- Tarrian Rodgers
Ringing Endorsement: What new Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley Brings to Las Vegas
If you’re a fan of the Las Vegas Raiders the biggest optimism you have going into the 2021 season is the only place you can go from 8-8 is up. If one were to look at the Raiders 2020 season at a glance, they had their fair share of ups such as sneaking into Arrowhead Stadium and beating the then defending Super Bowl champs the Chiefs; fielding an offense that scored the 10th most points in the NFL. At the very early stages of the season it looked as if the Raiders were well on their way to being a playoff team.
However, defensively Las Vegas gave up the third most points in the NFL, they had the third fewest sacks and turnovers and ranked 30th in third down defense. So there was no shock the Raiders strategy going into the 2021 off- season was upgrading their defense. Some key additions on the defensive side of the ball include Yannick Ngakoue, Casey Hayward, and Trevon Moehrig. Perhaps, their biggest addition was their Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley.
Bradley is famously known as the architect of the Legion of Boom defense in Seattle, and he has coached some successful defenses with the Chargers. What he brings to the Raiders is a new found energy“Well, it’s been fun to watch,” Jon Gruden said of Bradley’s interaction with the defense. “No disrespect to Paul Guenther, but we have a completely different group of players too. Gus is a high-energy coach. He’s upbeat, positive, he’s philosophical, he’s fun to be around, he makes you laugh, but he also pushes you.”
There are plenty of new additions to the Raiders defense. However, the success ratio is highly dependent upon how far their defensive coordinator takes them. It’s one thing to have good players, it’s another to get the most out of them. One area the Raiders hope they get the most out of is their secondary. They have drafted very high at that position and now it's the time they see returns in some of those investments.
“I’m fired up about the secondary, it should be a strength of our team,” Gruden said. “If it isn’t, it means we have made some real mistakes ... I’ll be really upset if it’s not worth the price of admission.”
The Raiders have taken three defensive backs in the first round since 2017 (the pick for that year, Gareon Conley, is no longer on the team) and they drafted safety Tre’von Moehrig in the second round this year. The overall since as a whole is that Gus Bradley should bring an element that the Raiders have been missing for some time. If the Raiders want to be successful in 2021 they understand the defense has to improve leaps and bounds.