It’s a new day for the Las Vegas Raiders‘ defense as the coaching staff is getting a pretty big facelift. Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther was fired after a blowout loss to the Indianapolis Colts in Week 14 and it looks like more changes are coming. The team announced the hiring of former Los Angeles Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley recently and he’s reportedly going to make some big changes to the defensive staff.
According to Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Raiders are adding Richard Smith as the linebackers coach and Ron Milus as the defensive backs coach.
Both men coached the same position groups in Los Angeles under Bradley. Smith has been coaching for over four decades. He got his NFL start in 1988 with the Houston Oilers where he coached special teams, tight ends, linebackers and the offensive line. His most notable job was as the defensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons from 2015 to 2016. The team made the Super Bowl in 2016 but Smith was let go after the season due to a defensive collapse in the big game that saw the Falcons give up a 28-3 halftime lead to the New England Patriots.
After that season, Smith was hired as the linebackers coach for the Chargers and recently helped develop rookie Kenneth Murray into a solid contributor. The Raiders have had massive linebacker issues since Jon Gruden took over in 2018. Nick Kwiatkoski and Cory Littleton were signed to big contracts last offseason to help fix the issue but both men were disappointments in 2020. The hope will be that Smith can fix a position group that has struggled for over a decade now.
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Milus Is an Important Hire
Milus hasn’t been in the NFL as long as Smith but he might be the most important hire that the Raiders make this offseason. He’s been coaching defensive backs since he got his start with the Denver Broncos back in 2000. He joined the Chargers’ staff in 2013 and became their defensive backs coach in 2013.
Under Milus’ coaching, the Chargers have had some of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. He coached Casey Hayward in Pro Bowl seasons from 2016 to 2017. He also helped develop Desmond King from a fifth-round pick in 2017 to an All-Pro in 2018. Milus also deserves credit for helping develop Derwin James into one of the best safeties in the NFL.
It’s massively important that the Raiders nailed this defensive backs coach hire. Trayvon Mullen, Damon Arnette and Johnathan Abram were all high draft picks and the team needs at least two of them to turn into really good players. Based on Milus’s track record, he might be the perfect guy to help those young men reach the next level.
New Raiders Coaches Respected Around NFL
The hiring of Bradley as defensive coordinator wasn’t the most inspired choice ever and there are fans who are not excited about the move. However, there’s no doubt he’s bringing in a strong staff. Bonsignore reached out to some sources familiar with Smith and Milus and they had strong thoughts about the coaches.