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Big Brothers Big Sisters plans big things

Big Brothers Big Sisters plans big things
November 08
05:00 2018

This past off-season, the Oakland Raiders seemed to get the best coach available in the NFL by signing John Gruden.  Gruden, a Super Bowl winning coach, signed a 10-year $100 million contract with the Raiders. After a loss to the 49ers on Thursday night, the Raiders fell to 1-7 on the year and the Raiders team seems to be in total disarray.

Coming into the year, Gruden looked to be the prized off-season coaching hire in the league. That quickly changed when there were whispers of a riff between Gruden and star linebacker, Khalil Mack.  Mack was looking for a new contract, but Gruden was not willing to sign the All-Pro to the contract he wanted.

Mack held out the entire preseason, prompting Gruden to trade Mack to the Chicago Bears. That move shocked the team and the entire league for that matter. Mack is arguably the best defensive player in the league and Gruden traded him instead of paying him what he was owed. That was the start of the downfall for Gruden.

The Raiders never seemed to bounce back from that move. From the beginning of the season, the team looked to be a step behind in all phases of the game. Couple that with the bad play of quarterback Derek Carr, Oakland seemed to be in big trouble.

It continued to go downhill for Gruden as the Raiders continued to lose ballgames and look terrible while doing so. Then Gruden decided to make another puzzling move by trading wide receiver Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys. That move seemed to further divide the Oakland locker room.

No one is quite sure what direction Gruden is taking the Raiders. Prior to the start of the season, they seemed to have all of the pieces to at least make a playoff run. As they stand now, they will probably have the Number One overall pick in next year’s draft. I’m sure this is not what the Raiders had in mind for Gruden’s first year.

Oakland really has hit rock bottom after last Thursday’s game against the 49ers. It wasso  bad that they lost 34-3 to San Francisco, but what makes the loss even worse is that they lost to a third string undrafted quarterback making his first career NFL start. No one had ever heard of Nick Mullens, but the Raiders made him look like an All-Star. 

I am not sure if Gruden is delusional or just trying to keep up morale, but he doesn’t seem to be bothered by his team’s performance. These were some of his words following the loss to the 49ers.

“Sometimes we miss a tackle. Sometimes we miss two tackles. Sometimes we have a man out of his gap. Sometimes we gotta coach perhaps better. It all comes back to me,” he said.

“We just got to do a better job collectively. Sometimes guys do a little too much, they see too much.  But in this league, if you make a mistake, good teams and good players will hurt you real bad and that’s been the case.”

Gruden really had to be kidding. The 49ers are not a good team, so to be beaten by them 34-3 is embarrassing. San Francisco came into the game with a 1-7 record themselves and were not playing well previously.

For the past couple of weeks, the Raiders’ players don’t seem very interested in competing at a high level. They even appeared to give up while playing San Francisco, running half speed and not giving maximum effort.

Raiders’ owner Mark Davis is stuck with Gruden for nine and a half more years and owes him a whopping $95 million on his contract, so firing Gruden would not be a wise move at this moment. He is going to have to wait and see if Gruden can turn things around.

Gruden was out of coaching for ten years after leaving Tampa Bay in 2008. While he was away from the game, Gruden was lauded as one of the coaching geniuses in the game. I have always thought Gruden received more credit than he deserved. Yes, he won a Super Bowl with the Bucs, but everyone knows that was Tony Dungy’s team. Dungy was the one who collected all of that talent and Gruden really rode the wave all the way to the top.

I am not saying Gruden is a bad coach, but he may be out of touch with today’s game. The league has changed over the last decade, so Gruden needs to adjust his style accordingly. For the Raiders sake, let’s hope he can turn things around sooner than later.

On the bright side, by trading away Mack and Cooper, the Raiders now have five first round draft picks over the next two years. Maybe Gruden is a mad scientist that has some great plan that we are just not aware of. I doubt that’s the case, but I will give him the benefit of the doubt until we see how things shake out over the next two or three years.  Good luck, coach.

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