Raiders HC Josh McDaniels Fails, Could Jack Del Rio Get Another Chance? Jon Gruden Did...

Jon Gruden Got A Second Chance, Any Way Jack Del Rio Would Get One?

Everybody will be keeping an eye on Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels in 2023. To say Year 2 is pivotal would be an understatement. In a scenario where the bottom falls out and McDaniels is shown the door, then what? Jon Gruden once got a second chance; is there any way Jack Del Rio would get one?

Well, the only man who could give that kind of order would be team owner Mark Davis. As we’ve previously heard, Davis has assured the media that McDaniels is the coach for “years to come.” Still, nothing is guaranteed in the NFL. The upcoming season is sure to be a rocky one for the Raiders for a litany of reasons. If the team endures another single-digit win season, Davis may not have much of a choice. That would add up to 21 years without a playoff win. 21.

Josh McDaniels has gotten off to a rocky start as Raiders HC

Josh McDaniels’ stint so far has been defined by jettisoning several fan favorites that the Raiders could have used this season. The list is lengthy but not limited to Derek Carr, Denzel Perryman, and Darren Waller. It’s no surprise, then, that many in Raider Nation are already calling for his head. Still, only one man (in theory) would make that call. Unless you subscribe to the notion that general manager Dave Ziegler is capable of making that decision as well, it’d be on Davis.

Speaking of the fans…

Adjusting to the “Patriot Way” has certainly already worn out many fans’ patience ahead of Year 2 of this current operation. What about someone who would get things back to the “Raider Way?” Now, that sounds lovely, right?

Let’s do some dissecting, folks.

Maybe Jack Del Rio could fix the defense (finally)…

A subpar defense is one of the main issues that haunts the Raiders in perpetuity. Despite having Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones on the roster, the 2022 defense finished third-to-last in sacks with 27 total. Las Vegas’ defense also finished the season 23rd out of 32 teams in quarterback pressures. As if those two stats were not disappointing enough, the team was tied for last in the league in interceptions, with six. The moral here is that the Raiders’ defense is neither getting to the quarterback nor generating turnovers.

Out of the last three defensive coordinators, Paul Guenther, Gus Bradley, and now Patrick Graham, only one has gotten the Raiders to the playoffs. Bradley and his Cover 3 scheme wasn’t perfect, but the Raiders held a 10-7 record during his time as the coordinator with him helping the Silver and Black notch a playoff appearance. Say Josh McDaniels and Patrick Graham get the boot, would Del Rio fare any better? His time in Washington as defensive coordinator has been inconsistent at best.

Interestingly enough, Del Rio’s defense has fared better than anything the Raiders have fielded. While they surrendered 23 touchdowns through the air, the Commanders were fourth in passing yards allowed (3,252) and 12th in red zone scoring defense, surrendering 27 touchdowns. Their rushing defense was shy of the top-10 in yardage allowed (11th; 1,927 yards) but ranked fourth in [least] rushing touchdowns allowed.

Let’s be honest; if the Raiders had fielded anything remotely close to that last season, Patrick Graham wouldn’t be on the hot seat.

A return to greatness? It didn’t pan out for the Raiders with Jon Gruden…

The Raiders have a history of giving head coaches a second chance within their organization. Davis reinstated Jon Gruden in 2018, seventeen years after his father, Al Davis, traded Gruden to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Al Davis himself rehired head coach Art Shell in 2006. These second chances don’t always end in success stories. Still, in the case of the Raiders, they need a spark that could pump the “Oakland” feel into Las Vegas. The last head coach to successfully take the Raiders to the postseason from start to finish was, well, Del Rio.

Del Rio logged a record of 25-23 during his three seasons as the head coach of the Raiders, including a trip to the postseason during their electrifying 2016 campaign. The Raiders would have likely notched their first playoff win had it not been for the catastrophic injury Derek Carr sustained in the second-to-last game of the regular season. Del Rio famously announced his own termination at the conclusion of the 2017 season after a disappointing 6-10 record.

Del Rio, a defensive-minded coach, got an MVP performance out of Carr, who threw 28 touchdowns with a career-low six interceptions. If that wasn’t impressive enough, Del Rio also coached defensive end Khalil Mack to a Defensive Player of the Year Award. After Jack Del Rio was fired, Jon Gruden traded Mack to the Chicago Bears for a plethora of first-round picks. Del Rio responded years later, suggesting that had he still been the head coach he would not have traded Mack. To be fair, Reggie McKenzie, the then-general manager, would’ve made the call had Del Rio never been fired.

Looking at more numbers…

Since taking over defensive duties in Washington, Del Rio’s unit has gone to the playoffs once. Additionally, his defense has logged 128 sacks since his arrival. By comparison, the Raiders defense generated 83 sacks in the same amount of time. In terms of interceptions, the Commanders have hauled in 36 interceptions under Del Rio, while the Raiders recorded just 22.

Whether you’d like to admit it or not, Del Rio’s defense has clearly outperformed anything that the Silver and Black have trotted out since firing him. Besides the Super Bowl run in 2002 and Tom Cable’s 8-8 campaign in 2010, Jack Del Rio has been the most successful Raiders coach in the 21st century. Let that sink in—you still wouldn’t give him a second chance?

*Top Photo: Getty Images

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