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Rich Bisaccia ‘likely’ to remain Las Vegas Raiders head coach

Matt Johnson
Las Vegas Raiders, Rich Bisaccia
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Las Vegas Raiders coaching search is officially underway. While owner Mark Davis is pursuing a marquee name, the Raiders’ locker room might get exactly who it wants as the head coach for the 2022 NFL season.

Following Jon Gruden’s resignation on Oct. 11, Las Vegas name Rich Bisaccia as its interim head coach. The former special teams coordinator (2018-’21) took over a club in turmoil, coming off consecutive two-score losses with many wondering if the Gruden scandal would crush a potential playoff contender.

Weeks into the job as interim coach, tragedy struck. Henry Ruggs, the No. 12 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, was charged with DWI resulting in death and is facing up to 50 years in prison. Between the loss of a young woman’s life and the emotional toll the tragedy took on the Raiders’ locker room, Las Vegas lost five of its next six games after the bye week.

  • Las Vegas Raiders record )Rich Bisaccia): 7-5, 0-1 in playoffs

But the Raiders rallied around their interim coach. The team tied an NFL record with five last-second wins and four consecutive victories to end the regular season sent them to the playoffs.

While it all came to an end in the Wild Card round, NBC Sports’ Peter King now believes Bisaccia is likely to become the Raiders full-time head coach assuming Davis doesn’t land a big name.

“Smart money says Mark Davis, unless he can get a mega-billboard for the Vegas strip like Jim Harbaugh, is likely to take the interim tag off Rich Bisaccia and give him the full-time gig. Davis probably should.”

NBC Sports’ Peter King on Las Vegas Raiders coaching search

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While Davis would love to make a splashy hire, bringing someone in who fits Las Vegas, it’s evident who the locker room wants. Maxx Crosby, the breakout player of the Raiders’ 2021 season, made it clear after Saturday’s loss he wants Bisaccia as head coach.

But quarterback Derek Carr went even further, explaining how integral Bisaccia was to keeping everyone together and why players want him to retain the title of head coach.

“I think we can all think that he’s the right guy. He’s proven that people listen to him. Our team listens to him. And I love him so much, I’m thankful for him. All those things will be decisions that I don’t make, I don’t get to make. I just play quarterback … but with everything that went on, if you really look at what happened, all the pieces missing, everything that changed, yeah, he held it together.”

Las Vegas Raiders QB Derek Carr on interim coach Rich Bisaccia, via ESPN

While Jim Harbaugh’s interest in an NFL return is genuine, there’s a strong possibility he remains at Michigan. The Wolverines’ success in 2021 warrants a contract extension and threatening to go back to the NFL could lead to Michigan upping its offer, ensuring Harbaugh becomes one of the highest-paid coaches in college football.

If Bisaccia remains the Las Vegas Raiders coach, it likely means that Carr isn’t traded this offseason and plays out the final year of his contract. The Raiders could run it back one more time and if things don’t work out in 2022, Davis can do a complete reset in 2023 with a new general manager, head coach and quarterback.

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