Raiders' Recent Moves Show Gruden is in Charge

Recent reports from sources inside the organization indicate Gruden has become far more influential than GM McKenzie in a matter of less than four months

Almost four months after being hired by the Raiders, Jon Gruden reportedly has consolidated his power over the entire organization.

According to Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report, in a story published Tuesday, a source inside the organization has told him the new head coach “has effectively replaced Reggie McKenzie as GM.”

“What’s surprised some in the Raiders organization is the scope and speed of the takeover,” wrote Freeman. “While Gruden and McKenzie have publicly stated they are in agreement on personnel moves, the truth is that Gruden had made practically all of them since his return (to football).”

Essentially, writes Freeman, Gruden has evolved into having the kind of power Bill Belichick has with the New England Patriots as a de facto head coach/general manager. Freeman reports Gruden has “quietly consolidated power to the point where he’s effectively head coach, general manager, CEO and just about everything else.”

Alex Marvez of The Sporting News also reported Gruden’s growth in power and influence, and wrote that changes are expected in the personnel department, now that the NFL draft is over, to shape it more to Gruden’s liking.

Freeman noted that the Raiders’ draft was much different this year than in past years when McKenzie was in charge. McKenzie favored players with few character risks, he wrote, and leaned toward players from large programs. In this draft and recent veteran free-agent period, however, Oakland gambled on some players with off-field question marks and drafted some athletes from smaller programs (such as P.J. Hall and Brandon Parker).

Added Freeman: “McKenzie took chances, but not to this degree. One NFC scout said the Raiders had ‘the riskiest draft, top to bottom, I’ve seen in many years.’ The Gruden era is in full effect.”

One of the questions now is – aside from how all these roster changes will play out in 2018 – how long will McKenzie remain a part of the Raiders organization? Will he want to stick around now that Gruden has climbed over him on the organizational chart?

One thing’s certain: Gruden isn’t going anywhere. He has a 10-year contract.

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