The Las Vegas Raiders did not enter the 2021 campaign with the expectation of having to replace head coach Jon Gruden after three seasons and change.
Despite Las Vegas boasting a 3-2 record, that’s the case heading into Week 6 against the Denver Broncos. On the heels of an email scandal surrounding the Super Bowl-winning head coach, Gruden has opted to resign. He does so with six more years left on his contract following the 2021 campaign.
While the explosive details of the Gruden email scandal have taken center stage, Mark Davis and the Las Vegas Raiders’ organization must now pick themselves up and dust themselves off.
We’re going to see an interim head coach in Vegas through the remainder of the 2021 season. That comes in the form of special teams coordinator Richard Bisaccia.
However, Davis and the powers that be in the desert metropolis will end up looking for a full-time replacement following the 2021 campaign. Below, we check in on the five most-ideal fits.
Las Vegas Raiders hire Gus Bradley
The first-year Raiders’ defensive coordinator did not take on the interim title following Gruden’s departure. In no way does this mean Bradley won’t be a candidate following the 2021 season.
Bradley, 55, served as the Jacksonville Jaguars head coach from 2013 to the end of the 2016 campaign — posting a combined 14-48 record. While his tenure in Duval did not go swimmingly, we’re talking about a highly-respected defensive mind. That includes leading six top-10 defenses in stints with the Seattle Seahawks, Los Angeles Chargers and aforementioned Jaguars.
Las Vegas Raiders hire Nathaniel Hackett
Perhaps, Las Vegas looks outside of the organization following the 2021 campaign for a long-term replacement. If that is indeed the case, targeting offensive minds might make the most sense. The 41-year-old Hackett would have to sit atop that list.
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Dating back to his time under Gruden in Tampa Bay (how ironic), Hackett has been seen as an innovative offensive mind. That included helping Aaron Rodgers earn NFL MVP honors as a second-year offensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers in 2020. In his seven seasons as an NFL offensive coordinator, Hackett has led three top-10 scoring units.
Las Vegas Raiders hire Todd Bowles
Yet another former NFL head coach who didn’t enjoy much success in that role, Bowles has continued to gain respect around the league. As the Buccaneers’ defensive coordinator under Bruce Arians last season, he helped lead the team to a surprising Super Bowl title.
Bowles, 57, is best known for being a great defensive mind. Prior to Tampa Bay, this included stints in that role with the Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals. All said, he’s led five top-10 scoring defenses. If the Raiders are serious about improving on this side of the ball, Bowles might make the most sense.
Las Vegas Raiders hire Kellen Moore
Moore, 32, has been seen as somewhat of a wunderkind since his days with Boise State. Never really boasting the physical ability to be an NFL quarterback, he’s taken to coaching and has not looked back.
That’s now been taken to a whole new level as the Dallas Cowboys’ offensive coordinator since 2019. Dallas finished sixth in scoring and second in total yards under Moore in 2019. And after an injury-plagued 2020 campaign, these Cowboys are absolutely dominating with Dak Prescott leading the charge. They head into Week 6 averaging 34.0 points and north of 450 total yards. This would almost make too much sense.
Las Vegas Raiders hire Matt Campbell
NFL teams have been trying to pry Campbell away from Iowa State for what seems to be eons. At every turn, the highly-respected college head coach has turned down those opportunities. Whether this remains the case should Las Vegas target him remains to be seen. But Sin City might be an attractive draw.
Since taking over as the Cyclones’ head coach back in 2016, he’s turned this program into a powerhouse. That includes four consecutive bowl appearances and a win over Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl this past January.