The Raiders added the final major piece to the coaching staff on Monday when they named Chuck Bresnahan as the defensive coordinator. But is that the final move the Raiders plan on making with regards to the coaching staff?
When the offseason arrived, most of the Raiders previous coaching staff departed. Tom Cable was relieved of the job as head coach and many of the coaches who were brought in during his tenure were let go with him. Coaches whose contracts were not renewed:
Defensive Coordinator John Marshall
Linebackers coach Mike Haluchak
Defensive backs coach Lionel Washington
Passing game coordinator/ quarterbacks coach Ted Tollner
Quarterbacks coach Paul Hackett
Offensive line coach Jim Michalczik
Assistant line coach Chris Morgan
Marshall was one of the first coaches to be notified of his release but is the latest and perhaps the last to be replaced. Haluchak was replaced by assistant linebackers coach Greg Biekert who was promoted to the position. Hall of Famer Rod Woodson comes on board as the defensive backs coach to replace Lionel Washington. Woodson will be in charge of the cornerbacks in particular while Kevin Ross will coach the safeties.
On the offensive side of the ball, there will be no passing game coordinator this season. Longtime NFL offensive mind Al Saunders will be the offensive coordinator while Hue Jackson will call the plays as head coach. Michalczik will be replaced by Bob Wylie as the offensive line coach while legendary Raider left guard Steve Wisniewski will replace Chris Morgan as the assistant offensive line coach.
That just leaves the quarterbacks coach of the group that has yet to be hired. Hue Jackson is well known as a quarterback guru and it would appear at this moment that he will have those duties, though it would make sense to bring in someone to help him in that arena. He will have his hands full as the head coach and primary playcaller.
Then there is the question of whether all the currently listed coaches are sure to be retained. The only two coaches who were still under contract after last season were defensive backs coach Kevin Ross and defensive line coach Mike Waufle. Willie Brown had his title changed to squad development and it is highly unlikely he will be going anywhere.
That just leaves a few remaining holdovers from the Cable era: Special Teams coach John Fassel, Tight Ends coach Adam Henry, Wide Receivers Coach Sanjay Lal, Running Backs Coach Kelly Skipper, and Strength and Conditioning Coach Brad Roll.
Those who are most vulnerable, should the Raiders still be in the market, are Sanjay Lal and Brad Roll. The receivers have been an underachieving group since Lal was named to the position two seasons ago. There have also been quite a few issues with conditioning on the team with several key players suffering injuries. Then there was the “fatigue” situation with Darrius Heyward-Bey in camp last year.
It is still possible that all of these coaches could be let go. Every single area has had its issues under their tutelage. None of their jobs are safe. Lionel Washington remained on the team’s roster page right up until the day Rod Woodson was announced as his replacement February 14 (Happy Valentine’s day, you’re fired).
Overall, it seems the Raiders could still add or replace a coach — or several. They could also conceivably head into the season with the staff that is now assembled. That couldn’t be said until the team finally named the new defensive coordinator. So there’s that.