The signing of Gus Bradley drew intrigue from the members of RaiderNation. When looking over Bradley’s track record, a concerning level of streakiness can be seen. Bradley’s career as a defensive coordinator started in Seattle, where he struggled to stop anything in his first two seasons. But, in his third season in Seattle, Bradley established his legacy, coaching the Seahawks aptly named “Legion of Boom”, a two-year stretch in which Seattle defensively dominated the NFL. In Bradley, the Raiders made their choice. How that plays out could dictate where the franchise goes.
As the Legion of Boom began to fizzle, Bradley was hired by the Jacksonville Jaguars to take over head coaching duties. In Jacksonville, Bradley lasted almost four seasons, chalking up a 14-48 record over his time as head coach.
Bolt for California
Quickly after being relieved of his duties, Bradley found a job as defensive coordinator with the Los Angeles Chargers and immediately led the Chargers defense to allow the third-fewest points in the league in 2017. Throughout his next three years, the Chargers defense held strong before fading out and ranking in the bottom eight defenses in 2020.
It is refreshing to notice that Bradley has had success wherever he has found himself hired as defensive coordinator. Sometimes the success came at the beginning of his career, and other times, teams had to suffer a few years before Bradley’s defense came to form.
The one concerning issue with Bradley’s coaching style is his hesitancy to dial up the blitz. Over the last four seasons, the Raiders have blitzed on the fewest number of plays, while the Chargers called the third-fewest blitzes.
Better Than Captain Cover Zero
By no means does this imply any desire to hire Gregg “Dr. Blitz” Williams to change things. Just signifies that the Raiders will focus better on getting to the quarterback while still sending only four rushers.
It is difficult to estimate when Bradley’s success will come with this team. To be fair, it does not feel like the Raiders possess the pieces to be a dominant defense in 2021. Also, those expectations should find their way into a trash heap. Bradley won’t walk in and change the world in his first year. Additionally, the only expectation should be the establishment of fundamentals such as tackling, coverage, and pass rush. As fans also watch Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden’s defensive draft picks struggle to adjust to the NFL, hope exists for Bradley’s input. Remember the immediate threat.