Raiders start search for new leadership

There probably won't be any stunning announcements by the Oakland Raiders on Monday, the day after yet another disappointing season ended.

However, there will likely be plenty of changes for this rebuilding team in the coming days and weeks. It will be the continuation of process that began Sept. 29 when Oakland owner Mark Davis fired coach Dennis Allen.

The next move -- now that the Raiders’ awful 3-13 season is over with a 47-14 dismissal in Denver on Sunday -- will be for Davis to find out if the Raiders can get Jim Harbaugh. The now-former 49ers coach has been expected to be the Raiders’ first target.

Harbaugh is free now that he and the San Francisco 49ers have mutually decided to part ways. There have been several reports that Harbaugh is on the verge of becoming the coach at his alma mater, Michigan. The Harbaugh situation is expected to come to a conclusion quickly. So the Raiders will find out soon if they are in the mix.

If Harbaugh ends up at Michigan, the Raiders will go to Plan B.

That could help general manager Reggie McKenzie's case to say. Davis has been on the record supporting McKenzie, but he has said McKenzie will be evaluated. The Raiders have won a total of 11 games in three seasons under McKenzie. Oakland won a total of 16 games in the two seasons before McKenzie was hired.

McKenzie hired Allen. Davis will be involved in this process. McKenzie’s best chances of staying with Oakland is if Davis doesn’t hire a big-fish coach. If Harbaugh gets away, all the big names will likely be difficult for the Raiders to land.

If Oakland focuses on a less sought-after coach, that coach might have to have the leverage to have an influence on the front office. If Harbaugh gets away, among the names that will likely emerge are Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and perhaps Rex Ryan, if he is fired by the Jets, as expected.

Del Rio could emerge as a favorite. He has head coaching experience with Jacksonville and is from the Bay Area. He’d likely be very interested in going to Oakland.

Another candidate is going to be interim coach Tony Sparano. He said after the loss to Denver that he has been told he will interview for the permanent job. The players support Sparano and he could be a backup choice. However, the numbers don’t suggest he should be a top candidate.

The Raiders were 3-9 under Sparano after being 0-4 under Allen. The Raiders had a minus-52 point differential under Allen and a minus 147-point differential under Sparano. While the team played hard under Sparano, they too often were not competitive, especially on the road, where the Raiders went 0-8.

Davis would like to make a splash as Oakland faces turnover once again. The search will begin with big names and adjustments will be made, if needed.