With games played this season, the Las Vegas Raiders defense has shown little reason to be optimistic. What makes it most frustrating is that the defense is filled with high draft picks and new players who had success with previous teams. Paul Guenther has had three seasons to fix this defense and it seems like they haven’t improved at all.
Fortunately for him, head coach Jon Gruden believes in Guenther and has given him an incredibly long leash.
“I know he’s a good coach. And I know the mistakes were very correctable and we’ll correct them,” Gruden said of Guenther Monday.
While many would like to the Raiders make a change, it sounds like Gruden would prefer to let Guenther work through things.
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Gruden Wants to Eliminate the Mistakes
The Raiders do have talent on defense but they just keep making mistakes. Outside of cornerback Trayvon Mullen, nobody seems to be capable of slowing down the pass. Gruden doesn’t seem to think it’s indicative of a larger problem.
“I think we played pretty good. We just have to eliminate the mistakes,” Gruden said. “The first touchdown pass, we’re in a man-to-man coverage and we have a couple of guys who don’t play man-to-man. It’s not that hard. That’s very correctable, and it’s going to get corrected. If we eliminate the mistakes, we can be a whole lot better.”
Obviously, the Raiders need to stop playing sloppy football but they’ve been doing that ever since Guenther took over. He’s had three years to work out these issues and hasn’t. Yes, the team has dealt with injuries on defense but it just doesn’t seem like the defense has gotten better since Guenther took over.
How Long Is Guenther’s Leash?
Raider fans are ready to hear the news that Guenther’s fired but it’s probably not happening this season. Gruden and Guenther share an agent and are friends. Considering the defensive coordinator had success at his previous job also helps his case.
However, Gruden can only watch his defense get lit up so many times. The Raiders play the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 5 and it’s no secret the team has built their defense to try and slow down Patrick Mahomes. If the reigning Super Bowl champions obliterate the Raiders, Gruden could decide to make a change during the bye week.
Rod Marinelli is on the staff and he’s had a lot of success as a defensive coordinator. He’d be a logical choice to take over the defense. Just look how much worse the Dallas Cowboys defense is since he left. He obviously knows what he’s doing.
Guenther isn’t a bad coach but it’s clearly not working out with the Raiders. It would be one thing if they were improving each year but it just seems like they’re getting worse. General manager Mike Mayock did a lot this offseason to give Guenther more talent to work with and it doesn’t seem like he’s utilizing it. While Gruden might not want to, it’s time to start considering a change.
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