The dynamic duo of Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock has been underwhelming. If the postseason eludes the Silver and Black once again, should one of them go?
The return of Gruden came with much fanfare in 2018, but the results haven’t followed. In his three seasons so far, Gruden has 4-12, 7-9, and 8-8 records to show for it. Mike Mayock for his part, came on board in 2019 and is known as a draft guru.
Mediocre records aside, there have definitely been some positives under their leadership. Most notably, they’ve drafted Maxx Crosby, Hunter Renfrow, Foster Moreau, and Josh Jacobs. To their credit, they also selected Henry Ruggs III, Bryan Edwards, and John Simpson, whom all three could wind up starters. These players have been assembled since 2019, which is when the duo started working together. However, big picture, these two draft classes have been average at best.
Ok, so now what Raiders?
The question when it comes to the two of them is what if 2021 results in another underwhelming ending? Gruden’s late-season collapses are well-documented and are no laughing matter.
Personally, I think it’s Mayock. Owner Mark Davis is enamored with Gruden, and he has been trying to get him out to coach since his father’s passing. After so many years, he got him to come back on a 10-year $100 million deal. Mayock has the knowledge and smarts for the game, more so in the scouting department. He’s been able to find solid contributors in the middle and late rounds. Unfortunately, he could be the odd man out since Gruden is Mark’s guy and has been for years.
The 2021 season could be the breaking point…
This could really come to a head this season. In Mayock’s defense, he knew the defense was the priority and he addressed it this past draft. As for Gruden, the ‘offensive guru’ has tried to do things his way with regard to the offense. He’s had an efficient passing game but the run game regressed last season. As far as roster building, we’ve seen Gruden’s trades severely backfire. Nevertheless, Gruden does have this team at .500 which isn’t exactly a bad thing. Whether Gruden is ‘close’ or not, is up for debate.
Whether you’re critical of Gruden or are an apologist, there’s no denying that the pressure is on this year. We all know that Raider Nation appears to be divided on Gruden as well. Some faithfully still trust ‘his process‘ while others see things differently. It’s a similar deal with Mayock, we all saw the work he did as an analyst on the NFL Network prior to joining the Raiders. Unfortunately, all of that scouting experience hasn’t resulted in ‘homerun‘ draft selections.
Believe it or not, despite all of this, the Raiders have been in the playoff bubble as recently as last year. After nine games in the past two seasons, the team was in a position to make the playoffs. Of course, the team flamed out on both occasions.
Will this year be the one that allows the Raiders to push through? We’ll see, but if not, Davis might tell Mayock goodbye, which isn’t exactly the best thing in my humble opinion, but his guy again is Gruden, and it’s doubtful he goes against it.
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*Top Photo: Getty Images/Ethan Miller