Gus Bradley

Raiders Hire Gus Bradley As DC

The Raiders have hired Gus Bradley as their new defensive coordinator, per a club announcement. The former Bolts DC will take over for Paul Guenther, who was fired after a trying season in Las Vegas.

Bradley comes with 15 years of experience, including four years as the Jaguars’ head coach and another four as the leader of the Seahawks’ Legion of Boom. His history with Jon Gruden helped him land the job — his first pro gig was under Gruden as a defensive quality control coach in Tampa Bay.

Bradley’s defenses have ranked in the top 10 in each of the last two seasons. But, after Anthony Lynn got the heave-ho, a return to the Bolts was unlikely. With his guidance, four Chargers defenders earned Pro Bowl nods. That includes defensive ends Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram III, who combined for 61.5 sacks under his watch.

There’s a lot of pressure on Gruden and GM Mike Mayock, who have yet to produce a playoff berth for the Raiders. Gruden is the only coach in the league who still has a job after failing to qualify in each of the last three seasons. Bradley, they hope, can help right the ship.

In addition to Bradley, the Raiders’ candidate pool also included Cowboys defensive passing game coordinator/secondary coach Kris Richard, Rams assistant head coach/linebackers coach Joe Barry, and Falcons interim head coach Raheem Morris.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders To Interview Gus Bradley For DC, Latest On Search

The Raiders fired defensive coordinator Paul Guenther with a few games left in the season, and now that 2020 is over Jon Gruden needs to find a replacement. The day after Week 17, the search is already heating up.

Las Vegas is interested in Chargers DC Gus Bradley and has requested an interview with the former Jaguars head coach, a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). With Los Angeles firing Anthony Lynn Monday, it appears unlikely Bradley will be back with the Chargers in 2021, so it’d be surprising if they blocked the interview. Rapoport calls him a “top candidate” for the job of turning around the Raiders’ lackluster defense.

Bradley’s defenses have played at a high level at times during his four years with the Chargers, but they also severely underperformed their talent this season. Of course he was also dealt some unlucky blows, like the significant injuries to guys like Derwin James, Chris Harris, Melvin Ingram, and Joey Bosa. Bradley had an uninspiring run as the Jags’ head coach from 2013-16, where he went 14-48. He initially received recognition for coordinating the Seahawks’ impressive defense from 2009-12.

If Bradley doesn’t end up with the gig, Rapoport identifies a couple of other potential candidates as well. That being Falcons interim head coach Raheem Morris and Rams linebackers coach Joe Barry. As Rapsheet notes, Morris could land a head coaching job this cycle.

Interestingly, Morris coached under Gruden in Tampa Bay, and then took over as the Bucs’ head coach in 2009 when Gruden was fired. Barry was also on Gruden’s Tampa Bay staff, and has been an assistant head coach/linebackers coach under Sean McVay the past four seasons.

Chargers Retain DC Gus Bradley

The Chargers have re-signed defensive coordinator Gus Bradley to a three-year contract, tweets Adam Schefter of ESPN.com Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported earlier tonight (via Twitter) that Los Angeles was expected to be able to retain its defensive play-caller, whose contract expired after the 2017 season.Gus Bradley (vertical)

[RELATED: 2018 Coordinator Tracker]

Bradley is the second defensive coordinator to be hired in the NFL tonight, joining new Packers defensive play-caller Mike Pettine. Both Bradley and Pettine were candidates for the Green Bay coaching position, so Bradley may have decided to re-sign in Los Angeles after being passed over by the Packers.

Bradley inked a one-year deal with the Chargers after spending three-plus seasons as the Jaguars’ head coach. Los Angeles ranked 12th in DVOA under Bradley’s leadership, while the defensive unit featured starring performances from edge rushers Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram and cornerback Casey Hayward.

We’d like to keep this together if we can,” Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said of Bradley earlier this month. “I know some guys, the contracts are up. We’re working on that right now. We’re trying to keep this staff together, this nucleus together, because I think we got better as a coaching staff as the season went on.”

With Bradley, Pettine, Paul Guenther, Teryl Austin now placed in Los Angeles, Green Bay, Oakland, and Cincinnati, respectively, Vic Fangio is the primary free agent defensive coordinator still on the board. Speculatively, the Bears could now be set to retain Fangio under new head coach Matt Nagy, a solution that Chicago prefers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Packers Request Interview With Gus Bradley

The Packers have requested permission to interview Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley for their own DC vacancy, a league source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Schefter adds that the Seahawks and other clubs also have interest in Bradley. Gus Bradley (vertical)

It should be noted that the Chargers do not have the ability to block Bradley from interviewing since his contract expired on Tuesday. The Bolts will fight to keep Bradley, however.

