ALAMEDA, Calif. — The Oakland Raiders' search for a new head coach is narrowing as general manager Reggie McKenzie has told some applicants they are no longer candidates and Denver defensive coordinator Dennis Allen has reportedly emerged as the leading contender.
A day after canceling an interview with Chicago offensive coordinator Mike Tice, McKenzie told Philadelphia offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg he is no longer a candidate, a person with knowledge of the decision said Tuesday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team had not released details of the search.
ESPN reported that the Raiders are negotiating a contract with Denver defensive coordinator Dennis Allen to fill the job. Allen first interviewed with McKenzie last week.
McKenzie is currently at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., and is expected to make his decision this week. He told CSNCalifornia.com that he will interview Allen again Tuesday night and negotiations have not started.
"He's got a lot of stuff he needs to answer," McKenzie told the website. "Nah, it's not a lock, irregardless of other people's reports."
If Allen does get the job, he would be the first defensive-minded coach to get the Raiders job since John Madden was hired before the 1969 season.
Late owner Al Davis exclusively hired offensive coaches after Madden, including Hue Jackson, who was fired after going 8-8 in his only season on the job.
But there have been plenty of changes for the Raiders since Davis died Oct. 8. His son, Mark, took over the team and hired McKenzie as general manager after the season to take over many of the on-field and personnel decisions that Davis had made during his nearly half-century with the organization.
McKenzie immediately fired Jackson after signing his contract Jan. 10 and began a search for the new head coach. He interviewed Allen, Mornhinweg, former Miami interim coach Todd Bowles, Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr. and Green Bay assistants Winston Moss and Dom Capers.
With McKenzie having spent almost two decades with the Packers, his former colleagues in Green Bay were originally considered to be the favorites.
But now it appears as though Allen could be the choice. In his first season as coordinator in Denver, he helped the Broncos improve from allowing a league-worst 29.4 points and 390.8 yards per game to rank 20th in yards (357.8) and 24th in points (24.4) this season on the way to an AFC West title.
The Broncos increased their sack total from 23 to 41 as the Broncos were tied for the sixth most blitzes on pass plays in the league this season, according to STATS LLC.
Allen had served as New Orleans' secondary coach the previous five seasons and had also coached for Atlanta. He runs a 4-3 defense, which the Raiders have used the past seven seasons.