Did you know Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden was going to compare safety Johnathan Abram to former NFL safety Rodney Harrison? Not many of us did, but it happened and the coach has now raised the expectations surrounding Abram.
So what did Raiders HC Jon Gruden say exactly?
The Raiders beat the Cleveland Browns in Week 8, and their defense was a big reason why. They gave up just two field goals and didn’t allow a touchdown. One player that stood out was Abram, whose impact didn’t show on the stat sheet and amassed only four tackles. Nevertheless, he had success as a blitzer and helped disrupt the Browns passing game.
In a recent sitdown with the press, Gruden said Abram is going to be a great blitzer and compared him to former New England Patriots safety Rodney Harrison. He says Abram has that physical game day presence and added the organization needs more players like him, someone who can make splash plays in the back end. He still has a long way to go, but has the potential to get there.
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Is the comparison apt?
Gruden himself said Abram still has work to do to get in the same echelon as Harrison. However, the Raiders head coach may be onto something. The Mississippi State standout brings the kind of energy to the field that coaches like and that Harrison had in his playing day. On the other hand, Abram has played just seven games in his young career so any comparison may be a bit premature.
On the other hand, Harrison had a slow career start and it wasn’t until his third season that he broke out, so Abram has plenty of time to live up to the comparison. Also, Gruden saw Harrison play in his prime and sees Abram every day so he knows what he’s talking about.
If ’24’ keeps playing the way he did against the Browns, he will validate Gruden’s praise. If the comparison doesn’t age well, most will forget it happened, so it doesn’t hurt Abram to receive the Harrison comparison. In fact, the way the sophomore Abram is, this should end up motivating him into becoming that player.
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