Jon Gruden is the Oakland Raiders’ fifth head coach since 2011. Since his second arrival, he has preached continuity for the organization and has gotten his wish with his own lengthy contract in addition to long contracts for the rest of the coaching staff.
In an interview Wednesday with Tolbert & Lund on KNBR, Gruden echoed the idea of consistency again.
“We also, I think, have got to put a system in place here that our players can grow within,” Gruden said. “We have had 10 different head coaches, I believe, since I’ve been here. We’ve had a number of different offensive coaches. Poor Reggie McKenize has had to draft players to fit different schemes and systems and I think it’s hurt us. A lack of continuity, a lack of system football on offense and defense has certainly hurt the Raiders.”
Gruden doesn’t just want stability among the coaching staff but he wants it on offense as well.
“They had a lot of injuries,” Gruden said. “They had a new right tackle. Obviously, Derek Carr was injured. I don’t know the true extent of it, but when you have broken bones in your back, you’re not going to play as well. They had a new feature back. I think Marshawn Lynch came in here probably was not at his best until midseason. Amari Cooper was hurt. Michael Crabtree missed some time for a lot of reasons. And they didn’t have a lead. They were unable to have any consistency.”
Michael Crabtree and Marshawn Lynch are among the select players who are considered possible cap casualties this offseason. If Lynch and Crabtree are gone, Oakland will need to find a new feature back and find a way to be successful without Crabtree, which wouldn’t help the team’s continuity.
This doesn’t mean the aforementioned players should be kept or will be kept, but it is a problem that Gruden identified leading to a disappointing 2017 season and could contribute to the reason Crabtree and Lynch remain in Oakland next season if they do.
In regards to free agency and injuries, that is just how the NFL is. Free agency is an instrumental part in building a winning team, so new pieces will inevitably come in and out.
Also, Gruden mentions injuries to Amari Cooper and Derek Carr, but what NFL team doesn’t experience adversity due to injuries? Look at the Philadelphia Eagles. They lost their starting QB and their top receivers was playing injured and that didn’t stop them from winning the Super Bowl.
Gruden is still right about needing to build consistency. If there is constant change, then prolonged greatness will never be achieved.
Del Rio showed he could take the Raiders to great heights, but he couldn’t sustain it. The change to Gruden was made to make Oakland great for years at a time and that begins with having similar faces on the coaching staff and on the roster season to season.
Fortunately, Gruden has the cornerstone pieces necessary to have continued success with Khalil Mack, Cooper and Carr. The longer the staff stays intact, the more the Raiders will grow as a team.