He’s got a full arsenal of tongue-in-cheek comments, but when Jon Gruden drops some dimes, the truth hits hard. That quality is quite refreshing from the new (is he really new? Let’s say, old. Better yet, throwback!) Oakland Raiders head coach.
Case in point:
“I tell guys, if there’s a better deal, take it,” Gruden said at the NFL owners meetings, regarding free agency. “I’m not going to be you. But if you got a better deal than the one I just showed you, take it. Good luck. And Congratulations.”
“You want to be honest with these guys,” Gruden continued. “You don’t want these guys to sign up for your team and come in and say ‘What the hell am I doing here?’ You show them what the plan is, the specific plan.
“And you encourage them to look elsewhere if it doesn’t feel right. I want them to interview us much as we interview them. I want them totally comfortable in what we’re doing.”
Gruden has certainly left many uncomfortable with both words and roster moves. From media to fans (never really knew how sensitive Raider Nation was until Gruden and general manager Reggie McKenzie jettisoned Cordarrelle Patterson and Marquette King). But, for better or worse, this is Gruden’s playhouse now. And this isn’t child’s play, no matter how much Gruden resembles Chucky. He has a Herculean task ahead of him to right the wayward Raiders ship, one that felt rudderless with Jack Del Rio at the helm. (Del Rio grew tired of King’s antics, but couldn’t/wouldn’t do anything about it. Gruden punted King from the roster.)
Ready for another Gruden truth bomb?
“I was talking to (Dallas Cowboys head coach) Jason Garrett, he was my quarterback in Tampa,” Gruden began, “We had Sean McVay (Rams boss), Jay Gruden (Redskins honcho) and Kyle Shanahan (49ers coach) sitting in there with us watching film.
“Now they’re all going to kick my ass,” Gruden bellowed with laughter. “They’re all trying to kick my ass.”
The laughter broke to a very solemn and serious face.
“Man, I know, I got my hands full. I know that,” Gruden said. “I’ve got a lot of doubters, I’m sure. But I’m going to do the best i can. But I’m not really worried about that. I can keep my nose to the grindstone and worry about what I can control. I’m anxious to get back to California and get to work.”
Oh, and what work it will be. According to former quarterback Chris Simms (who drew the ire of Gruden aplenty in Tampa Bay), Gruden overload is upon the Raiders.
“I think he was going for 85 plays in his first 30-minute walk-through is what he told me,” Simms said on a Bleacher Report podcast this past Tuesday. “He’s almost the opposite of New England where Belichick is going to go ‘10 plays and we’re not moving on until we get it right.’
“Gruden goes ‘here’s 85, I want to see how much you guys can handle, how much you can retain the next day when we do it again.’”
Gruden is like wrestling great Rowdy Roddy Piper. “You see, just when you think you have the answer, I change the questions,” Piper would say.
Sounds a lot like Gruden too, doesn’t it?
Here’s more Gruden-isms that will tickle your fancy:
Jon and Jay Gruden along with McVay are in a sit-down segment for NFL Network airing later this month.
“Who is the Rams cap guy … I mean, Marcus Peters, Aquib Talib, Ndamukong (Suh), do you have to pay guys like the rest of us or … what the heck?” — Gruden to McVay on the Rams plethora of roster additions.
“You guys gonna count Mississippi’s when we play, 1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi … that’s a hell of a pass rush, man.” — Gruden to McVay on Rams’ interior of Suh and Aaron Donald.
“Jordy Nelson, he epitomizes what you’re looking for in a wide receiver — unselfish, a team guy, can still run and line up anywhere. He’ll be good for our team.” — Gruden when asked by McVay about the Raiders’ addition of Nelson.