The Las Vegas Raiders badly need a defensive overhaul, after surrendering the third most points and eighth most yards in the NFL this season. It looks like Jon Gruden has his guy to do the job, in former Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley.
Bradley has been the defensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Chargers since 2017, and that has obviously rendered very mixed results. He built his reputation as a defensive guru during his stint as coordinator under Pete Carroll with the Seattle Seahawks in 2009-12, leading the “Legion of Boom” defense that would go on to win the Super Bowl the year after his departure.
Bradley replaces Rod Marinelli, who finished the year out as interim defensive coordinator for the Raiders this season. Paul Guenther, Gruden’s DC since taking the franchise over in 2018, was fired after the 44-27 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. The Raiders surrendered 30 or more points in 10 of 16 games this fall.
On the other side of the ball, the Raiders showed real life, with Derek Carr putting in one of his better NFL seasons. It’ll be hard to win shootouts against the Patrick Mahomes-led Kansas City Chiefs twice a year, and now Bradley’s last team, the Chargers, have a young star quarterback in Justin Herbert. Gruden and company better hope that Bradley can re-find some of the magic from those old Seahawks defenses.
Welcome to Las Vegas, Coach.
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) January 12, 2021
This won’t be Gus Bradley’s first go-around with Jon Gruden. In 2006, he landed his first opportunity to coach at the NFL level, serving as Gruden’s linebackers coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2006-08. Gruden hired him away from his alma mater North Dakota State, where he was defensive coordinator for a decade before jumping to the NFL.
After Gruden’s departure from Tampa, he’d go on to Seattle, before a four-year stint as head coach of the Jaguars during which he went 14-48 before being fired. He’s been with the Chargers ever since.
The Las Vegas Raiders went 8-8 this season, finishing second to the Chiefs in the AFC West.