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Thursday, January 26, 2012
Potential candidates to watch in Oakland

By Bill Williamson

Don’t be surprised if the Oakland Raiders continue to pick from the AFC West as they add to their coaching staff.

One name to keep an eye on for Oakland’s defensive coordinator job is Kansas City defensive backs coach Emmitt Thomas. The former Chiefs star defensive back is very close with new Oakland coach Dennis Allen. They worked together for several years in Atlanta and Thomas served as Allen’s mentor.

Thomas, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, has been a defensive coordinator for three different teams. Thomas, 68, was last a coordinator in Minnesota, in 2001. He has been the Chiefs’ secondary coach since 2010.

Thomas also has ties to new Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie. Thomas was Green Bay’s defensive coordinator in 1999 when McKenzie was an executive. Allen, who was hired by the Raiders this week after being Denver’s defensive coordinator in 2011, will likely have a major role in the Raiders’ defense. However, he will want a trusted assistant to run the defense and Thomas could be that man.

Meanwhile, Mike Sherman could potentially be on Allen’s list as offensive coordinator. Sherman was last Texas A&M’s head coach and Allen is a former standout at Texas A&M. Sherman is also a former head coach of the Packers and has strong ties to McKenzie.

If Allen were to want to pursue Sherman, though, he may have to act quickly. He is interviewing in Miami for the same job. Finding an offensive coordinator may not be pressing for Allen because incumbent Al Saunders is expected to be a strong candidate. Saunders is owed money for the 2012 season and he is familiar with the Raiders’ personnel, so keeping him in place may ultimately be what Allen decides to do.