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Raiders top offensive line coach candidates

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The top two positions the Raiders needed to fill this off-season are filled. The next up is the offensive line coach for which there are a few good names on the market with experience at the position.


The Raiders have only been reported as speaking with one offensive line coach candidate this offseason. That was Juan Castillo and he signed with the Ravens to be their running game coordinator. Castillo has a great deal of experience as would have been a fine choice as offensive line coach. But he's not the only possibility out there.

Here are the top candidates on the market:

Russ Grimm

A Hall of Fame offensive lineman as a player and a well-respected offensive line coach. He has been coaching in the NFL for 21 years, 16 as an offensive line coach. He was the Steelers offensive line coach when they won Super Bowl XL. He was in line to be head coach at one point but the team went with Mike Tomlin instead so he left with Ken Whisenhunt to join his staff with the Arizona Cardinals. Whisenhunt and his staff were fired this offseason leaving this highly decorated offensive line guru without a job. I would think having won three Super Bowls with the Redskins as a member of the famed "Hogs" would allow him to get over his team losing to the Raiders in Super Bowl XVIII.

Joe D'Alessandris

Widely credited for helping turn the Bills from one of the worst lines in the league to one of the more underrated over the past two years (with an ultra-productive back in each of the past two years as proof). The entire Bills coaching staff was ousted with Chan Gailey and D'Alessandris was not retained by new head coach Doug Marrone.

In 2011 under D'Alessandris' guidance the Bills allowed the fewest sacks in the league (23). This depite eight different offensive line starting lineups. They also boasted an AFC-best 4.9 rushing yards per carry that season. They had two different running backs who posted a 5.0 yards per carry average or better (Fred Jackson - 5.5 and C.J. Spiller - 5.2). Prior to joining the Bills, D'Alessandris spent 2008-09 as the Chiefs assistant offensive line coach.

UPDATE: D'Alessandris was hired as the Chargers new offensive line coach. They also hired Ken Whisenhunt as offensive coordinator for two very solid hires.

Mike Tice

He was the Bears offensive coordinator last season under head coach Lovie Smith. He was an outside offensive coordinator candidate on the market but from the looks of it, he will have to go back to his roots if he hopes to coach this season. He got his start in coaching with the Vikings as a tight ends coach and over a 7-years span, worked his way up the ranks through offensive line coach, and eventually was named head coach.

During his first three seasons at the helm of the Vikings, they had one of the most dominant offenses in the NFL. In 2002, the Vikings led the NFL in rushing for the first time in team history, and in 2003, they led the league in total offense, and 2004 they broke team records with 6,339 total yards and 4,754 passing yards and scored 50 touchdowns. Still the team consistently hovered around .500 and after a four-year stint as head coach of the Vikings, Tice was not retained. When he came available, Jaguars new head coach, Jack Del Rio wasted no time in making him his assistant head coach on offense. In 2010 he joined the Bears as an offensive line coach in 2010-11 and again worked his way up to becoming offensive coordinator last season taking over for the fired Mike Martz.

Tony Sparano

Great offensive line coach, and a good coach over all. He was in over his head as a head coach and as an offensive coordinator, but players like him, and he can do good things as an offensive line coach. He was fired as the Jets offensive coordinator this offseason and was never really given any serious consideration to get another OC job in the NFL. He is destined to be an offensive line coach where he has had great success over the past decade in the NFL.

He was brought in as the offensive line coach for the Cowboys by Bill Parcells. The offense immediately improved from next to worst in the NFL to middle of the pack and improved each and every season he was in Dallas, finishing second in the NFL by his final season there. Parcells then moved on to become the executive vice president of football operations for the Dolphins and he brought his former assistant head coach over to be the Dolphins next head coach. In his first season there he took a 1-15 team to 11-5. He did it by re-introducing the wildcat to the NFL with unexpected success. He couldn't crack .500 in the two seasons that followed and was fired after a 4-12 season in 2011. He lasted just one season as the OC for the Jets before being fired. Andy Reid had interviewed him to be his offensive line coach with the Chiefs but they went with Reid's namesake, Andy Heck.

UPDATE: Raiders have reportedly hired Sparano as their next offensive line coach/assistant head coach

Bob Wylie

Has more than 30 years of coaching experience - 17 years of which came at the NFL level. You all may remember Wylie as the Raiders offensive line coach in 2011. Under his instruction, the Raiders had one of the best offensive lines in football. In that season, the Raiders' offensive line improved from 29th in the NFL in 2010 to 4th in 2011 in total sacks allowed. In addition, the Raider's offensive line cut QB hits in half going from 121 QB hits in the 2010 season to 62 QB hits in 2011. Darren McFadden was the NFL leading rusher until he went out with injury and then Michael Bush took over without missing a beat. This past season, McFadden struggled mightily and was back down to 3.3 yards per carry. Carson Palmer was also under constant pressure last season and had one of the shortest throwing windows in the NFL.