Raiders head coach Jon Gruden didn’t spend much time with the media on Friday after the team’s final full practice of the week. But it was quality time, and that’s what counts.
As usual, he opened with the team’s injury report. Then he opened it up for questions.
Related to the injury report, specifically Lamarcus Joyner, Gruden acknowledged, “Not sure he’ll play, but he’ll be there.”
The last part is important, given that he said David Sharpe will not even travel with the team. He was then asked about the team’s penalty problems.
“It’s been addressed. We’re trying to emphasize it in all three phases. And we’ve been in contact with the league about some of the penalties as well that we haven’t agreed with. We are trying to minimize ‘em, we are trying to eliminate ‘em. We’re doing everything we can. That falls back on my shoulders to get it done. We got to do better.”
How concerned are you with the Raiders’ penalty issues?
This poll is closed
Not at all
They stress me out a ton, but overall, I believe they’ll clean them up.
Penalties will cost the Raiders a key game down the stretch
Fire everyone who ever gets penalized
It may sound like a big deal that the team has been in contact with the league about some of the penalties called against them, but it isn’t really.
Every team sends in a tape to the league office of plays they disagreed with on the prior Sunday (or whenever the game was played). It just isn’t all that often you hear coaches mention it in a press conference. Thus, Gruden is emphasizing it more than usual.
The next question was merely a follow-up, with a reporter asking if some of the penalties are teachable moments:
“Absolutely. We can’t have the personal fouls. We can’t have the pre-snap penalties. We can eliminate those. Some of the infractions in the kicking game where you take a poor angle, you commit a costly penalty, those can be eliminated. There’s going to be some, hand-to-hand combat...receivers versus DBs, it’s a tough call. That’s tough for everybody. And man, have we proved that?”
The Raiders have the second most penalties in the league, behind only the Arizona Cardinals — another mostly youthful team with a new head coach. The Browns, Buccaneers, and Jets round out the top-five.
At least two of those teams have been the model of dysfunction this season. The Raiders have not been since the start of the regular season, aside from the penalties.
Another reporter speculated that the penalties were a “manifestation of the youth of the team.” But Gruden wasn’t willing concede that point:
“I don’t know. I think we just gotta get better at it. I don’t want to blame youth or blame people that are new here that have just gotten here. There’s no excuses for it. You’re the coach of the team, you have to address it. And you not only have to address it, but you got to get results. We’ve got to do better.”
Lastly, Gruden was asked whether recently signed middle linebacker Preston Brown would see time on Sunday. He was quick to downplay expectations for Brown this week.
“I think he’s going to continue to learn our defense, put his spin on things, and in a few weeks from now. Perhaps he’ll be ready to go.”
It sounds the like the Raiders will be without their starting nickel and the guy they brought in this week to hopefully shore up the middle linebacker spot.