Raiders Make Final Decision on Patrick Graham’s Future: Report

patrick graham

Getty Las Vegas Raiders defensive coordinator Patrick Graham.

The new Las Vegas Raiders coaching staff left a lot to be desired in 2022, especially on defense. Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham has been touted as one of the best defensive minds in the NFL but not even he could fix a defense that has been bad for two decades. Graham’s unit allowed 24.6 points a game, which was seventh-worst in the NFL. The unit also allowed 365.6 yards a game, which was fifth-worst in the league.

Head coach Josh McDaniels is going to keep his job next season but there have been questions regarding if Graham would be a scapegoat for the disappointing year. That won’t be the case. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Raiders plan to retain the defensive coordinator for 2023.

Graham was a head coaching candidate last year but he’s unlikely to get looks this year. The Raiders shouldn’t have much competition for his services. The fact that the New York Giants defense improved this year with him gone won’t bode well for his prospects. He needs to fix this Raiders defense by next season or he could be looking for another job this time next year.

Raiders Need to Upgrade Roster

If the Raiders decided to fire Graham and have a fresh start on defense, many fans wouldn’t have a problem with that. The defense has been bad for so long that it’s hard to pin all of the problems on one coach. The fact of the matter is that the Raiders just don’t have good enough players on defense.

Outside of Maxx Crosby, there aren’t many true playmakers on defense. Cornerback Nate Hobbs and safety Trevon Moehrig regressed this year, Chandler Jones was wildly disappointing and Denzel Perryman couldn’t stay healthy. Plus, the Raiders don’t spend much of their money on defense. According to Over the Cap, only two other teams in the NFL had a bigger gap in offensive and defensive spending heading into 2022 than Las Vegas.

Crosby is a stud and one of the best players in the league right now. Everybody else on the defensive roster should be considered expendable. The many bad draft picks by Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock really killed the Raiders’ chance of having a good defense. However, those two are gone and general manager Dave Ziegler will have his first full draft. There won’t be many excuses heading into 2023.

Is Retaining Graham the Right Choice?

Graham didn’t inspire much confidence this year but there’s no denying he’s one of the most respected defensive minds in the NFL. He wants to run a complex system but he didn’t have the personnel to make that happen. Graham did make some questionable decisions this year, including calling press man coverage at the end of the game against the Los Angeles Rams that may have cost the team a win.

However, he’s a very smart coach and runs the type of defense that McDaniels wants. The Raiders would be wise to invest heavily in upgrading the defense this offseason. That will allow Graham to show the team what he can do. If the team gives him much better pieces on defense and he still struggles, then it will be time to move on.

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