Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden indicated the team was going to move quickly to hire a defensive coordinator.
True to his word, Gus Bradley was hired for the position a week after Gruden made that promise.
If Bradley’s past history is any indication, the Raiders’ defense could see big improvements.
Raiders owner Mark Davis, general manager Mike Mayock and Gruden shared their vision with Bradley during the interview process.
Bradley said he liked what he heard and gave his vision for the Raiders defense.
“I think the style that you should see is a team that plays with great effort, great enthusiasm, great toughness and a defense that plays smart,” said Bradley when asked by The Fresno Bee about his vision. “That is our key, that is the style when people talk. Now, if you just said what is our non-negotiables: fast, physical and we have to find a way to get the ball.
“We have to set up opportunities for the offense to score, give them possessions and every call that we design, even if it’s just a three-deep like you say or man coverage, we want the players to have the mindset that every call that we have is designed to get the ball. It’s very important, the communication that takes place within the defense. We’re going to add defenses, we’re going to be very multiple but not at the expense that we don’t play fast. That’s first and foremost.”
Bradley, 54, spent the past four seasons as the defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Chargers and guided the defense to a top 10 finish in 2019 in total defense (sixth) and passing (fifth).
That season the Chargers defense only allowed 200.3 passing yards per game — the fewest since his first season with Los Angeles in 2017 and the second-fewest by a Chargers defense since 2010 (177.8).
This season, Los Angeles ranked 10th in total defense under Bradley and ninth in passing defense.
During the season, the Raiders fired former defensive coordinator Paul Guenther.
The Raiders defense finished the season 25th in defense (389.1 yards per game) and the passing defense was also 25th (263.3 ypg). The Raiders’ rushing defense was 24th (125.8) and allowed the 30th most points allowed at 29.9 points per game.
Bradley has coached notable players such as Derrick Brooks, Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, Derwin James Jr., Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman.
He spearheaded the Seattle Seahawks defense that was known as the Legion of Boom under safeties Thomas and Chancellor.
Bradley runs a 4-3 defensive scheme.
Some of the the Raiders defensive players posted on Twitter and Instagram voicing their approval of Bradley’s hire.
Those players include defensive end Maxx Crosby, defensive tackle Maurice Hurst Jr., cornerback Trayvon Mullen and safety Johnathan Abram.
Abram said “we about to get active” and Hurst said on IG “there you go.”
At the end of the season presser, Gruden alluded to what he wants from the next defensive coordinator.
“I think No. 1, great communication. A guy that can develop players, a man that will utilize his assistant coaches and allow them to express themselves and get more out of their units and a guy that has a history of success, a guy that has a great day-to-day work ethic and knowledge of the offenses that he has stop,” Gruden told The Bee.
“Somebody that can really adapt to Lamar Jackson and the style of offense they play to the next week where you got to get ready for Patrick Mahomes and then it’s on to Philip Rivers. There’s a lot of different variables that you have to deal with and adapt to. A people person, great drive and a real desire to be a Raider.”
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