Gruden's Arrival Fuels 2018 Oakland Raiders
by DS WilliamsonThe Oakland Raiders managed to hire Jon Gruden away from his Monday Night Football gig. That’s the real reason so many believe the Raiders win the AFC West. The problem is that it cost this franchise $100 million over 10 years to do so. It's been a long time since Gruden has been a head coach, and just as long since the Raiders have been relevant. Can the 2018 Oakland Raiders produce a turnaround for both coach and team? Or, was their terrible 2017 NFL Season a harbinger of what happens this season?
The Gruden Effect in perspective Jon Gruden has been called one of the best coaches in NFL history. It’s difficult to co-sign on that statement. Yes, Gruden led the Raiders to a 12-4 SU record in 2000. The Raiders probably should have gone to the Super Bowl that season. Study up on the game versus the New England Patriots in the playoffs if you’ve got any questions. I'll just tuck myself in to a corner if you need me.
Outside of that season, Gruden’s Raiders weren’t unbeatable. Gruden did win the Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after he was traded by the late and great Al Davis. But, let’s be honest, he pretty much inherited a team that Tony Dungy built. He has not received the same good fortune with these 2018 Oakland Raiders.
The questions about whether Jon Gruden has some sort of magic touch is a real question. It’s been over a decade since he last coached in the NFL. There’s a real possibility his brand of the west coast offense won’t play in today’s NFL and despite his wonderful work in the booth, there's no empirical proof that he is still an effective coach.
Questionable decisions already It wouldn’t be such an issue if it wasn’t so easy to question the decisions Jon Gruden has already made. Starting with drafting tackle Kolton Miller in Round 1, when Gruden could have drafted several different defensive players, Gruden hasn’t exactly provided the confidence to write that the Raiders have a bounce back season.
Miller might not even start his rookie year. A great linebacker like Tremaine Edmunds was still on the board. What’s the deal there? Not only that, but Gruden allowed his top three cornerbacks to leave and is counting on Gareon Conley, himself a suspect Raider Round 1 pick the year before, to comeback from shin surgery that he just had in November.
Conley looks like a cornerback bust. Safety Karl Joseph is a player, and nobody can question that Kahlil Mack is one of the best defensive ends in football, but outside of those two players, it’s difficult to see the defense stopping any talented offense. Mack and Gruden are reportedly off to a bad start relationship wise too.
At least Gruden will run the football If the 2018 Oakland Raiders has a saving grace this season, it will be RB Marshawn Lynch. Beast Mode averaged less than 14 carries per game last season. Gruden likes to run the football. That’s going to help QB Derek Carr bounce back from a terrible season.
Lynch remains a powerhouse runner. Giving the ball to Beast Mode makes all the sense in the world. In that respect, Gruden could help Oakland win more games this season than last season. Hopefully the can cover the spreads too, which they didn't do much of last season.
Daunting schedule means no playoffs The expectation is that Jon Gruden comes in and the 2018 Oakland Raiders become immediate playoff contenders. That doesn’t seem likely because the schedule is difficult. In Week 1, the Raiders must battle the L.A. Rams. That looks like a loss.
Then, in 3 of their next 4 games, they’re at Denver, at the L.A. Chargers and at Miami. None of those games are sure fire wins.
High expectations abound in Oakland. The Raiders were 12-4 SU only two seasons ago. But, there are huge questions marks as to whether the Raiders can get back to the playoffs. The thinking here is that it will take Gruden at least a year before taking the Raiders back to the post-season. Whether the players, franchise and Raider nation has the patience to support him for that long remains to be seen.