Many things need to be fixed for the Raiders, you don’t pick top 10 because you are a team that is devoid of glaring holes. There is one specific area that needs to be addressed above all else though, and it’s something that the 2016 team had in abundance but was missing in 2017 — Chemistry.
The 2016 team could do no wrong with each other it seemed. They had the chemistry needed to win, they all played off of each other and made the plays when the team needed them.
There was real reason to believe they had found their coach in Jack Del Rio and this was the beginning of greatness. They all fit together, it was a puzzle that had just a few pieces missing.
Then 2017 came and instead of putting the last few pieces in place the whole damn puzzle fell to the floor and scattered back into individual pieces. They just felt choppy and separated from each other, like they were all playing for themselves instead of as a team. And they went from 12-4 to 6-10, just like that.
Out goes Del Rio, in comes Jon Gruden.
It starts with Derek Carr and Gruden has been on top of that. There are some great pictures out there showing how hard Gruden is working in his limited opportunities with the team so far but this one from Friday’s practice takes the prize as the best one.
If that picture doesn’t encapsulate the pure energy that Jon Gruden is bringing as coach then I don’t know what to tell you. Most pictures say a thousand words, but that one says a million of them. Having a coach putting all his efforts into his job and his QB is exactly what is going to help rebuild the chemistry that was lacking in 2017.
Even the guys on the defensive side of the ball are liking the direction of the team under Gruden. Bruce Irvin can attest to that. He is loving Gruden moving him back to defensive end and how he “lets us run the team.”
Reading between the lines and you can tell that Gruden is focused on bringing the team together so that there isn’t a repeat of last year’s lost season. His energy is bringing the chemistry back to the team and that is the number one factor that was missing. It’s a welcome sight and undoubtedly has these players excited for training camp.