ALAMEDA, Calif. (Feb. 5, 2006) -- The Oakland Raiders plan to interview Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt in the coming days for their coaching vacancy.
If Whisenhunt hits it off with Raiders owner Al Davis and senior personnel executive Michael Lombardi, things could progress quickly this week for the team to hire Norv Turner's successor.
Oakland has been without a head coach for more than a month since Turner was fired Jan. 3, and the new coach will need time to set his staff and be involved in planning the offseason workout program.
Whisenhunt, whose team played Seattle in the Super Bowl, would follow Al Saunders, James Lofton and Rod Marinelli to formally interview with the Raiders. Oakland also held an informal talk with former St. Louis Rams coach Mike Martz, although nothing came of that meeting. Martz, however, wasn't someone Davis considered a candidate for the top job but perhaps for offensive coordinator.
Whisenhunt is in his ninth season as an NFL coach and second in charge of Pittsburgh's offense after working the previous three years as the team's tight ends coach.
If Whisenhunt is Oakland's top choice, there will be pressure to turn this franchise around in a hurry.
The Raiders managed only one victory over an AFC West opponent in Turner's two seasons and lost their final six games this season to finish 4-12 -- going winless against the division for the first time since Davis came aboard in 1963 to coach and eventually own the team despite having Randy Moss, LaMont Jordan and Kerry Collins leading the offense.
Davis has been known to give chances to those without previous head coaching experience in the NFL and he prefers offensive-minded coaches.
Since meeting with the Raiders last month, Saunders left the Kansas City Chiefs to become offensive coordinator of the Washington Redskins. Marinelli, the former defensive line coach in Tampa Bay, became the Detroit Lions' new head coach.
Lofton, a Hall of Fame receiver who coaches the San Diego Chargers' receivers, is the only minority candidate to interview.