The problem with firing a defensive coordinator from a team that may be a few pieces away from becoming a consistent playoff team are quality replacements. Due to constant coach turnover in the NFL, the brightest and best coordinators move on to become head coaches. Names like Robert Saleh making waves at the head coach rumor mill, leaving lesser-known or failed coordinators and coaches. The Raiders need a serious upgrade.
With the long-overdue firing of Paul Guenther, the Raiders now find themselves in a difficult position. With a young team, the best answer to smooth things out on defense remains a veteran defensive coordinator. A veteran coach can bring playoff experience.
However, most veteran coaches and coordinators like where they currently work. So, they don’t possess the desire to take a risk in overseeing the Raiders’ defense. As a result, the attention shifts to currently unemployed coaches. An unemployed coach does not mean a subpar defensive coordinator. It may just acknowledge that they bit off more than they could chew as a coach.
One option for the defensive coordinator is the former coach of the Atlanta Falcons, Dan Quinn. From 2001-2010 and 2013-2014, Quinn served defense-based coaching roles for five different NFL teams before becoming the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, where he would lead his team to an NFC championship victory and a Super Bowl appearance.
Quinn’s specialty throughout the years has been his defensive line coaching skills, something the Raiders clearly need help with. Yes, he struggled to win with 10 first-round picks on the Falcons offense, but as defensive coordinator for the team, he would have no say in offensive production.
Son of Bum
When discussing veteran coaches, very few have been in the NFL since the Houston Oilers were around, but Wade Phillips has. Philips had experience with linebackers and linemen through his coaching career before locking into his defensive coordinator role. Like Quinn, Phillips has an impressive amount of postseason experience that could help condition and train the Raiders’ defense to endure the grueling season in its entirety.
Regardless of who gets hired as the Raiders’ next defensive coordinator, the defensive line has to be the priority. The line controls the tempo of the opponent’s run game while also can keep a quarterback nervous in the pocket with consistent pressure. Defensive backs can be depended on less with a good defensive line, which could certainly help the younger players grow and develop.