One of the prevailing themes throughout this Raiders training camp is how refreshing it is for some players in the Silver and Black to play under new head coach Jon Gruden. His energy and enthusiasm have certainly been infectious to both the fan community and the players alike. So far, Gruden has almost exclusively dealt with the offense, leaving the defensive duties to DC Paul Guenther. That’s music to the ears of Raiders tight end Jared Cook.
“It’s huge. It’s totally different,” Cook said following Monday’s practice, pointing to the Guenther handling the defense.
“Having him over on our side of the ball, which is different from last year, is huge. You’re hearing everything from the horse’s mouth, you know? Everything he wants, you’re hearing it directly from him, so there’s no confusion, no kind of lull in communication. Everything that you hear is from him, so you know how he wants it, you can get it done, you can get the job done faster. There’s no more time to waste, it’s straight to the point.”
For most of the first several years of his career, Cook played under defensive minded head coach Jeff Fisher with both the Titans and the Rams. Last season he played under Jack Del Rio — also a defensive coach who left the offense mostly in the incapable hands of Todd “The Clod” Downing.
One aspect of Gruden’s coaching style that Cook has come to appreciate- the film room, where Gruden has been showing the classics.
“He’s bringing up film from like 1976 when you didn’t even think they had film,” Cook said. “Like grainy film where you can barely see the players. He has that knowledge. He’s been watching football since he was a kid and he’s been in the league since he was a kid. Everything that you’re seeing and everything he’s teaching you is things from his background, not only current background but pre-dates 1987 which is when I was born.”
When asked if he could easily understand the intended message in the old-school film, Cook responded, “Absolutely. There are actually plays that we’re putting in and schemes that we’re running that are older schemes. He’s bringing players in to talk to us. Ricky Dudley has been a huge influence on me, just from knowing him from OTA’s and camp, just talking to him every day. I’m in his ear asking him questions, because he’s been part of this offense so he knows. It’s things like that Gruden is introducing us to that we have never had before. It’s pretty awesome.”
Raider fans are well aware that film existed before 1976. Some of the most exciting Raider football footage is from their AFL days back in the 1960s. Ron Wolf was well-known for having vast troves of game film which he would lock himself in a basement and study for days on end.
These days, film study is digital and footage is uploaded instantly, but back in the Before Time it took long hours and hard work to even procure game film, let alone study it. But here with the Jon Gruden coaching staff we see that the old film is appreciated and utilized with its true intent in mind, which is to destroy the enemies of the Oakland Raiders. Jared Cook and the rest of this Raider team are watching and learning.