The Athletic’s senior Raiders beat writer, Vic Tafur, says the Las Vegas Raiders selection committee for the general manager position is split on who to hire. Ed Dodds, current/former Indianapolis Colts assistant general manager, vs. Champ Kelly, Raiders interim general manager.
What’s really going on with the Raiders…
“A missing piece to the puzzle, so to speak: a solid football mind that isn’t the GM or the head coach.”
Davis is looking for not only a general manager but a president of football operations as well.
Now, Davis has also expressed some reservations about having a first-time head coach and general manager again. Drawing on his experiences with Dennis Allen and Reggie McKenzie, he realized the need for an established football mind. Interestingly enough, whether Davis hires Kelly or Dodds, either would be a rookie general manager.
Is the committee truly divided on who to give the job to, or could there be another factor at play? Hard to say, really, although from the outside, perhaps there is something different going on altogether. Davis stated that he wanted his general manager to hire the head coach. Somehow Antonio Pierce got the job before the GM did, or did he?
The old two-for-one special
Kelly sat in on all three head coaching interviews before the Raiders ultimately selected Pierce to lead them moving forward. Kelly has been making public appearances clad in silver and black and representing the team. A smart person can put two and two together; a betting man would gamble on Kelly already having gotten the job.
Many teams have a general manager, a director of player personnel, and/or a vice president of football operations. All of these positions are a promotion from the position of assistant general manager. What is the significance of this? The Raiders asked for permission from the Colts to interview Dodds for the general manager position.
There was something about Dodds’s interview that genuinely intrigued some of the Raiders brass. Dodds is considered to be one of the top general manager candidates in the 2024 offseason. As a front-office person, he’s highly respected throughout the league. He’s interviewed with multiple teams, such as the Bears, Panthers, Raiders, and Chargers.
Here’s a great idea…
Hire both Kelly and Dodds. How is that for a great idea? The snag is rooted in the complexity of the execution of this deed. Well, the snag is that Dodds is rumored to be joined at the hip by Jim Harbaugh’s NFL coaching candidacy. With three other opportunities available at this time, does Dodds truly want to be here in a side-by-side capacity?
If he does, the Raiders will need to not only create a position for him but also redefine the job duties of both the general manager and whatever Dodds end up being. In a perfect world for the Raiders Dodds, the “Yang to Kelly’s Yin.”
The caliber of Kelly’s roster during his time in Chicago serves as proof that he has a much more defensive mindset. Dodds, in comparison, has been part of a franchise compiling quality offensive pieces and one of the most dominant offensive lines in all of football. To be able to field them both together and deploy them moving forward will only ensure that the talent at Pierce’s disposal will be top-notch.
On Monday, January 22, 2024, the Raiders conducted a second interview with former Los Angeles Chargers general manager Tom Telesco. He’s been unemployed since Pierce, Bo Hardegree, and the Las Vegas Raiders hung a franchise record 63 points on the Chargers in Week 15. What initially appeared to be a reconnaissance interview appears to have morphed into something else.
While Kelly remains the odds-on favorite to win the general manager position, something is holding up the finalization. Telesco has an incredible eye for talent and has continuously drafted players that many in Raider Nation covet. What he’s done in terms of drafting offensive linemen and wide receivers is tremendous for the system they run.
His struggle has been to find players who can stay healthy throughout 17 games and make significant contributions in crunch time. The Raiders’ only general manager interviewee with previous experience is Telesco. So that’s worth noting as well.
Telesco also knows what a modern quarterback looks like. Long gone are the days of winning with a drop-back pocket passer.
*Top Photo: Stephen R. Sylvanie/USA Today Sports