Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden spoke to the media for the first time in several months on Wednesday morning. Here are some highlights:
- Gruden said third-round draft pick, linebacker/safety Divine Deablo might be ready for training camp. He did not specify what is wrong with Deablo. The rookie didn’t participate in any offseason workouts and he hasn’t signed his contract so will need to catch up in training camp. The Raiders would like to see him play special teams right away.
- Gruden said the Raiders’ entire coaching staff has been vaccinated. Therefore they will be able to do everything in person. He said he wasn’t permitted to comment on the status of players, although it has been reported that the Raiders are doing a good job with it. On Wednesday, the NFL made it clear that life will be much easier for players who are vaccinated.
The NFL and NFLPA have agreed to updated COVID-19 protocols for 2021 training camp and preseason, per source.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) June 16, 2021
How different will life by for vaccinated and unvaccinated players? From the memo that just went to clubs: pic.twitter.com/8yMPW0JBWZ
- Gruden indicated that the best players will play in the secondary no matter when they were drafted. That could be a subtle call-out to 2019 first-round pick, safety Johnathan Abram and 2020 first rounder, cornerback Damon Arnette. The secondary competition is going to be fascinating to watch in free agency.
- Gruden said the Raiders have proven they can compete in the AFC West and now it’s time for them to “win at a much higher level.”
- Gruden said 2020 No. 12 overall pick, wide receiver Henry Ruggs looks much better than he did prior to last season and the Raiders need to get him more involved in the offense. He had 26 catches as a rookie, so, yes, he needs to be used more.
- Gruden said the Raiders are younger, faster and have more depth this year.