Being a parent, one learns the depth and extent of patience that you never knew you had. So, now that I’ve returned from baby bonding time, boy, what a shambled ruin we have in the Oakland Raiders, no?
This bad boy is going to strain the patience of even the most ardent of fans — and I get it. The Raiders are bouncing for Sin City and for many Oaklanders, patience was gone once Mark Davis and the NFL got Las Vegas to fork over the public monies for brand new digs. So many Raiders fans don’t have time to wait for Jon Gruden’s long game.
But that was obvious from the get. This wasn’t going to be Gruden riding in on his horse and leading the Raiders to a Braveheart-esque cavalry charge to victory. This was going to be a time-consuming process, one that had me believing we wouldn’t see a true Gruden’s Raiders until Vegas.
Did I imagine it would be this bad? Hell. No.
The 7-9 prediction I provided appears too generous. At 1-5 and exhibiting the same fight and grit Apollo Creed had as he was waxed by Ivan Drago, the Year One Gruden Raiders were dead in the water at the onset. The team jettisoned Khalil Mack for draft picks, waxed Mario Edwards Jr. from the roster, benched Karl Joseph, Gareon Conley and Rashaan Melvin. It’s like ¾ put on public display Reggie McKenzie’s personnel shortcomings with ¼ part admit players don’t fit in the Gruden & Co. scheme.
This situation could get salty and downright visceral especially as the losses keep mounting.
Bright side? The Raiders draw Indianapolis, San Francisco and Arizona — also 1-5. The flip side of that coin, however, is those teams have shown more heart than Oakland.
There seems to be little rhythm or cohesion on both sides of the ball. Injuries have wrecked the Raiders offensive line and, no surprise, the offense is kaput. Opposing offenses are toying with Paul Guenther’s defense, so much so, Philip Rivers clowned the unit as he barked out an audible.
— Jon Becker (@JonBecker28) October 8, 2018
To make matters worse, the Raiders got their asses handed to them on U.S. and foreign soil.
Gruden displayed urgent concern about getting a case of vertigo on the overseas flight (he had it before as he attended his son Deuce’s body-building competition). Turns out, it’s a rabid and loyal fan base that’s caught with a morbid case of vertigo. And it’s Gruden who has brought upon the tailspin.
Yet again, Gruden has a plan (he does, right?) and he’s executing (while simultaneously executing some fans) it. This is a long game for Gruden. He’s got the security and the support of Davis to operate openly and freely.
The roster is a disaster. That promising 2016 season is a fleeting mirage. The brutal reality is Gruden made this mess and he’s the only one that will clean it up. His return was a blunderbuss of emotion — exponentially ballyhooed by a fan base desperate to return to prominence.
That return, though, required a demolition of a team right down to its core. One that Gruden couldn’t honestly pronounce. With the fervor and euphoria surrounding his return, Gruden wasn’t about to stamp that all out by telling the truth.
And, besides the Mack trade, that is probably Gruden’s biggest folly in the initial year of his Raiders Rebuild.