Some criticisms you take more seriously than others. Or you should, anyway. I realize many fans tend to write off even the most objective opinions about their team if they aren’t positive. But when executives speak, you should listen.
ESPN’s Mike Sando took a poll of NFL executives and collected quotes about how each NFL team’s offseason is viewed. Then he used that to form a grade.
Bringing back Jon Gruden energized the franchise and its fans, making the Raiders more relevant than they’ve been in years. The addition of aging, declining free agents such as Jordy Nelson, Leon Hall, Derrick Johnson, Breno Giacomini and Doug Martin wasn’t as exciting, although it wasn’t arbitrary, either.
”You sign old guys when you’re trying to build good culture,” an exec said. “They can show the young guys how to practice and eat right and sleep right and respect the coaches. It makes the first year easier. And sometimes those guys are still good enough to win the games for a year or two before they descend.”
Another exec noted that the aging players Oakland signed were typically players whose previous teams actively sought to discard them.
”They signed Derrick Johnson, who is done,” this exec said. “I wondered what tape they put on that said this guy can still play. The Chiefs loved him. Andy Reid loved him. And they cut him because they knew he had reached that point at age 35 where he had nothing left.”
That’s two very different ways to look at some of Jon Gruden’s veteran additions. Both have merit. The first looks at veteran additions as a whole while the second focuses solely on Derrick Johnson.
Grades in a vacuum don’t mean much. To get the full idea of what this grade means, you must compare it to the rest of the grades handed out. This grade puts the Raiders in the bottom ten. To be specific, eight teams graded worse and five teams tied the Raiders C+ grade, putting the Raiders offseason at worst 24th and at best 19th.