With the season finally over for the Las Vegas Raiders, the biggest priority for the team is to find a new defensive coordinator. The defense didn’t improve much under Rod Marinelli so it seems unlikely he’ll get the job going forward. There should be a number of strong candidates available to the team this offseason and a number of potential fits have emerged.
According to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, the Raiders could be interested in Raheem Morris, Greg Williams and Joe Barry.
Out of those three names, Morris makes the most sense. He used to work for Jon Gruden back in Tampa Bay and did a solid job as the Atlanta Falcons’ interim head coach. What has to pique the Raiders’ interest in Morris is the fact that his defense shut down their offense when they played. The Falcons were also only the second team to keep Patrick Mahomes from scoring over 17 points in a game. If Morris doesn’t get a head coaching job, he’s got to be at the top of the list for the Raiders.
UPDATE: The Raiders have officially requested permission to interview, Gus Bradley, Morris and Barry, per Ian Rapoport.
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Williams & Barry Would Be Bad Calls
It’s not all that surprising that the Raiders could be interested in Greg Williams. Jon Gruden had some high praise for the veteran defensive coach prior to this season’s game against the New York Jets. However, Williams’ bad play-calling against the Raiders cost him his last job. He’s had some decent success as a defensive coordinator but there’s a reason he hasn’t lasted more than three seasons at any job in over a decade. He’s got a very strong personality and his aggressive coaching style has gotten him into trouble a number of times. He’s not the worst defensive coach in the world but the Raiders could do better.
Joe Barry is currently the linebackers coach for the Los Angeles Rams but he wouldn’t inspire much confidence. He’s Rod Marinelli’s son-in-law and used to be his defensive coordinator when he was the head coach for the Detroit Lions. During Barry’s two years in Detroit, the team’s defense finished worst in the NFL in scoring defense both seasons. He was also the defensive coordinator for the Washington Football Team from 2015 to 2016. While he had more success than he did in Detroit, his defense was never in the top-15 in scoring defense.
Gus Bradley Also Emerging as a Candidate
The Los Angeles Chargers announced on Monday that they’ve parted ways with head coach Anthony Lynn, which means that defensive coordinator Gus Bradley will be a free agent. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Raiders will try to speak with Bradley.
Similar to Morris, Bradley used to work for Gruden back in Tampa Bay. Since those days, he’s had a lot of success as a defensive coordinator. Under his direction, the Chargers had the number one scoring defense in 2017. However, his defense hasn’t finished in the top-10 in scoring defense since that season but everybody is well aware of the myriad injuries the Chargers suffer on defense every season. Bradley also deserves a lot of credit for developing an elite Seattle Seahawks defense that finished number one in the NFL in scoring defense in Bradley’s last season with the team. The team won the Super Bowl on the back of their defense the following season. He’d be a great pickup for the Raiders.