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#pounditThursday, October 29, 2020

Articles tagged: Jon Gruden

Jon Gruden does not regret pass play on 1-yard line that led to INT

Jon Gruden

No running back is more familiar with the idea of a goal line pass play blowing up in a team’s face than the one Jon Gruden has in his backfield with the Oakland Raiders, but that didn’t stop the coach from trying to get fancy during Sunday’s loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. While it did not work out, Gruden does not regret the play-call.

The Raiders had gone 74 yards in 10 plays before a pass interference call in the end zone placed the ball at the 1-yard line. Rather than handing it to Marshawn Lynch for what could have been an easy score, Gruden called a play-action pass with his team trailing 20-3. The end result was Carr’s eighth interception of the season, but Gruden defended the decision.

“Certainly the call is to hand the ball to Lynch there because of what happened, but first-and-goal at the 1, a play pass, faking to Lynch, has been a great call for a lot of years,” Gruden said, per Jimmy Durkin of The Athletic.

Lynch, of course, was lined up in the backfield when the Seattle Seahawks threw the most infamous interception in NFL history to lose Super Bowl XLIX. Not wanting to sugarcoat anything, Gruden placed the blame squarely on Carr’s shoulders.

“The decision there is to throw it and if it’s not open, you throw it away. It just didn’t work out,” he said. “We expected to have a wide open receiver on the play and obviously that’ll be second-guessed — rightfully so — but shouldn’t have made that throw down there. I’ll live to hand the ball off and the next play possibly.”

Gruden is right that Carr should never have made the throw, and perhaps the coach was trying to design a play that would give his quarterback some confidence. Still, you’d like to hear the coach share some of the blame while speaking with the media — even if everyone knows he is just defending his QB.

This isn’t the first time we have seen Gruden throw someone under the bus this year, so passing the buck is becoming somewhat of a theme in Oakland.

Did Jon Gruden throw GM McKenzie under the bus over missing Derwin James?

Jon Gruden

Jon Gruden has only been the Oakland Raiders’ head coach (again) for less than a year, and it seems he’s already throwing people under the bus left and right. Not only did he say adios to Khalil Mack — which he tried to blame on Mack “not wanting to be” with the Raiders — but he also brought in Martavis Bryant on a terrible trade.

His first draft with the Raiders included some controversy. The Raiders traded down in the first round and surprisingly took left tackle Kolton Miller even though many thought they would go defense. Two good playmakers, Tremaine Edmunds and Derwin James, went in the following picks. So far, James has graded out this year as Pro Football Focus’ top defensive rookie.

The Raiders will face the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, who are benefiting from the strong play of James. Gruden talked about James on Wednesday, saying they liked James on draft day and wanted to take him. Gruden says they didn’t select James because they had taken safeties in the previous two drafts.

That seems to be Gruden saying they were drafting for need rather than best player, which is a problem. But worse than that, this can be seen as an example of Gruden throwing GM Reggie McKenzie under the bus. He is blaming their previous drafts — led by McKenzie — on the reason why they took Miller, which is poor leadership. If Gruden knew James would be this good, he should have just taken him, no excuses.

Furthermore, despite drafting safeties high in the previous two drafts, reporter Vic Tafur said McKenzie still wanted to select James in the first round in 2018. Taking Miller instead was supposedly a decision Gruden and the other coaches wanted.

When you see quotes and stories like this, they seem to support the reports that say Gruden is causing a divide within the organization.

Raiders’ Jon Gruden gushes about Baker Mayfield

Jon Gruden

It’s safe to say Jon Gruden is a Baker Mayfield fan.

The Oakland Raiders coach said Mayfield has “a magic about him” as his team prepared to face the Cleveland Browns in what will be Mayfield’s first NFL start.

We’re guessing that Mayfield’s career will work out better than some of Gruden’s previous quarterback assessments, because Mayfield looks like the real deal. Given Oakland’s struggles this season, it’s actually going to be a game worth watching.

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.

Raiders fans react to Jon Gruden complaining about lack of pass rush

Jon Gruden

Jon Gruden really had the gall to complain about the Oakland Raiders’ lack of a pass rush on Sunday against the Denver Broncos, and you can guess how that went over with fans.

The Raiders lost 20-19 to the Denver Broncos on a field goal in the final seconds. For the second straight game, the team collapsed in the second half and blew it. They were up 12-0 at halftime in Denver and led 19-10 in the fourth quarter before giving the game away.

The team only had one sack, which seemed to be an issue for Gruden after the game. The head coach said the Raiders have to “do something to get more pressure, maybe call more blitzes,” according to Vic Tafur.

Fans all had the same reaction: Hello! You traded away the team’s best pass rusher.

