Football players have a unique perspective of the game, and throughout their years playing, learn which techniques and schemes work, and which ones don’t. But often, coaches ignore the input of their players and plan their coaching around what they think is the best strategy. According to Bruce Irvin, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden has taken steps to avoid falling victim to this limited mindset.
“He (Gruden) lets us run the team,” said Irvin in an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio. “Guys was kinda worried with him being out of the game for 8-9 years if he would try to come back and try to be old school style, but it’s completely different.”
Allowing veterans such as Irvin to have an input in practices and game planning should pay off in a big way for the Silver & Black. Younger players look up to veterans, and some have a greater respect for criticism coming from a current player than perhaps, a coach who has never walked the gridiron before.
While Gruden remained close to the game during his time at ESPN, players weren’t the only ones that questioned his return to the sidelines and whether he still had his edge that made him famous in the first place. It hasn’t taken long for those concerns to vanish in Oakland.
“Gruden is all football...what you see is what you get,” Irvin continued. “He’s doing a hell of a job and I think guys have bought in and I think guys are ready to go in and bust their tail for him.”
Free agent additions Jordy Nelson and Tahir Whitehead already experienced their new coach’s enthusiasm during their free agent visits this offseason. They credited Gruden’s passion in their decision to join the Silver & Black.
Between his flexible coaching style and high energy, both Raiders players and fans have a reason to be excited for the upcoming season.
Irvin in particular is very excited about his new role on the Raiders’ defense. In the same interview, Irvin was pretty enthusiastic about his chances of reaching double digit sacks this season.