An up to date coaching tracker to roundup the confirmed and rumored additions being made to Jon Gruden’s Oakland Raiders coaching staff.
When Jon Gruden was introduced (for the second time) as the head coach of the Oakland Raiders, several members of his coaching staff were already known, and he confirmed as much during his introductory press conference. Greg Olson was going to be his offensive coordinator, Paul Guenther would be his defensive coordinator, and Rich Bisaccia was going to be his special teams coordinator.
But beyond that was only speculation and rumors as to who would fill out the rest of his coaching staff. A lot has changed since the presser, so let’s roundup the latest information that’s circulating.
Rich Gannon was considered nearly a sure thing to become the Gruden’s QB Coach, should he be offered the position. The prospect of this was popular among the fan base, as many felt Gannon’s passion and fire would bring some of that out of Derek Carr.
But Gannon made an appearance on the Raiders flagship radio station, 95.7 The Game, and broke the news himself that he would not become the team’s QB Coach.
Rich Gannon just told @957thegame that he won't be Raiders QB coach "I came to my senses" on flight to Oakland Tuesday. Couldn't/didn't want to match Gruden's intensity and time commitment the position requires
— Scott Bair (@BairNBCS) January 10, 2018
Back to the drawing board.
Ian Rapoport suggested that the Gruden and Olson may just take on the task of QB Coach themselves, and names like Bruce Gradkowski and Jeff Garcia have been thrown out there — although not by an official source or insider.
One actual name that has been linked to the position is former Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, a well respected QB Coach in his own right. As of this writing, he’s the only name that has been linked following the news that it won’t be Gannon.
The original name linked to the position of RB Coach is Gary Brown, who currently holds that same position with the Dallas Cowboys. That is where Rich Bisaccia is coming from, so it’s certainly possible Brown was coming by way of recommendation from him.
Brown reportedly interviewed for the position, but things turned in a different direction. Rapoport broke the news that current Colts RB Coach Jemal Singleton was hired for the position.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 11, 2018
Most of Singleton’s experience comes at the collegiate level (14 years) and he just finished his second year in Indianapolis. In his first season holding that position in Indy, Frank Gore became the team’s first 1,000-yard rusher since Joseph Addai in 2007.
This spot is still up in the air, and there are a few candidates in the mix. Tee Martin, current OC at USC, was reported as one of two candidates the Raiders interviewed that satisfied the Rooney Rule, and he is being considered for a role as WR Coach. He was a QB in college but has held the position of wide receivers coach since 2010 at various spots.
Another name connected to the position is Darryl Drake, who currently holds this same role for the Arizona Cardinals. Ted Nguyen of The Athletic would be a fan of this move:
This would be a big hire.@b_peters12 just did a great piece about Arians’ pass concepts with a creative route tree.
Drake taught those routes and could bring some of Arians’ ideas over. https://t.co/ZfXWSPlzc2
— Ted Nguyen (@RaidersAnalysis) January 12, 2018
Alex Marvez reported on January 9 that Reggie Barlow, current head coach at Virginia State and someone who played WR for Gruden in Tampa Bay, was being considered for the role. But there has been no update on his status.
The Raiders have hired Packers OC Edgar Bennett to be the team’s WR Coach, per Chris Mortensen.
Jon Gruden adds another key hire to his Oakland Raiders staff – former Packers OC Edgar Bennett is being hired as receivers coach, according to league sources.
— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) January 13, 2018
Bennett served as Green Bay’s RB Coach from 2001 to 2010, at which point he transitioned to the role of WR Coach until 2014. To start the 2015 season, Bennett was promoted to the team’s offensive coordinator, where he remained until the end of the 2017 season. Green Bay ranked 23rd, 8th and 26th in his three seasons in charge of the offense. Aaron Rodgers only played in seven games in 2017.
Bobby Johnson was the second candidate interviewed that satisfied the Rooney Rule, and he was the current TE Coach for the Raiders. He was initially expected to stay on board, and he was also recently named the head coach for the west squad in the upcoming Shrine Game. But he was surprisingly let go, which was reported in the evening of January 11.
— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) January 12, 2018
As Adam Caplan noted, the team is expected to hire Bears TE Coach Frank Smith in his place. So it sounds like we can put this one to bed.
