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.
Gruden asked about getting 2019 picks from Mack trade: "I'm getting tired of you bringing that up, Khalil Mack. We made the trade for a lot of reasons, whether it's popular or not … for the fans that aren't happy about that, we're really sorry about that."
Gruden on Mack: "It's hard to replace a guy like that. It's sensitive. I'm still sensitive about it … I do know this: my brother didn't get anything for Kirk Cousins except a compensatory pick. At least we got some picks. We got a chance to do something with them."
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 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.
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.
Jon Gruden said he’s unsure if RB Marshawn Lynch plans to continue playing in 2019. If he does, “we’d love to have him back.”
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.
Jon Gruden has been the de facto general manager of the Oakland Raiders since the team hired him as head coach last year, and he will maintain final say over roster decisions even with Mike Mayock now in the mix.
In an interview with ESPN’s Steve Levy at the college football title game Monday night, Mayock spoke about how excited he is to work with Gruden this offseason. When asked what the power dynamic will be like in terms of reporting to team owner Mark Davis, Mayock was surprisingly candid.
“In all honesty, Jon’s got final say, if it ever comes to that, and I’ve got zero problems with that,” he said. “”Now, having said that, I think we’re going to come to a consensus, and I like a little yelling, a little screaming, a little fighting for what players you believe in. But at the end of the day, I guarantee you, Jon Gruden and I are going to know what a Raider looks like and smells like. I don’t think we’re going to have any issues.”
The fact that Mayock has no prior front office experience probably appealed to the Raiders, as he will be less likely to come in and try to push Gruden around. Gruden wanted say over personnel matters when he agreed to return to Oakland, and working with Mayock will clearly give him plenty of that.
Oakland finished 4-12 this season and has three first-round picks to work with, and Mayock has been considered one of the better talent evaluators in the media for several years. He was previously believed to be a candidate for another GM job, but his strong relationship with Gruden definitely played a role in the Raiders hiring him.
Former Washington defensive back DJ Swearinger was waived on Monday after he publicly criticized the team’s playcalling, but head coach Jay Gruden apparently did not warn his brother Jon about the safety’s antics. And if Jay did, it sounds like Jon ignored it.
Swearinger ended up with the Arizona Cardinals after being placed on waivers, and ESPN’s Field Yates reports that the Oakland Raiders were one of the teams that submitted a claim for him.
Source: the Raiders and Packers both submitted a waiver claim on new Cardinals S D.J. Swearinger. Arizona had top priority based on its 3-12 record.
Swearinger has 11 interceptions in the past three seasons and has been a productive player, so it’s no surprise multiple teams were interested in him. However, given the circumstances under which he left Washington, it is noteworthy that Jay Gruden’s own brother wanted to add him to his roster.
In addition to blasting defensive coordinator Greg Manusky for not playing zone against Titans backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert on Saturday, Swearinger had been warned about criticizing teammates and coaches but continued to do so. Jon Gruden was apparently willing to take a chance on him because of his talent level, but the Cardinals had a higher waiver priority.
In other words, if Gruden’s telling the truth, you probably shouldn’t count on the Raiders drafting or otherwise pursuing a quarterback this offseason. Of course, Gruden has said one thing before doing the opposite before, so it probably bears watching anyway.
Carr hasn’t been intercepted since Week 5 and has topped the 250-yard mark in three consecutive games. He actually has produced fairly well in spite of how bad the Raiders have been.
The wider NFL world took note of Stephen A. Smith’s disastrous Chiefs-Chargers preview and is gleefully piling on.
The latest to do so is Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden, who alluded to Smith’s messy analysis by mixing up a few names while previewing Oakland’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Jon Gruden channeling his inner-Stephen A. Smith when talking Bengals: "We've got to get ready for Dan Ross and Booby Clark. We've got to watch out for Isaac Curtis down the middle. We've got to get Tim Brown and all of our receivers ready to play."
Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden is making another strategic assertion that isn’t quite backed up statistically.
Gruden admitted Friday that he doesn’t care for play-action against man-to-man coverage, arguing that the players in coverage aren’t paying enough attention to the backfield to bite on the fake.
“I just don’t believe in play-action pass against teams that are playing man-to-man coverage,” Gruden said, via Paul Gutierrez of ESPN. “Who are you fooling? You see a team that plays a lot of zone coverage, you fake the ball and you fool the underneath coverage and throw the ball in behind him. When you’re playing teams that play a high percentage of man-to-man coverage, the corner is covering his guy. The safety is covering his guy, he’s not peaking in the backfield.”
It may sound reasonable, but the numbers don’t quite support Gruden’s assertion.
Someone tell Jon Gruden he may want to walk this back. In 2018, here are play action splits in man-to-man (M2M) coverage, league-wide:
Jon Gruden was widely ridiculed for throwing a challenge flag even though the game situation did not allow him to.
Gruden’s Oakland Raiders allowed a catch at the goal line to Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce with 7 seconds left in the first half on Sunday. There were questions about whether Kelce had possession of the ball before rolling out of the end zone, but the call on the field was a touchdown.
Understand why John Gruden wanted to challenge this touchdown catch. It was close.
The officials felt confident about the call because they allowed Kansas City to line up for the extra point attempt until Gruden stepped in. Still upset that the touchdown was going to stand, Gruden threw a challenge flag even though 1) all scoring plays are automatically reviewed and 2) coaches are not allowed to challenge inside in the final two minutes of a half.
Gruden didn’t want the extra point attempted until he made sure the officials knew he thought it was a bad call. The Raiders coach could be seen mouthing to the officials “look at it again” and “ball hit the ground.”
The penalty for challenging a play inside of two minutes of a half is a lost timeout. Since there were only 7 seconds left in the half anyway, Gruden didn’t mind being penalized a timeout to desperately ask for another review and get his point across.
His efforts didn’t change the ruling, but the Raiders did block the extra point attempt and went into halftime trailing 19-7.
The Oakland Raiders have enjoyed very little success in Jon Gruden’s first season back with the team, and his frustration with his quarterback has been evident on numerous occasions. That was the case again on Sunday.
On a 3rd down play late in the first half against the Arizona Cardinals, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr chose to throw a low percentage deep ball to running back Jalen Richard, who was double-covered down the sideline. Gruden clearly did not like the decision, and he appeared to light into Carr over it.
Carr is having one of his worst seasons as a pro this year, and that has been surprising to some considering Gruden fancies himself a quarterback whisperer. While the coach should be blamed for some of the struggles Oakland’s offense has had, Carr has made some truly horrific decisions in key situations. Gruden is probably getting tired of that with his team now 1-8.