It has now been over four months since Jon Gruden rejoined the Oakland Raiders as its latest head man. After a well thought out free agency period the Silver and Black was retooled with some questionable aging veterans.
Then came a risky three days in Jerry’s World during draft weekend. And of course, the impending move to Las Vegas that is still on everyone’s mind. It has led to a few analysts conjuring the topic of whether the 100 million dollar man is worth it.
The rehiring of Tom Cable and Greg Olson also raised eyebrows around the league. Cable is coming off a strained relationship with Pete Carroll in Seattle. His line in Seattle was disintegrating, while Olson failed in his first stint as Raiders offensive coordinator. Gruden will be the main play caller right off the bat which could cause issues if things go sour quickly.
The offense is not getting any younger either. Jordy Nelson, Jared Cook, and Breno Giacomini are on the wrong side of thirty. How much tread do Doug Martin and Marshawn Lynch have left? Can Martavis Bryant be trusted to make a consistent impact? Who will earn the backup quarterback job with bodies aplenty? And can the Silver and Black rely on rookie Kolton Miller and a returning Donald Penn to protect the franchise quarterback? All these concerns on offense must be planned for so that they don’t overtake the unit before it’s too late.
Obviously, the young guns (Hurst, Hall & Key) will be counted on to contribute from Day 1. Paul Guenther has got to get something positive out of Obi Melifonwu, Mario Edwards, and Gareon Conley as well as others to make the jump to an elite defense. On paper, the defense seems improved, but time will be the outlier for the cohesion of this potential-filled group.
Scheme-wise, Gruden wants to shove the ball down your throat. With the NFL trending towards the run/pass option, naysayers will wonder if his style of play is outdated and can still work. The game has evolved and Gruden must prove again if he can evolve with it.
One hundred million dollars is a seismic amount to pay any coach, so the pressure is legitimate. Gruden and the entire organization have their hands full in an already crowded AFC that takes an endless effort to conquer. Expectations most certainly will be through the roof, in a league that can crush or accelerate anyone seemingly in an instant.
Make no mistake about it, Jon Gruden will be under the most scrutiny of any coach once he takes the field in the opener against the contending L.A. Rams come September. All Raider Nation can do now is wish for the best in the highly anticipated re-debut of its one hundred million dollar golden boy. Fortunately, Gruden has the work ethic and mindset to handle the task ahead of him, but remember that patience is a virtue and may be needed in the not so distant marathon on the horizon.
With that out-of-the-way, as always, Ramble On Raider Nation.