With the Raiders set to face the Broncos tonight, Monday Night Football host and former Raiders head coach, Jon Gruden sat down with Greg Papa to talk Raiders. He had a great many takes on things ranging from Terrelle Pryor and the spread offense, Greg Olson's offense, not wanting to draft Sebastian Janikowski, JaMarcus Russell ending his coaching career, Charles Woodson's maturity evolution, whether he will coach again, and his Raiders room in his house.
On his experience with Terrelle Pryor:
"What you did realize is, forget the size and the speed, deep down underneath all of it is a guy with a great ambition to be great. And he also realizes he needs help. He's a raw, unfinished product prospect and he was looking for help and I admire that."
On Pryor's style of play and whether a team can win with the spread offense:
"I don't know that you can win the whole thing because the Super Bowl is played at the end of the season. And I think the hits, the contact takes its toll on these quarterbacks. I don't know that Terrelle Pryor can carry the ball 11 times a game and be a factor throwing the ball in pro football because the Super Bowl doesn't happen until your 19th or 20th game. So, that's my biggest concern. I think defenses are catching up with it a little bit, you can see Griffin's 0-3, Kaepernick has struggled the last couple weeks, he's got a lot to prove yet."
On the job Greg Olson has done with turmoil in Raiders offense of late:
"Unbelievable. And when you think about Veldheer at left tackle, Alex Barron's the left tackle, now let's put Menelik Watson at left tackle, let's move Khalif Barnes, our right tackle, to left tackle and let's bring in Tony Pashos who we've never met. You're on your third left guard. Unbelievable job keeping it competitive, taking what every offensive player can do and giving him a piece of the pie. There's something for Jacoby Ford, there's something for McFadden, there's something for Jennings, I admire him for that."
"He comes from my background, the West Coast Offense background. My only concern with Olson, and I told him this, ‘wherever you go the head coach gets fired'. Mariucci got fired, Dick Jauron got fired, Linehan got fired, and sure enough, I got fired. That's the only downside with Olson, I call it bad luck with a slip rock."
On the moment that eventually got him fired in Tampa Bay:
"JaMarcus Russell took it to me. We had a ten-point lead in the fourth quarter and JaMarcus Russell took it to me and ended my career. The greatest day of my life was winning the Super Bowl against the Raiders and the worst day ever [was losing to them]... look at me now."
Charles Woodson's maturity evolving from when he coached him until now:
"Amazing. When I was with the Raiders, he was a cornerback exclusively and I can remember him playing really well, but practice was a different story. Sometimes after practice, Woodson would get in the car with Charlie Garner and Andre Rison and I said ‘Oh, no, there he goes'. And I had to call Charles in and say ‘Look, if you practice better, I'll play you on offense'. And sure enough, we put in Fremont personnel, we started throwing Woodson passes. And I used that as a bribe to get him to practice better. But over the course of the years he's really matured as a man, he's become one of the all-time greats, and to see him come back to black hole and finish... I got tears in my eyes when they announced him last week. It was just emotional for him I know and it was emotional for his old coach."
On his not wanting to draft Sebastian Janikowski in the first round in 2000:
"I wanted Sylvester Morris and I also wanted Shaun Alexander because Napoleon Kaufman as you know what considering retiring and I got wind of that and I was really concerned. My old boss Mike Holmgren was with the Seahawks when they were in the AFC West so I kind of wanted Alexander and Sylvester Morris. We had Joe Nedney who was a pretty good kicker and we got Janikowski and thank God for Raiders fans, they listened to Al Davis and not me. I'll say he was right."
On whether he will coach again:
"I do get the itch a lot. I miss it tremendously. There are some things I don't miss at all. There are things I don't understand like what a CBA is exactly, what an illegal hit is, I don't know if Tatum and Atkinson could survive in today's game. But I do have an ambition to coach some day."
On being a Raider at heart
"I grew up with the Raiders. Even though my dad didn't coach for the Raiders, I grew up a Raider fan and yes, absolutely I consider myself a Raider. You should see my house. I got a nice little room where you would think I'm still with the Raiders. A Raider room. I got a lot of old memorabilia. When I first got the head coaching job, I had a dinner set up with the Legends. So, I go out, I can't remember the name of the restaurant, but I'm there and Jack Tatum, George Atkinson, there's Clarence Davis, Ben Davidson, Daryl Lamonica, Marv Hubbard, Jim Plunkett walks in. Fred Billetnikoff and Willie Brown are on my staff and I said ‘No wonder Madden won a lot of games with these guys'. I got chills on the sideline, I got excited being down there on the field with those guys. I got stronger, I got more confident being around them and I enjoyed working for Al Davis. I like the mystique of the Raiders and I like being a part of it."