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Gruden weighing Raiders’ receiving options in the wake of Renfrow’s rib injury

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Gruden discusses Hunter Renfrow’s injury, the Raiders devastating loss, the upcoming game against Kansas city, and more

NFL: Oakland Raiders at New York Jets Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a brutal 34-3 road loss to the New York Jets on Sunday, Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden began looking ahead to next week’s game at Kansas City.

Gruden was very concerned and noticeably down about the loss of rookie wide receiver Hunter Renfrow, though he would not provide a specific timetable.

“He’ll be out for a while. Big loss for our team. I’m not going to get into the severity because I really don’t know. We’re looking at his ribs. And as soon as I get the exact determination, I’ll let you know.”

Later, Gruden was asked if there was a possibility of putting Renfrow on IR, to which hereplied, “We’ll see the severity of it. We’ll never put anybody at risk, but there is a possibility. We’ve just got to make sure he sees the people he needs to see. We’re concerned. We’re disappointed.”

“It’s a big loss for us. We’ve had a lot of turnover at that position this year. It’s really too bad. Renfrow’s been playing really well for us. He’s going to be a great Raider.”

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Oakland Raiders Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The team is already making contingency plans at the slot receiver position, though as of this moment they all seem to be in-house.

“Obviously we have Keelan Doss, who’s played in the slot a little bit this year. He’s a good player. Darren Waller can play in the slot. Carrier can play in the slot. And Zay Jones made a living playing in the slot at East Carolina. So we’ll see who we plug in there as we prepare for the Chiefs.”

Gruden is hopeful that Lamarcus Joyner, among a few other injured Raiders, could return to action this week.

Looking back to yesterday’s match, Gruden saw the good and the bad.

“We missed some opportunities to put points on the board. There was a questionable call on a personal foul that put points on their board that I didn’t agree with. But I don’t agree with many things that happen in life. We did not get that contagious playmaking vibe yesterday. We were waiting for somebody to make a play. I take credit for it. I’ve got to do a better job. It’s a learning experience for our whole entire team. Hopefully it makes us better in the end.”

Gruden said the team was not looking ahead to this week against Kansas City.

“I think sometimes fatigue might be a problem. You know, six-hour flight, we were delayed two hours getting in, three hour time change, east coast kickoff at 1 o’clock was hard when I coached a veteran Raiders team years ago. And we are not a lot of experienced people when it comes to rain and cold. I’m not making any excuses, but hopefully that makes us better as we prepare for one of the best teams in football in another cold, nasty place.”

Gruden was at his finest when asked how to go about preparing his young, inexperienced, California-based team for the cold weather.

“I’m not a genius. I’m not Thomas Edison. I don’t know how to do that. You know we’ll just try to show pictures of people that are cold, that deal with cold,” he said with a giant chuckle.

“We’re not going to overanalyze it, you know we did not play our best football. And as I said yesterday, we’re really excited about this team, these guys we have, and I said some things to them after the game, I think they all bought in and agreed with. We’re united in what’s ahead. And we know we’ve got not only young players but new players that weren’t even here with us when the season started.”

On Andy Reid and what lies ahead against Kansas City:

“He’s a good coach. He has good players. My sources tell me he gave his team the week off. So I hope their flights are delayed and they’re late getting in today.”

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is a major concern for the Raiders:

“He makes throws I’ve never seen before...It was jaw dropping the display he put on (when the two teams met in Week 2) for about six minutes there.”

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Gruden said there is a challenge to prepare his team for the upcoming game with the Thanksgiving holiday this week. “I’m respectful of that. You know we’ve got a lot to be thankful for,” he said, seemingly insinuating that the team’s success this season has gone above and beyond his expectations.

And after Maxx Crosby registered another sack on Sunday, Gruden took more time to praise the rookie:

“I think Maxx is going to be great. He already has. He has grown. He’s gaining more confidence. He’s gotten stronger. He has so much confidence in what he can do. I think we really got something in this Crosby...I wouldn’t trade him for almost anybody.”

Have we heard that before?

From an Xs and Os standpoint, Gruden mentioned he thought the team was running the ball relatively effectively, but that it could be even better with the “real good runner” that Josh Jacobs is.

“Teams no doubt see Jacobs and they want to commit people to stop him. And we’ve got to do better, maybe throwing it at times to keep them off balance. But we’re still running it pretty good compared to some teams I’ve studied.”

In regards to his secondary, he said two of the team’s biggest issues are experience and communication. “Some of these guys are learning the defense and haven’t played together. We’ve lost linebackers, we’ve lost safeties, we’ve lost our nickel back. You don’t have to be a genius, but you’re not going to be as good communicating and adjusting on the fly if you had some continuity there.”

Lastly, Gruden was asked about what the team has gotten from Darren Waller, who the team signed approximately one year ago today.

“We knew we were getting a great athlete. He’s essentially a rookie. And he’s turned himself into one of the best tight ends in football.”

He also said Tyrell Williams has battled a foot injury and he is unsure if the receiver is fully healthy.

The Raiders need to win this week at Kansas City to maintain any kind of serious possibility at a playoff spot.

At the least, it sounds like the team has moved on from Sunday’s loss.