As the names began to appear as potential replacements as Las Vegas Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther shortly after his dismissal, most of the potential candidates had one common theme: They had all worked with Jon Gruden in the past. .
Like many NFL coaches, Gruden enjoys staying close to his roots and that is what happened Tuesday when he hired Gus Bradley, his linebacker coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2006-08.
Gruden also interviewed Kris Richard, who never worked with Gruden, but he did work with defensive confidant Rod Marinelli. Other names linked to employment before Bradley’s hiring were Raheem Morris and Joe Barry, both of whom worked under Gruden in the past.
It never seemed like Gruden would try to hire Dan Quinn or Wade Phillips, as he had no real history with them.
Bradley rental is suitable for Gruden. Gruden might have hired Bradley in 2018 when he returned to the Raiders, but Bradley was already on the Chargers staff. So, Gruden went with Guenther on his return to the NFL after 10 seasons away. Guenther worked with Gruden’s brother Jay with the Cincinnati Bengals.
This Bradley hire is important to Gruden. If the Raiders’ defense doesn’t improve enough for the team to become a regular contender for the playoffs, will owner Mark Davis give Gruden a chance to hire a third defensive coordinator? Davis might lose patience at this point.
Therefore, Gruden must get it right. He clearly feels comfortable moving forward with someone he knows well. I understand that comfort level is important, but sometimes thinking outside the box is a worthwhile endeavor. Bradley is a great defensive coach, but there are plenty of others as well. Perhaps it was worth Gruden to look longer and widen his research net.