The Raiders have made a lot of coaching hires since the end of the season. There have also been a few coaches retained from the previous staff. But the most important position that has yet to be filled is that of defensive coordinator.
After filling many coaching positions on the offensive side of the ball, Hue Jackson made his first defensive hire when he brought in Raiders former defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan. But his specific role is hazy at this point. Right now, his title is “Assistant on Defense.” But many speculate that he is slated to be the linebackers coach — that is, if the Raiders are able to get who they want as the defensive coordinator.
The two names being talked about most are Darren Perry and Winston Moss who are both on the Packers defensive staff. With the Packers playing in the Super Bowl this coming weekend, the Raiders have been forced to wait until it is over to talk to either of the two coaches.
Up to this point, the Raiders and the Eagles were the last two teams still in the market for a defensive coordinator. The Eagles announced on Wednesday that they have hired former offensive assistant Juan Castillo as their new defensive coordinator.
Now the Raiders are free and clear to speak to both Perry and Moss about their vacant defensive coordinator position. The question is — do either of them want the job?
Both coaches are familiar with the Raiders so they can certainly make an informed decision.
Moss played for the Raiders for four seasons in the early ’90’s (’91-94). The uncertainty with him is if he would see the Raider job as a step up. With the Packers he is the assistant head coach and linebackers coach. He holds this position on a team that is in the Super Bowl. And with a young nucleus, and a superstar quarterback in Aaron Rodgers, they will most likely be competing for years to come. He could decide that he likes his current situation and hold out for a team to come knocking with a head coaching offer.
Darren Perry is not only familiar with the Raiders but he is very recently familiar. He was on the Raiders coaching staff just two seasons ago. He came in with Lane Kiffin as the Raiders’ defensive backs coach. He was let go following the 2008 season in which Kiffin was fired after week four and Tom Cable took over as interim coach. With Cable having the interim tag stripped from him, a few coaches were stripped from the staff — Perry among them.
Perry is given some credit for aiding in Nnamdi Asomugha’s transformation into the league’s premier cover corner. He and Asomugha had a great relationship and it is thought that if the Raiders can nab him as the defensive coordinator, it could go a long way to convincing Nnamdi to re-sign long term.
But what does Perry think of the Raiders? As of now, that is uncertain. If the way things went down in Oakland left a bad taste in his mouth, he could opt not to entertain the idea of returning even for a promotion.
The thinking now is if neither Moss nor Perry accept the position, the team will simply promote recently hired “assistant on defense” Chuck Bresnahan to his old position. This would mean that current assistant linebackers coach (again, not an official title yet) Greg Biekert would most likely have the “assistant” label removed and simply become the linebackers coach. Other coaches on staff are defensive line coach Mike Waufle and defensive backs coach Kevin Ross, who were both retained from last season. Neither of them are expected to be offered the defensive coordinator job. Waufle did a tremendous job with the defensive line last year in his first season in that capacity but all indications are that he is content with that position.
Bresnahan has had mixed results in the NFL as a defensive coordinator. He was the DC for the Raiders during their successful years under Gruden and the following Super Bowl season. His defenses were ranked in the top ten twice during that time. He went on to coach the Bengals defense for four years afterward and his defenses were among the worst in the league every season. He spent the last two seasons as the linebackers coach and defensive coordinator for the Florida Tuskers of the UFL.
Right now the Raiders are really planning on pursuing Moss and/or Perry hard after the Super Bowl is over, regardless of the outcome. Bresnahan is an insurance plan but he would not be the ideal candidate. I don’t foresee there being any other candidates out there. If the Packers hadn’t made the Super Bowl, the position would already have been filled. And hopefully with the Raiders’ first or second choice.