The Las Vegas Raiders experienced some significant turnover to their coaching staff this offseason.
They picked things off by replacing Paul Guenther with new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. However, the sudden retirement of running backs coach Kirby Wilson left another notable void for head coach Jon Gruden to fill on his staff.
Finding an outside replacement this late in the offseason would have been a difficult task for any new coach. As a result, the Raiders decided to stay in-house.
According to NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport, Tim Berbenich will serve as the new running backs coach:
With the retirement of Kirby Wilson, the #Raiders will have offensive quality control coach Tim Berbenich handle the RBs coaching duties for 2021, source said. Other coaches will assist, but Berbenich will be the one running the room.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 26, 2021
Wilson was expected to coach his third season as the team’s running backs coach until he decided to retire. Although other coaches will assist in helping this group leading up to the 2021 NFL season, Berbenich will serve in the lead role.
It comes as no surprise to see the Raiders relying on a familiar face to step up and fill such a crucial role on the coaching staff. Berbenich was with Gruden during his days with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and joined the staff upon his arrival back in 2018.
Berbenich was previously serving as a quality control coach on the staff. He will now be tasked with leading one of the most important groups on the roster.
Josh Jacobs established himself as the clear-cut workhorse in the backfield under Wilson’s tutelage. He put together consecutive 1,000-yard rushing campaigns and notched his first Pro Bowl nod last season.
Regardless, the Raiders made efforts to bring in a complementary option to help Jacobs carry the load throughout the 2021 campaign. Kenyan Drake will be tasked with serving in a change-of-pace role with his versatility as both a runner and viable pass-catcher out of the backfield.
The onus will fall on Berbenich to ensure that this group plays up to expectations.