There are things more important than football, whether we like it or not, that’s the reality of things. Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden is aware of that and is making sure players are too.
NFL coaches are leading their teams in very unusual times
Football coaches have plenty of tasks. Not only are they responsible for developing a gameplan. They are also responsible for leading a group of grown men on and off the field. It’s actually interesting at a personal level because all NFL players are adults. We would think people over 18 don’t need to be guided, however, that’s far from true.
NFL players come from all socioeconomic backgrounds and have had very different life experiences. Thus, coaches have to know how to interact with all kinds of personalities. The better they can connect with players, the bigger their chances to succeed will be.
Nobody put it better than Raiders defensive line coach Rod Marinelli. First, “you develop the man, and once you develop the man, then you can develop the player“. Of course, things don’t always work like that, but emotional intelligence is a key trait good coaches must possess.
Gruden is leading the Raiders in uncharted waters
The Raiders are facing plenty of challenges in their inaugural season in Las Vegas. Besides the fact they had to relocate from one state to another, they, just like everyone, have had to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic and the social turmoil the US is living in.
Although NFL coaches can talk about x’s and o’s in their sleep, nobody has given them a manual on how to act in a sanitary crisis or what to do in case protests are held. Nevertheless, Gruden is leading the Raiders in a year not like any other. In his latest press conference, the head coach talked about how the team is responding to everything that is currently happening.
Gruden says that he’s concerned about everyone, not as players but as people and their families. The Covid-19 pandemic is not over and plenty are struggling in more than one way.
“I think that’s the number one thing, looking into every man’s well being. They have families, moms and dads and wives and kids, friends. I’m worried about this virus. I know people that have lost their jobs over this virus, people that are struggling right now.”
Expect the Raiders to take meaningful action
The Raiders head coach also touched on the social unrest everyone is going through. He wants the players to take most of the weekend off and reflect on the situation.
“There’s a lot of hatred out there. It really concerns me, and I pray that everybody can open their heart and get on the same team, politically, socially. I told our team, especially our leadership after visiting with them, I want them to take tomorrow off. I’m going to give them tomorrow off, I’m going to give them a portion of Sunday off to research what’s really going on and educate themselves on where we are.”
Finally, Gruden said the Raiders will come back from the break with a fresh mindset. Moreover, they will not just talk about making an impact. Rather, they will take meaningful action.
“When we do come back together as a 53-man team, you’ll see the Raiders are going to do something to make their life better for somebody. We’re going to make an impact, not just protesting, not just tweeting. We’re going to do something as a football team and we’re going to prove it. The big thing is get away from the game here for a little bit. Gather your thoughts, do some research, don’t make an emotional statement, make an educational one. I think our players are excited to do that.”
Gruden is adjusting on the fly and adapting as best as he can. His job is to win football games but also to lead men and he’s trying to do it without compromising nor neglecting his means of employment.
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