Jon Gruden has a 10-year contract to coach the Raiders, so despite the team’s 1-5 start, he’s not going to be ejected any time soon.
Yet nobody can be happy with the way his reign has begun. Not only is the team losing on the field, but reports are he may be losing his team in the locker room as well.
Kyle Schnitzer of the New York Post, in a story published Wednesday, noted that the trade of Khalil Mack in the week before the season opener, the decision to dangle former No. 1 draft choices Amari Cooper and safety Karl Joseph, the release of veteran linebacker Derrick Johnson Tuesday and the way Gruden has marched into the franchise and re-made almost everything – with bad results, so far – is having a mounting negative effect on the entire team.
Wrote Schnitzer, in a story with the headline “Jon Gruden is losing control of the Raiders”: “Jon Gruden is trying to tell everyone the Raiders aren’t broken when all evidence points to the contrary.”
This week, Gruden said he’s not giving up on this season and he’s not trying to tank in 2018 to get more and better draft picks.
“I’ll say this, we aren’t tanking anything,” Gruden said. “I hear the hatred out there, some of the rumors that we are tanking it to get a first-round pick or a higher pick. We aren’t getting up at 4 o’clock in the morning to tank it. Ain’t nobody tanking it.”
Schnitzer noted, however, that some of the Raiders aren’t happy with the way things are going. Cornerback Rashaan Melvin, a starter, was benched this past weekend in the loss to the Seahawks and vented on Twitter, saying he was “frustrated and upset. I’m tired of it!”
And Charles Woodson, the Raiders’ former star cornerback and future Hall of Famer, also sounded upset on ESPN this past Sunday when talking about Gruden, especially noting the decision against the Chargers to throw on first-and-goal from the 1 vs. the Chargers – which resulted in an interception.
Said Woodson: “He traded away our best player, our best pass rusher, and then he gets on the podium saying, ‘We’ve got to find a pass rusher.’ Then we on the 1-yard line. We’ve got (Marshawn Lynch) in the backfield and we call a pass play and then throw the ball? … Is it a joke?”
Fans are frustrated, too. A team that went 12-4 in 2016 and went to the playoffs is horrible so far this season. Someone has launched a website counting down the years left on Gruden’s $100 million, 10-year deal, called IsGrudenGoneYet.com.
The Raiders have the oldest roster in the NFL. As Kevin Patra of NFL.com noted this week: “The Raiders are a floundering mess. The offense (Gruden’s forte) can’t move the ball. The quarterback barely throws beyond the line of scrimmage. The defense couldn’t find an opposing quarterback if it had Google Maps and an hour to get there.”
The Raiders have a bye this week and return to action Sunday, Oct. 28, vs. the Colts.