So much went wrong for the Oakland Raiders to fall to 6-10 in 2017 after a 12-4 2016. Naggin injuries to franchise quarterback Derek Carr (back) and No. 1 receiver Amari Cooper (foot) hobbled the passing game while the defense was without first-and-second-round picks Gareon Conley and Obi Melifonwu most of the season.
But make no mistake, coaching is where things were the worst for the Raiders in 2017. So the hiring of Jon Gruden is the best thing that’s happened to the organization in a while. We already know how visiting other teams’ facilities as an ESPN analyst is an advantage. He also has a great staff and his offense, with a few new wrinkles, still works today.
The question is; how big of an impact can Gruden make and how soon?
The new hires in 2017 have shown it’s very possible to turn a team into a contender right away.
The Jacksonville Jaguars hired Doug Marrone, the Buffalo Bills hired Sean McDermott, the Denver Broncos hired Vance Joseph, the Los Angeles Chargers hired Anthony Lynn, the Los Angeles Rams hired Sean McVay and the San Francisco 49ers hired Kyle Shanahan.
Marrone took the Jaguars from a 3-13 team in 2016 to 10-6 and the AFC South division title in 2017. Sean McVay took the 4-12 Rams to 11-5 and the NFC West division title in that span. Also in that span, the Bills under McDermott went from 7-9 to a Wildcard playoff spot at 9-7.
The Chargers barely missed the playoffs but under Lynn climbed out of the AFC West cellar at 5-11 in 2016 to go 9-7 in 2017. With Shanahan taking over in San Francisco the 49ers went from 2-14 in 2016 to 6-10 in 2017 with five wins to end the season once quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was activated.
Joseph had tough luck as the Broncos went from 9-7 in 2016 to 5-11 in 2017. In case you didn’t notice, Joseph is the one that didn’t have a quarterback.
Gruden will have Carr and an overall talented roster. So after taking their lumps after a disastrous 2017, Gruden and the Raiders could contend in 2018. And as for 2019, just look at what happened with the Eagles hire Doug Pederson just did; winning the Super Bowl in his second season with the team.
The right coach at the right time makes all the difference in the world.