Now it's Oakland's turn to make a hire


Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

The AFC West is changing dramatically.

Comfortable names such as Mike Shanahan and Carl Peterson are memories. New additions to the division are New England hotshots Josh McDaniels and Scott Pioli in Denver and in Kansas City, respectively.

The Broncos and Chiefs have dominated the headlines the past couple of days with high-profile hires. Now it is the Raiders' turn to make some noise. The Broncos are done and the Chiefs may or may not be done depending on if they fire coach Herman Edwards.

With two major hirings complete in the AFC West, all eyes are on Oakland.

There are indications Oakland is moving somewhat on its decision to either retain interim coach Tom Cable or hire someone else. They have already talked to Cable, Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride and Packers assistant Winston Moss.

There have been indications that Oakland owner Al Davis is making calls examining other coaches.

The team has made some coaching moves, including the firing of receivers coach James Lofton. The team has also sought to talk to Denver passing game coordinator Jeremy Bates.

This is very intriguing. Bates is a highly-respected coach who called plays in Denver last season. He was credited for helping quarterback Jay Cutler become a Pro Bowl player in 2008. He'd surely help Oakland quarterback JaMarcus Russell, who will be entering his third NFL season in 2009.

It is likely Bates is being pursued in Oakland as an offensive coordinator candidate. He fits Davis' mold. He is young, bright and aggressive in his offensive scheme. He'd be a great addition in Oakland.

The Broncos wanted to keep him and Cutler wanted him back. But with McDaniels calling the offensive plays, Bates may want to go elsewhere.