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Silver Minings: Jon Gruden praises Alex Leatherwood

Raiders’ head coach spoke highly of the rookie OT

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NFL: Las Vegas Raiders Training Camp
Alex Leatherwood
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden spoke to the media after practice on Saturday and started with a few quick answers to the first two or three questions. Gruden’s responses were sufficient but certainly brief. Then, someone asked him about rookie offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood and it was almost as if that was the question the coach was waiting for all along.

Gruden had plenty of good things to say about the rookie when asked about his impressions of Leatherwood so far:

“He is a veteran. A lot of guys got drafted ahead of him that didn’t even play this year. This guy played 15 games, won a national title at left tackle. I like Alabama guys. I get accused of that because when I turn on their film, they beat the hell out of everybody, and a lot of times they win games because they got the best players.

“I know their coaching staff is outstanding, but this is one of the most decorated offensive linemen coming out of college football ever. He blocked for Tua [Tagovailoa]; he blocked for another first-rounder the next year.

“All their wideouts are first-rounders and I think Najee Harris went in the first round, so somebody is blocking. I mean you’ve got plus eight-length. You measure him, his width and his height, he’s eight inches longer than he is tall, and that’s a huge trait for the tackles that we look for.”

Hearing phrases like “he is a veteran” should be comforting for Raider fans to hear because that likely means Leatherwood is picking up the complicated offense quickly. Hopefully this trend continues as the team starts to put the pads on in practice.

In other Raiders’ links:

  • Theo Riddick retires: Backup running back hangs ‘em up after eight seasons.
  • All or nothing for Gruden: Josh Jacobs talks about how the coach’s mentality and energy have been different so far this season.
  • Arnette and Farrell backups: Both former first-round picks are working with the second-string as the Raiders are reportedly in “win-now” mode.
  • Big plans for Morrow: The linebacker had a break-out season last year and might have earned an expanded role on the team’s defense in 2021.
  • Madden rankings are here: Darren Waller tops the list as the highest-rated Raider with Josh Jacobs and Richie Incognito behind the pass-catcher.