Gruden made a decision that he wasn’t going to pay Khalil Mack the big money the former Defensive Player of the Year was seeking. He ended up trading Mack to Chicago before the season.

Fans were left frustrated with Gruden and all had similar reactions to the coach’s comment:

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Marquette King has no love for Jon Gruden

Marquette King dance

One of the first moves the Oakland Raiders made after hiring Jon Gruden was to cut longtime punter Marquette King, and it seemed fairly obvious that Gruden was the driving force behind it. It’s even more obvious, now.

With King’s new team, the Denver Broncos, set to take on the Raiders this weekend, the veteran was asked on Wednesday if he has any thoughts on Gruden. He said a whole lot by saying barely anything at all.

There is clearly no love lost between the two. While King was one of the best punters in the NFL with the Raiders, they saved some money by releasing him. However, there were rumblings that Gruden wasn’t a fan of King’s personality. King has drawn flags for some immature reasons in the past, and Gruden probably wanted nothing to do with that. It seems like King wants nothing to do with him, either.

Jon Gruden calls out Derek Carr for turning down throws

Derek Carr

Jon Gruden called out his quarterback Derek Carr on Wednesday for passing up throws during the Oakland Raiders’ Monday night loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

Speaking with reporters, Gruden said Carr had Amari Cooper open deep a few times and didn’t pass it to him.

Cooper had just one catch for nine yards in the game — far below what the former No. 4 pick is capable of. Carr threw for 303 yards but did not have a touchdown pass and was intercepted three times.

Lest you think this is Gruden picking on Carr, keep in mind that former Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio made the exact same observation about Carr last season.

Carr had a strong rookie season in 2014 and followed that up with even more impressive seasons in 2015 and 2016. He looked like he was well on his way to becoming a franchise quarterback. However, last year he suffered a serious back injury that derailed his play. Some thought he would be improved if healthy this season, but maybe there was more to his struggles than injury.

The observation from Gruden makes one wonder whether the Raiders will consider moving on from Carr if he doesn’t show improvement, which certainly seems like a possibility.

H/T Rotoworld

Amari Cooper has high praise for new head coach Jon Gruden

Amari Cooper

Amari Cooper thinks pretty highly of his new head coach.

The Oakland Raiders wide receiver told analyst Rich Gannon during the team’s preseason game against Seattle on Thursday that Jon Gruden “has a play call to beat everything.”

Gruden is highly regarded as a football coach, particularly for his work with offenses and quarterbacks specifically. He helped turn Gannon into an MVP. If even his players can see that, then they will go into games feeling extra confidence. You have to trust your coaching staff in order to succeed, and it’s clear that Cooper does.

Cooper, a former No. 4 overall pick, is looking to have a bounceback season for the Raiders after failing to record a 1,000-yard season last year. Maybe he can in the team’s new-look offense.

Jon Gruden is apparently not a big Tom Cruise fan

Jon Gruden

Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden apparently has some pretty strong feelings about one of Hollywood’s most prominent actors.

Gruden took an unprompted shot at Tom Cruise while discussing his salary with Peter King of ProFootballTalk, saying he’d never been a big fan of his films — but he still gets paid.

“I’m not making $100 million, just so you know,” Gruden said. “Well, I never thought Tom Cruise, never thought his movies were any good but he’s making plenty of money. There’s a lot of things that I don’t understand. No disrespect to Tom Cruise. I’m sure he’s a great actor. But you know what? You just go about your life as hard as you can. You try to find something you love and you do the best you can at it. I never got into coaching for the money. I got into coaching because I wanted to be a quarterback coach. What the salary cap has become, what free agency has become — it’s amazing.”

This one takes a bit of parsing. Maybe his point was that some people don’t deserve to make a lot of money but do anyway. Maybe he just really wants the world to know that he thought Jerry Maguire was garbage. The world may never know. All we know is that Gruden thinks Tom Cruise movies make a lot more money than they should.

Gruden hasn’t even coached a regular season game since returning to the sideline and he’s already proving an incredibly quotable figure. It’s good to have him back on the sideline.

Jon Gruden uses quite the metaphor to describe Martavis Bryant

Jon Gruden

As regular viewers of Monday Night Football are aware, Jon Gruden has a way with words.

The Oakland Raiders coach had another fascinating comparison on Wednesday, comparing wide receiver Martavis Bryant to a white tiger. Don’t worry, there’s something behind it.

We’re guessing that this is a hint that Gruden knows Bryant is capable of doing great things, but he needs to be more consistent and productive. After all, this is a guy who has reportedly struggled mightily through training camp and needs to show more. Gruden will keep getting on him publicly if that’s what it takes.