As Jon Gruden guides the Las Vegas Raiders to a third straight non-winning season, the narrative nationally is quickly turning.
Many people are starting to wonder if Gruden is the right coach to lead Las Vegas into the future.
When put into this perspective. Especially since the #Raiders fired Del Rio who took them to the playoffs just to give Gruden $100 million guaranteed, it's really sad. https://t.co/kLxZEgJ1om— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) December 28, 2020
Jon Gruden in 2018: "If I can’t get it done, I’m not going to take their money" https://t.co/K4f5VoCEf7— Neil Greenberg (@ngreenberg) December 28, 2020
This kind of blowback happens when a coach fails to make a difference three years into a program.
Add the fact that Raiders’ owner Mark Davis made Gruden the richest coach in the league with an unheard of 10-year, $100-million contract and the franchise celebrated the hire like a Super Bowl win, people are going to pounce when things don’t work out.
And, so far, things have not worked out for Gruden and the Raiders in his heralded return. The Raiders are 18-29 since 2018 and they have suffered massive late-season collapses the past two years.
Davis fired Jack Del Rio moments after the 2017 season ended — amid rumors of a Gruden return — after Del Rio led the Raiders to a 25-23 record in three seasons, including the team’s only playoff berth and only winning season (2016) since 2002.
The seven coaching hires in 2018 have provided a mixed bag. Three coaches — Frank Reich (Indianapolis Colts), Mike Vrabel (Tennessee Titans) and Matt Nagy (Chicago Bears) — have advanced to the playoffs. Three coaches — Pat Shurmur (New York Giants), Matt Patricia (Detroit Lions) and Steve Wilks (Arizona Cardinals) — were quickly fired. Then, there is Gruden, who hasn’t been good, but also who hasn’t been close to getting fired.
In the NFL, winning is everything and the Raiders have taken a step back under Gruden. Still, despite losing and national chatter about him being on the hot seat, there has been zero talk that Gruden will actually be fired.
That’s because it would be a total shock if Davis made that move. He loves and believes in Gruden. In short, he will likely get more time to build his program.
I believe Gruden should get a fourth year because it would be disruptive to the program if any change is made. Quarterback Derek Carr doesn’t need another coaching change right now.
However. if Gruden fails to take the Raiders to the playoffs in 2021, then it’s time for Davis to start listening to the national pundits and seriously consider getting a new head coach.
What are your thoughts on Gruden’s future?