The Oakland Raiders remain a team without a defensive coordinator. It will be three weeks since they hired head coach Jack Del Rio on Wednesday and the only news about their defensive coordinator was that Louisville defensive coordinator Todd Grantham turned down the Raiders’ offer last week. Though the team still has some time before the major offseason dates start to hit, they need to get their defensive coordinator situation figured out so they can round out the staff and start focusing on free agency and the draft.
Now that the Super Bowl is over, that is likely to happen sooner rather than later. There has been a lot of speculation that after Grantham turned them down, the team would wait until after the Super Bowl when assistants on the Patriots and Seahawks would be available to interview for the position. Though there have not been any reports of interest in any particular names, linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr. and defensive backs coach Kris Richard are two names that have been popular among some Raiders fans.
Norton Jr. is a name that carries a lot of weight, primarily because he’s a well-known former player. He had a good career in the NFL and has coached a strong linebacker unit in Seattle, headed by Bobby Wagner (who received one vote for league MVP … from Tony Dungy). Norton Jr. has spent his entire coaching career with Pete Carroll, coaching linebackers first at USC and then in Seattle. He has been coaching since 2004 and spent one year at USC as the linebackers coach and assistant head coach.
Richard is the coach of the group known as the Legion of Boom, one of the best secondaries in the league. He would make a lot of sense for the Raiders — they have young corners in D.J. Hayden and T.J. Carrie who desperately need to be developed, since they don’t have much else at the position. His job in Seattle is Richard’s first after spending five years in the NFL as a player with the Seattle Seahawks, Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers.
There are some major sticking points as far as the Raiders are concerned.
1. Richard may be the top candidate to replace former Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who’s off to Atlanta to become the Falcons’ next head coach.
There very well could be other names in the mix for the position; some believe former Falcons head coach Mike Smith is still in the running.
The fact that the Raiders haven’t hired a DC yet suggests they are still looking at college coaches. National Signing Day is upon us.
— Dianna Marie Russini (@NBCdianna) February 2, 2015
Either way, the Raiders probably need to find a defensive coordinator relatively soon unless Del Rio plans on filling two important roles in Oakland.