Once the Las Vegas Raiders hired Josh McDaniels, it was clear there would be major changes to the team’s coaching staff. However, Gus Bradley had a chance to stay on as defensive coordinator. He did a great job turning the team’s defense from a laughing stock to a respectable unit. The players also resonated well with him.
Despite his success, it became clear that the Raiders were going to make a change. The team ended up hiring New York Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham to serve the same role. Luckily for Bradley, he found a new job quickly. According to Joel A. Erickson of Indy Star, the veteran coach is signing a deal to become the Indianapolis Colts’ defensive coordinator.
This is a great move for Bradley as the Colts have a roster that’s ready to contend for Super Bowls soon if they can work out some kinks. He’s also inheriting a great defense. Former defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus was hired as the head coach of the Chicago Bears so Bradley isn’t inheriting a mess. The Colts were 11th in points allowed 17th in yards allowed. Bradley has coached up top-five defenses before and Indianapolis will give the personnel to make it happen again.
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Bradley Was Too Rigid With His Scheme
With the Raiders moving on from Bradley in favor of Graham, it’s clear that they’d like a more flexible approach on defense. Bradley has coached some of the best defenses in the NFL over the last decade and is one of the masterminds behind the Cover 3 defense that is heavily used by a number of coaches in the league. However, Bradley is a purist when it comes to his defensive scheme. It’s Cover 3 or bust.
The Raiders had the lowest blitz rate in the NFL last and they didn’t even try switching up the defensive scheme in two blowout losses to the Kansas City Chiefs. Every defense started using two high safeties to combat Patrick Mahomes but Bradley didn’t think he needed to. The Chiefs put up 89 points in two games against the Raiders last season. If Las Vegas hopes to beat the AFC West rival, it was necessary to consider making a change at defensive coordinator.
Raiders Will Be More Adaptable With New Staff
One thing the Patriots have always been through their six Super Bowl championships is adaptable. Both McDaniels and Graham spent a long time in New England so they know how to be adaptable. In fact, the new Raiders defensive coordinator doesn’t even follow one specific scheme.
“So you say 4-3, 3-4, 2-4, 3-3-5, whatever you want to say, I’ll say yes,” Graham told Giants.com last year. “I’m not trying to make a joke of it. We are going to do what’s best with what we have in terms of the people, the personnel we have and what we think is best for the game.”
Having a set scheme isn’t a bad thing but it’s clear that McDaniels wants the Raiders to be able to adapt if necessary. It should be interesting to see how the defense evolves under its third defensive coordinator in three years.