Raiders ‘Eyeing’ Ex-Jets HC to Fill Jon Gruden Coaching Vacancy

Mark Davis, Jon Gruden

Getty Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis speaks with former head coach Jon Gruden on December 22, 2019.

New York Jets fans have suffered through a revolving door at head coach over the past three decades.

The late Joe Walton finished his tenure in 1989 and there hasn’t been an HC that has surpassed 100 games with the franchise since. Rex Ryan came the closest with 96 from 2009-14 and Herm Edwards after that. Of course, the most consistent coach over the past 30 years was Bill Parcells, but he resigned after 48 games on the job.

Since 2015, the Jets have had three different HCs in seven years. From the looks of it though, one of those recent failures could get his next opportunity in 2022.

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Bowles a Favorite for Raiders Job

According to Jason La Canfora, “the [Las Vegas] Raiders are expected to interview former Jets head coach Todd Bowles for their head coaching vacancy in the coming weeks.”

The storied franchise parted ways with Jon Gruden after an email scandal in October. Technically, the former Super Bowl champion head coach resigned, although he later sued the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell claiming that his decision was forced.

Either way, Gruden’s unexpected departure from Las Vegas created a head coaching vacancy that has drawn plenty of intrigue around the league. Sure, the Raiders have not made the playoffs since 2016 but they do have an established quarterback in Derek Carr and a rich history including three Super Bowl titles.

Apparently, Bowles is one of the first names on owner Mark Davis’ list of potential hires. La Canfora explained:

Bowles is a candidate who has come up with the Raiders in past searches, and his strong resume, and past head coaching success resonate with the owner, sources said. The Raiders defense has been an ongoing problem – both in terms of personnel and execution – and Bowles has a history of quickly improving that side of the ball, as he did as a coordinator in Tampa, helping that team win the Super Bowl a year ago. Bowles is held in very high regard by the Tampa brass, and has also been viewed by the Buccaneers organization as a potential replacement for head coach Bruce Arians, should he opt to retire at any point… Bowles relates very well with players, is a trusted teacher and also played the game at a very high level himself. He has worked around some of the best coaches in football and his more reserved nature and persona would be in stark contrast to Gruden. Las Vegas has a pair of bookend pass rushers already in place, but has been lacking a quality secondary for a decade or more; Bowles is a former defensive back with particular expertise in that position group.

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Should Bowles Stick to Coordinating?

The former NFL safety has become widely regarded as one of the top defensive coordinators in football, but it’s unclear if he’ll ever make a great head coach.

With the Jets, he made a terrible one that bored fans with a lack of enthusiasm and fight. He was also saddled with general manager Mike Maccagnan, who didn’t exactly help Bowles succeed with one atrocious draft class after the next.

The former HC went 10-6 during his first year on the job but failed to make the playoffs. After that, he never won more than five games the next three seasons. His low point was the 4-12 campaign in 2018 that got him fired.

As a defensive coordinator, Bowles first made a name for himself with Philadelphia and Arizona. He has recently reinvigorated his career with former Cardinals HC Bruce Arians in Tampa Bay.

Last year, Bowles’ ferocious pass rush was one of the main reasons the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl. He’ll get another shot and he definitely deserves one, the question is if things will turn out better this time around.

Most good coordinators get second chances, they don’t get thirds.

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