We’d like to keep this together if we can,” Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said recently. “I know some guys, the contracts are up. We’re working on that right now. We’re trying to keep this staff together, this nucleus together, because I think we got better as a coaching staff as the season went on.” 

The Packers reportedly view Vic Fangio as their top target, though they are also considering a trio of current assistants (Winston MossDarren Perry, and Joe Whitt) plus former Browns head coach Mike Pettine for the job. The Seahawks, meanwhile, already have a DC in Kris Richard, but Richard has drawn head coaching consideration elsewhere. If Richard leaves, Bradley could be the pick to replace him.

The 2017 was Bradley’s first as L.A.’s defensive coordinator. The team finished ninth in defensive DVOA, a big reason for their success later on in the year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC West Notes: Broncos, Chargers, Raiders

The Broncos will consider former Giants head coach Ben McAdoo and former Bengals offensive coordinator Ken Zampese as they seek to hire a new quarterbacks coach, according to Mike Klis of 9News (Twitter link). While Denver’s coaching staff will undergo something of an overhaul, offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave is staying put, as is interim quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak (in a new role). While neither McAdoo nor Zampese made it through the 2017 without being fired, both offer experience with Broncos head coach Vance Joseph. McAdoo and Joseph spent time together with the 49ers in 2005, while Joseph overlapped with Zampese during his tenure in Cincinnati.

Here’s more from the AFC West:

  • Elsewhere on the Broncos‘ offensive staff, Sean Kugler — who spent the past four-plus years as UTEP’s head coach — is interviewing today for the club’s offensive line position, tweets Alex Marvez of the Sporting News. Incumbent assistant offensive line coach Chris Strausser will also interview for the full-time job, per Klis (Twitter link). Denver is seeking a replacement for Jeff Davidson, who was fired earlier this week along with several other members of the club’s offensive staff. The Broncos ranked ninth in adjusted line yards but 29th in adjusted sack rate a season ago.
  • Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn wants Gus Bradley to return as the team’s defensive coordinator in 2018, as Greg Beacham of the Associated Press writes. Bradley’s deal is set to expire, however, so nothing is certain at the moment. “We’d like to keep this together if we can,” Lynn said Monday. “I know some guys, the contracts are up. We’re working on that right now. We’re trying to keep this staff together, this nucleus together, because I think we got better as a coaching staff as the season went on.” Los Angeles ranked ninth in defensive DVOA in 2017, Bradley’s first year at the helm.
  • Defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes may get a late start to his sophomore campaign, as the rookie third-round pick suffered a torn ACL in the Raiders‘ season finale, tweets Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. While Vanderdoes graded as a bottom-20 interior defender per Pro Football Focus, he did manage to play 464 defensive snaps in his first NFL season. Now facing rehab and possibly a new defensive scheme, Vanderdoes could be looking at an uphill battle as he seeks medical clearance for the beginning of the 2018 season.

Coach Notes: Jackson, Patricia, Coordinators

Hue Jackson has accumulated a stunningly poor 1-30 record in almost two seasons as the head coach of the Browns. However, despite his poor performance, he looks to be safe for next season. Other factors such as a lack of talent and a disfunctional front office certainly play a big role in the team’s failures, but basic logic must win out in determining his coaching future, opines Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports.

La Canfora notes that while Jackson appears to be “immune to review” at the moment, the team should be thinking about moving on from their second-year head coach. It’s not ideal for a franchise that has shuffled through many coaches in the past, but La Canfora argues that the job is more attractive then some may think when just observing this season.

New general manager John Dorsey has a track record of success and the team could be bringing in a young franchise QB with the number one pick, even though Josh Rosen has reportedly had some reservations about going to Cleveland.

La Canfora notes that finding a better replacement to Jackson shouldn’t be hard, even if the team is unlikely to do so given most of the reports coming from Browns ownership.

Here’s more notes from around the coaching carousel:

