While Josh McDaniels was hired by the Las Vegas Raiders as their head coach for his offensive expertise, he has built a coaching staff that also puts large emphasis on the defensive side of the ball.
What sticks out is the extra levels of coaching McDaniels has added to his defensive staff.
The first piece of the puzzle was hiring Patrick Graham as defensive coordinator. Graham, who was brought up in the New England Bill Belichick system like McDaniels, will be entering his fourth season as an NFL defensive coordinator. He is run defense expert. McDaniels and Graham then brought Jason Simmons to Las Vegas as a passing-game coordinator for the defense. He held the same role in Carolina in 2021 and worked with Graham in Green Bay.
McDaniels also hired veteran NFL coach Rob Ryan, a former Raiders’ defensive coordinator and former McDaniels associate in New England, to be a defensive assistant.
Thus, in addition to Graham, the Raiders also have Ryan and Simmons is big-picture roles for the defense rather than simply being position coaches.
It’s a unique, interesting approach. There are layers and experience on the new defensive coaching staff. Again, whether this team has success in the win-loss column, the defense will need to do its part. The previous Las Vegas regime worked to retool the defensive coaching staff in 2021 led by defensive coordinator hire Gus Bradley. The unit responded to the new staff and it showed improvement.
If McDaniels’ system is going to work in Las Vegas, the defense will have to do its part. These extra addition to the staff shows McDaniels knows how important that side of the ball is to the team’s overall success.