Oakland Raiders Hire Bobby Johnson as TE Coach


While everyone awaits the Oakland Raiders move on a defensive coordinator, the team continues to add the remaining positional coaches needed to fill their coaching staff under Jack Del Rio as the weekend ended with what was a third positional coach hire. This time it was a tight end coach brought in as the Raiders have hired Bobby Johnson to oversee a position group that will more than likely have significantly new personnel in the 2015 season.

Johnson coached the tight ends for the Lions in 2013 and was advanced to the role of assistant OL coach for the 2014 season under Jim Caldwell. With five years of NFL experience plus 15 years in the collegiate ranks, the hiring of Johnson continues with the theme of experienced coaches being brought onto Del Rio’s staff so far as the majority of hires for the Raiders coaching staff have at minimum 10+ years of coaching experience to earn an NFL job in Oakland.

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In Detroit, Johnson worked well with tight ends Brandon Pettigrew and Joseph Fauira as the Lions used their TE duo to their advantage with Pettigrew amassing 41 catches in 2013 while Fauria was a red zone monster with seven touchdowns that year with Johnson as the TE coach. During one year in Jacksonville in 2012 Johnson worked well with Mercedes Lewis who broke 500 yards on the Jaguars with four touchdown catches so there is precedent that Johnson can improve his tight ends from recent seasons before his assistant offensive line role in 2014.

With the Raiders it is unclear what talent Johnson will have at his disposal outside of Mychal Rivera who had a strong finish to 2014 and for the time being is the clear number one tight end in Oakland. Beyond him things are up in the air as the Raiders may bring in tight ends through the draft or free agency to improve upon always injured David Ausberry and project Nick Kasa who is still developing at the position after hitting the IR as well in 2014. More talent on the depth chart is needed if the position is going to become a strength and Johnson will likely be hoping that Reggie McKenzie blesses him with some more to work with once minicamp and OTA’s begin this spring.

Regardless of the talent that will be in place come the start of the training camp process, Johnson is a strong hire for the Raiders at a position that needs improving as since the departure of Zach Miller the tight end group in Oakland has been mediocre save for the strong performances that Rivera sometimes has. Developing consistency in giving Derek Carr more weapons to work with is key to the Raiders offensive success, something that Johnson will need to help improve by coaching up the tight ends. Based on his work in Detroit and Jacksonville that is more than possible for the new tight ends coach in Oakland.