Final thoughts on Gruden the football coach

Emphasis on coach and not the man and his emails. There is enough press on his actions before his second stint with Raiders and there is no need to add more vitriol if we are focused on football and Raiders.

First of all, are we better as a football team today than where we were in 2017/18?

I would argue yes.

Chucky has been criticised for the Mack trade but I looked at our final 2 games of the 2016 season without Carr and it is crystal clear to me that our roster even with KM was not good enough to carry games without a good QB. Those games at Denver and Houston were huge and the weaknesses of the roster became magnified without Carr.

On top of roster weakness, the roster was aging and even with Carr back and Mack at his peak, there was just no way Don Penn, Crabs, Irvin, Nelson etc was going give us a shot at being competitive in the playoffs. And it would get worse every year we hung on to that roster as these guys got even older . And clearly, we would have to hang on to that roster for the most part if Carr and Mack were both to get paid. We would be at best a middling team with middling draft pick positions with too many holes for the draft to fill.

So I fully supported the rebuild and that brings us to who we brought in.

I will ignore the stop gap , temporary roster replacements brought in as irrelevant as it takes time and opportunity to acquire top tier vets and draft talent so no offense to guys like Jordy Nelson, Bowman, D Johnson, Jared Cook, Lee Smith etc.

The FA vets we have now are NOT temporary roster replacements anymore, they are quality vets who have shown that are at least solid if not elite contributors... Waller, Yannick, Jones, Thomas, Jefferson, Philon, Littleton etc.

As for the draft, the question is have we obtained more keepers than under previous regimes the last 2 decades?

I would argue again yes. We had too many holes in too many positions. Mack cannot play every position on defense and neither can the sulky Coop on offence.

4 drafts have resulted in 10 starters in Miller, Jacobs, Ruggs, Edwards, Renfrow, Crosby, Hobbs, Mullen, Moehrig, Abrams. Notice I have omitted for now developing guys like Leatherwood, Parker, Moreau, Arnette and Robertson for example.

That I would submit is a solid hit rate under Gruden's tenure and these are key positions the draftees are filling.

Together with the vets, I believe we have a more talented and deeper roster than at any time under said previous regimes that with just one or 2 more years of development and the continuation of cap management, good drafting and vet addition would place us as genuine SB contenders.

We are close I believe, closer than at any time under Del Rio and for that alone, I thank Gruden, Mayock and their staff for finally giving us fans REAL optimism that this is a TEAM that is to be reckoned, not a collection of aging vets relying on one superstar pretending to be real contenders.

Meanwhile, Mack is 30 years old and just look at the Bears now.

I remember commenting after the trade to a celebrating Bears fan that their big acquisition would be just hype if Trubisky could not live up to his high draft status. Sure enough....

Yes they beat us on Sunday but I would argue we beat ourselves on Sunday. We are a better, younger and a more balanced team than them and I would put down the loss to the shock of the controversy. What the Bears mortgaged for Mack did not pay off in the way they planned... they obviously thought Mack was the last piece they needed for a SB push. The Raiders on the other hand are young and trending up.

Yes I have criticisms over some coaching and play calling decisions over the years under Gruden but no coach is ever immune from that unless his last name happens to be Bellichick, Madden or Lombardi and even greats like Landry, Shula, Ditka, Parcells have gone through periods of intense criticism and fan displeasure. So there is no need for me to dwell on this, my final post on Chucky.

So, after all that is said and done, as a life long Raiders fan who loves the Raiders as much as he does, i just want to say this ....

Thank you Mr Gruden for what you have achieved for our team. We are much closer to the ultimate prize now than we were when you joined.

Godspeed in your journeys through life Coach.