Antonio Pierce just got the nod to take the helm of the Las Vegas Raiders, and it's about time! The Raiders' brass finally listened to the likes of Maxx Crosby and Davante Adams, who were this close to packing their bags if Pierce wasn't given the keys to the kingdom. This move is a serious about-face from when Mark Davis chose Josh McDaniels over Rich Bisaccia, despite Bisaccia’s playoff magic. Now, Pierce is joining the exclusive club of interim coaches who've snagged the head coaching gig for keeps. Let's hope it ends up better for him than it did for those guys. It starts with who he hires around him.
Pierce's run as the interim head honcho was nothing short of impressive, with the Raiders pulling off jaw-dropping wins, like the 63-21 thrashing of the Chargers and a crucial victory against the Chiefs. Pierce isn't just another coach; he's a former NFL linebacker with a Super Bowl ring and a Pro Bowl nod, not to mention his time coaching at Arizona State alongside Herm Edwards.
The guy's got energy and swagger for days, which is a breath of fresh air after McDaniels' stench. But with the full-time gig now in his lap, Pierce has some tough calls to make, especially regarding the Raiders' QB situation and the future of powerhouse running back Josh Jacobs.
The Raiders are starving for success, with only a couple of playoff appearances and nothing in the way of division titles or playoff wins since 2002. Pierce lit a fire under the team as the interim coach, and now he's got the hefty task of driving the Raiders back to their glory days. No pressure, right?
The most important thing for Pierce is surrounding himself with guys that can match his energy. Coaches who will bring the best out of their team. According to Profootball Talk, two time Super Bowl-winning head coach, Tom Coughlin is consulting with Antonio Pierce on filling out Raiders staff.
Defensive Coordinator - Marvin Lewis
Raider Nation believes Patrick Graham should be the guy, but Pierce may want to build his own staff. Getting guys who had head coaching experience has helped young coaches in the past. If Graham isn't the guy, Marvin Lewis is. He'd be stepping back into the spotlight, as a guy who's been around the block. Lewis has seen it all, and still has that fire in his belly to shake things up on the defensive side of the ball. Remember those glory days with the Bengals?
Lewis was the mastermind who turned Cincinnati from a punchline into a playoff regular. And who can forget his time with the Ravens, conjuring up a defense so fierce it could give you nightmares? That's the kind of mojo we're talking about.
His style? 4-3 defense zone coverage that will likely mix in some press and cover three concepts. Lewis won't change much. After all, he was already lending a helping hand in Vegas. They'll need to nap a cornerstone defensive tackle, maybe they do that in free agency Christian Wilkins or Chris Jones. Or, they could look to the draft for someone like Illinois Jer'Zhan Newton who was Geno Atkins-like, the Pro Bowl three technique specialist Lewis coached with the Bengals.
Offensive Coordinator - Thomas Brown
Thomas Brown should be on speed dial for the offensive coordinator job. I know Raider Nation may want to look at Brown's stint with the Panthers. Yes, it was a bit of a roller coaster. Gotta be fair, he was dealt a rough hand. Working under Frank Reich, the guy barely got his hands on the steering wheel before it was yanked back. And when he did, it was like trying to rev up a beat-up clunker — rookie QB woes, a lackluster crew of skill players, and an O-line that was more Swiss cheese than solid.
But remember, Brown isn't just some guy who popped up out of nowhere. He made waves in college football at Miami and earned his stripes under the guru Sean McVay with the Rams. The dude knows how to handle running backs and tight ends, and he's got that assistant head coaching magic touch.
Brown steering the Raiders' offense, with his knack for pre-snap movements and squeezing every ounce of talent out of beasts like Josh Jacobs. And imagine what he could do with tight ends like Michael Mayer or even Austin Hooper. Brown will likely use 12 personnel sets, making the Raiders' offense a force to be reckoned with. Hunter Renfrow will benefit the most as the main slot target while Devante Adams will continue to do what he does best — route every DB. That's the kind of game-changing mojo the Raiders need.
Sure, his Carolina days were rough, but his players maintained their faith in his approach, as evidenced by his ranking as the No. 2 offensive coordinator in the NFL Players Association's end-of-season survey.
Other options include: Hue Jackson, Ken Dorsey, Kellen Moore, Wes Welker, Frank Reich, Jim Caldwell
Running backs Coach - Derrick Foster
Who is Derrick Foster? Well, he's a guy who helped Ekeler explode with 38 regular-season scrimmage touchdowns in two seasons, leading the NFL, and 1,637 scrimmage yards in a single season. Not to mention his 107 receptions in 2022?
With Foster calling the shots, imagine Josh Jacobs morphing into an all-purpose yardage beast. Foster's genius lies not just in stats but in transforming good into great. He's the guy who can take a decent offense and turn it into a highlight reel week after week.
Foster isn't just a one-trick pony; his resume includes molding college talent and coaching wide receivers. This dude knows how to spot and develop talent, making him a prime candidate to revitalize the Raiders' offense. With Foster in the mix, Antonio Pierce could see his team go from middle-of-the-pack to top-tier in no time.
For the Raiders, it's a no-brainer. Derrick Foster is the missing piece in their offensive puzzle. He’s the architect who can design a powerhouse offense, tailor-made for Raiders’ style of play. If Pierce wants to make a statement in his first season, bringing in Foster is the way to do it. Raiders fans, buckle up; your offense is about to get a major upgrade.
QB Coach - Pep Hamilton
Pep Hamilton isn't just a quarterbacks coach — he's a bona fide QB whisperer, and Antonio Pierce would be wise to snag him for the silver and black. Hamilton's resume? Amazing. He's the maestro who helped mold Andrew Luck into a gridiron genius and was the architect behind Justin Herbert's rookie sensation. Think about it, under Hamilton, Herbert went from a promising draft pick to an NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. That’s no small feat.
Now, I hear ya, he once eyed the head coach spot with the Raiders, but things took a different turn with Jack Del Rio at the helm. But hey, that’s water under the bridge. What matters now is the future, and with Hamilton in the mix, it’s looking bright. Whether it’s grooming a fresh-faced rookie or revamping a seasoned pro, Hamilton's got the Midas touch. And let's not forget, he’s got the offensive coordinator chops too – talk about a double threat.
Of course, there are other options. One being Ken Dorsey, who was the scapegoat for the Bills offensive flounders during the regular season. He could come in for a season and learn under Pep Hamilton whiile coaching up the next Raiders signal caller.