When (now former) Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden resigned, it could’ve derailed the entire season. However, the opposite has happened.
Not A Perfect Start
For all of Jon Gruden’s faults, he was a solid play-caller in his second time with the Raiders. In 2019 and 2020, the Raiders ranked 11th and 8th in total offense. As many fans said, if the team had a defense to support them, they might have been a playoff team both seasons. Well, the Raiders have had a defense this season, but at times it felt like Gruden’s offense had regressed. That was most evident in the run game.
At this point, the Raiders rank 27th in the NFL in rushing offense averaging just 85.4 yards per game. The Las Vegas rushing EPA under Gruden reflects this ranking as well. EPA, expected points added, does a good job of determining the value presented by each play. As the Tweet below shows, under Gruden, the Raiders rushing EPA was dead last in the NFL.
Under new play-caller Greg Olson, the Raiders passing-game EPA/play has improved from 17th to 1st in NFL pic.twitter.com/hgHFljvmds
— Travis Gilkeson (@TravisGilkeson) October 26, 2021
Under Gruden’s watch, the Raiders ranked 24th in total offensive EPA. That was mostly carried by the passing game, which was 17th in the NFL. The rushing EPA was dead last. However, with Greg Olson now calling plays, the offense has shown vast improvement. Under Olson’s watch, the Raiders are third in offensive EPA and have the most efficient passing game in the NFL. The running game has also been elevated from 32nd to 19th.
Of course, this is a small sample size as the Raiders have played just two games without Gruden. Regardless, in both of these games, the team as a whole has played their best football. Despite the controversy around losing their head coach, this team appears to have rallied around each other and shows no signs of slowing down.
*Top Photo: Heidi Fang/Las Vegas-Review Journal