The Las Vegas Raiders wasted no time in finding their new defensive coordinator in Gus Bradley, formerly of the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Raiders went into the offseason with a notable vacancy after firing former defensive coordinator Paul Guenther in December. Any hope they have of bouncing back next season will need to begin with a potential resurgence on the defensive side of the ball.
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden is extremely familiar with Bradley given the latter’s stint with the Chargers in recent years as well as coaching together with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He is confident that his skill set will help pay huge dividends for the young core of players on defense.
Gruden is optimistic that Bradley will be able to groom the talent they have assembled in recent years, per Vic Tafur of The Athletic:
“Everybody that I know has always bought into Gus and this system, and I think it fits our players’ skill set,” Gruden said in a phone interview. “And some of our young players that need to develop will develop quickly under his group.”
Gruden added that the onus will fall on the coaching staff as a whole to improve the defense:
“I don’t think one guy is going to fix the defense,” Gruden said. “We’re all going to fix it together. We have a young team and this guy is a great motivator and a great teacher. He is going to teach a system that has won a world championship, one that he developed.
“He’s bringing with him an army of coaches that believe in the same thing, so it’s going to be an exciting time for our players.”
Talent is certainly not an issue or the Raiders’ defense. After all, they have made efforts to bring in a healthy mix of established players and promising upstarts.
Las Vegas drafted a pair of talented edge rushers in Clelin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby and they followed it up by signing linebackers Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski at the next level. Meanwhile, safety Johnathan Abram along with cornerbacks Damon Arnette and Trayvon Mullen are backing them up over the top.
Unfortunately, all but Crosby failed to play up to their potential during the 2020 campaign and this was perhaps the biggest concern for Gruden moving forward. Although there has been some talk about his Cover 3 system, all eyes will be on whether or not Bradley is able to build a rapport with his players in order to get them back on track following a disappointing year.