It's been a month since Jon Gruden resigned as head coach of the Raiders, but league sources said the team has not begun a coaching search and has rebuffed inquiries from many interested parties as owner Mark Davis focuses on trying to reach the playoffs this season.
The Raiders are the only team with an interim head coach at this time, and no shortage of coaching candidates and their representatives have reached out to Davis and other team officials, but those conversations have not been fruitful. Davis has endured a lot this season, beginning with him parting with several of the top officials in the organization over issues on the business side of the organization. Gruden resigned under duress Oct. 28 after a series of offensive emails he sent while a broadcaster at ESPN came to light in multiple media reports, with special teams coach Rich Bisaccia taking over on an interim basis. And the team recently parted ways with two 2019 first-round picks. Receiver Henry Ruggs III faces numerous charges related to a drunk-driving arrest for crashing his car into another vehicle, killing that passenger, while cornerback Damon Arnette was released after a video emerged of him holding a weapon and making death threats.
"He isn't ready to go there yet," one source who has talked to Davis said about the owner's mindset. "He's not ready to launch a coaching search. That's not where he is."
Davis will evaluate the entire organization after the season, and is aware that a sweeping reboot might be in order, as Gruden had final say on all football matters in the organization, including personnel, and general manager Mike Mayock, in essence, reported to the coach. The players have rallied around Bisaccia and posted their biggest win of the season Thanksgiving day in Dallas, and at 6-5 are in the thick of a muddled AFC playoff race. Ultimately, the next head coach -- whomever he is -- would not assume as much power and control as Gruden held, making at least some reconfiguring likely even if he were to retain Mayock and Bisaccia.
Davis has been largely pleased with how his staff and players have responded to the repeated adversity, sources said, but this already is a coveted job, with Davis not known as a meddler, the Raiders enjoying state-of-the-art amenities in Las Vegas and Davis showing his willingness to spend with the 10-year, $100M contract he bestowed to Gruden to lure him back to coaching in 2018. At the time Davis believed he had secured the future of the organization for the long haul, ending a cycle of repeatedly firing coaches and GMs.
Davis did not initially fire Gruden after the initial leak of emails -- which came to light in correspondence the coach had with then Washington Football Team executive Bruce Allen as part of the NFL's review of 650,000 emails from its investigation into WFT owner Dan Snyder and the toxic work environment there. Gruden has since sued the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Normally, a team that has a coaching change that early in the season would be ramping up its search and amassing candidates and doing background work, but that is not the case in Las Vegas right now. The NFL recently announced that teams with a head coaching vacancy could begin to interview candidates working for NFL teams in the final two weeks of the season, but some who have talked to Davis believe he may abstain from that procedure as well, especially if the Raiders are still in playoff contention. And with an expanded field and an expanded season, that could very well be the case.