With much sought after DB coach Derrick Ansley having left the Raiders to take the defensive coordinator position at University of Tennessee, the Raiders must soon replace him on the staff. Ansley’s departure doesn’t come at a great time for the Raiders considering most NFL coaching staffs have already taken shape and the talent pool has slimmed.
There are a few options for the Raiders however and chances are a coach who has coached with either Gruden or Defensive Coordinator Paul Guenther is a likely starting point.
Jimmy Lake - Current Defensive Coordinator University of Washington
Lake coached on Jon Gruden’s staff from 2006 to 2007. However he has mostly been a defensive backs coach at the college level. Most recently he’s been a terrific DB coach for University of Washington helping send Marcus Peters, Budda Baker, Sidney Jones, and Kevin King to the NFL all within the first 3 rounds of their respective drafts. Not to mention 2 players he’s coached this past season who figure to be top 50 selections in the draft: CB Byron Murphy and SS Taylor Rapp. Lake fits a similar mold as Derrick Ansley; a proven developer of young defensive backs with expertise defending modern college offenses.
This is a low probability of occurring because while an NFL job is enticing, Lake is enjoying enough success in college football that he’s likely to become a head coach in the near future. He could view a position coach position as a step in the wrong direction.
Verdict: strong hire
Greg Burns - Current Defensive Backs Coach USC
46 year old Burns also coached under Jon Gruden in 2006—his only year as an NFL assistant. He’s spent over 20 years coaching defensive backs in college; including Troy Polamalu in his first stint as the defensive backs coach under Pete Carroll in the early 2000’s. Unlike Lake however, there hasn’t been an upward trajectory for his career and seems to be a journeyman DB coach. With only 1 year of coaching under Gruden, the Raiders connection might not be strong enough.
Verdict: weak hire
Ejiro Evero - Current safeties Coach Los Angeles Rams
Evero has an interesting trajectory for an NFL coach. He’s 38 years old and has gutted through 10 years as a quality control coaching positions for several NFL teams including on Jon Gruden’s staff in Tampa from 2007-2008. He finally had a chance to join Sean McVay’s staff as a safeties coach and had solid results. Evero helped turn former All-American CB Lamarcus Joyner into a full time safety and was a part of a team who took a trip to the Super Bowl. Gruden and the rest of the NFL have poached from McVay’s staff before. Being offered the Secondary Coach job would be considered a promotion so the Rams couldn’t block him from accepting that role with the Raiders.
Verdict: medium hire
Robert Livingston - Former Safeties coach Bengals (2015-18)
Livingston is the youngest coach on this list at 31 years old. He was a defensive assistant on Paul Guenther’s staff before being promoted to safeties coach by Guenther in 2016. That same year the Bengals secondary ranked 2nd in interceptions and 4th in pass defense. This past season Livingston helped turn rookie safety Jessie Bates into a stud for the Bengals earning all-rookie team honors. Livingston is unemployed now that Marvin Lewis has been fired in Cinncinnati. Paul Guenther has shown a propensity to get guys who he’s coached with in the past and this is likely a strong scenario for the Raiders.
Verdict: medium strong hire
Louie Cioffi - Current Defensive Coordinator Southeastern Louisiana State University
Paul Guenther was actually a quality control coach on the Bengals when Cioffi was coaching defensive backs. Cioffi has 15 years experience coaching DBs at the NFL level. His best years were in Cleveland when CB Joe Haden and S TJ Ward earned pro bowl honors in 2013. However his units have consistently ranked average or below average in pass yards per game, interceptions, and 3rd down conversions allowed. Cioffi now coaching at a lower level of college football could be an indicator that the game has passed him by.
Another Raider connection, Cioffi’s son Anthony Cioffi was signed by the Raiders as an undrafted free agent in 2017.
Verdict: medium weak hire
Mark Carrier - Former Defensive Backs Coach Bengals (2012-15)
You might know Carrier better as a 10 year NFL veteran, 3 time pro-bowler, and 1-time All-Pro with the Bears in the early 90s. Carrier is the 3rd coach on this list with ties to USC where Carrier was an All-American safety in the 80s. Carrier was actually fired from Guenther’s staff in 2016 and has been out of football since. He was rumored to be in the running for the Defensive Coordinator position at USC this past off-season before the job went to someone else. All told, Carrier’s playing days are much more impressive than his coaching record.
Verdict: weak hire
Roy Anderson - Former Safeties Coach Chicago Bears (2017-18)
Anderson being unemployed is odd. He helped turn Eddie Jackson into one of the best safeties in the NFL since getting drafted in the 3rd round 2 seasons ago. Anderson also helped coach one of the best defenses in the league this past season. While Anderson neither coached with Gruden or Guenther, turns out he coached with Jim O’Niel who serves as senior defensive assistant for the Raiders. Matt Nagy wanted Deshea Townsend to coach defensive-backs for Chicago and didn’t bring Anderson back after Vic Fangio left for Denver. Fangio left didn’t bring Anderson with him either. These are red flags but with his resume it seems he deserves a shot coaching the defensive backfield for an NFL team this season.
Verdict: medium strong hire
Brett Maxie - Former Defensive Back Coach Buccaneers (2016-18)
Maxie is another coach on the outside looking in after Dirk Koetter’s staff was let go this off-season. The oldest coach on this list at 57 years old Maxie has coached the defensive backfield in the NFL for 19 years. He has sent 5 different players to the pro-bowl during that span but none since taking over the DB position with Tampa Bay. Without a single connection to the Raiders, Maxie might not land on the sideline in Silver and Black.
Verdict: medium hire
Charles Woodson - Former ESPN analyst (2016-18)
Charles Woodson commented on Levi Damien’s article about taking this job and wrote it off as a coincidence that he left ESPN the same week Ansley left for the college ranks. Many Raiders fans would see this as the best hire out there. The detractors however point out that great players rarely make great coaches and sadly this is right more often than not. Woodson earned Pro-Bowl honors at every position in the secondary; at outside corner with the Raiders; At free safety and nickel corner with the Packers; and then at strong safety again with the Raiders. The only other players to ever accomplish that feat? Ronnie Lott and Rod Woodson. We know how Rod Woodson turned out so maybe it would be better if CWood doesn’t become the defensive backs coach for the Raiders so his legacy doesn’t have a chance to become tainted.