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Jon Gruden’s Raiders players are in awe of his energy, passion

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Oakland Raiders

Speaking to Gruden’s players, there seems to be a common theme. For those who watched him on the sideline for 11 NFL seasons or for 9 years in the Monday Night Football booth, you may expect he has a lot of energy and is pretty hardcore. But when you experience it day after day as his Raiders players are now, it can still be a bit surprising.

Their responses are all pretty similar. There’s wide eyes, some head shaking and some laughter. That’s the laughter of amazement and how Gruden can keep up his energy level as he does.

“What you see is what you get,” Bruce Irvin said after the first OTA practice. “Rah-rah guy. I’ve never seen a person’s face stay red for seven periods at practice.”

That was a week ago. By then Irvin and the rest of the Raiders players had seen Gruden come in with that level of energy for about a month and a half.

How about after a week of OTA’s?

“Man, I don’t know how many cups of coffee he drinks every morning, but he’s up there on it, man. That’s for sure,” Jared Cook said with a laugh. “He definitely brings the intensity.”

Derek Carr also has the coffee theory, but he put a number on it. “That man has like 20 cups of coffee, I guess, because he has another level that he takes it to, and he hasn’t stopped yet.”

This intensity is part of what gave Gruden his Chucky nickname. Always with the scowl and always yelling until he voice goes hoarse. He’s cultivated into a brand, doing ad spots for Hooters and Corona among others. Hell, every commercial break during the draft, there was Gruden yelling at a Bridgestone Tire.

What’s most amazing is this isn’t just an act. It isn’t like a switch he just turns on once he hits the field or the cameras come on. That passion and drive is always there, whether on the field or off the field.

Greg Olson — who was Gruden’s QB coach when he last coached in Tampa in 2008 — sees the same guy he’s always known.

“The passion is unmatched. I think that he’s that same person,” said Olson. “You’d think that maybe it’d slow down over 10 years. I think he’s very driven. If anything, maybe it’s even stronger now. His will to win. His will to prepare. His will to present. Just every day, the energy that he brings to the staff and to me, to the team, it’s Jon Gruden. It’s who he is. That’s been real fun to be around.”

This is Gruden’s team. He is the loudest voice on the field. Everyone hears from him. Or at least they should if Gruden thinks there is something in them worth his energy.

“While he’s yelling at you and getting on you 24/7, that’s his way of showing that he loves you and he sees the potential in you to be a great football player,” said fullback Keith Smith. “If he’s not yelling at you, then you know something’s wrong, like he doesn’t really believe in you.”