“Raider Nation, this is a big effin deal.”
That was a clearly delighted Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis this past Tuesday. His six-year odyssey to reclaim the one that got away was over. He landed the ever-elusive Jon Gruden as his head coach.
No wonder Davis was so boisterous.
Gruden’s return is a big effin deal.
First and foremost, the alleged 10-year pact with a $100 million price tag is an ungodly sum for a coach who hasn’t been a head honcho since Dec. 28, 2008. Secondly, Raider Nation, long enamored with the coach lovingly referred to as “Chucky” gets a familiar face on the sideline once more. It’s a throwback to the most-recent time period when Oakland was a revered franchise, a legitimate contender.
“Obviously, this is very emotional for me. I never wanted to leave the Raiders,” Gruden said. “I never thought I’d be back, but here I am and I’m ready to get to work. I love football, and I love the city of Oakland. I had a son here and some of my great memories in life are in Oakland and I want to give them two of the best years of football that I can possibly help deliver.
“And I love the Raiders. The brand is global. Everywhere I went as Monday Night Football analyst, the Raider Nation would come out of the ground. I love the Raiders, and most of all, I love to win. I am going to do everything I can. No guarantees, no promises, but I want to win.”
Let’s hit the Quick Slants with Gruden-esque timeliness and precision:
- We’ll find out very quickly how the Gruden Approach affects quarterback Derek Carr. The Raiders coach was effusive of his praise for the franchise (and $125 million) signal caller.
- Gruden along with offensive coordinator (perhaps glorified QB coach is more proper) Greg Olson are slated to install a system that caters and maximizes Carr’s talents. There’s no ambiguity on this one: Gruden loves Carr’s arm talent.
- In a separate interview on Tuesday, Gruden alluded to making Carr the CEO of the offense. (See full quote below). Demanding more of the well-compensated signal caller is a proper approach.
- Fullback and blocking tight end were specifically brought up by Gruden during his intro presser. Hallelujah, Jamize Olawale! Perhaps the forgotten man will be a viable part of the offense.
- Despite stating he has a lot more studying to do on the Raiders current roster, Gruden was able to point out individual players. His mentioning first-rounder Gareon Conley peaked my interest (see next bullet).
- A good secondary is a must for new defensive coordinator Paul Guenther’s design. He used a 4-3 with a natural front-four pressure. To do that, you must have the coverage on the back-end.
- Guenther also had all-world tackle Geno Atkins at his disposal in Cincinnati. There is no interior pass rusher on Oakland’s roster that can even come close to Atkins.
- An all-around running back — a staple of a Gruden offense — is not on the roster. Will the Raiders address the lack of a tailback that can run both inside and outside and be a consistent weapon as a pass catcher in free agency or the draft?
- Elevating Carr is a high-priority item, but so must tapping into Amari Cooper’s immense talents. The young wide receiver has talents comparable to Raider great Tim Brown and if anyone can hone those skills,, it’s Gruden.
- New special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia’s biggest challenge: Ending the 10-year and seven-year droughts in punt and kickoff returns for a touchdown. The dry spell must come to an end.
Quote(s) of note:
“He’s got all the things you’re looking for. He’s young, he’s athletic, he has outstanding arm talent. I think he has natural leadership and passion to be a great player. We’ve just got to put more on his plate. We’ve got to demand more from him at the line of scrimmage and he’s got to become a CEO-type quarterback like Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, take a lot of ownership of our football.”
— Raiders head coach Jon Gruden on quarterback Derek Carr
“We are going to be united, we are going to work hard and we are going to assemble the best team possible. We aren’t always going to agree and Reggie will probably win… Look at the size of the guy! (laughing) You know what, I don’t want to agree with everybody. I want to work hard and try to pursue every vehicle possible to improve the Oakland Raiders.”
— Gruden on working with general manager Reggie McKenzie