We're all counting down the clock until football is back. Now, it's time to get to know the coaches. In this series, we'll profile every Las Vegas position coach, coordinator, and head coach.
Today, we continue our journey on the defensive side of things and meet defensive backs coach Jim O'Neil.
Jim O'Neil, Defensive Backs Coach
Jim O'Neil is entering his third year with the Raiders and 11th season as an NFL coach. Having served with the Cleveland Browns and the San Francisco 49ers as a defensive coordinator, and in assistant roles with the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills early in his career, Neil is a veteran.
When Coach Jon Gruden was figuring out his new coaching staff as he returned to the Raiders in 2018, he hired a bunch of big names to his staff, including O'Neil.
Whenever you hire someone in the NFL, you would like someone who knows the bigger picture as a head coach. That way, they're focused not only on the personnel and unit they're assigned but also on the team as one massive entity, as they should be.
With O'Neil's previous experience as a defensive coordinator with two seemingly different squads, he's been through a multitude of scenarios, including ones in which he failed at leading his defense.
O'Neil is a man who has said on record that he needs to keep improving as a coach.
According to Vince Fausone of the NinersWire, when O'Neil was a defensive coordinator in San Francisco and lost a 45-16 blowout to the Bills, he said: "Quite frankly, I'm embarrassed by what happened on this past Sunday. But I am positive as to where this is going."
O'Neil is a type of guy to man up, take responsibility, then look forward to the task right up ahead.
When the Niners fired him at the end of the season, he was out of a job for a year.
But he didn't give up.
I believe that this attitude is a part of the many reasons why Gruden hired O'Neil in 2018, at the time as a senior defensive assistant.
As I mentioned in the 2020 season previews, O'Neil is working with a well-staffed secondary, from second-year cornerback Trayvon Mullen to veteran cornerback Prince Amukamara. The latter has booked over 400 solo tackles in his career.
If O'Neil can work with the mix of the young and veteran unit, then O'Neil might be able to help solidify the Raiders' secondary unit.
Tell us what you think in the comment section below.
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