Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio was ranked 24th in USA Today’s For The Win’s NFL head coach rankings.
Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio may have led his team to a massive improvement in his first season with the team that included a road win over the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos, but at least one national media outlet isn’t ready to give JDR his due praise. USA Today ranking Del Rio well in the bottom half of their preseason coaches rankings this week.
USA Today’s For The Win ranked Del Rio as the NFL’s 24th best head coach. A low grade for a coach who has succeeded wherever he has gone as a head coach or defensive coordinator and had an admirable first season with a rebuilding Raiders squad in 2015.
For The Win criticized Del Rio for his bland defenses, claiming that the Raiders coach will never find success with his defensive philosophy. Criticisms that have followed Del Rio his entire career, particularly after the Broncos loss to the Indianapolis Colts in the 2014 playoffs. A game in which the Broncos put very little points on the board, yet Del Rio was blamed for the defeat by Broncos fans and pockets of the media.
From For The Win:
"24. Jack Del Rio, RaidersDel Rio has proven he can build a good defense. He did so in both Jacksonville and Denver. The question is whether he can he build a great one. Del Rio’s defenses tend to play conservatively, with few blitzes and a game plan that doesn’t change much week-to-week. You’re not going to take down top quarterbacks — which you have to do to win in the playoffs — with vanilla defenses."
Del Rio deserves to be ranked much higher than 24th as a proven defensive mind that had playoff success in Jacksonville and appears headed towards ending a decade-plus long streak of missing the playoffs in Oakland. The Raiders defense is trending upwards and after a handful of impressive wins last season, Del Rio deserves more praise than he deserves criticism until he fails with an Oakland project that appears headed for success entering 2016.