Raiders Antonio Pierce Set to Add Super Bowl Champ: Report

The Raiders Antonio Pierce


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Antonio Pierce, Raiders coach

Prior to being elevated from linebackers coach to NFL head coach with the Las Vegas Raiders—an improbable promotion, no doubt—Antonio Pierce had a scant level of head coaching experience. He’d run the program at Long Beach Poly high school, and had been on staff with Herm Edwards at Arizona State, but had not been anything close to the head coach of an NFL football team. Once he got the job running the Raiders as the interim coach, Pierce turned to a mentor for help, former Bengals coach Marvin Lewis.

Now that he is the Raiders’ permanent head coach, Pierce is again turning to Lewis, who coached the Bengals for 16 years and compiled a record of 131-122-3 during his time in Cincinnati. Before that, Lewis made his name coaching the defense in Baltimore, where his Ravens D won the Super Bowl in 2001.

Lewis was the defensive coordinator in Washington in 2002, where he coached a second-year linebacker named Antonio Pierce.

As NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero wrote on Twitter/X: “As Antonio Pierce hires staff in Las Vegas, one name expected to be there is former #Bengals coach Marvin Lewis. Pierce brought in Lewis — who coached him in Washington — to help him after getting the interim job. Now Lewis is expected to be on staff in a more formal capacity.”


Raiders Antonio Pierce Staff Still Undefined

What, exactly, the role will be for Lewis is undefined. Pierce is only beginning the work on his staff, a job which is being aided by another of his former coaches, Giants legend Tom Coughlin. Pierce has one of the better defensive coordinators in the business in Patrick Graham, and the Raiders seem intent on keeping Graham in place, as an opposing team was denied the ability to interview  him for a promotion this offseason.

The addition of Lewis could make things uncomfortable for Graham, who oversaw a team defense that might have been the most improved from the beginning of the season until the end. If, though, Pierce could have both of those minds working together and in harmony on the team’s defense, he would go a long way to solidifying the Raiders’ identity as a defense-first bunch.


Offensive Coordinator Remains a Big Question

Pierce has a lot more questions to answer on the offensive side of the ball, where the Raiders were a mess at their worst moments and only mediocre at their best moments. It has been reported that interim offensive coordinator Bo Hardegree will not return, which makes some sense—the 3-0 Week 16 loss to the Vikings was always going to be difficult to come back from.

Pierce will have some good options on hand. Kliff Kingsbury and Eric Bieniemy are on the market, as is Alex Van Pelt and Frank Reich.

It will be interesting to see what influence Coughlin has. As NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported on Twitter/X: “Next steps for the #Raiders: Hire a GM and build out Pierce’s coaching staff. Tom Coughlin, who consulted for Pierce during the season, will be among those helping him identify and hire assistants.”

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