  • The Lions have stood behind head coach Jim Caldwell for the past four seasons, despite not winning a playoff game. However, it may be time for the franchise to move on after the team lost to the Bengals on Sunday. Patriots defense coordinator Matt Patricia may be a prime candidate if the job opens up because of his relationship with current Lions general manager Bob Quinn, according to Alex Marvez of Sporting News (Twitter link). The two men worked together in New England when Quinn was a high level decision maker in the Patriots front office, so the hire would be a natural fit.
  • The Redskins missed the playoffs for the second straight season, but could still lose their quarterback coach Kevin O’Connell to another opportunity. O’Connell is reported to be a “top target” for the UCLA offensive coordinator post, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). New Bruins head coach Chip Kelly is looking for another offensive mind to add to his staff and the offensive coordinator job would be a difficult position to turn down if O’Connell was offered, according to Rapoport. Under O’Connell’s guidance, Kirk Cousins has continued to produce solid numbers in 2017, which has certainly helped make him more sought after for promotions at the collegiate level.
  • There’s a number of attractive coordinators who will be free agents this offseason. Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL.com run down a list that includes defensive coordinators: Gus BradleyPaul Guenther, Vic Fangio and George Edwards. They mention that Bradley in particular is an odd situation because he signed just a one-year deal with the Chargers last offseason and has a great track record as a defensive coordinator with the Seahawks as well. At the moment, the Chargers have the third ranked scoring defense in the league, which should help make him in high demand for open defensive coordinator jobs after this season is over. Guenther on the other hand has been mentioned has a potential replacement for longtime Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, although he would be free to look at other opportunities should the team opt to go in a different direction. The article also makes note that popular Eagles quarterback coach John DeFilippo and Cowboys passing game coordinator Matt Eberflus would bring widespread interest as well if they move on from their current teams.

Coaching Notes: Panthers, Cardinals, Bengals, Bucs

There’s plenty of uncertainty when it comes to the Panthers organization, as owner Jerry Richardson is shopping the team and they’re currently rolling with an interim general manager in Marty Hurney. However, the team is looking to establish some stability by locking up head coach Ron Rivera.

NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports that the organization is prioritizing locking up their head coach long term. While talks have just started, the reporter expects negotiations to quickly heat up. Meanwhile, many in the organization are hoping that Hurney is promoted to full-time general manager, although the team will presumably explore their options before committing to the executive.

Rivera last signed a three-year deal worth $19.5MM. That deal would take the head coach through the 2018 season, meaning there isn’t a whole lot of urgency for the organization to lock up their head coach this offseason.

Let’s take a look at some more coaching notes from around the NFL…

  • Cardinals coach Bruce Arians hasn’t informed the organization about his future, but Rapoport reports that the team is “more confident than ever” that he’ll return. Still, since there is some uncertainty, the organization is exploring other potential options, and Rapoport notes that one of those candidates is Texans coach Bill O’Brien. If available, the Cardinals have made it clear that O’Brien would be atop their list of targets. Arians is under contract through the 2018 season, but there’s been chatter that the 65-year-old could retire to better focus on his health.
  • Unsurprisingly, there’s some concern that Browns head coach Hue Jackson may have lost his locker room, reports Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. This concern recently came to a head when running back Isaiah Crowell “liked” a series of tweets that were critical of Jackson. Meanwhile, Florio notes that there are whispers that some of the team’s defensive players are upset with defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and his son, Blake, who is the Browns’ linebackers coach.
  • The Bengals are eyeing Jackson or Jay Gruden for their impending head coaching vacancy, reports Florio. It’d be a homecoming for the pair, as both Jackson and Gruden served as offensive coordinators for Marvin Lewis. The writer notes that Lewis could ultimately be promoted to a front office role.
  • Even if Dirk Koetter sticks around as the Buccaneers head coach, Roy Cummings of Florida Football Insiders is convinced the organization will require some other coaching changes. Specifically, defensive coordinator Mike Smith could be on the hot seat, and the team could look towards former Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley as a replacement.

Staff Notes: Cowboys, McClay, Saints, Welker

Several teams extended general manager interview requests to Cowboys executive Will McClay this offseason, but as he did last year, McClay resisted those overtures, according to Todd Archer of ESPN.com. In 2016, McClay — whose official title is senior director of college and pro personnel — turned down an invite from the Lions, who ultimately hired Bob Quinn as GM. McClay wields a strong amount of influence in Dallas, but hasn’t ruled out leaving the club for another vacancy at some point down the line, per Archer.

Here’s more on the 2017 hiring cycle:

  • The Saints were interested in hiring former Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley as their linebackers coach if he didn’t secure a defensive coordinator job this year, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Bradley, one of the more respected defensive minds in the league, drew a wide swath of DC interest, as the Redskins, 49ers, and Chargers — who ultimately hired him — all interviewed him for their coordinator position. New Orleans, meanwhile, continues to interview candidates for its LBs coach vacancy.
  • Former NFL receiver Wes Welker is attending the Senior Bowl with the Texans‘ coaching staff, reports Tom Pelissero of USA Today (Twitter link), who adds that Welker is considering joining the coaching ranks. Welker, 35, last played in 2015 for the Rams. Last summer, Welker attended Dolphins’ practice sessions in a semi-coaching role, working with the club’s wideouts.
  • Longtime Pete Carroll confidant Rocky Seto is leaving the Seahawks in order to pursue a career in the ministry, as Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times writes. Seto, Seattle’s assistant head coach/defense, has coached alongside Carroll dating back to the early 2000s at USC.
  • Ex-Jets defensive backs coach Joe Danna is joining the Jaguars as the club’s assistant secondary coach, per Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter link). Danna spent the past two seasons in New York.

