In two seasons under Paul Guenther’s tutelage, the Raiders defense has allowed 29.2 and 28.2 points per game. The former ranked dead last in the NFL last season and the latter ranks as the fifth-worst. Of course, the lack of talent on that side of the ball plays a role, but many have questioned the defensive coordinator’s scheme and philosophy.
Guenther runs a zone heavy scheme which at times requires linebackers to cover wide receivers. The flaws of this philosophy came to light during week eight when the aforementioned Whitehead lined up across DeAndre Hopkins in crucial situations. Asking players whose forte isn’t in coverage to guard the opponent’s best receiver is certainly a questionable coaching decision, even if it is zone coverage.
Earlier this week, head coach Jon Gruden promised to make changes on defense. Whether or not that means a new coordinator is on the horizon remains to be seen but with 116 points allowed in the last three games, it would behoove Guenther to put together a few low scoring performances.
The coach uses a bend but don’t break philosophy, but if the defense doesn’t show a glimmer of hope to close out the season, his tenure with the Raiders might officially be broken.