Jon Gruden is well familiar with his upcoming opponent, and not just for what he does on the gridiron.
The Las Vegas Raiders head coach addressed reporters Wednesday ahead of this week’s game against the Cleveland Browns. Gruden took a funny shot at Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, saying he preferred his own television commercials to Mayfield’s, per Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal.
Mayfield, 25, is enjoying some decent run on TV right now, most notably appearing in a series of ads for Progressive Insurance. He has proven to be a marketable pitchman, even dating back to his college days.
Gruden is no slouch either though when it comes to Madison Avenue. He has a number of memorable commercials under his belt, especially from the years before he became coach of the Raiders. Included in Gruden’s past exploits are ad appearances for Corona and Hooters.
The Las Vegas Raiders have had their share of issues with COVID-19 this season, but coach Jon Gruden clearly thinks the team’s handling of the virus has been exemplary.
Members of the Raiders have received multiple fines for failing to follow the NFL’s safety protocols. Offensive lineman Trent Brown recently tested positive for the virus, and the team briefly had to isolate its entire offensive line as a result.
Gruden, however, was quick to point out that the Raiders are far from the only team to have a positive test. Then he made an even bolder claim about the team’s handling of the virus.
It’s not very clear what Gruden is basing this on. The Raiders don’t seem any closer to “beating” COVID-19 than any other organization. In fact, the league is reportedly looking into the team’s handling of it.
Gruden was fined $100,000 and the Raiders were fined $250,000 for his failure to wear a face covering at all times during last week’s win over the New Orleans Saints. Multiple NFL coaches have been fined for not following the mask protocol after the league issued a warning following Week 1.
A report during the offseason indicated the Raiders tricked players into thinking Gruden had contracted the coronavirus to send a message about the dangers of the illness. Gruden said recently that he actually did have COVID-19 and was annoyed by people saying he faked it.
If you found Jon Gruden’s mask to be funny, you’ll love this Andy Reid cheeseburger shirt. Reid loves his cheeseburgers, and you can wear it. This makes a perfect gift for you or a friend. You can buy it here.
The NFL has added two more head coaches to its masks fine list for Week 2.
Jon Gruden and Sean Payton were both fined $100,000 for not wearing masks during “Monday Night Football.” Their respective teams, the Las Vegas Raiders and New Orleans Saints, also received $250,000 fines.
The NFL is making it very clear that they want coaches to wear masks for coronavirus purposes. The league issued warnings last week and escalated to fines this week. The message from the league has been sent.
Jon Gruden says he actually did contract the coronavirus over the summer, contrary to what some reports may have claimed at the time.
Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reported last month that the Las Vegas Raiders held a Zoom call with players that was supposed to be led by Gruden, but the coach did not show up. The players were told Gruden had been hospitalized with COVID-19. The goal, according to Garafolo, was for the Raiders to send a message to players that anyone can contract the coronavirus.
After the Raiders’ win over the New Orleans Saints on Monday night, Gruden tried to set the record straight. He said he actually did have COVID-19 and told the San Jose Mercury news that he is tired of people saying it was a prank.
“I did,” Gruden said. “I’m tired of (people) saying I faked it.”
Gruden is one of several NFL coaches who have been criticized for not wearing their masks properly during games. He told reporters on Monday that he takes the coronavirus seriously because he had it.
“I’ve had the virus, OK? I’m doing my best,” Gruden said. “I’m very sensitive about it, but I’m calling plays. I just want to communicate these situations. I apologize, and if I get fined, I will have to pay the fine. I’m very sensitive about all of that and I apologize.”
The Las Vegas Raiders’ new Allegiant Stadium has been dubbed the “Death Star” by ownership and some fans, and Jon Gruden is into it.
The stadium’s round, almost spaceship-like appearance inspired the nickname, which has been pushed by owner Mark Davis. This is in spite of the fact that the namesake “Death Star” met an untimely end in “Star Wars.”
Gruden said he doesn’t care at all about that, and loves the name.
“I think it’s a cool name for our stadium,” Gruden said Thursday, via Adam Hill of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “I don’t give a damn about Star Wars. That’s what we’re calling our stadium and I don’t care what anybody else thinks. It’s a cool stadium, it’s a great name and we just have to play good when we’re in there.”
There you have it. The name stays. It’s hard to blame anyone for that. First, it sounds cool, and second, once you’ve seen the place, the nickname seems very appropriate. Get used to hearing more of it.
The Las Vegas Raiders’ coaching staff had a unique way of sending a message to players about treating the coronavirus seriously.
According to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network, the Raiders recently held a Zoom meeting that was supposed to be led by coach Jon Gruden. When players logged on, they were instead met by special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia, who told the players that Gruden was hospitalized with COVID-19.
Gruden was not sick or hospitalized, but it was an attempt by Raiders coaches to send the message that anyone could contract the virus and thus needed to be very vigilant during training camp and beyond. According to Garafolo, it actually did resonate with players.
One more on the #Raiders from Inside Training Camp on @nflnetwork: Jon Gruden's attempt to "crush" COVID-19 included assistant Rich Bisaccia tricking the players into thinking Gruden had coronavirus. But it wasn't a mean-spirited prank. There was a serious message behind it. pic.twitter.com/I832Zy5g2a
“I mean, you see Gruden on the sideline where I assume if it was mic’d up, there would be a lot of beeping going on and you really wouldn’t understand what he was saying,” said Nelson. “And Derek is a more of a calmer, obviously Christian dude that is not gonna cuss anyone out or do anything like that. So I think their two demeanors and personalities might clash. But they honestly get along great. I mean, it’s a good balance.
“There’s a couple times when I was there they got a little fiery at each other,” Nelson added. “But that happens with everyone … The one thing I think that works great with those two, Derek is extremely smart and puts in so much time and work that he can handle everything that Gruden’s throwing at him.
Nelson spent the final year of his career in 2018 with the Raiders, catching passes from Carr. That season also marked Gruden’s first with the team.
Rumors abounded last season that there was a major disconnect between Gruden and Carr, and they may have only grown louder when the Raiders brought in Marcus Mariota this offseason. But that perception is probably more rooted in the difference in their personalities, as Nelson says, rather than an actual rift.
Rumors have been swirling for about two years now that Derek Carr may not be with the Raiders much longer, but head coach Jon Gruden continues to insist he has no plans to part ways with the quarterback.
When asked about Carr at the NFL Scouting Combine on Thursday, Gruden said he can’t address every rumor about his quarterback but is looking forward to building around Carr going forward.
“I really think Derek is a heck of a player and I got a lot of respect for what he has done with some tough circumstances,” Gruden said, via ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez. “So, I’m not going to answer every media rumor out there. I just can’t do it. I’m just going to listen to my Sirius Rock n’ Roll classic vinyl and keep working. But I love what Derek Carr brings to our team and anxious to continue to build around him.”
Many interpreted that as Gruden’s way of saying Carr will remain with the team in 2020, but the coach also said the Raiders need to improve at the quarterback position. However, he didn’t necessarily mean improving by bringing in someone to replace Carr.
Earlier in the week, Raiders general manager Mike Mayock left the door open for the Raiders to move on from Carr. If the Raiders have a chance to sign Tom Brady, it’s impossible to imagine Mayock and Gruden opting to keep Carr rather than making a run with the greatest QB of all time.