Jon Gruden already has his eyes set on his next defensive coordinator, and it’s someone within the AFC West.
Once Jon Gruden was hired by the Las Vegas Raiders to return as their head coach, the team has had serious defensive issues. Many can credit that to Gruden trading star linebacker Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears prior to the 2018 season. But 2020 was a nightmare for the Raiders, which resulted in the firing of Paul Guenther in the final weeks of the season. As it turns out, Gruden already has his eyes set on his next defensive coordinator.
According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, Gruden has requested to interview Los Angele Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley for their vacancy.
The #Raiders have now officially requested permission to interview #Chargers DC Gus Bradley for their vacant DC job, source said. A top candidate, along with #Falcons interim coach Raheem Morris (if he doesn’t get a head coaching job) and #Rams assistant Joe Barry.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 4, 2021
Gruden and Bradley have history
The reason as to why Gruden wants Bradley is that the Chargers are currently in search of a new head coach after parting ways with Anthony Lynn. So, Gruden wanted to bring in a familiar face to help build his struggling young defense.
Bradley had worked with Gruden in the past, serving as his linebackers coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2006 until Gruden’s departure following the 2008 season. Bradley would go onto serve as the defensive coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks for three seasons until he was hired to be the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2013, a role he served for four seasons until his firing in 2016. Since 2017, Bradley has been the defensive coordinator for the Chargers.
This past season, Bradley’s defense in Los Angeles has ranked 10th in total defense (343.4 yards allowed/game), ninth against the pass (223.6 yards/game) and 18th against the run (119.8 yards/game). While those numbers are solid for Bradley, here’s one thing that’s not. The Chargers have surrendered the 10th most points per game (26.6).
Gruden hopes that Bradley can improve upon a Raiders defense that ranked 25th in total defense (389.1 yards/game), 26th against the pass (263.3), 24th against the pass (125.8) and allowed an average of 29.9 points per game (third-most in NFL).
As Rapoport notes in the above tweet, the Raiders could pivot to Atlanta Falcons interim head coach Raheem Morris and Los Angeles Rams linebackers coach Joe Barry if they are unsuccessful in their pursuit of Bradley.