Raiders

Is Black Sunday looming for Raiders DC Paul Guenther?

Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther hasn’t done as good a job as he was expected when he took over in 2018. His units haven’t given inspiring results and he could be given the pink slip as soon as the game against the Broncos is over, the infamous Black Sunday.

Some seasons ago, NFL teams would dispose of unwanted staff the Monday following the last game of the season. In order to speed up the process, organizations don’t wait as long and prefer to fire coaches right after Week 17 matches, hence the “black” label.

There aren’t many coaches the Raiders seem in position of giving the pink slip to. For one, head coach Jon Gruden is a favorite of owner Mark Davis and is about to finish the second season of a 10-year preposition. Tom Cable’s forte, the offensive line, showed improvement and will buy the assistant more time. Brentson Buckner is a player’s coach and won’t be given the pink slip unless a new defensive coordinator brings his own people in.

Related: Raiders can still beat the Broncos without RB Josh Jacobs

Speaking of coordinators, Paul Guenther has been thought to be in hot water as his bend-but-not-break unit has been shredded more times than my heart can withstand. However, Oakland’s brass should consider giving at least one more year before they decide to finally part ways with the former Bengals assistant.

It’s true that traditional stats rank the Raiders defense 27th in points allowed and advance metrics aren’t keen to Oakland either as Football Outsiders have given them a +16.6 grade, good for second to last in their DVOA system. Nonetheless, it’s imperative to point out that Guenther hasn’t given enough players to make his scheme work.

Oakland drafted Clelin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby. Similarly, Lamarcus Joyner was signed this past offseason, but other than that, Guenther has had to work with practice squad players, journeymen and scrubs other teams are happy to get rid of. Moreover, Crosby wasn’t expected to make an immediate impact and if he has done so it’s because of the coordinator’s tutelage.

Guenther hasn’t been flexible with his schemes and optimally speaking, a coach should adjust to the talent he has, not the other way around, but there’s only so much a teacher can do without any help from the school district, this being the Raiders management, which hasn’t supplied the coordinator with adequate talent.

And an infusion of talent definitely plays a role. Raider Nation doesn’t even have to look too far, they just need to peer at the other side of the bay and see how the 49ers are building their franchise. They didn’t buy into quick fixes, but rather took the time to draft and develop playmakers before they were finally able to field a decent defensive unit.

At the beginning of the year, there were talks about head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch at risk of being fired. It’s safe to assume they had the last laugh even if they were sweating before the season started. Robert Saleh was of course in the same position. However, he pulled the turnaround and his defense is so good that he’s being said to be a potential head coach in the making.

One season in the NFL is a lot of time and passes by even faster than dog years, which means that if the Raiders give enough time, he should be able to turn things around.

What do you think, Raider Nation? Let us know on Twitter at @TheRaiderRamble and if you like this article, make sure you follow us.

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