Jon Gruden has been the breakout star of this season of “Hard Knocks” on HBO. The Oakland Raiders head coach has been delivering comical one-liners, tons of energy, and plenty of enthusiasm throughout the program. But the one thing that has stood out most of all has been his catchphrase, “Knock on wood if you’re with me.”
After speaking to his team and making a point, Gruden will often say “knock on wood if you’re with me,” which leads his players to give a response. It seems to be his way of keeping his team engaged while he speaks.
One of Jon Gruden’s sons is continuing the family’s tradition of working in athletics, though he’s trying to make it in a different sport.
Gruden has three sons — Jon II (aka “Deuce”), Michael, and Jayson. Deuce is a competitive weightlifter who works in the Raiders’ strength department, Michael is a recent Tennessee graduate, and Jayson is trying to carve out a career as a combat fighter.
Episode 4 of HBO’s “Hard Knocks” featuring the Oakland Raiders aired on Tuesday night. In the episode, Gruden was shown doing some things away from the football field. That included making a visit with his wife Cindy to watch Jayson train.
Jon said that Jayson just graduated high school and will be going to a junior college in the Bay Area.
“He wants to be a professional fighter,” Gruden said of Jayson. “He’s serious about it, so we’re supporting him.”
Jayson trains at Combat Sports Academy in Dublin, Calif. In November, he had his first Muay Thai kickboxing fight and won.
“We all have a screw loose in our family, that’s for sure,” Coach Gruden said on Hard Knocks regarding his son’s decision to pursue a career in combat sports.
Maybe that is the case. We’re all better for it because that Gruden family sure is fun.
Antonio Brown has made headlines for all the wrong reasons during his first offseason with the Oakland Raiders, but head coach Jon Gruden insists none of that has been a detriment to the team.
Brown practiced on Tuesday amid his latest grievance against the NFL, and Gruden said the star receiver wore a certified helmet and is “all-in.” Gruden was later asked if Brown’s highly publicized helmet dispute or unfortunate foot injury have become a distraction for the Raiders, and he defended the Pro Bowler.
#Raiders Jon Gruden: “It’s not been a distraction to me, at all. I hate to break it to anybody but we’ve known what the status is, regarding his feet. He just showed up with frostbite. I’ve never had a guy show up with frostbite and fortunately we got that thing under control….
…"And this grievance thing is no laughing matter; it’s something that’s really important to him. And there’s nothing wrong with supporting your players, on things that they believe in. We also understand the league’s position but I’m confident that he’s going to be…"
It would appear that Gruden and Raiders GM Mike Mayock are playing good cop, bad cop with Brown, and Gruden is clearly the former. Mayock essentially gave Brown an ultimatum last week and told him he needs to decide where his priorities lie, while Gruden is saying publicly that the receiver’s helmet grievance is an important issue.
Brown is doing everything he can to keep wearing the same helmet he has had since his rookie year despite already losing one grievance over it. He’s even reportedly gone as far as to try to trick the Raiders by wearing a bootleg helmet, but apparently Gruden isn’t concerned.
Brown needs a certified helmet to be able to take part in practice, so it’s a positive sign that he’s willing to wear one so he can join his teammates in preparing for the season. However, there is no reason to believe he has given up his fight against the league after he filed a second grievance over the helmet issue on Monday.
Brown is adamant about being able to continue wearing the same model helmet he has worn since his rookie year, and he even reportedly tried to trick the Raiders with a bootleg helmet. The situation has been a distraction for weeks, which can’t be sitting well with Gruden or the organization.
Antonio Brown is dealing with some very nasty foot blisters that have prevented him from practicing much since arriving at Raiders camp.
Brown has taken part in a few practices, but not the last two days as he tries to recover from the blister issue. Coach Jon Gruden admitted that it’s disappointing that his star offensive player hasn’t yet gotten going.
No Antonio Brown at practice the two days I’ve been in Napa. “I think we’re all disappointed,” Jon Gruden said. “We want to get the party started.”
To be clear, Gruden does not seem at all frustrated with Brown, simply the circumstances. Every coach wants a full complement of players practicing as early as possible, especially when one of them is a star player in a new place.
The injury didn’t keep Brown from participating in another extravagant training camp arrival, much to the derision of one of his former teammates.
Jon Gruden wasted hardly any time in his first season back with the Oakland Raiders last year publicly criticizing Derek Carr for his poor play, but apparently the coach is planning to take a new approach in 2019.
