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#pounditFriday, January 22, 2021

Articles tagged: Jon Gruden

Jon Gruden: Antonio Brown finally wearing certified helmet, is ‘all-in’

Antonio Brown

Antonio Brown was present at practice with the Oakland Raiders on Tuesday, and head coach Jon Gruden seems confident that the star wide receiver is ready to put all the helmet drama in the rearview.

Following the walkthrough, Gruden told reporters Brown practiced with a certified helmet and has told the team he is “all-in.”

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.

Jon Gruden: Raiders ‘disappointed’ Antonio Brown unable to practice

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.

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 has ironic remark about not criticizing Derek Carr in the media

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.

This is the same Gruden who had no problem calling Carr out for missing some deep throws after the very first game of the season last year. The coach said after another loss a few weeks later that he did not regret calling a pass play on 1st-and-goal from the 1-yard line because Carr should have known not to throw the ball.

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 offers curious quote on Raiders’ running backs

Jon 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.

First, Gruden called Doug Martin a three-down back last year even though that was hardly the case, as the AP’s Josh Dubow pointed out.

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.

Jack Del Rio critical of Jon Gruden’s decision to trade Khalil Mack

Khalil Mack Bears

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.

Report: Jon Gruden ‘all over’ Kyler Murray

Jon Gruden

The Oakland Raiders have a quarterback, but it’s starting to feel like they’d replace him with the NFL Draft’s hottest quarterback talent if given the chance.

According to Clarence Hill Jr. of the Star-Telegram, Raiders coach Jon Gruden is said to be “all over” Kyler Murray, who looks increasingly likely to be the first quarterback off the board in April.

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.

Raiders coach Jon Gruden reportedly ‘loves’ Kyler Murray

Jon Gruden

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?

Peter King of NBC Sports listed several things he learned at the Scouting Combine over the weekend about Murray’s situation, and one of them is that Jon Gruden “loves” the former Oklahoma star.

“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.

Jon Gruden gets extremely defensive over Khalil Mack question

Jon Gruden

The Oakland Raiders have an extra first-round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft because of their trade that sent Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears, and fans are expecting Jon Gruden to use it wisely. Trading Mack has looked like a bad move after the way he dominated last season, but Gruden is tired of hearing about that.

While speaking with reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine on Thursday, Gruden got very testy over a question about the Mack trade. He also made it seem like he had no choice but to deal the star pass-rusher.

The return for Mack was bountiful, as the Raiders got a first-round pick in each of the next two drafts in addition to some later-round selections. Still, it’s hard to hit on players in the draft, and Mack terrorized opponents in 2018 to the tune of 12.5 sacks and six forced fumbles. He’s the definition of a game-changer, and Oakland certainly could have used him.

It will probably be a few years before we can truly evaluate the Mack trade, but Raiders owner Mark Davis does not seem concerned about the blockbuster moves Gruden has made. The results will eventually speak for themselves, and Gruden is going to be scrutinized for the Mack trade for a long time if he doesn’t land at least one star player in the draft.

Jon Gruden expects Raiders to be active with trading draft picks

Jon Gruden

Jon Gruden knows the Oakland Raiders have a lot of areas to improve on and is looking to be flexible over the offseason to address the holes.

Gruden joined JT the Brick on “The Game Plan” podcast on the Raiders Podcast Network to talk about the team’s offseason. In the interview, Gruden said he and GM Mike Mayock have been scouting free agents and preparing for the draft. One possibility Gruden mentioned for the draft was trading some of their multiple high picks, including the No. 4 overall selection.

“I think there’s a lot of potential for trades,” Gruden told JT, as transcribed by NBC Sports Bay Area. “That’s one of the things I’m really excited about (general manager) Mike Mayock and what he brings to the table. He has great resources around the NFL. He’s been in every building. He’s on the first-name basis with many because everybody knows Mike. I think he’s going to be on the phones quite a bit not only with (the Nos. 24 and 27 picks) but, who knows? We may move up from the No. 4 overall pick or we may move back from it. We’ll see how it all unfolds.”

Seeing the Raiders move up or down in the draft wouldn’t be a surprise. Not only do they have several picks available to make a move, but Gruden already showed a willingness to trade high picks as the team dealt their No. 10 pick last year to Arizona and moved down in the draft. How the Raiders perform in this draft will play a huge role in determining how well set up they are when they begin play in Las Vegas.

Jon Gruden wants Marshawn Lynch back with Raiders in 2019

Marshawn Lynch

Marshawn Lynch was limited to just six games this past season because of injury, and there has understandably been speculation that the 32-year-old could could decide to retire — for good this time. Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden says he is hoping that’s not the case.

While speaking with reporters on Tuesday, Gruden said he is unsure if Lynch will play in 2019 but would welcome him back with the Raiders if he does.

Lynch rushed for 376 yards on 90 attempts, which were his lowest totals since he was still with the Buffalo Bills in 2010. He also grew up in Oakland and wanted to play for the Raiders for that reason, and it is not even clear where the team will be playing next season. That could play a role in Lynch’s decision.

If Lynch does return, he will likely be doing so at discounted rate. He took a pay cut before the 2018 season and ended up with a base salary of $4.5 million, and he will need to play for a lot less than that next year.