A hometown hero returns: Oakland Raiders land Gruden


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26 Dec 1998: Head coach Jon Gruden of the Oakland Raiders looks on during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California. The Chiefs defeated the Raiders 31-24.

Matthew Carrera,

The Oakland Raiders have finally found the coach they have been waiting for. It’s taken 16 years, but they now have the coach they believe will take them over the hump and will lead them to championships. He is a fan favorite and a former Raider Coach.

The Raiders recently signed Jon Gruden to an historic 10-year $100 million deal on Jan 6. After years of speculation of whether or not Gruden would leave his luxurious Monday Night Football announcing gig, where he made roughly $7 million a year announcing one game a week, he has finally decided to return to the NFL and coach the silver and black.

Such a splash move by the Raiders. He is a great football mind, is loved by Raider nation and fans go crazy when they see him. He is bringing a lot of his former coaching staff, which is a big advantage for him. He will bring stability and success to this franchise after a disappointing 6-10 season where the Raiders thought they would be much better and have a better record and go to the playoffs.

“I just, in my heart feel this is the thing to do,” Gruden said earlier this month with an interview with Raiders Media at his introductory press conference. “This is what I want to do. This is the organization that I want to be a part of, and I’m all in. This is something that I feel deeply, strongly about. And I’m going to do everything I can to hire a great coaching staff and put the Raiders back on track.”

The 2016 Raiders averaged 26 points a game, while the 2017 Raiders averaged 18 points a game under coach Jack Del Rio even though they had the same players and personnel, according to profootballreference.com which is a website that provides facts and stats on active and retired players. Gruden will have a lot of work to do to get this team back in contention for winning super bowls, but he will bring the magic back to the offense.

Defense will be another story. The Raiders defense has been the achilles heel for this team and has let them down so many times and was the 23rd ranked defense out of 32 according to NFL.com. Gruden will have to bring in some good free agent players. He should do a good job of attracting players due to his lively personality. Players love Gruden and would love to play for him. He will have to hit some home runs in the upcoming draft in April and draft some excellent defensive players to solidify the defense.

Gruden has been out of coaching since the 2008-09 season, but his football mind and intellect is still up there with some of the greats. He actually has an edge with his second coming into coaching. He has been the color analyst for Monday Night Football since 2009. He has been watching and dissecting each team, so he might have a few tricks up his sleeve.

Each week as he prepares for the game, he interviews players and coaches from those teams, so he gets to know how these players are. Also, he looks a lot of other team’s game film and looks at what formations they like to run and what defensive schemes they like running, and points out their strengths and weaknesses. So Gruden has a huge advantage on a lot of these teams since he has been analyzing them for the past eight years.

Gruden is also hungry. He was traded from Oakland to Tampa Bay back in the 2002 season, and he won a super bowl in his first year. But a lot of people don’t give Gruden all the credit for that super bowl, since all those players were not any that he drafted, and that defense he inherited was one of the all time great defenses, so he fell into a great situation, so people don’t give him his due to this day still.

And to top it all off, he ended up beating the Raiders in that super bowl, so he was very familiar with that team since he coached them for the past four years, so he basically knew the playbook; he was almost like a twelfth player on the field. After that super bowl season, he ends up going 45-51 over the next six seasons, which is not that great a resume, especially for Gruden’s standards. So I love the fact that Gruden is hungry to win and prove all the doubters wrong.

Gruden is a quarterback guru and an offensive genius and Gruden loves their quarterback Derek Carr. He loved him coming out of the draft out of Fresno State so this will be an ideal situation for Gruden and he will for sure make the most out of this and provide a spark.

Oakland isn’t the glitz and glamour job that everybody desires and wants to reside in. The Oakland Coliseum is one of the oldest stadiums and is just abysmal, and to top it off the Raiders will be leaving Oakland and be playing in Las Vegas in the 2020 NFL season. No NFL free agents are running to come sign with Oakland. But Gruden loves that Oakland atmosphere and wouldn’t want it any other way.