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Jack Del Rio looking less like NFL head coaching material

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After firing three assistants in a year, it looks like Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio could be the problem.

NFL: Oakland Raiders at Miami Dolphins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Ken Norton Jr. took fire from Oakland Raiders fans from the time he was hired as defensive coordinator until the time head coach Jack Del Rio fired him.

The move had current and former players saying that Del Rio calls the defense and Norton getting fired was nothing but a scapegoat move. The following practice, edge rushers Bruce Irvin and Khalil Mack didn’t practice after talking to Del Rio Wednesday.

The report makes sense because Del Rio has never had a big-name DC on his staff. He could have hired Wade Phillips this offseason but didn’t, suggesting Del Rio prefers to have the power to call the defense himself.

Del Rio has been known to make his coordinators scapegoats in his 11-and-some-change years as a head coach. So it’s not surprising that he fired Norton after getting embarrassed by the New England Patriots last week. It’s looks more like he did so to take the heat off of himself. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has embarrassed every defense Del Rio has ever put in front of him. And Del Rio made it easier by starting 6’4”, 225-pound strong safety Obi Melifonwu at cornerback — yet another personnel move that is not Norton’s fault.

I guess that’s why Del Rio has fired three coaches since January and 22, including offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave after leading a top five Raiders offense. With such a track record, Del Rio will have trouble getting qualified, experienced coaches to get on board with him.

Del Rio has a tough, hard-nosed image that is good for changing the culture of a team. His belief in his players to go for it on fourth down and two-point conversions to win a game is also endearing. But he is not a master strategist, yet he likes to call the game.

At this point, it wouldn’t even surprise me if Del Rio meddled in the offense to make it as bad as it is now. But regardless, it will be Downing who gets fired if the offense doesn’t get off the ground.

Del Rio said this week that “Nobody should feel comfortable”. He should be less comfortable as he is now systematically destroying the same contender he helped put together. He’s only likely to keep his job after this season because owner Mark Davis just signed him to a four-year extension.

Eventually Davis could have no choice if Del Rio continues to embarrass the franchise. Perhaps McKenzie will get involved in the hiring of coordinators and allow them to do what they do. Del Rio running everything and firing coordinators when it doesn’t work will keep the Raiders down.