Looking Ahead: Five Bold Predictions About the 2015 Raiders

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December 9, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers former head coach Jon Gruden talks during the presentation of the 10th anniversary of the 2002 Super Bowl Champions during halftime against the Philadelphia Eagles at Raymond James Stadium. The Eagles won 23-21. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

1. Chucky’s Return (As Offensive Coordinator?)

Since the firing of Dennis Allen…and in fact since the firing of Bill Callahan…the Raider faithful have been screaming for the return of Jon “Chucky” Gruden, the once youthful coach who took over a mediocre Raider team in 1998 and turned it into a Super Bowl contender – and then was traded by Al Davis to go and coach another team to a Super Bowl victory. The details of that long-ago era escape me but there was something about a rematch, and a center going AWOL to Tijuana, and an MVP quarterback throwing three picks.

Jon Gruden coached the Tampa Bay Buccaneers until he was fired after the 2008 season, posted six winning records in eleven seasons as a head coach, and a 5-4 postseason record that included the Super Bowl win in Tampa to go along with his 95-81 regular season record. His .541 combined winning percentage amounts to averaging just under 9 wins per season, which is of course more wins than any Raider head coach has managed since 2002, the year after he was traded.

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  • Gruden is now the color analyst on ESPN’s Monday Night Football TV broadcast, and is a popular NFL contributor for the pre-draft hype machine with his regular QB Camp segments, in which he works with draft-eligible quarterbacks like the Raiders’ own Derek Carr as well as Tim Tebow, Tajh Boyd and Aaron Murray and compares them to Brett Favre, Steve Young and Drew Brees. He has elevated the knowledge base of the casual football fan by introducing them to difficult scheme concepts like Spider 2 Y Banana, a play that he invented that involves pretending to hand the ball off to a running back (astounding!) while a fullback runs a route to the flat on the other side. This play has literally changed offensive football as we know it and we as fans are better for knowing and understanding it.

    But Chucky is not coming out of the booth to be a head coach at his advanced age, since it’s unlikely he’ll be allowed to drink Coronas and eat Hooters wings on the sideline during games. Despite his obvious scouting acumen (I mean…Tim Tebow turned out to be EXACTLY like Steve Young, right?), he probably won’t be handed the reins as a general manager or involved in player personnel, but he will be back.

    Jon Gruden will return to the fold as the offensive coordinator of the Raiders. He will work with the next Raider head coach (see who on the next page) to design an offensive system commensurate with Carr’s talents, strenghts and weaknesses. As the OC, will be responsible for creating offensive gameplans and offensive play-calling, allowing Carr to fake handoffs and find Marcel Reece in the flat on Spider 2 Y Banana at least a dozen times per game. Marcel Reece could finish the year with 110 receptions for 330 yards when it’s all said and done. With Gruden on board to handle the Raider offense, there will be a need for a calm, rational head man to hold things together. The answer may be closer than you think: