After fielding some of the worst defenses in the NFL over the last three seasons, the Las Vegas Raiders have finally picked a new defensive coordinator. Gus Bradley is coming over from the Los Angeles Chargers after a solid stint and will now hope to fix the mess that Paul Guenther created. The Raiders have finished 32nd in scoring defense in 2018, 24th in 2019 and 30th in 2020.
Under Bradley, the Chargers ranked third, eighth, 14th and 23rd in points allowed from 2017 to 2020, and 15th, ninth, sixth and 10th in yards allowed. While he hasn’t coached an elite defense over the last three seasons, his defenses have been significantly better than the Raiders’.
Players for the team have been sitting in limbo since Guenther was fired but a lot of them seem pretty hyped up. Maxx Crosby, Maurice Hurst, Trayvon Mullen and Johnathan Abram all reacted positively to the news.
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Richard Sherman Thinks Highly of Bradley
Bradley should get a warm welcome from the Raiders. Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward revealed that five-time Pro Bowler Richard Sherman, who was coached by Bradley from 2011 to 2012 in Seattle, had very strong thoughts about the coach.
“I talked to Sherman this week, and he just said, ‘Man, you are going to love this guy! You are going to be willing to run through a wall for him because that is the type of person he is.’ That got me real excited,” Hayward said back in 2017, via Chargers.com. “He said he is really good for a cornerback because he will mix things up. He’ll play some (cover) three, he’ll play some man. He said Gus will mix things up and bring different pressures.”
Based on what Sherman had to say in the past, it sounds like Bradley is certainly a players’ coach. There’s no indication that Guenther wasn’t liked by players but he also didn’t seem to inspire them much. Bradley may not have been the most inspired hire but he’s got a strong track record and the Raiders can’t really afford to take a lot of risks.
Raiders Need to Set Bradley up for Success
After his stint with the Raiders, many have a pretty negative opinion of Paul Guenther. While there’s no doubt he failed, the team didn’t necessarily set him up for success. They did give him three first-round picks and two second-round picks that he didn’t seem to utilize properly but the Raiders did spend way more money on offense than they did on defense.
That can’t be the case with Bradley. He’s had success in the past but he’s also had elite talent to work with. Coming from the Chargers, he’s about to see a major decrease in talent. The Raiders need to spend money on the defense in free agency and also plan on using most of their draft picks to find talented defenders. Bradley has a track record of developing young players so the Raiders need to give him some new ones that he can work with.