Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson
The Raiders, who in the past have waited until February before hiring a new coach, been have given indications that they will decide much quicker on who will be the team's head coach in 2009.
The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that the team is, indeed, moving along. Among the names the paper is saying will be pursued include Kevin Gilbride -- who ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported Monday will be pursued heavily by the team -- Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh and Raiders scout Paul Hackett. Interim coach Tom Cable is also expected to be considered. This is a very believable list.
They are all offensive-first coaches and that is owner Al Davis' top priority when hiring a coach. His last 11 head coaches were offensive-minded coaches. Plus, developing quarterback JaMarcus Russell will be a major part of the job.
There is a faction around the league that believes Gilbride is Davis' top choice, but if he doesn't show interest, Davis could turn to Cable. The Raiders won their final two games with Cable, who was 4-8 as the Raiders' interim head coach. Several players, including Russell, have endorsed him for the full-time job.
Harbaugh's name has been connected to the job for months. He has a relationship with Davis and he would be a good sell in the Bay Area because of the rebuilding job he has done at Stanford. Hackett is a veteran coach who knows the Raiders' personnel after being with the team for the season.