Is Jack Del Rio Using Ken Norton Jr. As His Scapegoat For A Failed Season?
Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio has a history of firing coordinators and throwing assistants under the bus. It happened in Jacksonville and it happened last year with former offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave.
After firing defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr., the “scapegoat” conversation is surrounding Del Rio again, even more so considering the Raiders defense hasn’t been anywhere near as disappointing as the offense.
But in fairness to everyone involved, the Raiders defense after working with Norton for nearly three seasons has improved exactly nowhere. It’s been bad and it’s not getting better. The Raiders were going to have a new defensive coordinator after the season so why not see if John Pagano can somehow salvage this season?
It burns the eyes, but everyone sees the difference in the Raiders offense after losing Musgrave. Maybe a new coordinator on the defense sideline can spark something positive. Where is the risk? It can’t get much worse, can it?
Sure the Raiders have been decimated by injuries in the secondary, but watching D.J. Hayden play better than any cornerback in Oakland makes you wonder. Have the Raiders needed an overhaul of the defensive coaching staff for years?
Among CBs with 110+ coverage snaps, Ex-#Raiders CB DJ Hayden ranks 26th in passer rating allowed (71.4).
No OAK corner ranks inside the top-75.
— Austin Gayle (@AustinGayle_PFF) November 20, 2017
There are a handful of defensive players who aren’t happy to see Norton’s firing (for that matter everyone liked him), but that was to be expected. There were whispers in the offseason that Norton’s relationship with key members of the defense (and how they would respond) may have been what kept him around for a third season in the first place.
Nevertheless, the defense hasn’t been that much worse than it’s ever been. What’s really crushed the Raiders chances this season has been the circus act that’s been going on with the offense under Todd Downing.
Del Rio hasn’t been publically questioning his coaches this season (it actually happened more a year ago) and it’s a little unfair to say he’s using Norton as a scapegoat this season. In fact, the biggest problem in Oakland right now isn’t who Del Rio is firing, but who he hired (and didn’t fire) in the first place.