firmly in the mix.
Please remember, this remains a fluid situation. Priorities could change. That could happen should any coaches from losing playoff teams come free unexpectedly.
Nothing was formally announced as of late Sunday afternoon, but it’s fair to expect action of some kind in the extremely near future, whether it’s additional interviews or a hiring itself.
Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton are the only Raiders interviewees off limits because they remain in the playoffs, though neither coach is considered a strong candidate at this time.
Del Rio’s interview occurred at the tail end of the Broncos bye week. General manager Reggie McKenzie has not met with Del Rio regarding the team’s head-coaching vacancy.
The Raiders interviewed seven candidates over the last few weeks. Sparano’s formal interview was the most recent, and it was conducted on Wednesday.
In addition to the aforementioned coaches, the Raiders have also interview 49ers tight end coach Eric Mangini, Philadelphia offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and former Washington, Denver and Raiders head coach Mike Shanahan.
While it’s unexpected, the Raiders are free to speak with Scott Linehan about their head-coaching vacancy should they choose. They reportedly requested permission to speak with Dallas’ passing-game coordinator and play caller last week but haven’t done so. They can now that the Cowboys have been knocked out of the playoffs.
Del Rio is an East Bay native and a Hayward High graduate. He was head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2003-11, and went 68-71 with two playoff appearances.
CSN reporter Fallon Smith contributed to this report.