As long as head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock are together with the Raiders, there will be questions about their relationship.
Mayock already has acknowledged Gruden will have the final word on any personnel decisions, but Gruden says he respects Mayock’s opinions and long track record. So far, Gruden and Mayock say they don’t expect any problems.
But, it’s only been a few weeks, and the Raiders still haven’t had a chance to sign free agents or use any draft choices. Those opportunities will come in the next few weeks.
But – despite possible ego-bruising battles ahead between the two -- some longtime NFL coaches and front-office people who know both told Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Ed Graney this week they believe Gruden and Mayock will actually make a good team.
Gruden has years of coaching experience and worked as a TV analyst. Mayock has been the NFL Network’s No. 1 draft analyst.
“I actually think Mike will be really good for Jon,” said former 49ers head coach Steve Mariucci, at the Super Bowl in Atlanta this week, where he’s working as an NFL Network analyst. “Mike hasn’t had the title of general manager before, but he has certainly been doing the work of one. He and Jon respect each other. They’ll disagree on some things and then they’ll work it out, but they’ll always do what they believe is best for the organization. It’s a great acquisition for the Raiders, and I hate them for it, because it means we no longer have Mike with us.”
Former Baltimore Ravens head coach Brian Billick says Mayock is diligent, learning everything he possibly can about draft prospects. Billick sees Mayock as being able to give Gruden informed input.
“When I was in Baltimore, our draft room under (general manager) Ozzie Newsome, who was as good as anyone I’ve known, wasn’t just him sitting around and telling everyone what he thought,” said Billick. “Ozzie listened to others. He was always saying, ‘What do you think? What guys do you like? Go watch this film and tell me what you see.’…
“Mike does the work. He grinds the tape. He will be at the workouts. He knows talent.”
Though Gruden often comes off as cocky to fans and the media, Gruden says he respects what Mayock brings to the Raiders. Gruden says he may be higher on the organizational flow chart, but Mayock will “call a lot of the shots.”
Said Gruden: “We’re going to work hand in hand together.”