On Tuesday, a reporter asked Gruden a seemingly standard question about what strides he would like to see from Carr this season. Gruden responded by complimenting Carr and saying he does not want to critique the quarterback through the media.
Gruden asked what strides he wants to see Carr make in Year 2 with offense: “I’m not gonna critique Derek Carr in the media … He’s one of the best arm talents in football.”
Gruden and new Raiders general manager Mike Mayock have said they are committed to Carr, but you have to wonder how long all these positive vibes will last if Oakland gets off to another bad start. Even if Gruden stays true to his word and doesn’t criticize Carr in the media, we’ve seen him light into Carr on the sideline during games. The leash probably won’t be very long for Carr in his second season under Gruden.
Jon Gruden offered a somewhat head-scratching quote about the Oakland Raiders’ running back situation.
Gruden spoke with the media on Friday ahead of the team’s rookie camp. He discussed the running back situation and made some odd comments. Here’s what he said, via The Athletic’s Vic Tafur.
Gruden mentioned that "Doug Martin was a three-down back last year" and that "Jalen Richard wants to be a three-down back" too, "And I think DeAndre Washington is also going to be a contributor" … "We'll see what happens with Jacobs." … What?!?!
The other part of the quote that was curious was Gruden downplaying Josh Jacobs’ involvement. The Raiders made Jacobs the No. 24 overall pick in the draft and are likely expecting him to have a huge role in the offense. Maybe Gruden wants to make Jacobs earn his role on the team, which is the way it should be, but he’s reaching if he expects us to believe the former Alabama back won’t rack up the carries in 2019.
Former Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio got an up-close look at the way Khalil Mack can impact a game, but he never really shared his opinion on the trade that sent the star pass-rusher to the Chicago Bears prior to last season. On Monday, Del Rio finally weighed in on the move.
In an appearance on NFL Network’s “Up to the Minute,” Del Rio said he felt the Raiders got “good value” when they acquired multiple draft picks — including two first-rounders — for Mack. However, he made it clear that Mack is a player he would have paid to keep.
“I think Khalil Mack is a future Hall of Fame player,” Del Rio said. “To me, when you have that talented of a player, you keep those guys.”
Del Rio added that it is now up to new Raiders general manager Mike Mayock to turn the draft capital into impact players, but it’s obvious he could not think more highly of Mack.
“We’re going to find out if they can parlay those picks into something special, but they clearly decided not to pay one of the great human beings and great football players that I’ve ever coached,” Del Rio said.
While you could easily make the argument that Del Rio is biased as someone who was replaced by Gruden, he certainly isn’t the first person to question the trade. Gruden has gotten extremely defensive when asked about the move, and it didn’t help that Mack terrorized opposing quarterbacks with the Bears last season to the tune of 12.5 sacks and six forced fumbles. If the Raiders don’t find another Mack in the draft, the Mack trade will always be heavily scrutinized.
That last bit about the Arizona Cardinals is probably the part Gruden does not like. The Raiders pick fourth, but the Cardinals pick first, and the buzz is that they won’t let Murray fall to anyone else. That would leave Gruden and the Raiders out of luck, but it’s intriguing all the same.
You could make the argument that none of the teams picking in the top five of the NFL Draft need a quarterback, yet it is starting to sound like there’s a legitimate chance two of them could want Kyler Murray.
Many people believe Murray will not make it past No. 1, as Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury is said to be high on him and already telling people Murray is their guy. But if the Cardinals go in another direction, the next two teams picking — the San Francisco 49ers and New York Jets — are not taking a quarterback. So what about the Oakland Raiders at No. 4?
“He and GM Mike Mayock have gone out of their way to say multiple times that Derek Carr is their quarterback. Maybe they’re rock-solid on Carr, and maybe it’ll be a moot point if the Cardinals stay at number one,” King wrote. “But with all their draft loot in the next two drafts (five first-round picks), and with Gruden’s crush on Murray, the Raiders bear watching.”
Gruden was openly critical of Carr at times last season, though the Raiders seemed to commit to him as their starter again recently. While there are probably some within the Raiders organization that want to see things through with Carr, it’s noteworthy that neither Gruden nor Mayock were with the team when he was drafted.
It has already been suggested that the Raiders should move on from Carr and take Murray, and Carr openly fought back against that talk. Still, most people would not be shocked if it happened.