The Raider Ramble brings you some quick hits on the Raiders’ offseason so far. Just because you can’t prove something doesn’t make it true. Sounds like some obnoxious philosophical malarkey, doesn’t it?
But in the case of the Oakland Raiders, that statement was the truth.
Quick Slants: The Raiders Off-season Thus Far
For an organization that loves to keep its inner workings within the walls of HQ in Alameda, clandestine is the modus operandi. The Jon Gruden rumors began in November.
“Pipedream!” many screamed when contemplating the “Grumors”. (There were harsher words used, the Twitterverse was filled with profane — and comical — reactions). Established writers and neophyte scribes provided statements of denial. It was too much of a far-fetched concept. Ain’t gonna happen, no way.
Gruden was well-compensated by the folk in Bristol and the ESPN gig was much too comfortable.
But the most important denial never arrived.
The Raiders never came out and abruptly caboshed the rumors. Owner Mark Davis and his crew had the only extinguisher that could truly put out the Gruden flames. And instead, the Raiders fanned those flames with silence.
When the Grumors reached speeds that only Bo Jackson and Napoleon Kaufman could reach, the insanity was becoming reality.
That’s when it became clear Gruden was not only a possibility, but was inevitable.
And this coming Tuesday, Gruden Redux becomes official.
Let’s hit the Quick Slants:
- A 10-year pact worth nearly $100 million. That’s a lot of coin, no doubt. But many people (fans, included) act like it’s their own funds being spent. Relax a little bit. That’s Mark Davis’ money and — for better or worse — it’s his prerogative to spend it how he sees fit.
- Don’t give me the tripe of “Mark Davis can afford to pay Jon Gruden $100 million but can’t build a stadium in Oakland.” It. Is. Over. The Raiders are moving to Las Vegas. Do I like that they’re moving, no? But I’ve learned to deal with it.
- Jack Del Rio announced his own dismissal. Cold-blooded some say. Inappropriate others concluded. I’ve always believed bad news is better received immediately. Don’t let it fester, get it over with. Just like Del Rio said at the eye-opening postgame press conference, the NFL is a results business. And the result isn’t often comfortable.
- Many raised eyebrows after realizing Gruden would be calling the AFC wildcard tilt between the Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs. The Titans didn’t allow Gruden to sit in on their practice, which is normally the case for TV folk in preparation for the broadcast. Chiefs boss Andy Reid had no such qualms. Don’t be surprised, he and Gruden are homies.
- One can imagine the exchange between Reid and Gruden: “Now that you’ve seen my offense, good luck trying to stop it.” Reid likely said with a smirk.
- Gruden’s rumored staff (offensive coordinator Greg Olson, defensive coordinator Paul Guenther and special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia) have their work cut out for them. Olson will help get quarterback Derek Carr on track. Guenther needs to elevate a defense that’s been in the lower-tier of league rankings and Bisaccia needs to reinvigorate a special teams unit that hasn’t seen a touchdown return in years.
- I can already see the Gruden-isms at training camp… “Khalil, you’re a big Mack, man. All that beef, thousand island and lettuce. And I’m the sesame seeds, man.” Or, “Jihad, huh? Doesn’t that mean warfare, man? I want you to declare war on opposing quarterbacks. Get yourself locked in the psycho Ward, man.”
- First-year head coaches are exempt from being on HBO’s Hard Knocks. But perhaps HBO and the NFL can relent on that. Gruden’s Raiders would be ratings gold.