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#pounditFriday, January 22, 2021

Report: Jon Gruden’s personnel decisions have caused ‘divide’ with Raiders

Jon Gruden

The Oakland Raiders are off to a rough start in Jon Gruden’s second stint with the team, and if you ask scouts within the organization they might tell you the issues started long before the season began.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reported on Sunday that Gruden’s scouting system has led to a “disconnect” inside the Raiders’ building. Gruden brought his own scouting team with him to evaluate personnel when he was hired in Oakland, and scouts who signed on to work with general manager Reggie McKenzie before Gruden arrived are “frustrated that Gruden has his guys,” according to Rapoport.

Gruden and McKenzie have reportedly gotten along well, but there has been some tension over the moves Gruden has made, most notably the decision to trade former NFL Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears.

“The factions do come together for meetings and everyone is eventually heard,” Rapoport wrote. “But several people say they are frustrated at not being listened to, adding that they’ve never seen a divided setup quite like this one.”

Gruden is an offensive-minded coach, but any struggles Oakland has on defense this year are going to be magnified because of the Mack trade. It makes sense that he didn’t want to commit so much money to one position and wind up in salary cap jail, but Gruden has already said some things in the wake of the deal that probably weren’t wise. Any time a coach is so heavily invested in personnel decisions, there is bound to be some tension.

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