Jon Gruden: Back to the Future

Jon Gruden is back in the coaching spotlight with the team that gave him his first head coaching opportunity, the Oakland Raiders.

After 10 years of being in the broadcasting booth, you would think he probably lost his touch at being a coach in this day and age. Well, guess what? You can take that thought out of your head, handful of haters. This is not Art Shell 2.0 with the “Bed and Breakfast” offense.

Gruden over the past 10 years has visited all 32 teams for ESPN so he has picked at the coaching minds of guys like Andy Reid and Bill Belichick, he’s seen how they have run closed practices and film rooms. That should demonstrate that Gruden has the jump on everyone. He has studied every team’s film and probably has a profile on every starting player right now in the league. Remember, 10 years is a long time, plenty of time to put together an offense to destroy a “Steel Curtain”, or a “Dynasty”.

Awhile back chatting with one of Gruden’s former players, Anthony Dorsett Jr. told me something I didn’t realize: Gruden coached for Paul Hackett’s west coast offense as a WR coach at Pitt and eventually went to coach under Mike Holmgren as an assistant and WR coach. So, what the hell does this have to do with Gruden being the head coach at this present time? A lot of things. This man is a walking playbook; he has gained and passed down knowledge to a handful of his understudies and one well-known example who currently has an explosive offense is L.A. Rams head coach Sean McVay.

Remember when I said he’s gained knowledge over the years? That also means him having his “Gruden Camp” for fired head coaches and for rookie QB’s going into the draft, which has been beneficial for him. My opinion on him having this knowledge: he’s got the “Do’s and Don’ts” down to learn from past mistakes. Now Gruden has put together a winning and structured staff that has a plethora of coaching experience.

Joining Gruden will be Greg Olson (not panthers TE) as OC and was with the Rams as their QB coach. He did wonders with Jared Goff this season.

Bryan Callahan, son of Bill Callahan, will be coming in as the QB coach for Raiders’ Derek Carr. For the last two seasons, he was Matthew Stafford’s QB coach and helped Stafford put up big numbers in 2016, as well as playing a hand in getting them to the playoffs.

WR coach Edgar Bennett was the offensive coordinator for the 2015-2017 seasons for the Packers. Before that he was their WR coach from 2011-2014, helping Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and James Jones eclipse 1,000 yards in a season.

Jemal Singleton, the RB coach, helped 34-year-old running back Frank Gore reach over a 1,000 yards rushing in 2016, in 2017 almost repeating results, as Gore ended up with 900+ yards; hard for a running back at that age to pull off.

Last but not least, Tom “Ali Bomaye” Cable, the new offensive line coach. For some who don’t get the reference when he was the Raiders’ head coach, he had “allegedly” assaulted his DB coach… but enough of that. Cable who’s been in Seattle the past couple seasons comes from the west coast zone blocking. Now, when you hear zone blocking I know it makes us Raider fans cringe to death, but you should know it’s not always outside zone. You also have your inside zone runs and Gruden is looking to mix it up.

With the staff that has been assembled from high-powered offenses that primarily come from the NFC where they believe in passing heavily, Gruden is going to fuse in everything from his offensive coaches with the knowledge he has gained over the years and it looks like he’s going to make adjustments. For what it’s worth, Jon is not playing around and knows Raider Nation is tired of the bull. He has playoff-caliber players for the offense on paper. The question is can he get it to transition to the field and erase the flop of the 2017 season? If you know or have watched Jon “Chucky” Gruden, you know he’s going to get it done.        

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