Jon Gruden

Raiders HC Jon Gruden Should Be Feeling the Heat

Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis believes in Jon Gruden. That was clear after he offered him a 10-year $100 million contract to return to the franchise. While the team record improved in 2019, his halftime adjustments still leave something to be desired.

Before agreeing to the deal, nine years had passed since Gruden last roamed a sideline. There were questions about whether he still had it. It was uncertain if the game had passed him by, and whether he could evolve. These last two years, we have seen improvements in all aspects of the franchise both on the field and off. Nevertheless, one thing remains glaring.

Jon Gruden, There Is A Problem

The 2019 Oakland Raiders scored a measly 115 second-half points over the course of 16 games. 27 of those were in the third quarter. The first time they scored in the third quarter of the 2019 season was in Week 4 against the Colts. Coming out of the break, the Raiders were held scoreless 11 times in the third quarter. Likewise, they were shut out completely in the second half four times. In comparison, the 2018 Raiders scored 147 second-half points throughout the entire season. They had 63 third-quarter points, and didn’t score in eight third quarters. Also, they failed to score three times in the second half.

By contrast, in his last season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Gruden had a much better second half offensive point total. In 2008, they scored 188 second-half points, and 89 in the third quarter. Only five times were they held scoreless in the third quarter. Most importantly, they were never held scoreless in second halves.

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Who To Blame…Who Not To Blame…

Quarterback Derek Carr has been bearing the brunt over offensive futility. However, when you compare Gruden’s two seasons with the Raiders and the last two in Tampa Bay, a cause for concern is noticeable. There is plenty of blame to go around, and it doesn’t solely fall on Carr.

General manager Mike Mayock and Gruden have been steadfast in their support for Carr. On the other hand, both have pointed out a need to improve an offense that ranked 24th in scoring.

Some of it could be Gruden wasting energy on extravagant names for his plays. A good healthy dose of it could also be Carr and the predictability of his audibles. Moreover, Gruden needs to have a better grip on second-half adjustments. He’s supposed to be the evil genius into nightmares and making things harder on the defense. If his quarterback and his offense are struggling, he’s got to be the man to devise a way to bail them out.

Adjust To The Adjustments

Gruden and offensive coordinator Greg Olsen have struggled mightily in revising playcalling. Once they finish running. These struggles have persisted through two years and appear to be getting worse. Gruden simply can not allow that to happen again. As they say, “You are either coaching it, or you’re allowing it to happen.” He has to be able to figure out a way to right the ship when his players are in over their heads.

Gruden has been given everything he could possibly need to be successful. Davis already paid him, the team has now officially completed their move from California and into their new home of Las Vegas, Nevada. The Raiders can now boast state-of-the-art performance facilities to both modernize and revolutionize player training. A brand-spanking-new world-class indoor domed stadium is pretty much ready. He and Mayock have had five first-round draft picks in two drafts to add enough talent.

Gruden needs to put the pieces together and finish the puzzle. This is one of the deepest most competitive rosters the Raiders have had in a long time with an abundance of wide receivers, tight ends, running backs, and even quarterbacks. The collection of offensive talent is simply too great and diverse for it to be non-existent in the second half of football games. If he can’t solve the issue of defensive adjustments, he should be feeling the heat of a thousand flames under his butt.

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Top photo: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

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