Jim O’Neil enters his second season with the Raiders and 10th year as an NFL coach, having spent the three years prior to Oakland as an NFL defensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns and the San Francisco 49ers.
During his first year in Oakland, O’Neil worked closely with the secondary, helping the unit record 14 interceptions after recording just five the previous year. The Raiders also saw a 21-place improvement in passes defensed, finishing the year tied for ninth in the NFL with 73 after finishing tied for 30th in 2017.
O’Neil tutored S Erik Harris to a breakout year as he appeared in all 16 games for the first time and set career highs in tackles (43), interceptions (two) and passes defensed (seven). O’Neil also helped S Marcus Gilchrist tie for the lead among the secondary with 56 tackles in his first season with the Silver and Black. Additionally, Gilchrist tied a career and team high with three interceptions.
In 2016, O’Neil served as the defensive coordinator for San Francisco, helping the 49ers defense improve in passing yards allowed per game, sacks and forced turnovers. The 49ers improved 13 spots from 2015 to finish 14th in the NFL in passing defense, allowing just 240.5 passing yards per game. They totaled 33 sacks to finish tied for 19th in the league, a 10-spot improvement from the prior season. His unit also saw an 11-spot improvement in takeaways, finishing tied for 19th with 20 under his guidance.
During his time with the 49ers, O’Neil tutored rookie DE DeForest Buckner as he tied for the team high with six sacks, adding 73 tackles and two fumbles recovered en route to earning a spot on the PFWA’s All-Rookie Team.
Prior to joining the 49ers, O’Neil spent two seasons (2014-15) with the Browns in the same capacity. O’Neil led a unit that ranked sixth in the NFL in opposing quarterback completion percentage (59.6) and tied for seventh in interceptions (32) during his tenure. Under his guidance, S Tashaun Gipson, CB Joe Haden and S Donte Whitner earned Pro Bowl honors in 2014.
During his first season as defensive coordinator in 2014, O’Neil directed a Browns defense that made significant strides from 2013. Cleveland allowed 69 fewer points and ranked ninth in scoring defense (21.1 points per game). The Browns led the NFL in opponent passer rating (74.1) and completion percentage (33.3), ranked second in interceptions (21), tied for fourth in takeaways (29) and fifth in red zone defense (46.3).
In 2013, O’Neil worked with the linebackers for the Buffalo Bills. Led by LB Jerry Hughes, who set a career high with 10 sacks, the unit helped Buffalo rank second in the league with a franchise-record 57 sacks. Additionally, the Bills finished 10th in the NFL in total defense (333.4 yards per game) after finishing 22nd in the league the year before, while leading the NFL in opponent completion percentage (55.3), finishing second in interceptions (23), third in opponent passer rating (74.9), fourth in passing defense (204.4) and tied for sixth in total takeaways (30).
Prior to joining the Bills, O’Neil spent four seasons with the New York Jets from 2009-12, first as the defensive quality control/defensive backs coach in 2009 and then as the assistant defensive backs coach from 2010-12. During his tenure, the Jets finished in the top-10 every year in opponent passing yards per game, ranking first in 2009 (153.7), sixth in 2010 (200.6), fifth in 2011 (201.0) and second in 2012 (189.8). O’Neil worked closely with CB Darrelle Revis in New York, who earned three All-Pro selections (2009-11) while being named to the Pro Bowl three times. He also helped CB Antonio Cromartie and S LaRon Landry earn Pro Bowl honors in 2013.
Over those four years in New York, the Jets defense combined to rank first in the NFL in opponent passer rating (71.0), completion percentage (52.6) and passing yards per game (186.3). The Jets defense yielded the second-fewest yards per game (294.8) from 2009-12.
Before his time in the NFL, O’Neil spent eight years as a coach at the collegiate level. He was at Eastern Michigan as a safeties coach/recruiting coordinator from 2006-08. He also had stints at Towson in 2005 as the defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach, and as a graduate assistant with Northwestern from 2003-04 where he worked with the defensive backs. Additionally, he was with Penn in 2002 as an assistant offensive line coach and served at SUNY-Albany in 2001 as an assistant offensive line/tight ends coach.
PERSONAL: A native of Doylestown, Pa. …A three-year starter as a defensive lineman at Towson…Earned a bachelor’s degree in sports management from Towson…Earned a master of arts degree in liberal arts from Northwestern and a master of science degree in education from SUNY-Albany…Attended Central Bucks West High School in Doylestown, Penn., helping the team earn three consecutive Suburban One League National Conference championships…He and his wife, Stacy, have two sons, Danny and Kellan, and a daughter, Riley.