AFC West: Joe Whitt

The Oakland Raiders' search for a defensive coordinator trudges forward.

After striking out several times at the NFL level, new Oakland coach Dennis Allen is looking at the college ranks. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports Allen is now considering Stanford co-defensive coordinator Jason Tarver for the post.

Allen has interviewed or has tried to interview five candidates. The Raiders asked for permission to talk to Green Bay Packers cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt, but apparently he will not be the hire.

Before going to Stanford last year, Tarver, 37, spent 10 years with the San Francisco 49ers in several roles. He was last the 49ers’ outside linebackers coach. Tarver also coaches the linebackers at Stanford in addition to his co-coordinator role.

In other AFC West news:

Baltimore center Matt Birk won the NFL Man of the year award. San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers was a finalist for the award.

Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassel is excited to play for new Chiefs’ offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. Cassel played for him in New England for two seasons. The Chiefs have said Cassel will have competition for the job. The hiring of Daboll should help Cassel.

Denver linebacker Elvis Dumervil received some votes for the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award that went to Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford. Dumervil made the Pro Bowl in 2011 after missing all of 2010 with a pectoral injury.
Dennis Allen’s lengthy search for a defensive coordinator in Oakland marches on.

The focus is now on Green Bay cornerback coach Joe Whitt Jr. His name emerged late Wednesday and it became even more relevant in the search when FoxSports.com reported Thursday that Greg Manusky -- fired as the Chargers’ defensive coordinator last month -- became the coordinator in Indianapolis on Thursday. He interviewed with Allen on Tuesday. Talks broke down late Wednesday and the Colts emerged.

Allen, formerly the Broncos’ defensive coordinator, has been having trouble securing a candidate. He was denied permission to talk to several candidates. The search winds its way to Whitt, who worked in Green Bay with new Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie. Thus, the Green Bay coaching connection may finally develop in Oakland.

Whitt may be considered a risky choice since he is a position coach and is just 33. Normally, you’d like to see a candidate with more experience. But McKenzie clearly saw something in him and relayed it to Allen. Whitt was well respected by his players in Green Bay.

"Trust me," Green Bay cornerback Tramon Williams once told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "The guy knows his stuff. He will be a coordinator or a something one day. I don't know exactly when it's going to be, but I think he's definitely going to have one of those upper spots."

We’ll see where his candidacy goes, but Allen may be running out of options, so perhaps Whitt will emerge as the guy.

Honestly, I don’t think the Raiders should be too broken up over it not working out with Manusky. I know folks in San Diego would have loved to have seen Manusky stay in the division. His one-year stint as defensive coordinator there was a disaster.

Meanwhile, the Oakland Tribune reports assistant offensive line coach Steve Wisniewski will remain on the staff and work in some capacity with new offensive line coach Frank Pollack. Good move. Wisniewski is well respected and he did a nice job last year.

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