Just as the Raiders preparing to hit the field in San Diego to face the rival Chargers, a distraction has arisen. There are two reports from Jason LaCanfora that may have a common thread with regard to the Raiders coaching staff. The first has Dennis Allen being denied a request for his assistants to get an extension. The other has Canfora hearing some rumblings getting louder of Jon Gruden's interest in leaving the booth and coaching the Raiders again.
The contracts for Raiders assistants is up this off-season and if Allen were to be back after this season, he would want to have his staff with him. He ousted part of his staff last off-season when he fired offensive coordinator Greg Knapp, and special teams coordinator Steve Hoffman among others.
Those remaining include defensive coordinator Jason Tarver whose defensive schemes have come into question as the Raiders continue to get regress on defense as the season goes along including setting some records for points given up of late.
The reported denial of the extensions could signal the team is ready to move on from Allen and his staff or at least are waiting to see if anything changes in the next two games before making that decision.
Adding to the decision is the idea that Jon Gruden could indeed be interested in returning to coach the team in Oakland he pulled out of the cellar in the late nineties. He took over the team after a 4-12 season in 1997 and immediately brought them to 8-8 and later to two playoff appearance. His interest in returning to coaching had come up last off-season and his affinity for the Raiders is well known.
Canfora says Gruden is "intrigued" by the idea of coaching the Raiders again and Mark Davis could re-open talks with Gruden which he had begun late last season.
It is clear the intrigue goes both ways between Davis and Gruden. And why not? The fans still love the idea of "Chucky" roaming the sidelines in Oakland again and Gruden has to love the idea of having some $69 million in cap space to build the team as he wants it.
Whether Gruden is ready to leave broadcasting booth and coach the Raiders again could be playing a big role in whether Dennis Allen and his staff are given another season.