It is year one of the latest Jon Gruden Era, and our Jose Sanchez sat down with 95.7 The Game’s Bonta Hill to discuss all things Raiders.
Jose Sanchez: Will the Raiders ever be successful with Jon Gruden having 100% of the control?
Bonta Hill: Yea he’s controlling everything from the player personnel, to head coaching and calling the offense. No, they will not be successful. It’s a very hard thing to do. Mike Holmgren tried it for years. He did make it to one Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks.
Bill Belichick has had experience and has done a great job of doing that, but they had the right people around them in the front office. Right now, Jon Gruden does not have those people around him in the front office. Reggie McKenzie at this point is a lame duck, he’s a “Yes” man. Unfortunately, for him, he saw all his drafts get tore apart by Jon Gruden. So if he’s running personnel, drafting and coaching no he won’t be successful.
He needs help in that front office. Somebody to tell him to “Cool his jets”, to straighten him out and balance him out. Right now, he’s running it like a renegade. He needs help in the personnel department so bad. When you look at his Tampa Bay days he had three pro-bowlers out of 61 picks. What happened after the Super Bowl with Tampa Bay? Their offense just became really mediocre. He’s supposedly an offensive genius. He tried to buy the ingredients for that offense and he failed.
The ingredients were expired. He didn’t have the right groceries to help out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and they struggled there. If he doesn’t get any help in that front office he’s not going to be successful in his second tenure with the Oakland Raiders.
Jose: With Marshawn Lynch out, Amari Cooper traded and poor play from the offensive line and play calling. Can we properly evaluate Derek Carr’s performance this season?
Bonta: Yes and no. Yes because Amari Cooper was in the equation. Now whether or not he was tough enough or if he could function in this offense who knows. They traded him away and he goes to Dallas.
He’s had a nice start to his Dallas Cowboy career. Derek Carr has regressed since he was hurt on Christmas Eve in 2016 against the Colts. He comes back under Todd Downing and is throwing the ball quick. Carr’s got the yips. And also when you look at this offensive line it is beat up. Kolton Miller – in and out of the lineup right now. Kelechi Osemele – definitely compromised with injuries right now. Rodney Hudson has taken a step back. Gabe Jackson hasn’t been the player they paid for and that’s been the problem so far. The running game as you mentioned with Marshawn Lynch he’s out for the season.
I believe just by watching Derek Carr and his body language and the way his teammates interact with him… that locker room is lost. I think the best case scenario for Derek Carr is he needs to ask the team, well he’s not going to ask obviously because he’s got a lot of money on the books, but there’s an opt-out. There’s a team option where they can move on from Derek Carr. If I’m Derek Carr I’m hoping that they move on from me. I think a change of scenery at this point will benefit him. Can he be a franchise quarterback? Sure. Is he a top 10 quarterback? No, but if I’m Derek Carr I’m asking for a change of scenery because I don’t believe it’s going to work out with Jon Gruden, especially when they move to Las Vegas.
I don’t even believe that Jon Gruden is sold on Derek Carr being the guy. So to answer your question… yes and no. I know I’m hedging here, but you look at the personnel around him they’re all banged up. However, at the same time Derek Carr is just not seeing the field like he did a couple years ago.
Jose: To stay on the topic of evaluation, what have you thought about the Raiders draft class? Obviously Maurice Hurst Jr. has been the highlight, but what about the other rookies? (Kolton Miller, Arden Key, etc.)
Bonta: It’s an incomplete right now. Arden Key hasn’t been a pass rusher I thought he could be out of LSU. I thought pairing him up with Khalil Mack would’ve really helped the rookie.
He has natural pass rushing ability, but you trade away Khalil Mack, now all of a sudden you just have Bruce Irvin (who’s now in Atlanta) and Arden Key. So Key is an incomplete right now. Brandon Parker has struggled at right tackle. We saw the Seattle game. He needs help on that right side.
He’s just not ready for this level. PJ Hall has been ok, but look… they need help. They trade a lot of snaps on the field because they’re rookies. They’re not complete grown men on the field yet. So looking at this draft class it is good that they’re getting a lot of playing time; getting a lot of reps, but it’s really incomplete. We won’t know about this draft class until a couple of years.
Jose: What are your thoughts on the Mark Davis interview with Paul Gutierrez of ESPN?
Bonta: Yea it looks like he wants to take the blame. Oakland Raider fans are not going to forgive him. He’s taking this team and going to Las Vegas, basically sticking the middle finger to the fans out here.
They haven’t been playing winning football. This team has been in one playoff appearance since losing the Super Bowl to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2002. I mean come on. The level of ineptitude that this franchise has shown over the years and they’re rebuilding this thing for the second time in the last five years. You really can’t explain yourself. Anything you say to this fan base here in northern California, they’re not going to forgive Mark Davis. He doesn’t get a pat on the back for coming out and saying “We tried to do this and that with Khalil Mack and such” Nobody wants to hear it.
What he said to Paul Gutierrez, sure it was a national story, but it’s really fallen on deaf ears here in the bay area. No body’s going to forgive Mark Davis. Does he get props for sticking out? We would’ve liked to have heard this before the season and not in the middle of the season when they’re obviously tanking and not being competitive.
Jose: Jon Gruden recently said that players are blowing his phone up to play for the “Raidaz”. So do you think Le’Veon Bell will be calling him or be sought out by the team this upcoming free agency?
Bonta: Yea I don’t know. Jon Gruden talking his smack here when really he should zip the lip a little bit because he could be popped with tampering for saying that players are texting him. But really, who wants to be a Raider? Who are these guys? Are they high level free agents? Or are they veteran free agents? I don’t know.
It’s really just a wait and see. I’m sure they would like to have Le’Veon Bell on their team and the Raiders will have plenty of cap space. But will Le’Veon Bell really want to play here? Will he really want to come to the west coast? I don’t know. Jon Gruden seems to be out of touch. It’s probably smart for him at this point, again, to just fall back a little bit, coach this team up and get ready for the draft. I think a lot of people here don’t have a lot of confidence in him drafting players and courting free agents.
You look at the history he had he loves to court veteran free agents. Now will Le’Veon Bell in the prime of his career want to come to Oakland California and play for a rebuilding team? Personally I doubt that, but we shall see. We’ll see if Jon Gruden can back up what he was talking about with Howie Long on the Fox pregame show on Thursday night football.
We would like to thank Bonta for taking the time to sit down and talk with us here at JustBlogBaby.