When the Oakland Raiders decided to give Jon Gruden a massive contract after he was out of the NFL for almost a decade, there were plenty of naysayers who thought it was a bad move. His first year back didn’t help as the Raiders went 4-12 and looked bad on both sides of the ball. Well, a lot can change in a year and Gruden has now coached his team to a 5-4 record through 9 games in 2019.
Thanks to the Raiders’ quick turnaround from mediocrity to potential playoff team has led some to believe that Gruden could be a Coach of the Year candidate after the season. It’s not a big secret that Raider fans love to call out the media for hot takes about the team that they get wrong. Raiders Beat pointed out hypocritical headlines from Pro Football Talk and Derek Carr’s brother, David, blasted the news outlet by calling them clowns.
Carr’s go-to insult seems to be to call people clowns as he did the same thing to Antonio Brown during his exit from Oakland. After one season, outlets like Pro Football Talk were ready to give up on Gruden. The earlier tweet that Raiders Beat referenced came from PFT’s Twitter account in September, so it’s not a very old take. Winning can change a lot of things very quickly.
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Can Jon Gruden Win Coach of the Year?
If Jon Gruden can get this Raiders team to the playoffs this year, it’s hard to imagine a better candidate for the Coach of the Year award. There are plenty of worthy candidates for the award like Sean McDermott, who has helped change the long-dormant Buffalo Bills team into a defensive powerhouse. Ron Rivera and Mike Tomlin are also really strong candidates if they can lead their teams to the playoffs with backup quarterbacks.
While all of their performances have been incredible, Gruden has dealt with quite a bit. After all of the Antonio Brown drama, Oakland could’ve easily fallen apart and just accepted a sub-par season. However, his departure has only brought the team closer and much of that is thanks to Gruden. The Raiders could easily be 2-7 right now, but they are still in the mix for a playoff spot. A big reason they’ve won five games is thanks to Gruden’s offense. Outside of a couple of games, the coach has put together excellent gameplans. The only reason the offense hasn’t scored more points this season is because of some really simple mistakes.
The fact that the team didn’t play a game at their home stadium for five games against good teams and came out of the road trip still in the playoff mix is also a testament to the job Gruden has done. The Raiders are far from a finished product and there some big things the team is going to need to fix before they are a legit Super Bowl contender, but this year has proven that Gruden has still got it. It was always going to take him some time for him to get re-acclimated to the NFL and to build a roster he was happy with. Give this team a top wide receiver and some more defensive playmakers and Gruden could be back in the Super Bowl faster than anybody expected.