Philbin hire puts pressure on Raiders


Philbin hire puts pressure on Raiders

OK, so go ahead and scratch not only one, but two and possibly three names off new Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie's head coaching candidate "short list."
And while you're at it, throw some urgency not only on the Raiders' coaching search, but on the ensuing assistant scramble as well. Joe Philbin and Todd Bowles were both linked to the Raiders' vacancy, with Bowles reportedly interviewing with McKenzie last Friday.Then there's the curious case of Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, who turned down a chance to interview with McKenzie on Friday in order to fly cross-country for a second interview with Miami. McCoy, who is from Novato, reportedly felt he was the front-runner on Thursday.But with the Dolphins job now gone, might he try to get back in the Raiders' search? Probably not.
Speculation will run rampant that Philbin is going to fill his staff with fellow former Packers assistants, you know, the same guys purportedly set to come to Oakland when McKenzie hires a coach (Winston Moss, anyone?).In fact, Packers safeties coach Darren Perry, another name linked to the Raiders, has already been mentioned as a potential defensive coordinator in Miami.Meanwhile, Philadelphia offensive coordinator Marty Mornhingweg reportedly interviewed for the Raiders job today in Oakland. He would be the third candidate to actually have had an interview, along with Bowles and Denver defensive coordinator Dennis Allen.The Raiders have made no comments about the search and have not returned messages seeking comment, though they did deny a tweet earlier on Friday that Sean Jones had been hired as McKenzie's assistant GM.

Donald Penn: Raiders players trust McKenzie will add right pieces

Donald Penn: Raiders players trust McKenzie will add right pieces

The Raiders were pretty darn good last season. A 12-4 record proved that point. There was plenty of talent on a team with a penchant for high-wire acts in victory that masked the fact there were holes on the roster.

They need to be filled for the Raiders to improve in 2017, and new players will be imported through free agency and the draft.

Left tackle Donald Penn is excited to see who gets added, but said there’s no doubt talent is coming to Oakland. He speaks for Raiders players, who have faith that general manager Reggie McKenzie will make the right moves.

“Things that Reggie has done in past drafts have been great, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he brings back towards us,” Penn said recently during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network. “We can’t wait to get back out there healthy. We’re ready to hit the football world with a storm.”

While new guys are coming, a few might head out. The Raiders have several unrestricted free agents. Penn wants to keep his guys around – he mentioned running back Latavius Murray by name -- though he has some ideas for McKenzie’s checklist.

The Raiders don’t need much with most key players under contract – the Raiders should be less active in free agency over past offseasons – but a few key components could put this team over the top.

“If we stick to Reggie’s plan, we’ll be great,” Penn said. “I know he’s going to have a great draft, add a couple little pieces here and there – maybe somebody in the secondary to help out a little bit.

"On offense, you could always use a weapon. Maybe we get another receiver to take (pressure off Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper), but we have a good nucleus right now.”

Raiders LT Donald Penn: QB Derek Carr 'almost 100 percent'

Raiders LT Donald Penn: QB Derek Carr 'almost 100 percent'

Derek Carr is on the mend. The Raiders franchise quarterback had surgery to repair his fibula shortly after he broke it in a Week 16 victory over Indianapolis, and is recovering well during the offseason.

Carr insisted on intense rehab this winter in an attempt – however unlikely it may have been – to return should the Raiders have played in the Super Bowl. It slowed to a normal pace after the Raiders' loss at Houston in the postseason’s opening round, but those in contact with him say he’s making strides.

Left tackle Donald Penn was recently in contact with Carr, and provided an update on Monday during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network.

“I texted Derek (a few) days ago checking in,” Penn said, “and he said he’s almost 100 percent.”

Surgically-repaired broken filbulas take significant time to heal, and the Raiders plan to be conservative with their MVP candidate during the offseason. Derek Carr’s brother and NFL Network analyst David Carr, who was on set with Penn on Monday, said Derek could be back for offseason work.

“He’s doing good,” David Carr said. “He’s walking around already, stretching it out. You can’t do a lot for the bone, right? But he’s going to be back. He’s going to get a whole full offseason in. That’s going to be the best part.”