In addition to updating the status of a few key injured players, Jon Gruden praised the Kansas City Chiefs’ receivers and Patrick Mahomes in his weekly Friday presser.
On Lamarcus Joyner, Gruden said, “He practiced. We’re taking him off the list.” Joyner will most likely start at safety and nickel corner in Sunday’s big AFC West game.
On the possibilities for the Raiders’ receiving corps on Sunday, Gruden was indecisive.
“There’s a possibility he’ll (recently elevated wide receiver Rico Gafford from the practice squad) be up. We still have to look at how many receivers. We’ve been carrying five, but which five will be determined here in the next couple hours.”
When asked why he likes playing at Arrowhead Stadium so much, Gruden provided an answer from history:
“I just like the old school stadiums personally. Nothing against the new ones, they’re fantastic. It’s just, there’s a lot of history there. A lot of memories I have there. Some of my, uh, my first game I ever coached was there. It didn’t go well, but some of our best wins that I was ever associated with happened there. And I just love passionate football people and that place is full of them. It’s just a cool place to play. If you’re a football fan, you should try to get there to see a game.”
Gruden sounded a bit like his Monday Night Football days when discussing the Chiefs’ receivers:
“We’re going to give them everything we have. We have a lot of respect for Hill and Watkins, all of those receivers, Kelce, you can keep naming them. Uh, the rookie from Georgia’s playing extremely well, the other guy [name not audibly clear], you know they’re a very talented team.”
On the Chiefs’ offense in Week 2 scoring all their touchdowns outside the red zone:
“I’m surprised the NFL hasn’t changed the rule and given them like a three-point shot. They score outside the red zone, they get eight points. They’re capable of really making big plays. We’ve got to minimize that, or we won’t the game, that’s for sure. They’re explosive. They’re going to be fresh too, they’re coming off a bye. We know we’re going to get a fired-up crowd with first place on the line.”
Gruden, though, went to his anti-analytics spiel again when asked about the importance of establishing the run this week.
“It’s always important. Too many people today, I think, watch statistics. We never used to have these conversations about rushing stats, and QB Rating, and all this bull****. I’m going to do everything I can to hand the ball off to Josh [Jacobs] in critical situations, and we’re counting on him.”
Whether you agree with Gruden or not about the importance of the running game or his use of it, it has become pretty clear that this is how he is building the Raiders team. And it seems like as good a week as any to use the running game to maintain possession and keep Mahomes and the Chiefs offense off the field, as well as to potentially keep the crowd out of the game.
Executing that plan is another story. If the Raiders can execute, maybe Gruden and the Raiders will leave Kansas City with another huge win.