Gruden May Use Irvin More in the Pass Rush

Raiders new head coach believes Irvin is more dynamic as a pass rusher off the edge than in pass coverage

Jon Gruden has't been around the Raiders all that long in his second stint as the team’s head coach, but it appears he’s already made a decision about how he wants to use Bruce Irvin.

Irvin, who's played outside linebacker in the Raiders' scheme, may be used more as an edge rusher in 2018.

Paul Gutierrez, who covers the Raiders for, wrote recently that Gruden said at last week's NFL combine that Irvin is at his best when he’s rushing the passer, not covering receivers as a linebacker.

Gruden told Gutierrez that Irvin could use "some help so he can do the things that he does the best, more often."

If that's the plan, the 6-foot-3, 245-pound Irvin, 30, would likely move into a line-of-scrimmage spot opposite of Khalil Mack, which would require the Raiders to go after an outside linebacker in free agency or the draft.

Gruden says he's followed Irvin's career for a long time and says one of the reason he likes him is because Irvin always is on the field. Plus, he has speed and quickness that is hard to find. His talents are almost wasted at linebacker, he said.

"I really think (Irvin is) playing a difficult position because he's really an edge player," Gruden said. "And when you ask him to play over the tight end or over the offensive tackle at his size, you can get beat up. But he's still a very good pass rusher. I think he plays with good effort. We just need to get him some help so he can do the things he does the best more often."

"He’s at his best screaming off the edge and as a threat off the edge," Gruden added, "hopefully we can find some assets to help him do that."

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