Jon Gruden must be stopped!
While it’s true that the Oakland Raiders went 6-10 in 2017, they went 12-4 with the same roster in 2016. So there was talent on the team when Gruden was first hired. But there were some schematic problems he was supposed to answer but so far, he hasn’t done that at all. He’s put schemes first and made personnel decisions that made the Raiders worse.
Of course, it all starts with Gruden inexplicably trading Khalil Mack. Coming into Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks, the Raiders were on pace to have 94 fewer quarterback pressures. Meanwhile, Mack leads the NFL in pressures and could be the first defensive player since Lawrence Taylor to win NFL MVP. Sunday, the Raiders couldn’t take advantage of a bad pass-blocking Seahawks team as rookie Arden Key had the Raiders’ lone sack.
“I was cookin’ steaks back there.” Russell Wilson said of his time in the pocket Sunday.
We can’t forget the decision to not re-sign NaVorro Bowman and bring in Derrick Johnson. Johnson has been so bad, Marquel Lee is taking most of the reps now and it isn’t pretty. The Raiders were already No. 28 against the run before giving up 155 yards to the Seahawks.
Replacing 2017 1st-round pick Gareon Conley with cornerback Daryl Worley is another bad move. Conley hasn’t been perfect but he hasn’t given up a touchdown all year and has a QB rating of 62.3 against him. After pulling down his first career interception against the Cleveland Browns in Week 4, his reward is less playing time lineup in favor of Worley.
Conley was sat for getting beat deep against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 5. But when Worley got beat deep three times including a 19-yard TD Sunday, everything was okay. And Gruden had nothing but nice things to say about Worley after he was charbroiled.
“Worley’s a good football player. He’s going to be a starter here,” Gruden said after the game. “He’s a guy that’s established himself as a true corner for the Raiders and Conley’s still a young guy. We’re going to reiterate that over and over. His career is just getting started.”
But don’t you want to develop your young guys when you’re rebuilding like the Raiders are?
Then there’s the zone-blocking scheme that still doesn’t look like it fits the offensive line. In 2016, the offensive line paved the way for Latavius Murray of all people to gain over 1,000 yards with power-blocking. If it weren’t for Marshawn Lynch averaging over three yards per carry after contact now, the Raiders couldn’t run the ball at all. He was slowed down to 13 carries for 45 yards with all of them seeming to come after contact Sunday. Guards Kelechi Osemele and Gabe Jackson losing weight to fit the scheme is no more effective than making them run it being too heavy for it last year.
Every button Gruden has pushed so far this year has led to destruction of the Raiders. They can’t rush the passer at all after trading Mack to the Chicago Bears. They can’t stop the run after choosing to sign Johnson over Bowman in free agency. Lynch has to go Beastmode on every single carry for the Raiders to run the ball. And the development of Conley is getting stunted by a guy that isn’t stopping anyone from catching the ball himself.
Gruden’s moves just aren’t working out.