Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden is the all-business, no-nonsense type. He’s the coach many in Raider Nation beckoned for, one who would swing the attention to winning and hold players accountable. And if there was a player who wasn’t with the program, adios, sayonara, bye Felicia.
So you shouldn’t be the least bit surprised he jettisoned punter Marquette King last Friday.
It was way back in March, at the onset of the NFL combine where Gruden gave you an inkling a change at punter may be happening.
“Some of the missed kicks, you blame the kicker, but you look at the hold and the hold wasn’t very good,” Gruden said when asked about Giorgio Tavecchio’s prospects of being the answer at placekicker.
The holder, of course, is/was King. Then comes the matter of money. King was on tap to earn $3.05 million and his departure frees $2.9 million in cap.
I’d be remiss not to mention King’s awkward NFL Network appearance where he sported a crown, cape, and scepter. When asked about his new head coach, the eccentric punter had this to say:
“Gruden, Gruden, Gruden … that’s the guy from Monday Night Football!,” King pronounced.
There will be an inevitable addition to the punting room, but as it stands now, former UC Davis leg man Colby Wadman is next man up at the position. It’s likely a safe bet he won’t be making a flat joke about his head coach.
Let’s get the Quick Slants as fast as King was dropped from the roster:
- One of the New York teams or New Orleans would be a perfect fit for King’s personality. The Vikings had early reported interest.
- Highly likely Gruden prefers a punter like the Rams’ Johnny Hekker. The top-paid and best punter in the league quietly goes about his business while leading in several, if not all, categories. King was good, but not Hekker good.
- Not saying the move to jettison King was right, but you don’t give a head coach a 10-year, $100 million deal and not expect the said coach to create a roster he best sees fit. After all, John Madden delighted in allowing his players’ unique personalities to shine.
- There’s a collegiate punter with a hell of a leg at the University of Texas by the name of Michael Dixon. The Australian booter boasts both power and direction when it comes to the art of punting.
- For better or worse, this is Gruden’s Raiders. Come 2019, the roster will be fully Chucky’s.
- The NaVorro Bowman situation continues. The Raiders reportedly have an offer on the table and McKenzie isn’t budging from that initial contract. Starting to remind of Perry Riley Jr., isn’t it?
- Gruden told media folk new addition Breno Giacomini is the leading horse in the fight for right tackle. Concerned? Don’t be. There’s plenty of time from the start of camp to the opener. Do be concerned if Giacomini is the starter.
- A lot of venom was spewed as the Raiders inked Reggie Nelson and Leon Hall to deals. They are two experienced defensive backs that can serve as on-field instructors to younger players. Like Giacomini, if either is playing substantial time, something went terribly wrong in camp and preseason.
- Gruden stressed competition at every position. Does that mean a battle for kicker with Tavecchio and another addition? Or how about a viable competition for franchise quarterback Derek Carr? In Carr’s case, “competition” will be a super fast one with EJ Manuel, Connor Cook and Josh Johnson on the roster.
- Last year’s seventh-round pick Elijah Hood is the man forgotten in the running backs room, it seems. Gruden has made mention of Marshawn Lynch and Doug Martin. He’s sprinkled in Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington. But nary a mention of Hood.
- Gruden said the Raiders are going to run a 4-3 one-gap scheme the Bengals used to run. The biggest missing component of that scheme is an interior pass rusher, the Geno Atkins role.