Yesterday, as covered by yours truly, Rashaan Melvin posted a couple tweets regarding his frustration and his playing style. During today’s Raiders press conference, Jon Gruden addressed those tweets with the following statement:
Gruden was aware of Rashaan Melvin's tweet/unhappiness: "Melvin is on his seventh team. Maybe he is confused about what technique he is using. He is frustrated. I can't blame him ... He is a good kid." #Raiders— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) October 16, 2018
Gruden is not a coach to pull punches or sugar coat his feelings when it comes to his players. He talked plenty of smack about Martavis Bryant during training camp and preseason, implying that Martavis wasn’t a reliable player. Gruden wasn’t necessarily wrong about that, but where is the line when it comes to calling out your players?
Gruden’s abrasive personality may seem detrimental, but it’s gotten him job after job and his own show on ESPN working with young quarterbacks, so it certainly works for Jon Gruden. The question is whether or not it’s going to work with this Raider team in the long run, or if Gruden is going to remake the team so thoroughly that it won’t matter anymore.
The first two sentences of Gruden’s statement here are pretty clearly a slam on Melvin, as in he isn’t good enough to stick on a team and he doesn’t know what he’s doing. But the second two are softer, in that Melvin has every right to be frustrated and he is a high character guy. Just like Gruden’s comments about Bryant, those things are not mutually exclusive and may all be true.
However, this is yet another example of Gruden saying something that can be taken as highly insensitive. Not that the players can’t take it, but when the team is doing this poorly, maybe Gruden should rethink sticking his foot in his mouth every five minutes.