Oakland Raiders Retain Ken Norton Jr. and Fire Marcus Robertson
The Oakland Raiders have made a coaching change to the defensive staff, but not the one that was expected.
The Oakland Raiders made multiple coaching changes Tuesday afternoon, starting with the decision to not renew the contract of offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, and promoting QB Coach Todd Downing in his place. But the news didn’t stop there.
Jack Del Rio and the team have decided to retain Ken Norton Jr. to be the defensive coordinator for at least one more year — which will be his third with the team in that role. But they are not retaining the defensive backs coach — Marcus Robertson — who has been fired.
Raiders have fired defensive backs coach Marcus Robertson Source tells Sporting News
— Alex Marvez (@alexmarvez) January 10, 2017
Del Rio often voiced his displeasure with the secondary in post-game press conferences, being critical of the big plays the group would allow.
Those "explosive plays" Jack Del Rio spoke of on Sunday were something he attributed to the secondary. Not surprised by this firing. https://t.co/UgWVmuqQ6b
— Courtney Cronin (@CourtneyRCronin) January 10, 2017
Which does make sense. The secondary was awful virtually the entire year. The group was continuously burned for big plays, so Robertson’s being let go is certainly warranted.
#Raiders allowed an NFL-high 61 pass plays of at least 20 yards this season
— Josh Dubow (@JoshDubowAP) January 11, 2017
But the decision to retain Ken Norton Jr. is a bit peculiar, to say the least. While the blame for the secondary should fall on the defensive backs coach, it should also fall on the defensive coordinator. Norton often had Sean Smith — a press corner — playing off his man. And he use Reggie Nelson — an old man — in single-high coverage. So Norton Jr. is far from deserving of blame.
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There is also the matter that the secondary wasn’t the only problem with the defense — the Raiders finished dead last in the NFL in sacks.
The only legitimate reason to keep Norton Jr. is for continuity — but what good is continunity when you are continuing with an inept coach?
At any rate, it seems like the Wade Phillips to Oakland dream is over. We’ll just have to wait and see what personnel changes are made to the defensive side of the ball by the time next season rolls around, and what Ken Norton Jr. does with said changes.