Las Vegas Raiders head coach John Gruden

John Gruden’s criticized roster decisions paying off for Las Vegas Raiders

  • John Gruden
  • Las Vegas Raiders
By Zack Simic February 29, 2020 0 Comment
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In January 2018, the Las Vegas Raiders hired Jon Gruden as their head coach for $100 million over ten years. The contract was met with more skeptics than there were dollars in the deal. Ten years for a head coach is an extreme contract, especially for a coach who had not already been coaching that team. In the NFL, head coaches often get hired in different situations. Many coaches begin working before the draft and have a chance to pick their franchise quarterback. Gruden came to a team with an established quarterback and depleted roster.

Gruden’s tenure so far as head coach of the Raiders can be comparable to the gridiron version of “The Process” of the Philadelphia 76ers. Gruden had a roster that had two of the best players at their position in Amari Cooper and former defensive player of the year, Khalil Mack. Not even a full year later, both players find themselves on different rosters with only draft picks to show for it. Both trades inherited criticism, with more focus on the Cooper deal. Trading away one of the best players in the league never seems like a smart man’s move, but was it? Gruden appears to be attacking the Raiders organization with the mindset of “blow it up and do it again.”

With the first-round draft pick that the Raiders received from Chicago, they selected Josh Jacobs. The premier rookie running back of the season and debatably one of the best overall backs of the year. He has a bright future and helps solidify a strong run game for Las Vegas in years to come. As for the pick from Dallas, Johnathan Abrams is a name that should get every Raider fan excited. Although he missed the majority of the 2019 season, he is a talented, hard-hitting safety that has high potential. Gruden then took a shot signing free-agent tight end, Darren Waller. Waller, known for off the field issues, blossomed into one of the most explosive tight ends in 2019.

Gruden has an excellent eye for talent. The biggest question remaining for Raiders fans is quarterback Derek Carr. Should they expect their veteran QB to be playing in a new uniform in 2020? Short answer, yes. There’s no future for Carr with Raiders. Based on all of the previous moves, Gruden wants to put his offense in the hands of “his” guy. It is impossible to know who this guy might be, but Gruden knows what kind of guy he wants to lead his team, and he won’t stop until he gets him. Long story short, the Raiders will be one of the top teams in the NFL within the next few years and probably for years after that. Gruden’s initial moves were shocking to all football fans, but they seem to be working. If Chucky can keep fitting the right pieces in the puzzle, the Raiders might not only have a brand new stadium but a couple of new rings.

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