Expect wholesale changes on McDaniels’ Raiders coaching staff
While Josh McDaniels is expected to call the plays, he will hire an offensive coordinator. On defense, he’s been linked to Don “Wink” Martindale, recently let go by the Ravens.
As Josh McDaniels begins to put together his Raiders coaching staff, more than likely wholesale changes are in store.
The new Raiders coach indicated on Monday that he will talk to members of the Raiders’ current staff. Wide receivers coach Edgar Bennett is reportedly remaining on staff.
But McDaniels is almost certain to look outside the current staff and surround himself with coaches he believes can successfully articulate and teach his offensive and defensive systems.
McDaniels’ expertise is offense. He is expected to call plays. But much like fellow offensive-minded head coaches such as Andy Reid of the Chiefs, Kyle Shanahan of the 49ers and Sean McVay of the Rams, an offensive coordinator will be in place.
On defense, McDaniels has to decide whether to retain coordinator Gus Bradley, whose assistance in adding difference-making defensive talent and organizing a much-improved unit last year helped turn around the Raiders’ defense.
Even there, though, McDaniels is expected to make a change, bringing in a coach he’s worked with in the past.
Here are some names to consider:
Don “Wink” Martindale — Almost from the moment McDaniels landed on the Raiders’ radar, word began circulating that Martindale would be a strong possibility as his defensive coordinator.
Martindale has been with the Baltimore Ravens since 2012, the last four years as their defensive coordinator. But an impasse between him and the club on a contract extension ended with Martindale and the Ravens surprisingly parting ways last month.
While Baltimore slipped to 25th overall in defense last year, it was just the first time since he took over that his defense fell outside the NFL’s top 10.
Martindale has ties to the Raiders. He served as their linebackers coach from 2004-2008, and he served that same position under McDaniels with the Denver Broncos in 2009 before being promoted to defensive coordinator in 2010.
The 58-year-old Martindale is a proponent of the 3-4 defense, which would necessitate a change from the 4-3 scheme the Raiders have used over the last four years. But as McDaniels pointed out on Monday, any change from one base scheme to the next is not considered a major obstacle.
Jerod Mayo — The Patriots’ inside linebackers coach interviewed with the Raiders and Broncos for their head coach vacancies over the last few weeks. He is regarded as a star in the making in the coaching ranks. The jump from assistant linebackers coach to head coach might be too ambitious, but a bump up to defensive coordinator would put him on track to eventually lead his own team.
Brian Flores —While the racial discrimination lawsuit Flores filed on Tuesday against the NFL, the New York Giants, Miami Dolphins and Broncos would be a factor — more so because of how much focus and attention it might take away from his job responsibilities — there is no doubt Flores is a strong candidate if he’s interested in returning to the assistant coaching ranks.
A longtime defensive assistant with the Patriots from 2011 to 2019, Flores took over a morbid Dolphins defense when he was hired as their head coach in 2019. After finishing last in the NFL in defense that season, the Dolphins finished sixth in overall defense in 2020 and 16th last year.
Others: Former Detroit Lions head coach and longtime Patriots defensive assistant Matt Patricia.
Jerry Schuplinski — A Patriots offensive assistant from 2013 to 2018 and most recently the Giants quarterbacks coach, Schuplinski, like McDaniels, is a graduate of John Carroll University and shares longtime ties with the Raiders’ head coach.
With McDaniels coordinating and calling the plays, it behooves him to bring in an offensive coordinator with experience working directly with quarterbacks. Schuplinski knows the offense inside and out, but his ability to be the 24/7 liaison between McDaniels and Derek Carr while McDaniels tends to head coaching responsibilities would be a critical piece in the offensive operation.
George Godsey — Another coach with ties to McDaniels and the Patriots, Godsey most recently served as the co-offensive coordinator with the Dolphins under Flores.
A former Georgia Tech quarterback, Godsey has been coaching at either the college or NFL level since 2004.
Chad O’Shea — The wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator with the Cleveland Browns, O’Shea has extensive experience as an offensive assistant, including a 10-year stint with the Patriots that overlapped with McDaniels’ time in New England.
Others: Nick Caley has spent the last seven years as an offensive assistant to McDaniels in New England, the last five as the Patriots’ tight ends coach. He is also an alum of John Carroll University.
Adam Gase, the former Dolphins and New York Jets coach, was an offensive assistant with the Broncos under McDaniels in 2009 and 2010. While he has a spotty past as a head coach, Gase remains a highly respected offensive assistant.
Contact Vincent Bonsignore at email@example.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore on Twitter.