It’s been about a year and a half into the Jon Gruden experiment for the Oakland Raiders and opinions on the coach have varied significantly. He went from being a washed-up coach who only won a Super Bowl because of Tony Dungy to a potential Coach of the Year candidate. While Brett Favre wasn’t among his naysayers, if he had a vote for the award, he’d be casting it towards Gruden.
On a recent appearance on Sirius XM’s NFL Radio, Favre couldn’t praise the Raiders coach enough.
“You know, I don’t know what the outcome of the season will be, but if I had to pick a Coach of the Year right now, it would be Jon Gruden,” said Favre.
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Oakland wasn’t supposed to be in the race for the AFC West title this far into the season, but they are and much of that is thanks to Gruden’s coaching. The coach started off his newest tenure with the Raiders by making a shocking move to trade fan-favorite Khalil Mack. Favre talked about how many balked at the move.
“Some people may say I’m absolutely crazy, but I think he’s done a tremendous job… Last year when he traded Khalil Mack and Mack’s first game against Green Bay, he just goes crazy and has a tremendous game and everybody says, ‘is Gruden crazy.’ Trades [Amari] Cooper.”
Gruden’s first season back in Oakland was mostly a disaster. The team only won four games and it looked like the coach had let the game pass him by. The prospects for 2019 were much better. The team brought in Antonio Brown and Trent Brown in an effort to improve the offense. They also drafted exciting running back Josh Jacobs. The stars were aligning in Oakland and it looked like they could field a top offense. Well, things didn’t go according to plan and Antonio Brown caused an absurd amount of drama on his way out. Instead of falling apart, the team came together and Favre praised Gruden for that fact.
“Then he has the Antonio [Brown] fiasco at the start of the season. All this could’ve destroyed this team and I think when you look at all these things that have occurred and where they are – and more importantly how they’re playing. They’re playing well and they’re responding to how he coaches. It’s just a tremendous job. I’m really impressed with what he’s done.”
Favre should be quite familiar with Gruden as the latter was a coach in Green Bay while the quarterback was playing there. The biggest thing to look at when talking about Gruden as a coach is how the offense is doing. It’s no secret that Gruden controls the offense and lets his defensive coordinator run the defense. The Raider offense looks completely different this year and is among the most efficient in the NFL. Gruden’s play-calling has been on-point for most of the season and has been able to put up points on strong defenses. There are plenty of other coaches that are worthy of the Coach of the Year award, but if Gruden can get the Raiders back to the playoffs for only the second time since 2002, he should easily get the award.