There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that Jon Gruden is a great coach, possibly one of the best back in his early career. At the time of winning Super Bowl XXXVII in 2003 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he was the youngest ever Super Bowl winning coach and he did all of that in his first year with the team. In his first stint, he took the Raiders to multiple postseasons and lost to multiple Super Bowl winning sides.
All of these achievements are brilliant and prove, back in the 90s and early 2000s, Gruden was a great head coach. However, after watching his current Raiders team go 1-4 after week 5, it just proves that his old-school tactics and methods are not suited for the modern era game.
This season is the last for the Raiders in Oakland and everyone was hoping for a great goodbye. To make it even more of a telling story line, the Raiders appointed Gruden as their head coach. Everything was looking good for Oakland; their starting quarterback Derek Carr was healthy for the new season and they had Marshawn Lynch in the backfield. It was all set up to be a good final season in Oakland.
However, Gruden was the one who ruined the final season as he went on to trade Oakland’s best player, and arguably the best defender in the league, Khalil Mack, to the Chicago Bears for two first round picks. This sent the league into shock, no one could understand why Gruden would trade his best player, a game-changer who is capable of everything on defence.
Then Gruden exposed himself in one of his game press conferences, acting surprised that Mack had his 3rd strip sack in as many games. Everyone in the league was astounded at these comments, it almost seemed like Gruden didn’t know Mack was capable of such skills and that he traded him because he didn’t believe in his skill set.
Mack has changed the entire game over in Chicago, making them one of the best defences in the league and giving their offence many more opportunities to score. On the other hand, the Raiders look a shell of the team people were expecting them to be this season and it’s all down to Gruden and his many questionable decisions.
Nothing looks right with the Raiders, their defence has no clue what they’re doing. I have never rated Carr as highly as others but he looks incapable of producing any sort of offence. Lynch is looking very good on the ball but he can’t do everything, he needs his teammates to help him out, and he needs his head coach to call the right plays. Just this week Oakland found themselves on the 1-yard line, desperately needing a touchdown and he repeated what the Seahawks did and passed the football, instead of handing it off to Lynch. The ball was then intercepted and ended any chance of the Raiders coming back.
A third thing Gruden has got wrong in Oakland so far was admitting to picking the wrong player in the first round of this year’s draft. Gruden confessed that he wanted to take safety Derwin James but didn’t because the Raiders had taken two defensive backs in the past two drafts and they hadn’t turned out great. You can’t say you regret taking someone else for two reasons. The first is the poor guy you did pick has basically been told, in front of the whole world, that we regret taking you. The second is the reasoning behind not taking James is unbelievably stupid. Imagine if every coach picked like that, the league wouldn’t have any stars!
The Raiders, in general, have been pretty poor this season and they haven’t shown anything that makes me think they can turn this season around. They currently sit 1-4 for the season and with the number of teams who are 3-1, 4-1 and 5-0, the postseason seems almost impossible already for Gruden and his team. I can’t see them sacking Gruden anytime soon but if they lose their next 2 games, Gruden will probably pay the price.