Programming note: For comprehensive Raiders coverage, tune into CSN Bay Area tonight at 10:30 and midnight on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
OAKLAND – Tony Sparano has said before that he’d like to have the interim tag removed from his job title and simply be the Raiders head coach. He said he’d like to stick around next season.
He said he should have a chance to stick around beyond the season, especially after winning his third straight home game with Sunday’s 26-24 victory over the Buffalo Bills. He stopped short of saying he deserves it after galvanizing this unit and producing unlikely victories.
“Do I deserve it?” Sparano said. “That’s not for me to decide.”
[INSTANT REPLAY: Raiders hold off Bills for third win of season]
Sparano is 3-8 since being promoted to interim head coach following a Week 4 loss to Miami that got Dennis Allen fired. He deserves credit for finding a way to improve team chemistry and get this team playing well.
Sparano certainly has the support of his team. Players have been vocal in there support of the former offensive line coach, especially after a string of home wins.
“He’s done so many things to change the mindset of this team,” defensive tackle Antonio Smith said. “I take my hat off for him, no matter what the outcome may be. We lost a few. I’m glad we won some. Tony has done a great job. It says a lot about the character he has. He instilled that character in each and every one of us. He doesn’t care about the week before. Each and every game, we’re going to fight.”
Whether that will impact Mark Davis’ decision on the next head coach remains to be seen. It’s believed that Davis will go after a big-name head coach – Jim Harbaugh is strongly linked to this job opening – with his next hire.
“I know that Mr. Davis will do the best thing for this organization,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “I have complete faith in that and so I’ll leave that to them to talk about those things, but Coach Sparano knows how I feel about him. I love the guy, we all love the guy, but that’s in Mr. Davis’ hands and we know he’ll do the best thing for us.”
This batch of late victories certainly speaks to Sparano’s ability to motivate and coax solid production from a team beaten down by injuries and weight of an 0-10 start. It seems highly unlikely that Sparano will retain his post, but he’s making an argument for doing so, one that wasn’t there before this recent run of home wins.
“I think he’s done a strong job for us,” free safety Charles Woodson said. “Of course I’m not privy to those decisions, but up until this point, he’s definitely made his case.”