There really shouldn’t be a lot for Oakland Raiders head coach, Jon Gruden, to complain about after Monday’s win over the Denver Broncos. Oakland played a pretty well-rounded game on both offense and defense against a tough divisional rival. This win marked the 100th of Gruden’s career and it came at a time when the team really needed it. After a year that saw the Raiders field a roster that was the oldest in the NFL, they now have one of the youngest and it showed. The youth the team has will be great for team energy, but there are going to be some growing pains along the way.
Johnathan Abram & Vontaze Burfict Need to Limit the Reckless Play
Two of the biggest defensive additions the Raiders made in the offseason were Vontaze Burfict and Johnathan Abram. Burfict is a seasoned veteran, who has played at a very high level at points in his career. Abram is a rookie who quickly earned a starting spot. They’ve both gained reputations for their aggressive play. In Burfict’s case, this led to him getting little banged up during the Broncos game. Jon Gruden had a chance to talk about Burfict and his new defenders.
“He plays so hard and he’s so reckless in his style of play,” said Gruden when asked about Burfict. “He and Abram and Joyner give us a different dimension, I think, in the middle of our defense… Vontaze, I think he’s going to be okay this week, he’s just, I’m sure, very sore today.”
Looks like Burfict just got a little dinged up due to his hard play. The Raiders definitely need him against the high-powered Kansas City Chiefs offense. Speaking of players that play really hard, Gruden called out Abram for some missed tackles.
“I think he probably got a little bit too reckless at times,” said Gruden about Abram. “Made some great plays, some impact plays… I think some tackles he’s gotta make for us – he missed. His debut was pretty good.”
What wasn’t mentioned is that Abram also was the one who caused Gareon Conley to get injured because he hit a running back late. Oakland is very high on Abram, but he definitely needs to play with more intelligence if he’s going to have a long career in the NFL.
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Johnathan Abram Messed up His Facemask
Nothing shows how hard Abram played more than his facemask after the game. The safety posted a picture on Instagram to show of how beat up his facemask got.
His facemask looks completely bent and really dinged up. Abram is definitely a throwback to older safeties. He’s a perfect fit for the Raiders. The problem is, the NFL really values players safety these days – as they should. Abram needs to be careful to not rack up the penalties. If he can figure out how to play less recklessly, he could be a very good player for the Raiders.