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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Is Derek Carr still the long-term answer at quarterback for the Oakland Raiders? If you trust Jon Gruden, the answer is yes.
Gruden was effusive in his praise for Carr on Monday, calling his production in spite of major issues around him “astonishing” and referring to him as a “great quarterback.”
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.