HomeFootball DirtPierce, Cregg, Armstead: The RB Coach

Pierce, Cregg, Armstead: The RB Coach

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Last we had heard, with former Raiders running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu heading to Seattle for the same position, Las Vegas had selected long-time UCLA staffer DeShaun Foster to take over as their new running backs coach. With Chip Kelly shockingly stepping down as head coach of the Bruins to take the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coaching job at Ohio State, Foster has been selected as Kelly’s replacement in Los Angeles, per Pete Thamel of ESPN, forcing the Raiders to go back to the drawing board for their next running backs coach.

To fill the role, the Raiders are turning to a name millennial NFL fans will recognize. Las Vegas dipped back to the college ranks, confirmed by Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, hiring Auburn associate head coach and running backs coach Carnell Williams, known during his playing days as “Cadillac.” The 2005 Offensive Rookie of the Year’s playing career ended after seven seasons in the NFL. He would eventually turn to coaching as a career, starting off at small colleges like Henderson State and West Georgia before spending a year at the high school level at the prestigious IMG Academy.

Williams followed that up with a year as a running backs coach in the Alliance of American Football league before first arriving at his alma mater in 2019. Williams has coached running backs at Auburn for the last five years, spending a stint in 2022 as interim head coach and earning the title of associate head coach this past season. The most notable name coming out of his position group in Alabama would’ve been Tank Bigsby, a third-round rookie for the Jaguars last year.

With star back Josh Jacobs, Ameer Abdullah, and Brandon Bolden all bound for free agency, Williams inherits a room that is currently only slated to hold third-year rusher Zamir White. Perhaps Williams’ input will be crucial in how the position group is formed this offseason.

Here are a few other staff updates coming out of Sin City:

  • The Raiders were also able to secure their new offensive line coach, hiring former 49ers assistant offensive line coach James Cregg to the role, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Cregg, who has been in San Francisco for the past two years, will get his first full position coaching opportunity in the NFL with Vegas. He has held the assistant role with the Raiders, Broncos, and Chargers in the past and the offensive line coaching title at three different Power 5 schools at the collegiate level, but this will be his first NFL offensive line coach title.
  • Also on offense, the Raiders have added new head coach Antonio Pierce‘s son DeAndre Pierce to the coaching staff, according to Myles Simmons of NBC Sports. The younger Pierce, who served in 2023 as a defensive quality control coach at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, will be an offensive quality control coach for the Raiders in 2024.
  • Lastly, the older Pierce reportedly reached out to an old teammate from New York, Jessie Armstead for a potential front office role in Las Vegas. Armstead, who currently works as a special assistant to the general manager for the Giants, was offered a similar role with the Raiders. Las Vegas was under the impression that Armstead was going to be on staff, but the Giants were reportedly able to block the lateral move, since Armstead is still under contract, according to Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post.

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