Even if the Oakland Raiders lose the rest of their game for the season and miss the playoffs, there’s still plenty to excited about. The team is very young and has plenty of draft capital and money to get them ready for a serious playoff run in 2020. However, the Raiders may not just look at their roster of players to try and improve things.
There are a number of units on the team that have not played well enough. This could be because of a lack of talent, but a lot of it is on poor coaching. A few coaches on Oakland’s staff have not proven they can elevate their unit. Below we’re going to go through some coaches who should be on the hot seat for the last quarter of the season.
The most obvious coach who should be feeling the heat is defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. Since he joined the team before the 2018 season, his defensives have not been good. Now, Guenther’s defenses have been among the worst in yards allowed. Last season, the team was 26th in yards allowed per game and they’re 20th this season. There’s a slight improvement in that category, but still not enough to inspire confidence.
In 2019, the defense is 28th in points allowed per game. Guenther does have some excuses as he lost his starting middle linebacker and two starting safeties throughout the season. However, the team invested heavily in the defense in the offseason and draft. Five of the Raiders’ first six draft picks in 2019 were defensive players. There wasn’t much more Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden could do to try and help him. Guenther isn’t the worst defensive mind in the NFL and he’s proven that before. That said, he’s clearly not getting the job done. Gruden’s defensive coordinators are essentially head coaches of the defense. It’s very possible the team tries to upgrade in the offseason.
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Offensive coordinator Greg Olson could be on the hot seat for simply being a fall guy if the Raiders offense continues to struggle. Everybody knows that Gruden runs of the offense, but he’s not going to fire himself. Olson is more of an offensive assistant, but the Raiders should look for somebody who can bring a little more creativity to the table. Gruden has proven throughout the season that he can still put together an excellent offensive gameplan. However, he’s been outcoached completely in the last two games.
What also hurts Olson is that Jon Gruden’s brother Jay is a free agent. Jay has proven to be an excellent offensive mind in the past and Jon has already put his brother on his staff before. It may seem like nepotism, but Jay is more than qualified to help Jon run the offense.
David Lippincott is the team’s linebackers coach and it’s no secret that the Raiders have struggled at linebacker for years. Lippincott coached with Guenther in Cincinnati, so his fate is likely directly linked to Guenther’s. Despite losing Vontaze Burfict early in the season, the Raiders have remained relatively healthy at linebacker. Lippincott hasn’t been able to elevate the unit and his connection to Guenther should really be making him sweat.