Raiders News: Chargers' Gus Bradley Hired to Replace Paul Guenther as DC

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 12, 2021

Los Angeles Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, right, and head coach Anthony Lynn, center, watch from the sideline during the second half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

The Las Vegas Raiders announced Tuesday they hired Gus Bradley as their defensive coordinator.

Bradley will take over for Paul Guenther, who was fired following a 44-27 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Dec. 13. Bradley spent the past four seasons leading the Los Angeles Chargers defense.

The Chargers finished in the top 10 in yards allowed three times under his watch. This season, Los Angeles ranked 10th in total defense (343.4 yards) but 23rd in scoring defense (26.6 points). It had finished third, eighth and then 14th in the latter category in Bradley's first three seasons.

Bradley was also the Seattle Seahawks' defensive coordinator from 2009 to 2012, when Seattle built the NFL's most imposing unit. He parlayed that success into the Jacksonville Jaguars' head coaching job in 2013. But Bradley's spell in Jacksonville was a failure, as the Jaguars won 14 games over four years and he was fired with two games left in 2016.

One question surrounding Bradley is how well he can do without a talent-laden defense. The Seahawks were embarking on their Legion of Boom era at the end of his tenure, and the Chargers have had a pair of Pro Bowl pass-rushers in Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram III since 2016.

Sports Illustrated's Connor Orr listed cornerback, linebacker, pass-rusher and interior defensive line among the Raiders' positions of need this offseason. Las Vegas allowed 389.1 yards (25th) and 29.9 points (30th) per game, which isn't going to cut it in a division that includes Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert.

Hiring a coordinator as experienced as Bradley shows how much head coach Jon Gruden wants to improve on that side of the ball.

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It could be an ominous sign, though, that the Raiders initially included a picture of former Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt in their announcement of Bradley's arrival.