All that speed. All that bloody speed. And for what? It’s time the Las Vegas Raiders do more than put Henry Ruggs III on display. No more bollocks, no more shenanigans.
The Raiders couldn’t have taken the speedster out of Alabama just to have him run clear-out routes and keep defensive backs occupied, right?
It wasn’t Ruggs fault he was the first receiver taken in the 2020 draft at No. 12 overall. But it was Las Vegas’ fault for not properly bloody using him.
The five-foot-11, just over 13 stone — that’s 188 pounds for you Yanks — pass-catcher came to the Raiders sporting blistering 4.27 speed. All that Raiders play designer and caller Jon Gruden had to do was mimic what Alabama did with Ruggs and it would’ve been an easy recipe for success. Instead, Gruden called out Ruggs’ inability to run routes properly. And Gruden’s own general manager Mike Mayock echoed the statements — like a good puppet should — but publicly saying Ruggs’ dedication and attention to his craft were lacking, too. Yeah? Well, you know what else was bloody lacking?
God damned creativity, eh? Jon Gruden?
Did the Raiders unnecessarily complicate things?
Instead of using Ruggs’ ungodly speed on quick slants, drag routes, and even jet sweeps, the Raiders trotted out their shiny thoroughbred and let him sprint — for not much of anything. I mean, 26 catches for 452 yards and two touchdowns is nothing to sneeze out, especially for a rookie, but are those the kind of numbers proper for the 12th overall selection?
Instead of letting their bloody-fast thoroughbred gallop freely, Gruden kept him in the damn barn couped up in the stable.
Based on what Gruden’s puppet, Mayock said — and you read that right, Mayock is Gruden’s puppet — shortly after the 2020 season came to a disappointing end, perhaps the team is going to use Ruggs much more efficiently in 2021. He laid out a challenge for Ruggs to learn more in the offseason, refine route-running and physically improve himself. Ruggs, to his credit, acknowledged the criticism and owned it, and is moving forward.
According to the general manager, things may be looking on the up-and-up.
“In my mind, we are going to see different guys, and I made a comment a couple of months ago about (Henry) Ruggs III and about that whole class last year needing to step it up this year and I still believe that,” Mayock said during a post-draft media engagement. “And from Ruggs III’s perspective, the sky is the limit for this kid. We knew exactly what he was and that’s who he is. We had no surprises last year on Ruggs III.”
Well, the only surprise is how inept the Raiders looked deploying Ruggs. He was merely on display. And once again, Mayock laid down the gauntlet for Ruggs. And this is likely coming straight from Gruden too:
“Now, he needs to take it to level two now, the next level up. Stronger, better route runner, finish, get both feet down, all those things and we think he will,” Mayock said.
So what bloody happens when Ruggs does all that and is still a clear-out option instead of a go-to weapon? Does veteran speedster John Brown assume that mantle, just like Nelson Agholor did in 2020?
For as much as Mayock and Gruden say Ruggs needs to improve, so does the play-calling and creativity from the head man.
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*Top Photo: Associated Press/John Locher