Does Jack Del Rio’s Resume Deserve More Credit?

Is Jack Del Rio a coach to feel good about? If so, he’s come a long way in a few weeks. The momentum for Del Rio began a few days after Christmas and by the reactions of many, he was something of a stocking stuffed with coal.


To some degree, I get it. Gruden and Harbaugh would’ve taken over the Coliseum like rock stars. That would have been fun. But they didn’t want to be here and the harsh reality is very few did seek out the Raiders’ job. So to be disappointed, that makes sense. What doesn’t make sense are those minimizing Del Rio’s success.


First off, how many head coaches last nine years with one team? Dennis Allen barely survived his first. Del Rio’s 68 wins in nine seasons with Jacksonville are more than the Raiders have tallied in the past 13 seasons (67) – and that math includes the Raiders’ 11-win Super Bowl season. But even beyond his time in Jacksonville, Del Rio has flown under the radar as a coordinator.


When was the last time the Seattle defense was called vanilla? And why does it matter? The Seahawks, Ravens, and Giants won the past three Super Bowls with vanilla. Rex Ryan’s rocky road defense gave the Jets one 10-win regular season in six years. Of course Rex is a great defensive coach, but complexity shouldn’t be the measure.

Despite having the third-ranked defense in 2014, Del Rio rarely received credit for Denver’s success – true for most of the past three seasons. And as far as last week, the Broncos defense did fine – Andrew Luck threw two touchdowns, two interceptions, and scored 24 points. Do you think Bill Belichick would take that from Luck this week?

In his 13 years between Jacksonville and Denver, Del Rio’s defenses finished top-10 versus the run eight times – and only once did it finish worse than 20th. The year he arrived in Jacksonville his defense jumped from 27th overall to 16th. The Denver defense ranked 20th under Dennis Allen in 2011 and jumped all the way to second with Del Rio – admittedly, the Manning/Tebow swap didn’t hurt.

If there’s a question about Del Rio, it involves the development of Derek Carr. Byron Leftwich and David Garrard didn’t pan out in Jacksonville so what reason is there to believe Del Rio can build on Carr’s success? Oakland badly needs a strong offensive coordinator – with the best option in my opinion being Marc Trestman, who still seems to be in the mix.

Assuming Del Rio can hire an attractive staff, I think he is and was always the Raiders best-case scenario not named Harbaugh. That’s my opinion. But this is fact – the Raiders are out of excuses. Next year isn’t Super Bowl or bust, but it is don’t suck or bust. Count me as crazy but I think the three-headed behemoth of Davis, McKenzie, and Del Rio will deliver on that.