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#pounditThursday, January 28, 2021

Articles tagged: Jon Gruden

Raiders players reportedly questioning Jon Gruden’s ‘accountability’

Jon Gruden

Jon Gruden’s second stint as head coach of the Oakland Raiders is off to a rough start, and it sounds like he has quickly lost the trust of many of his players.

Gruden has already traded two of Oakland’s core players in pass-rusher Khalil Mack and wide receiver Amari Cooper. While seasoned NFL veterans know enough to never be surprised by a roster move, some Raiders players told Vic Tafur of The Athletic that the way Gruden handled the trades has them questioning the coach’s “accountability.”

“When what you say and what you do are two different things, there is a problem,” one player said.

Gruden said publicly that he was not entertaining trade offers for Cooper, and he was apparently telling the team the same in private. After he was dealt to the Dallas Cowboys on Monday, Cooper was pulled off the practice field without Gruden explaining why. Players later learned about the trade by checking their phones, and Gruden still had not addressed the team about it as of Tuesday. He did, however, speak with ESPN and say the Raiders are done dealing and are “trying to stay competitive.”

Veteran players who spoke with Tafur indicated they don’t believe Gruden when he says he is not tanking in 2018.

“You have to wonder if we haven’t been playing for draft picks all along,” one player said. “Despite everything the coaches told us at training camp.”

Another player described the Mack deal as a “stiff jab” but the Cooper trade as a “knockout punch” because players were blindsided by it coming out of the bye.

“We didn’t want to believe it was coming, and Coach said we weren’t going to trade him,” the veteran said.

One report we heard about the Cooper trade may help explain why Gruden said one thing publicly and then did another, but he obviously has a real problem on his hands. Having three first-round picks in the 2019 NFL Draft is nice, but the level of trust with Gruden is only going to continue plummeting if he can’t turn them into immediate success.

Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie denies that Jon Gruden is forcing him out

Jon Gruden

A popular narrative developing around the Oakland Raiders is that general manager Reggie McKenzie is being marginalized by head coach Jon Gruden, who has most of the organizational power.

McKenzie battled back against that chatter on Monday when announcing the Amari Cooper trade, denying that Gruden is trying to force him out of his role with the organization.

McKenzie has been Oakland’s general manager since 2012. Gruden’s arrival before this season has come with a distinct shift in organizational philosophy, with the team trading Khalil Mack and now Cooper to accumulate draft picks and free up cap space. Gruden himself denied talk of a Cooper trade, and it came to fruition, so either he was deflecting or completely out of the loop. The former is much more likely, but either way, the situation is emblematic of the odd and confusing dynamic that has developed around the organization since Gruden’s arrival.

Jon Gruden critical of ‘confused’ CB Rashaan Melvin

Jon Gruden

Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden on Tuesday was critical of cornerback Rashaan Melvin when speaking with the media.

Melvin went from starter to taking a small role in the Raiders’ 27-3 blowout loss to the Seahawks in London on Sunday. The demotion was part of major changes that also saw cornerback Gareon Conley benched.

Melvin was demoted because he has had a tough time adapting to the Raiders’ “motor” technique since they signed him to a 1-year, $5.5 million deal in the offseason. Melvin wondered after Sunday’s game why the Raiders tried to change his style when they knew what he could do playing the style he has in the past.

“Film is a player’s resume. Once a player gets here, you want to change that, and a player takes a decline. You have to take a look at certain things. ‘OK, why is this player doing this? Why is this player not being this type of player, whatever he might have been?’ And you can tell the difference,” Melvin said, via the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Melvin also tweeted Monday that he was done trying to change his style.

What was Gruden’s response? He took a jab at Melvin about being on his seventh team and therefore being “confused” about his technique.

Maybe Melvin is trying to get traded, and it sounds like Gruden wouldn’t miss him much.

It’s become clear over his tenure that Gruden has no problem throwing some shade at his players when he feels like it.

Jon Gruden refutes Amari Cooper trade rumors

Jon Gruden

Are the Oakland Raiders shopping wide receiver Amari Cooper? While one prominent reporter says yes, the head coach is saying no.

FOX Sports’s Jay Glazer reported Sunday that the Raiders were shopping Cooper around the league, but head coach Jon Gruden refuted that report when asked about it after his team’s 27-3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

It’s not an airtight denial, but it is still a denial, and it comes after Cooper was concussed during the game.

It’s worth noting that the organization was saying similar things about Khalil Mack, and obviously that turned out very differently. Gruden’s denial can be taken at its word, but it’s not necessarily a guarantee.

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:


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.