The Raiders are in need of an upgrade on defense. Their latest hire portends to one.
The team announced Tuesday it has hired Gus Bradley as its new defensive coordinator, a hire that's familiar on multiple fronts.
Bradley has spent the past four years in the same post with the Chargers, where he produced mixed results under Anthony Lynn. L.A. experienced a major defensive turnaround during his first two seasons but was a middling unit the next two. That's still a marked difference from where the Raiders have been under Jon Gruden.
Las Vegas has ranked among the league's worst defenses in each of the past three seasons, a development that cost Paul Guenther his job late in the 2020 campaign.
Bradley recently became available following the firing of Lynn. He said he plans to retain Raiders defensive line coach Rod Marinelli but will consider bringing some of his former Chargers colleagues with him.
"There's staff members here that I would still like to visit with," Bradley told reporters in an introductory Zoom call. "We're going to put together a really good staff."
In Las Vegas, he'll reunite with Gruden, who 15 years ago gave him his first NFL job as the linebackers coach of the Buccaneers. The Cover 3 specialist ascended quickly, becoming the Seahawks DC in 2009 and continuing in that role under Pete Carroll as Seattle blossomed into the best defense in football.
Bradley's ensuing four-year stint as the head coach of the Jaguars generated notable strides on defense but not enough wins for Jacksonville to stay the course. He wasn't unemployed long, however, taking the Chargers' DC job a month after being dismissed by the Jags.
His third term as a pro coordinator presents a bigger challenge than previous stops. One of Bradley's primary tasks will be to tap into the potential of a slew of young players who have shown flashes, including defensive ends Clelin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby, defensive backs Damon Arnette, Trayvon Mullen and Johnathan Abram, and last year's splash free-agent signing Cory Littleton.
The Raiders have ranked 30th, 24th and 32nd in scoring defense the past three years.