The minute Jon Gruden signed a 10-year, $100 million contract to return at head coach of the Oakland Raiders, he was given full control of the franchise. While Reggie McKenzie was still technically the general manager of the team, there was wide speculation that he had lost all of his power within the organization, and that Gruden operated on his own terms without consulting McKenzie.
This theory was seemingly confirmed Sunday morning in a report by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport elaborating that not only does Gruden have complete control, but that he even uses a separate personnel and scouting staff from McKenzie’s creating a divide in the Raiders front office.
Per Rapoport, Gruden had his own draft board and pro board separate from those used by others in the organization.
Gruden’s most trusted confidant within his staff is former longtime NFL scout Dave Razzano who acts as Director of Football Research. Once widely respected throughout the league, Razzano rose to fame for his controversial takes on Twitter including labeling Von Miller a bust, and arguing that Jake Locker deserved to be the first overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Once labeled as a “rogue scout”, he is now Gruden’s right-hand man.
Upon news of Rapoport’s story, former NFL scout Bucky Brooks put Gruden on blast for the unprecedented move and questioning why he would even keep McKenzie on the staff if he disregarded his opinion.
“What Gruden has done with the Raiders personnel is unprecedented and disrespectful to the GM,” said Brooks. “It’s hard to work together when the head coach has his own personnel crew with their own grading scale, etc.. If he doesn’t trust or respect Reggie McKenzie and his staff, he should fire him and own it. I’ve worked with coaches who would solicit the opinions of others outside the building but I’ve never heard of or seen a head coach have his own personnel staff inside the building. What’s the point of keeping the GM and the scouts if you’re not listening to them?”
Gruden has previously fought the notion that there is a disconnect between himself and McKenzie, even going as far to claim the media is “trying to divide us.”
As it turns out, there is a divide deeper than many thought, one that runs through the entire front office of the Raiders organization.