The Oakland Raiders as a whole have a bunch of problems that need to be fixed, but it starts with the defense. For the second year in a row, the defense is near the bottom in yards and points allowed per game. It’s no secret that the unit has suffered a litany of injuries this season. However, that doesn’t excuse the fact that the team has made almost every quarterback they’ve played look like Peyton Manning. Many have called for defensive coordinator Paul Guenther to be fired, but according to The Athletic’s Vic Tafur, that’s unlikely to happen.
Tafur is very well connected within the organization, so he should have a pretty good idea of what’s going to happen. On Hard Knocks, Gruden said that he believed Guenther would be a future head coach as Tafur alluded to. Injuries to Johnathan Abram, Karl Joseph, Arden Key and Vontaze Burfict’s suspension are all pretty good excuses for Guenther. There’s no doubt he hasn’t had his defense at full strength since Week 1. That was arguably one of the only weeks the defense looked solid. Gruden and Guenther are clearly close. It’s probably going to take a little bit more for the head coach to fire him.
Paul Guenther Has Been Successful Before
It’s easy to look at this season and last season and think that Guenther is in over his head. That said, he’s been successful in the past. His defenses in Cincinnati were never worse than 17th in points per game allowed and he got them up to second-best in 2015. In terms of yards per game, Guenther’s defenses have never been great. The best they did was 13th in the NFL in 2015. It’s clear that his defenses are more bend than break.
If the Raiders do decide to retain their defensive coordinator, 2020 is his last chance to get things together. Mike Mayock and Gruden invested heavily in the defense heading into this season. There won’t be any more excuses in 2020.
Follow the Heavy Oakland Raiders page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
What Needs to Happen in the Offseason?
One of the biggest things the Raiders need to focus on in the offseason is shoring up the linebacker position. The team has promising young players on the defensive line and in the secondary. At linebacker, there are mostly known quantities. They need some youth and speed there and it becomes more clear with every game.
Based on the recent roster overhaul, Gruden is clearly ready to make some moves on the defense. Whatever is going on clearly isn’t working. The offense has some holes that also need to be addressed, but Gruden can’t forget about defense. Kenneth Murray, a linebacker out of Oklahoma, could be an interesting remedy in the draft. He’s athletic and productive. There’s also Dylan Moses out of Alabama, who is currently injured, but was supposed to be the number one linebacker prospect this season. We’ve seen with Jaylon Smith and Myles Jack that it’s possible for linebackers to come back from injury and develop into stars. If anything, the Raiders could get Moses on a discount.