Jan. 16, 2018
Jon Gruden is a bigger risk than you might think
With the arrival of Jon Gruden to Oakland becoming official on Tuesday, a new, and quite frankly pivotal era in Raiders history will begin. Gruden's introductory press conference will likely be filled with questions about how excited he is to make his return to coaching and how happy he is to be doing where his career took off. However, it seems to be that the excitement of "chucky" coming back to Oakland is currently blinding Raider Nation from seeing what's really going on. The Raiders are still a mediocre football team on the decline. Gruden is walking into a situation in Oakland that will leave him with expectations to take a disappointing team from last year and turn them into a Super Bowl contender next year. Unfortunately for Mark Davis, it is going to take much more than a coaching switch up to fix the on-field product. For starters, the Raiders lost what was their backbone in their 12-4 season in 2016, the Offense. Oakland went from the league's sixth best offense in 2016, down to the league's 18th ranked offense last season. Derek Carr saw a major decline as well, going from a 28/6 TD to interception ratio in 2016 to a 22/13 ratio this year. The receiving corps took a hit as well, with Micheal Crabtree and Amari Cooper going from 13th and 17th in receptions, respectively, all the way down to 60th and 51st. To turn things around, Gruden will need to make significant changes to the offense and fix things quickly so the Raiders can get back to what made them so strong in 2016. Another headache for Gruden will be the atrocious Raiders defense. Oakland ranked 26th overall defensively for the second straight year, allowing 350.1 yards a game. Outside of Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin, the Raiders need major changes to the defense to become a true championship threat. Summed up, the Raiders need help all over the place, and this offseason will make it hard to find that help. The Raiders will only have around $22 million to spend this offseason and it won't be easy to convince free agents to come to a team on the decline that will also be relocating soon. To ask Gruden to take on all these challenges head-on is a lot to ask of someone who hasn't coached in ten years. One of the main reason the Raiders wanted Gruden so bad was to create a buzz around the team for their upcoming move to Vegas. However, if Gruden isn't able to turn things around quickly. The Raiders franchise will be in a huge hole. Should Gruden's second chance be unsuccessful, it will leave the Raiders with a losing team that claimed Gruden as it's last hope, and any buzz created will have vanished along with any excitement from potential fans in Las Vegas. Gruden's second term with the Raiders may prove to make or break his coaching legacy.