The OL Coach rumor mill has been a bit of a whirlwind. Bill Callahan was the first name linked to the job, but it didn’t take long for Jay Gruden to come out and say that he wasn’t going to let big brother steal his OL Coach. Jeremiah Washburn was next on the list, but he took a job with the Dolphins instead.
It’s clear that Mike Tice isn’t coming back, so whoever comes in at this position needs to be a slam dunk. Adam Caplan mentioned six names in the running:
#Raiders have or are scheduled interview at least 6 OL coaches including Hal Hunter, Hank Fraley, Dave DeGuglielmo (as @rapsheet said he's interviewing on Mon). Also, only coach retained so far from Del Rio's staff: Asst WRs coach Nick Holz. Others are being reviewed.
— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) January 12, 2018
Dave DeGuglielmo has an interview coming up, so he’s a name to watch. The team has already interviewed current Cardinals OC and OL Coach Harold Goodwin for the position.
Personally, I’m holding out hope that Aaron Kromer’s name will get linked to the job at some point.
Out of nowhere, the Gruden has hired Tom Cable to be the team’s offensive line coach, per Michael Lombardi.
Cable, of course, was the the OL Coach in Oakland in 2007 and 2008, at which point he took over as the interim head coach after Lane Kiffin was fired following a 1-3 start. Under Cable, the Raiders went 4-8 in 2008, 5-11 in 2009 and 8-8 in 2010. His tenure in Oakland was mired controversy, ranging from domestic violence allegations to an assault that took place at the team’s facility, in which Cable broke the jaw of an assistant coach.
He has been the OL Coach in Seattle since 2011, and he was just fired a few days prior to being hired by Gruden. His tenure there was largely a disaster. To be fair, Seattle’s talent along the line has been rough to say the least, but at the same time, Cable has not been able to develop or maximize the players at his disposal.
It remains to be seen what type of blocking scheme the Raiders will run under Gruden, but Cable has often used a zone-blocking scheme in the past.
Alex Marvez reported that David Lippincott, who holds this same position with the Bengals, was expected to follow Guenther to Oakland.
— Alex Marvez (@alexmarvez) January 9, 2018
But there has been no official word since then, and Adam Caplan has broke some news on this front:
— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) January 12, 2018
The expectation initially was that O’Neil was coming on to coach the linebackers. However, Caplan also reported that his official title will be Senior Defensive Assistant.
The Bengals official website mentions that the team’s assistant linebackers coach, David Lippincott, will in fact follow Guenther to coach the linebackers in Oakland. Previously, it was only expected Lippincott would take the job, and the press release from the Bengals is the first official source to confirm the move.
Derrick Ansley, the DBs Coach for Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide, is coming to Oakland in this same role.
Raiders are hiring Derrick Ansley to coach their secondary, @FootballScoop first reported Ansley makes jump to NFL after two seasons overseeing Alabama’s DBs.
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) January 11, 2018
Ansley is very highly thought of, and his work the last two seasons at Alabama has been notable. Saban is seen as a bit of a guru in the secondary, so hopefully Ansley can bring some of that knowledge to a positional group that needs a major boost in production.
So here’s the rundown of who is either confirmed or rumored for Gruden’s staff:
- OC – Greg Olson
- DC – Paul Guenther
- ST/Assistant HC- Rich Bisaccia
- QB – Pep Hamilton (rumored)
- RB – Jemal Singleton (confirmed)
- WR – Edgar Bennett (confirmed)
- Asst. WR – Nick Holz (confirmed)
- TE – Frank Smith (confirmed)
- OL – Tom Cable (confirmed)
- LB – David Lippincott (confirmed)
- DB – Derrick Ansley (confirmed)
- Senior Defensive Assistant – Jim O’Neil (confirmed)
No one has been linked to position the DL Coach. Also, Deuce Gruden, Jon’s son who is a powerlifting champ, is joining the strength and conditioning staff. The last spot to fill is QB Coach, and then various assistant and quality control positions.
And as Caplan mentioned in an above posted tweet, assistant wide receivers coach Nick Holz is the only Del Rio staffer who has officially been retained. Several others are under review.
There is a mix of familiar faces for Gruden on his staff — which will help make his transition back to the sidelines a smooth one — and some new blood such as Guenther that will bring fresh perspective. There is quite a bit of experience among the group, and once everything comes together, this will easily be the best coaching staff the Raiders have had in quite some time — probably even since Gruden was here the first time around.