Not everybody was on board with the Las Vegas Raiders throwing a boatload of money at Jon Gruden when they hired him in 2018. He’d been out of the game for a while and didn’t end his tenure with Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the most success. His second stint with the Raiders didn’t get off to the best start as one of his first big moves was to trade superstar pass rusher Khalil Mack.
The team had a terrible season and Gruden didn’t do a lot to inspire confidence. That changed last season as the Raiders were a lot better despite still having some big flaws. After five games in the 2020 season, it’s starting to look like Gruden has finally put together a playoff team. Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre was coached by Gruden so he knows a thing or two about the coach. He had some very high praise for Gruden after their big win against the Kansas City Chiefs.
“I mean, not that’s it’s overlooked, but I’m gonna talk about it as if it’s overlooked. Jon Gruden is a hell of a coach and he got paid a lot of money and is deserving of that money? Is anyone deserving of that money? But he’s a hell of a coach and he’s a great evaluator of talent,” Favre said.
"He's a hell of a coach and he's great evaluator of players."
— SiriusXM NFL Radio (@SiriusXMNFL) October 14, 2020
For a minute, it was starting to look like the game had passed Gruden by. He’s proving a lot of people wrong with the high-powered Raider offense he’s put together.
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Gruden Coach of the Year Candidate?
At 3-2, it’s hard to deny that Gruden has done an excellent job coaching this Raiders team. They’ve had one of the hardest schedules in the NFL to start the season but have still played really well. He’s finally got some good weapons to play with and he’s showing off that he can put together a very strong gameplan.
If the Raiders make it to the playoffs, Gruden has to be considered in the Coach of the Year race. The team has been to the playoffs once since 2002 and there have been so many people who have tried and failed to turn this team around. If Gruden can actually be the one to do it, he deserves recognition. There will be some strong candidates this year so the Raiders will need to finish the season really strong if they want their coach to win.
Raiders Schedule Eases up Soon
The Raiders have a brutal schedule this season, things get considerably easier the rest of the way. According to CBS Sports, Las Vegas has the easiest schedule of any team in the NFL entering Week 6.:
The Raiders’ 11 remaining opponents have combined record of 20-33, which puts their strength of schedule at .377.
That’s good news for a team that usually has one of the hardest schedules in the NFL. The league doesn’t seem to like to give the Raiders favors. At this point, missing the playoffs should be looked at as a disappointment.