AFC West news and notes

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

With Raider Nation buzzing with the hope that Jon Gruden could somehow end back up in Oakland, the Oakland Tribune reports that fired Buccaneers general manager Bruce Allen could have a better chance of returning. Meanwhile, the paper reports more assistant coaches are being interviewed and more head coaching candidates could be considered.

Here's a name to keep an eye on if the Raiders bring in more candidates: Arizona offensive coordinator Todd Haley. He is considered a bright young offensive mind and the Cardinals offensive is high flying. He fits the mold of coach Davis usually looks at. It wouldn't be a surprise if Davis considers him.

A day after Denver retained running backs coach Bobby Turner, Denver also decided to keep running game coordinator Rick Dennison under new coach Josh McDaniels. Dennison is a well respected coach who has done a good job on the offensive line. Dennison interviewed for the head coaching job.

If Jeremy Bates ends up in Detroit, his replacement could be Carolina assistant Mike McCoy. The former quarterback is regarded as a strong passing game coach.

Gruden added Joe Barry to his staff shortly before he was fired. If he doesn't stay in Tampa Bay, Barry's name could surface as an assistant candidate in San Diego.

Don't be surprised if San Diego and defensive coordinator Ron Rivera discuss a new contract. His prior contact was done when he was the inside linebacker coach. After his success in the second half of the season, Rivera, if he isn't considered for any head coaching jobs, will likely have his contract adjusted to reflect his responsibilities.