With Jon Gruden resigning on Monday night, the Las Vegas Raiders will do their best to salvage this season. The team is 3-2 and tied for second place in the AFC West so the season is far from over. Interim head coach Rich Bisaccia will have the monumental task of keeping his players focused amid all of this turmoil.
Bisaccia is without a doubt getting a chance to audition as Gruden’s possible permanent replacement. He’s been coaching football for 40 years and is respected around the league. If he leads the Raiders to the playoffs, he could be an option for the team going forward. However, the team needs a fresh start after a Gruden era that was going nowhere and ended in embarrassment.
Despite all of the controversy surrounding the franchise right now, the Raiders are an attractive opening. They have a good quarterback in Derek Carr, a superstar tight end in Darren Waller and promising young pieces all over the roster. There’s work to be done but the right coach can turn this team into a winner quickly. Below we’re going to go through the best fits to replace Gruden.
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1. Eric Bieniemy – Offensive Coordinator, Chiefs
The most obvious name that will get linked to the Raiders early on is Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. He’s been a hot name in each of the last two offseasons but hasn’t yet landed a head coaching job. Las Vegas could end up being the perfect fit for the coach.
It’s no secret that Gruden was trying to build his own version of the Chiefs. Players like Waller and wide receiver Henry Ruggs have to be appealing to Bieniemy. It’s hard to imagine he’d turn the job down if offered. That said, there’s no guarantee the Raiders will be interested. The fact that Bieniemy doesn’t call plays for the Chiefs could concern owner Mark Davis. Former Andy Reid coaches have had success leading teams over the years so the Raiders would be wise to at least bring Bieniemy in for an interview.
2. Brian Daboll – Offensive Coordinator, Bills
Another name that Raider fans are bound to talk about a lot is Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. The work he’s done with quarterback Josh Allen has been remarkable. He helped turn Allen from a sloppy gunslinger to an MVP candidate.
Daboll has 20 years of NFL coaching experience and should be a popular head coaching candidate around the league this offseason. The Raiders should be one of the team’s taking a long look. Currently, the Bills lead the NFL with a scoring offense of 34.4 points a game.
3. Joe Brady – Offensive Coordinator, Panthers
If the Raiders are feeling risky, they could go with a risky choice. The franchise has had a ton of success hiring young coaches. Al Davis was hired to coach the team in 1963 at the age of 33. He went on to become the man who defined the franchise. The Raiders also hired John Madden at 32-years-old and the first time the team hired Gruden, he was only 34.
That’s where Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady comes in. The 32-year-old offensive guru is obviously young but has done amazing work with quarterback Sam Darnold this season. The Panthers are 16th in the NFL in scoring offense this season, which isn’t anything special. However, he’s a young, bright mind who could be the next young head coach to take the league by storm. Davis could take a big swing after going to with two former head coaches with his last two hires in Gruden and Jack Del Rio.
4. Kellen Moore – Offensive Coordinator, Cowboys
With the way the NFL is going, the Raiders would be wise to try and hire another offensive-minded head coach. Most of the top candidates are going to be offensive coordinators. Perhaps a sneaky good hire would be Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.
He’s doing excellent things with the team right now as the Cowboys are averaging 34.0 points a game, which is the second-best in the NFL. Moore hasn’t been much of a head coaching candidate in the past but he’s certainly turning heads this year. He’ll get interviews this offseason. If the Raiders are looking to replace Gruden with another offensive mind, it’s hard to find one better than Moore’s.
5. Todd Bowles – Defensive Coordinator, Buccaneers
So far, we’ve only focused on offensive coaches. Davis could want to try something different after the Gruden era failed so spectacularly. The owner could look at the Raiders roster and believe they’re ready to win now. In that scenario, he may want to hire somebody with head coaching experience.
Though the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense has taken a step back this season, nobody will forget how excellent the group was during last year’s Super Bowl run. That success was largely due to defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. As head coach of the New York Jets, he sported a 24-40 record. It wasn’t the most impressive stint but we’re seeing now that the Jets could be beyond saving. Perhaps a fresh start in a better situation could lead to Bowles having a lot more success. It would certainly be worth it for the Raiders to at least take a strong look at the coach.