4 Las Vegas Raiders offensive coordinator candidates to support Antonio Pierce

Las Vegas Raiders offensive coordinator candidates
Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

The Las Vegas Raiders coaching search might ultimately settle on Antonio Pierce, with the franchise recognizing the wishes of its players. If the interim head coach sticks around, the next step is evaluating Raiders offensive coordinator candidates for 2024.

When things weren’t working with Josh McDaniels’ offense, Las Vegas fired its head coach and Pierce taking over the reins led to improvement from the defense. However, the Raiders still had one of the worst offenses in the NFL. Las Vegas needs to find a quality offensive play-caller who can not only make something with the weapons on the offense but also provide experience for a young coach to lean on.

  • Las Vegas Raiders offense: 19.5 PPG (23rd), 4.9 yards per play (27th), 35.65% third-down success rate (24th), 2.8 red-zone scoring attempts per game (24th), 48.94% red-zone TD rate (24th)

Related: Las Vegas Raiders general manager candidates

If Las Vegas keeps Pierce as its head coach in 2024, here are four Raiders offensive coordinator candidates to support him next season. Of note, we prioritized coaches with decades of experience and factored in that long-term uncertainty at quarterback and head coach will make this a less appealing job to OC candidates.

Evaluating Las Vegas Raiders offensive coordinator candidates

Eric Bieniemy, Washington Commanders offensive coordinator

NFL: Washington Commanders at Dallas Cowboys
Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Bieniemy left the Kansas City Chiefs because NFL teams wanted him to prove he wasn’t a benefactor of having Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce. He took on a daunting task with the Washington Commanders and his first year handling all of the play-calling duties led to some improvement. Just as important, though, the Chiefs’ offense also took a massive step back without Bieniemy.

Related: Las Vegas Raiders draft picks 2024

YearPPGYards per PlaySuccess RateRed Zone TD Rate
Washington Commanders offensive comparison before and after hiring of Eric Bieniemy

While Bieniemy doesn’t have the head-coaching experience we’d prefer to pair with Pierce, he brings something else. Pierce is a player-friendly coach and that’s a theme among the holdovers on the Raiders’ coach staff. Bieniemy is an intense coordinator, more than willing to go after his star players for mistakes and chew them out. While Bieniemy has never been a head coach, he has been coaching NFL players for more than a decade.

When you balance that with Pierce’s coaching style, you have a cohesive unit that complements one another. Plus, Bieniemy’s fondness for the run game and spreading the football around could bode well for the Raiders’ offense becoming more consistent in 2024. If all goes well, Bieniemy could spin a productive season from the Raiders’ offense into a head-coaching job elsewhere.

Arthur Smith, former Atlanta Falcons head coach

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Atlanta Falcons
Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Arthur Smith will rightfully be judged on what happened with the Atlanta Falcons. While he never had the quarterback to execute his scheme, quarterback play had nothing to do with his distribution of touches. In Atlanta, Smith underutilized his best players and he arguably let fantasy football and media criticisms make him more rigid and unwilling to compromise. However, being fired changes a coach.

Related: Las Vegas Raiders coaching candidates

The Falcons’ experience should be humbling for Smith. It’s also worth noting that Atlanta got Bijan Robinson involved late in the year Before his time with the Falcons, though, Smith was genuinely calling up one of the best offenses in the AFC.

PPGYards per PlayRed Zone TD rate
201924.9 (8th)6.0 (5th)77.36% (1st)
202029.6 (4th)6.1 (5th)74,24% (2nd)
Tennessee Titans offense with Arthur Smith

If Smith wants to coach in 2024, he should be interested in making himself one of the Raiders offensive coordinator candidates. Pierce could rely on Smith’s head-coaching experience, learning from his mistakes. The Raiders’ offense would also benefit from having a quarterback-friendly offense that effectively uses the ground game and attacks opponents with the play-action. It wouldn’t be a splash hire, but Smith would be a quality addition to a relatively inexperienced coaching staff.

Frank Reich, former Carolina Panthers head coach

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Tennessee Titans
Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

If head-coaching experience and leadership are priorities for Las Vegas and there’s a desire to surround Pierce with the best supporting cast possible, Frank Reich would be a quality addition. The 62-year-old is certainly done as a head coach, with stints in Indianapolis and Carolina ending that career path for him. However, he’s still widely respected around the NFL for his offensive intellect and ability to help quarterbacks.

Las Vegas also wouldn’t repeat the same mistakes the Panthers’ organization did. Reich would call plays for the Raiders’ offense, work one-on-one with the new quarterback and reportedly directly to Pierce. Two decades of coaching experience would be huge for Las Vegas and Reich still carries the name recognition that should carry weight with veteran players. Culture is important to the Raiders and Reich is a good fit.

Jim Caldwell, former Detroit Lions head coach

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions
Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Unfortunately for Jim Caldwell, another opportunity to be an NFL head coach likely isn’t coming. However, the 69-year-old coach has been coaching in the NFL since 2002, with stops in Tampa Bay, Indianapolis, Baltimore, Detroit, Miami and Carolina.

Matthew Stafford raved about playing for Caldwell and he was the best Lions’ head coach outside of Dan Campbell over the last 20-plus years. Furthermore, despite not always having some of the best weapons, Caldwell’s offenses consistently produced.

PPG3rd Down rateYards per Play
2015 (Lions HC)22.436.95%5.4
2016 (Lions HC)20.741.26%5.5
2017 (Lions HC)25.638.76%5.5

Caldwell wouldn’t necessarily be a long-term offensive coordinator for Las Vegas. Instead, he’s brought in for the 2024 season to assist Pierce all while he gets an opportunity to try and prove himself as a play-caller. Las Vegas likely won’t get to pick from the top up-and-comers in 2024 due to the quarterback uncertainty and retaining an interim coach. So, Caldwell comes in to add decades of NFL experience to the Raiders coaching staff.

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