Oakland Raiders fire defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr., per reports

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 19: Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton Jr. hugs NaVorro Bowman
OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 19: Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton Jr. hugs NaVorro Bowman /

The Oakland Raiders are the second AFC West team to make a major coordinator move this week after firing defensive coordinator Ken Norton.

The Oakland Raiders have decided to make a major change at coordinator in a signal that this season has definitely not gone as planned with the reported firing of Ken Norton.

The Denver Broncos were the first AFC West team to make any major changes at coordinator this season when they fired Mike McCoy, their offensive coordinator and former Chargers head coach, earlier this week. Now the Raiders have followed suit, addressing their defensive woes by trying to revive a frustrating unit that never blossomed to the next level under Norton’s leadership.

While the Raiders have enjoyed success with each year from Khalil Mack, the reality is that the rest of the defense never truly came together despite acquisitions that should have held together. Veteran additions like safety Reggie Nelson and cornerback Sean Smith along with young investments in safeties Obi Melifonwu and Karl Joseph and cornerback Gareon Conley should have given the Raiders an incredible young secondary filled with talent. Instead the pass defense remains a weakness despite the obvious talent in the secondary.

Norton has been the Raiders defensive coordinator since 2015 and it was his first stint as any major coordinator of any kind. Before this, the former NFL player was a linebackers coach in Seattle for the Seahawks for five years.

It will be interesting to see if the move can rejuvenate the Raiders defense in time to reclaim anything in this largely lost season. The Chiefs have left the door wide open on the division after starting out 5-0. Since then, Kansas City has lost four of its last five and retain a slight two game lead in the division despite being the only one with a winning record. With several games left including head to head matches for K.C. against both Oakland and Denver, anything is still possible in the AFC West.