Just two days removed, Gruden is out of the league altogether after resigning from his post as the Raiders’ head coach. After a series of controversial emails sent by the one-time Super Bowl-winning coach was made public knowledge in reporting by The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, “Chucky,” as he’s affectionately known, was on borrowed time.
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Gruden Slammed by Vic
On Monday night, October 11, NFL reporter Tom Pelissero announced that Gruden had left Las Vegas. In his place steps Rich Bisaccia, former special teams coordinator, whose first opponent will be defensive mastermind Vic Fangio.
The third-year Broncos coach spoke to reporters about his thoughts on Gruden’s emails during his October 13 press conference. It’s fair to say Fangio wasn’t sheepish in his response.
“I just think there’s no place in the world, let alone our league, for the opinions that were expressed, and especially the words used to express those opinions,” Fangio said. “[The organization and I] are definitely against that. It was a bad situation.”
One wonders how the Raiders will shape up without their maligned former offensive play-caller. Fangio, though, isn’t under any illusions as to how Raiders’ quarterback Derek Carr and company will operate.
“Their offense, I’m sure, won’t change as far as schematically what they’re doing,” Fangio said. “Obviously, the new play-caller will maybe zero in on some other stuff that maybe they haven’t used as much or majored in. They have a lot of personnel groups. It’ll be the same offense, but how it’s called and how it’s utilized will be different.”
Waller & Offensive Efficiency Keys to Victory
What won’t have changed is the threat posed by 2020 Pro Bowl tight end Darren Waller. The 29-year-old has had two 100-yard games against the Broncos in his last three tries, most recently going for 117 yards and a touchdown off nine catches. Fangio must know stopping Waller is a key to the Broncos’ first victory over the Raiders since December 2019.
“He’s a wide receiver in a tight end body,” Fangio said of Waller. “He’s big enough to play tight end, do the blocking that they asked him to do, and be a regular tight end. He’s talented enough and fast enough to run ride receiver routes. He’s a special talent, and one of the special players in this league.”
It’s not just Waller the Broncos need to worry about. If they are to stop their slump and end Week 6 with a win, the offense must overcome their horrific third down conversion percentage.
“Offensively — we’ve had too many third-and-longs, but you have to be able to convert some of those,” Fangio said. “Lately, we haven’t been able to do that. We did it the first few weeks. I think we were 50% on third-and-seven plus during the first few weeks, but last two weeks, not so. I don’t know if we’ve gotten any or gotten one. We have to get more manageable third downs, and no matter what third down we’re in, we have to go convert.”
Follow Patrick Djordjevic on Twitter: @Patdjordjevic