The Oakland Raiders are preparing plenty of changes in the offseason, but two big wins this season have offered a small sense of hope towards what the future might look like for the team. However, in the offseason there will be plenty of personnel changes that will start with the people in the front office and carry onto the guys holding the clipboards on the sidelines. As several of the players await to see the moves made, some are speaking out in support.
Following the firing of Dennis Allen as head coach, Tony Sparano was named the interim head coach and the result was a win over Kansas City and a win over San Francisco. He got some excitement moving with the franchise and fanbase and now rookie quarterback Derek Carr is speaking out in support of Sparano as the Raiders prepare to start a coaching search.
"Yeah, we love him," Carr said, per the Bay Area News Group. "He's our leader. Absolutely. We love him. Obviously, those decisions are going to happen, and we have no control in that. Those decisions will be made, and whoever is here is who we'll play for. But right now, coach Sparano is my leader. I love him 100 percent. He genuinely cares about me. He's pulled me into his office just to ask how I'm doing. ... Those kind of things from a head coach mean so much."
Sparano has done his best to keep the team engaged and playing hard despite all of the losses. However, the chances that he remains with the Raiders are likely slim to none. The Raiders are preparing a leadership change within the organization and it will likely start with Sparano and end with general manager Reggie McKenzie. Owner Mark Davis is seeking big names for the role which does not include Sparano.
The Raiders have been heavily linked to Jim Harbaugh as it continues to get reported the 49ers will seek to trade him this offseason or fire him entirely. According to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport, Harbaugh favors staying on the West Coast which makes the Raiders a perfect fit, but ESPN is reporting the coach is also "considering" the Michigan job. Harbaugh certainly fits the "super star" name that the Raiders think the team needs.
One thing is certain, the Raiders have players to build around. While Carr did not get the wins this season, he certainly showed a great deal of potential despite the lack of talent around him. Mychal Rivera has been a reliable and dynamic tight end option. Latavius Murray has made up for the lack of success from Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew. Khalil Mack has lived up to his first-round draft status on defense. Now the team just needs a head coach and another solid year in the draft to really start to look like contenders.