With Jon Gruden practically a lock to become the Oakland Raiders new head coach. Can he revitalize them after being on a nine-year hiatus?
Year after year, Jon Gruden’s name is thrown out there as a potential candidate for a head coaching job, whether that is the NFL or college. After nine years of being out of the game, Gruden looks to be headed back to where he got his start with the Oakland Raiders.
With former head coach Jack Del Rio being relieved of his head coaching position, Gruden has been the target of Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis to take over the vacancy. ESPN’s Adam Schefter has reported that it is inevitable for Gruden to become the new head coach of the Raiders. With that being said, can Gruden revitalize the Raiders again?
It’s possible, but there should be a bit of caution due to the fact that he has been out of coaching for nine years. The Raiders aren’t getting the same young and energetic 34-year-old Gruden that they hired back in 1998. Gruden right now is a mystery, but if he can be even half of what he was when he was coaching, then he’ll be a major upgrade over Del Rio.
Gruden wasn’t known to be a players’ coach he was very demanding, which is something this team needs with all the locker room drama. Unlike Del Rio, Gruden is an x’s and o’s guy. He loves quarterbacks, which is his most appealing trait. Gruden can be the guy that can salvage Derek Carr and bring him back to the prominent player we were used to seeing only a season ago.
Carr was ruined this season by having an inept offensive coordinator in Todd Downing. On top of that, Del Rio is a defensive minded coach, so there was no way he was going to be able to elevate Carr in the way that an offensive-minded head coach conceivably could.
When Carr had a solid offensive coordinator in Bill Musgrave, who was stern, he was an MVP candidate. Had he not broken his leg on Christmas Eve 2016, Carr could have legitimately been a finalist for the hardware. That’s just from having someone call the plays, imagine what having a head coach who speaks offense could do for him.
Other than the Super Bowl season in 2002, Gruden’s stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers wasn’t pretty, especially on offense. However, he never had a franchise quarterback while he was coaching the Buccaneers. He had the likes of Bruce Gradkowski, Luke McCown, and Jeff Garcia.
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Carr would be the most talented quarterback that Gruden will have coached since Rich Gannon. Gruden would be inheriting an offense with loads of talent. You wouldn’t have been able to tell this season thanks in part to Downing neutering the offense.
One bad season under the helm of poor coaching doesn’t define the talent on this team. Gruden can get the Raiders back on track. He’s proven that when a team has talent he’s able to use it. With his connections to coaches and coordinators thanks to his time working in the booth for Monday Night Football, he’ll be able to assemble the right staff to aid him.
Once Gruden is done announcing the AFC Wild Card game between the No. 4 Kansas City Chiefs and the No. 5 Tennessee Titans this Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium, expect the announcement of his hiring shortly after that. Who knows? Maybe he’ll do it himself in the booth?