A week after his glitzy press conference that was a nationally-televised extravaganza, new/old Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden spoke publicly in a much more low-key atmosphere.
For 12-plus minutes, Chucky was a guest on the Sean Salisbury podcast. Gruden didn’t break a lot of new ground here, but he did talk a little more football than he did last week. Below are the highlights according to me:
I thought the best information was on quarterback Derek Carr. Like he did last week, Chucky praised Carr and expressed confidence in him. There were some money shots with Salisbury, though. Gruden said if Carr fails it will be Gruden’s fault and he also said Carr’s success depends on who the Raiders surround him with.
Ok, on the Gruden fault quote, I like and expected what Gruden said. He is fancied as a QB guru. Carr regressed in 2017. It’s Gruden’s task to elevate him to the MVP candidate he was in 2016. That’s why Gruden is in Oakland. Carr is the best young quarterback has worked with as a head coach. He must make it work.
On the surrounding Carr with talent point, well, I’m intrigued. I read it as Gruden saying that there may be some changes. Where? My first guess would be at a receiver and tailback. I could see Gruden looking for an upgrade over Michael Crabtree (he declined toward the end of the season and he will be 31 in September) and Marshawn Lynch at tailback. I can see free agency being an area to get better at receiver and the draft being where Gruden seeks to upgrade at tailback. GM Reggie McKenzie should have gone that route last year. Would you rather have Alvin Kamara or Kareem Hunt over Lynch? I’ll hang up and listen.
Gruden said that the Raiders may go with some more no-huddle offense for Carr as well. Gruden noted that he and his staff are working on changing calls and names of the offense because he wants it to look different.
Gruden, who has been away from the NFL sidelines for nine years, said his coaching staff is critical. He noted the staff is almost complete and he is very happy with it. Although, the Raiders haven’t confirmed most of the hires, Gruden did confirm the hiring of offensive line coach (and former Oakland head coach) Tom Cable and receivers coach Edgar Bennett, who was previously Green Bay’s offensive coordinator. Carr has been called Baby A-Rod (Aaron Rodgers). Bennett could help exploit that comparison. Bennett may be the receiver coach, but as Greg Olson told reporters on a conference call Wednesday, everything the Raiders do is for Carr’s developments. Can’t be enough cooks in the kitchen.
Gruden told Salisbury that he will need help from his staff because the game has changed since he last coached. The biggest differences, Gruden said, is that coaches can spend less time with players because of the 2011 CBA and because the college game is so much different than the NFL game.
Gruden said a key to improving the Raiders is continuity. For example, this will be the fourth time in five years, Carr has a new offensive coordinator. It helps that the OC is Olson, who was Carr’s coordinator as a rookie. Olson said Wednesday continuity is a key That shouldn’t be a problem, since Gruden has a 10-year deal worth 100 large.
As he did in his press conference, Chucky told Salisbury how much he is happy to be in Oakland and it will be a “big twinge” when the team leaves for Las Vegas in two years. Still, Gruden noted it will be exciting to take the Raiders’ brand to Vegas.
Gruden made it clear being a Raider again is important to him. That’s what it all goes back to. Gruden is back to win with the Raiders