New Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels is in the process of filling out his staff and there are some strong candidates getting linked to the openings. During Jon Gruden’s recent stint with the team, he never employed a quarterbacks coach and had offensive coordinator Greg Olson fulfill those duties. That won’t be the case under McDaniels.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport that the Raiders have hired Bo Hardegree as their quarterbacks coach.
Hardegree comes over from the New England Patriots where he was an offensive assistant under McDaniels. This won’t be his first time being a quarterbacks coach. He served the same role from 2016 to 2018 with the Miami Dolphins under Adam Gase. He followed Gase to the New York Jets and was an offensive assistant there for two years.
While Gase failed as a head coach, he’s a respected offensive mind in the NFL and Hardegree spent a long time under him. He’s only 37-years-old and played quarterback at Tennessee. He’ll be working closely with Derek Carr and has a great opportunity to work with some strong offensive minds in Las Vegas.
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Raiders Interviewing Former Bears DC
Who the Raiders end up hiring as offensive coordinator won’t matter too much as the team will be running McDaniels’ offense and he’ll be calling the plays. However, who the team chooses to be the defensive coordinator will be very important. McDaniels will have most of his focus on offense so there needs to be a coach who can essentially be the head coach of the defense.
Per Rapoport, the Raiders are interviewing Sean Desai, who served as the Chicago Bears’ defensive coordinator last season.
It’s easy to see why the Raiders are interested in Desai. He’s young at 38-years-old and bright, having a doctorate in educational administration from Temple University. Plus, with him leading the defense, the Bears ranked fifth in yards allowed in 2021. Las Vegas just hired former Chicago assistant director of player personnel Champ Kelly so there is a connection there. There are a lot of good defensive coordinator candidates available right now and Desai is certainly one of the better ones due to his youth and upside.
Is Gus Bradley out of the Running?
A big focus will be put on who the next Raiders defensive coordinator could be but it’s still possible that they stay in-house. Gus Bradley did a great job with the defense last season. The numbers aren’t elite as the team finished 14th in yards allowed and 26th in points allowed.
However, the defense carried the offense towards the end of the season and the Raiders wouldn’t have been in the playoffs had it not been for Bradley’s group stepping up. Bringing him back would be a popular move with players as he’s a beloved coach. Impact players like Casey Hayward and Darius Philon came to Las Vegas to play for Bradley. He can attract talent and is still a very strong defensive mind. It’s a long shot but keeping Bradley wouldn’t be the worst call.