Raiders meet with former Rams coach Martz

Updated: January 27, 2006, 5:54 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

Even as Oakland officials bide their time, waiting for an opportunity to meet with Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt after Super Bowl XL, the Raiders added to their list of head coach candidates.

Owner Al Davis and other Raiders officials spent much of Thursday interviewing former St. Louis Rams coach Mike Martz about the vacancy created by the Jan. 3 dismissal of Norv Turner following just two seasons and a 9-23 record. It is believed that Martz requested the session and that Davis, who loves to pick the brains of coaches around the league, was quick to arrange the interview.

Martz became the fifth known candidate for the job. The Raiders previously interviewed former Kansas City offensive coordinator Al Saunders, former Tampa Bay defensive line coach Rod Marinelli, current San Diego wide receivers coach James Lofton and current Oakland quarterbacks coach John Shoop, who is still under contract.

Marinelli was subsequently hired by the Detroit Lions last week as their new coach and Saunders joined the Washington Redskins staff as assistant head coach.

There has been some speculation that the Raiders will also interview former New York Giants coach Jim Fassel, who currently is the Baltimore Ravens' offensive coordinator, but such a meeting has not yet taken place.

Indications are that Davis will wait until after the Super Bowl on Feb. 5 to set up an interview with Whisenhunt, the Steelers' offensive coordinator the last two seasons, and an assistant whose stock is rising on the crest of a three-game playoff winning streak. Under league rules, the Raiders can have no contact with Whisenhunt, who seems to fit most of the qualifications Davis has historically sought, until after his season concludes.

In the meantime, Martz, who presided over one of the NFL's most explosive offenses during his Rams tenure, is an intriguing entry into the Oakland search. Given the depth of the Raiders' wide receiver corps, which includes Randy Moss, one would think that Martz could spend days drawing up plays and formations on a draw-erase board.

Martz, 54, compiled a 56-36 record with the Rams in six seasons (2000-2005), led the team to a pair of divisional titles and three playoff berths, and to a spot in Super Bowl XXXVI. He missed the final 11 games of the 2005 season while rehabilitating from a bout of endocarditis, an inflammation of a heart valve.

He was cleared by doctors to return to work Jan. 1, was dismissed by the Rams just after the season, and reached a settlement on the $3.25 million that remained on the final year of his contract in St. Louis. Martz interviewed for one head coaching vacancy, in New Orleans, but that job went to Sean Payton instead.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.