A longtime fixture on the 49ers coaching staff, Jason Tarver is returning to the NFL after one year at Stanford. The 37-year-old coach has been tapped by the Oakland Raiders to coordinate the silver and black defense under the direction of new head coach Dennis Allen.
Oakland’s search for a defensive coordinator recently turned to the collegiate ranks after the franchise was unable to secure interviews with various candidates. Tarver arrives having spent last year at Stanford where he served as co-defensive coordinator for David Shaw.
For Tarver his task is a difficult one. He’ll be pitted with changing the culture of an underachieving defense that has been unable to stop the run for the better part of a decade. In recent years Raider Nation has heard far too many promises from the likes of Tom Cable and Hue Jackson that the defense would solve their run stopping deficiencies. That never came to be.
Last season saw the Raider defense devolve into a historically terrible unit with regards to run defense. Normally the run defense is offset by a top tier pass defense. That too came tumbling down in 2011 as the departure of Nnamdi Asomugha combined with a lack of depth at cornerback left the Raiders completely defenseless.
Tarver’s defense at Stanford was ranked near the top of the PAC-12 in most every defensive category. Most notably was the Cardinal defense ranking third nationally in run defense. Let’s hope that translates to the NFL.
The hiring of Dennis Allen ushered in a new era of Raider football. Under Al Davis the Raiders were typically led by an offensive minded coach with Davis serving as the off-the-record defensive coordinator. That is no longer the case with Mark Davis giving his GM Reggie McKenzie total freedom. Same goes for McKenzie giving Allen complete freedom to hire his own staff.
Allen arrives with a reputation as a strict disciplinarian. That too must trickle down to the defense through Tarver as Oakland tries to put another historic season of penalties in the past.
There are still more coaching positions to be filled on Tarver’s defensive staff after the near complete house cleaning that swept most every connecting to the previous coaching regime out the door. No matter Tarver’s credentials it is hard to imagine the Oakland defense performing much worse than it did under Chuck Bresnahan.