It shouldn’t be surprising that Paul Guenther was able to find employment in spite of his disastrous run as Las Vegas Raiders defensive coordinator.
Paul Guenther’s dismissal last season made Raider Nation feel relieved. No one wants people losing employment during these times but Guenther helped his case. His defenses ranked near or at the bottom of the league during his entire tenure. Things got so bad in 2020 that players such as Maxx Crosby apparently regressed while others such as Cory Littleton never got going, to begin with.
The decision to let Guenther was undoubtedly a difficult one for Jon Gruden due to their friendship but enough was enough. However, it’s easy to forget that before joining the Raiders, Guenther saw success under Mike Zimmer in Cincinnati. Once the former left to take over as the Minnesota Vikings’ head coach, the latter became the Bengals’ defensive coordinator
Serving in various coaching roles with the Bengals, Guenther took over as defensive coordinator once Zimmer left for the Vikings’ head coaching gig. While Guenther’s defenses with the Bengals were solid, it became clear how much of the team’s success was due to Zimmer. Nevertheless, Gruden brought Guenther with him to the Silver and Black and fans were for the most part optimistic. Unfortunately, the positive reception didn’t last long and the Raiders dismissed Guenther before 2020 ended. His firing was one of the very few things Raider Nation could agree on this season.
Raiders: Guenther’s Hiring Proves Coaching Is A Fraternity…
Guenther landing with the Vikings might’ve surprised some, but in the end, it shows that coaching circles can be exclusive. Just take a look at the Raiders, Gruden went with a familiar face in Gus Bradley as Guenther’s replacement. A decision that came despite the fact there might’ve been more innovative candidates available. Gruden went with who we knew much, like Zimmer. It’s obvious that Guenther’s record with the Raiders didn’t matter.
A big hire for the #Vikings, as Paul Guenther brings plenty of experience to the Minnesota defense. He had several offers, but Mike Zimmer’s persistence in pursuing Guenther paid off. https://t.co/x6Ba156D6l
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 10, 2021
Much like Guenther, Ken Norton Jr. was at one point the beset Raiders defensive coordinator, and fans were calling for his head. Once he was dismissed, he too returned to a familiar face in Pete Carroll and became the Seahawks defensive coordinator. Norton’s exploits with the Raiders didn’t matter and he’s held that title in Seattle since 2018.
This hiring issue goes deeper and certainly merits more discussion in the grand scheme of things. For now, Raider Nation should pay attention to see what ends up happening with the Vikings. If Guenther thrives and possibly ends up coaching a successful defense, maybe the problem truly is Gruden.
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*Top Photo: Sam Greene/Cincinnati Enquirer