There’s arguably no decision more intriguing than the one involving controversial hometown guy, Marshawn Lynch.
The Jon Gruden hire is official and the media frenzy has poured in. Now it’s time for the business decisions within the organization to fall under the new influences of the head coach’s vision. One of the first orders of business for coach Gruden is to groom the personnel decisions with general manager Reggie McKenzie.
The Personality Battle
Jon Gruden a.k.a. “Chucky” carries a big stick, if you will. Gruden has a bit of a throwback personality built off of a disciplinarian approach. He is extremely vocal and aggressive with his coaching style and won’t hold back from assessing performance accountability under his watch.
Gruden may show some favoritism for players in the booth on television but in the coaching ranks, he has the reputation for ripping a bench player equally as much as his best player. Gruden’s expectations are sky-high and he demands the most attentive effort from each snap.
Then there’s Marshawn Lynch a.k.a. “Beast Mode”. He’s unapologetically himself in his every action. Lynch has a bit of a celebrity to him for his playful antics and raw Oakland-persona to the media and higher authority. During Lynch’s tenure in Seattle, he was very successful as a player and became a Super Bowl Champion while being himself. The Seahawks staff and their locker room were built to keep strong amidst a group of big personalities that also included Richard Sherman and Michael Bennett.
In Oakland last season, that wasn’t so much the case. Former head coach Jack Del Rio seemed to cater to all of his puzzling distractions while softening the reality of them to the media. Gruden won’t enjoy any extra distractions on or off the field. Lynch seemingly was given the celebrity treatment this past season; it was fun but at times it made you wonder, how did the team feel?
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2017 to 2018
Lynch carries himself into the off-season boasting the best offensive yardage production outside of the quarterback position on the Raiders. Lynch amassed 891 rushing yards, averaging 4.3 per carry while rushing for seven touchdowns. That boils down to 13.8 rushing attempts per game, which would be tied with his 3rd lowest workload of his career. It’s important to point out that Lynch’s 4.3 per carry average in 2017 matches that of his career average, revealing that he really didn’t miss a step coming out of his retirement state.
The 2017 film study will impress Gruden. His intellectual offensive mind will see enough to know that Lynch is a very capable runner who was in a very troubling system last season.
The physicality of Lynch matches that of his former battering-ram runners in Oakland: Tyrone Wheatley, Zack Crockett, and Jon Ritchie. There’s no argument that Gruden will want a versatile running back comparable to that of Charlie Garner’s skill set during his last coaching stop in Oakland. If Gruden eyes Lynch as his power back, he’ll find his complementary pass-catching back in free agency or the draft to pair with Lynch. In the end, the common-shared passion for the city of Oakland between Lynch and Gruden seems like the both may have unfinished business in the town.