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Longtime Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is very serious about the opportunity to emerge as head coach in Las Vegas, with both the coach and that organization doing extensive research ahead of the Raiders formally requesting to interview him Thursday.

There has been a strong buzz through scouting and coaching circles in recent weeks that the Raiders' process would ultimately include -- or culminate with --  a meeting with McDaniels, who served previously as head coach in Denver and who later was in agreement to coach the Colts before opting out. The Raiders were the first team to formally reach out to McDaniels during this very active hiring cycle, and they did so after already asking questions about him of various candidates in their general manager interviews, with that position also yet to be filled.

McDaniels is close to some of the Raiders' general manager candidates, including New England director of player personnel Dave Ziegler, and it would not be difficult for owner Mark Davis to put together a coaching and evaluating tandem that would include men who have already worked in a partnership together. Many close to McDaniels maintain he would not have agreed to this interview if he was not already very interested and confident he could put the kind of staff together he would covet, and they say that Patriots coach Bill Belichick has been very supportive of the coach's wishes, which has not always been the case.

McDaniels was lauded for his work with rookie quarterback Mac Jones this past season and was long viewed as one of the most important assistant coaches involved in the Patriots' odds-defying dynasty. He comes from a family of coaches and has been judicious about which opportunities he pursued in recent years, with the timing of the Raiders inquiry -- quite late in the process with former coach Jon Gruden resigning under duress in October -- and his quick reciprocation a likely indicator of the potential for this to be a match.

If he and owner Mark Davis are able to connect and establish a comfort level, this is a hire that would most likely come together very quickly.