New/old Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden has completed his Oakland Raiders coaching (he could always add a quarterbacks coach, but it seems unlikely).
The first coaching staff of Gruden 2.0 is solid. It’s not an incredible staff, but it is above average. There are some stars on his staff and I want to highlight them.
The coolest (and most important) feature of Gruden’s staff is he has made excellent hires at the spots where Jack Del Rio’s had his best assistants. Special teams coach Brad Seely, offensive line coach Mike Tice and defensive coordinators were Del Rio’s best assistants. Gruden hired gems at all three spots.
Here are my top five Gruden 2018 assistants:
- Rich Bisaccia: This guy is the goods. He was on Gruden’s staff in Tampa Bay a decade ago and he promptly poached him from Dallas. Bisaccia is also the assistant head coach. He is the top of his game like Seely.
- Tom Cable: Cable wasn’t a terrific head coach, but man can he coach and teach the offensive line. Football folks think the offensive line coach is the most important coach other than the coordinators. Gruden’s hunt for an offensive line coach immediately stopped when Cable was let go in Seattle.
- Paul Guenther: I know there is a narrative that Guenther is a top-flight defensive coordinator. I’m not sure if I buy that. I think he is above average and he is a top-12 DC, Frankly, he’s probably a shade ahead of Pagano. I love that he is a Mike Zimmer protégée and I think he does have a chance to flourish under Gruden.
- Mike Trgovac: He is highly regarded in NFL circles. He is vastly experienced. He coached in the NFL for more than 20 years and he has another 11 years of experience of big-time NCAA coaching. He will make his players better.
- Derrick Ansley: This is a bit of a future bet. I have high hopes for Ansley. In fact, I bet he is not on this staff for very long. I think he’s a comer. He is 36 and he coached the secondary for Nick Saban at Alabama. The secondary is Saban’s specialty. He must have had great trust in Ansley. I’m excited to watch what he can do with a young group in Oakland.