ALAMEDA, Calif. -- The Oakland Raiders announced the hiring of 13 members of Jon Gruden’s coaching staff on Thursday, in addition to the three coordinators Gruden already named when he was introduced on Jan. 9. More assistants could potentially be added in time, but here’s a look at Gruden’s current staff:
Coordinator: Greg Olson
Olson said the plan for Gruden to call plays did not dissuade him from joining the staff. “To get an opportunity to get back and be with a head coach that I have a tremendous amount of respect for and that I learned a lot from,” Olson said in explaining how much he wanted to join Gruden. “I would say even my one year with him [with Tampa Bay in 2008], I felt like my learning curve greatly increased, just in spending one year’s time with him. This guy is all about football. I think that’s going to jump out at Derek [Carr] on Day 1 that, wow, this guy eats, drinks and sleeps football and eats, drinks and sleeps the quarterback position, understands responsibility of that position to the team and the organization. So there were no reservations on my part.”
While Rich Gannon was purportedly in line to coach Carr, he instead chose to stay in the TV booth. Former quarterback Jeff Garcia has also made it known on local radio he would like a shot to join Gruden’s staff. But with Gruden and Olson expected to be so hands-on with Carr, the Raiders might not fill this spot after all.
Receivers: Edgar Bennett
Bennett spent the past 13 seasons on the Green Bay Packers staff, including 2011 through 2014 as receivers coach and the past three as their offensive coordinator. The Packers had the NFL’s No. 23, No. 8 and No. 26 total offenses the past three seasons, although Aaron Rodgers was lost for most of this past season. Bennett, a former running back, has some work to do to help Michael Crabtree, Amari Cooper, Seth Roberts, Johnny Holton and the rest of the receivers get over their drops. And why not? With Bennett as Green Bay’s offensive coordinator, the Packers’ 96 passing TDs rank second in the NFL since 2015 (yes, with Rodgers missing nine games) and their 1.9 percent interception rate in that time is seventh, with the 2.02 points-per-drive average ranking sixth.
Offensive line: Tom Cable
It's an eyebrow-raising add for several reasons. From a football standpoint, Cable is a staunch zone-blocking disciple, and the Raiders’ personnel on the O-line, the most expensive O-line in league history, demand more of a power scheme. Then there’s Cable’s messy divorce from the Raiders in 2011, when Al Davis eviscerated him in a media conference, bringing up not only the allegations that Cable broke an assistant’s jaw in a training camp fight, but also allegations of physical abuse by three women. Mark Davis has a zero-tolerance policy for domestic violence.
Running backs: Jemal Singleton
Singleton spent the past two seasons with the Indianapolis Colts and Frank Gore. The Colts had the No. 22-ranked rushing attack in the NFL last year, No. 23 in 2016. After rushing for 1,025 yards in 2016, Gore had 961 yards rushing last year. Singleton will work with either Marshawn Lynch or a new lead back.
Tight ends: Frank Smith
Essentially the Chicago Bears' run-game coordinator the past two years, Smith was actually the Bears' tight ends coach the past three years. Smith also has experience as an offensive assistant/offensive line coach with the New Orleans Saints from 2010 through 2014. Smith replaces Bobby Johnson, who was granted an interview for the head job in Oakland before Gruden signed his contract.
Quality control offense: Nick Holz, Tim Berbenich
Holz was the Raiders assistant receivers coach last year and is entering his seventh season as an assistant in Oakland, as he was first hired by Dennis Allen. Berbenich, meanwhile, worked with Gruden in Tampa Bay from 2006 through 2008 as an offensive quality control coach and assistant running backs coach. He was most recently with the Colts as the offensive assistant/assistant QB coach the past two seasons.
Coordinator: Paul Guenther
Guenther’s defenses in Cincinnati ranked 22nd, 17th and 18th in yards allowed, and while he is a 4-3 guy by nature, he is not against flipping to a 3-4 should personnel dictate a switch. And yes, the allure of joining Gruden pulled him to Oakland. “I’ve known Jon for a long time,” Guenther said. “Just the ability to come with him and start something fresh from the ground up really excited me … to have this opportunity with Jon coming to the Raiders and the brand of the Raiders really attracted me. Overall, just an opportunity to come coach with him, see him do it, see how he runs this organization, this team, would be a great thing for me to learn from.”
Senior defensive assistant: Jim O’Neil
A former defensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers (2016) and Cleveland Browns (2014-15), O’Neil has also worked with linebackers (Buffalo Bills in 2013) and defensive backs (New York Jets from 2009-12).
Defensive line: Mike Trgovac
Trgovac spent the previous nine years coaching the Green Bay Packers' defensive line. He was also the Carolina Panthers' defensive coordinator from 2003-08 and from 1995 through 1997, he was on the same Philadelphia Eagles coaching staff as Gruden. In his time coaching the Packers' D-line, Green Bay’s defense ranked fourth in the NFL in sacks (364) and fifth in rushing TDs allowed (94).
Linebackers: David Lippincott
Lippincott was with Guenther in Cincinnati as the assistant linebackers/quality control coach from 2012-17. This unit might get a makeover, though Guenther said he hoped NaVorro Bowman would be re-signed. In Cincinnati, Carl Lawson led NFL rookies with 8.5 sacks last year, and the Bengals’ 69 interceptions since 2014 lead the NFL.
Defensive backs: Derrick Ansley
Ansley, fresh off helping Alabama win the BCS national championship as defensive backs coach for the Crimson Tide, might also have a rebuilding project in the Raiders secondary. Oakland’s two top draft picks – cornerback Gareon Conley and safety Obi Melifonwu – played two and five games, respectively, and each ended the season on IR. Cornerback Sean Smith is facing legal problems and cornerback David Amerson missed half the season with a foot injury. Just like college, right?
Quality control defense: Travis Smith
Smith was the Raiders' outside linebackers coach last season and is entering his seventh season in Oakland after having been quality control-defense from 2015-16 and the defensive assistant from 2012 through 2014, working with the linebackers and defensive line.
Coordinator/assistant head coach: Rich Bisaccia
Bisaccia was Gruden’s special-teams coach for his entire run in Tampa Bay. Bisaccia might have tough choices to make at kicker, as Giorgio Tavecchio had some big misses late in the season. (So, might bringing back Sebastian Janikowski, a favorite of Gruden’s from the, gulp, 2000 draft, be a consideration?) Long snapper Jon Condo, a former Pro Bowler, had a few too many bad snaps. Bisaccia will love working with kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson, though.
Assistant special teams coordinator: Byron Storer
Comes with Bisaccia from Dallas and was the San Diego Chargers’ assistant linebackers coach in 2013 after being their assistant special teams coach in 2012. Storer, who was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' assistant special teams coach in 2010 and 2011, played in 15 games as a fullback for Gruden’s Buccaneers between 2007 and 2008.
Director of football research: Dave Razzano
Was an area scout for the Colts the previous six years and has also scouted for the Arizona Cardinals (2006-09), Rams (1992-2006) and 49ers (1988-92).