Chargers To Hire Gus Bradley As DC

Former Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley has agreed to become the Chargers’ defensive coordinator, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).Gus Bradley

[RELATED: 2017 Offensive/Defensive Coordinator Tracker]

Bradley had been one of the most-coveted coordinators in the league during this year’s hiring cycle, as both the Redskins and the 49ers — in addition to the Chargers — had expressed interest in adding him to their staff. Considered something of a “domino,” as Schefter tweets, Bradley’s hiring in Los Angeles means that Washington and San Francisco will likely move rapidly in their searches for their next DCs.

While other teams are moving onto additional candidates, the Chargers and new head coach Anthony Lynn will land in Bradley the candidate they’ve targeted from the beginning of their search, but the club did have a backup plan. Incumbent defensive backs coach Ron Milus was the Chargers’ second choice, per Schefter (Twitter link) , and would have been hired as DC if Bradley had rebuffed Los Angeles. Instead, Bradley will inherit a Chargers defense that ranked eighth in DVOA under former coordinator John Pagano, and boasts talent — including Joey Bosa, Denzel Perryman, Casey Hayward, and Jason Verrett — at every level.

Bradley, of course, was fired before he could finish out his fourth season as Jacksonville’s head coach. While his time with the Jaguars certainly can’t be considered successful (it’s hard to argue with a 14-48 record), Bradley had seemingly begun to assemble an interesting defense that looked primed for a breakout. And the 50-year-old’s coordinating chops speak for themselves, as Bradley helped develop the Legion of Boom during his days leading the Seattle defense from 2009-12.

While Bradley’s hire will lead to a shakeup of the Chargers’ defense, the Bolts’ offensive staff will largely remain intact after Lynn agreed to retain incumbent OC Ken Whisenhunt.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Chargers, 49ers, Bills, Bucs

The NFL is “besides itself” over the Chargers’ choice to exit San Diego in favor of Los Angeles last week, a league source told Adam Schefter of ESPN. “There are a ton of owners very upset that [the Chargers] moved,” said another source, who interestingly added the league hopes Chargers owner Dean Spanos realizes he “bungled” the situation and moves the team back to San Diego. Unsurprisingly, the chances of that happening are rather slim, Schefter notes.

More from LA and several other NFL cities:

  • It looks as though the 49ers are “making a huge offer” to reel in Gus Bradley as their defensive coordinator, tweets Drew Copley of CBS47. That jibes with Sporting News’ Alex Marvez report from earlier Friday that there’s “buzz” regarding a Kyle Shanahan-Bradley ticket in San Francisco and runs contrary to the notion that Bradley would’ve only gone to the Niners had they hired Tom Cable as their head coach.
  • The Bills announced Friday that wide receiver Sammy Watkins underwent foot surgery for the second time and will be unavailable until training camp. Watkins’ foot was an issue throughout the 2016 campaign, as the three-year veteran sat out eight games and played injured during the other eight en route to a 28-catch, 430-yard, two-touchdown showing. Like Watkins, Bills pass rusher Shaq Lawson also had surgery – on his knee. Lawson’s procedure was minor and won’t keep him from participating in offseason activites. The 2016 first-round pick from Clemson missed six games as a rookie after undergoing shoulder surgery and didn’t make a significant impact during his initial 10 NFL contests (13 tackles, two sacks).
  • With $65MM-plus in cap space, the Buccaneers will prioritize re-signing their own soon-to-be free agents before the market opens, general manager Jason Licht revealed Friday (via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times). “We have a track record of rewarding our players that produce, keeping key players that thrive in the system and we have the salary cap flexibility to make it happen,” said Licht. In light of Licht’s statement, Stroud expects the Bucs to make an effort to retain defensive end William Gholston and Jacquies Smith, wide receiver Russell Shepard and cornerback Josh Robinson.
  • Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan had surgery to repair “loose bodies” in his left elbow, he informed John Keim of ESPN.com. Kerrigan, who injured his elbow Dec. 19, will need six to eight weeks to recover. The 28-year-old is coming off his second Pro Bowl season, in which he piled up 11 sacks. Kerrigan hasn’t finished with fewer than 7.5 sacks in any of his six seasons.
  • The Chargers will hire Alfredo Roberts as their running backs coach, per Adam Caplan of ESPN (Twitter link). He’ll replace Ollie Wilson, who had been with the Chargers for 14 years. Roberts and new Bolts head coach Anthony Lynn will now work together for a third time – the two were previously on the same staffs in Cleveland and Jacksonville.