It’s safe to say that Jon Gruden‘s return to the Las Vegas Raiders hasn’t gone according to plan. The coach deserves a mulligan for his first season back as the team was in a full rebuild. Despite the collapse last season, Gruden did improve the team and showed real promise.
Year three should’ve been the year he got things in order and it looked like the former Super Bowl champion was back. The Raiders got off to a hot start this season and were playoff bound. Unfortunately, they fell apart again and are at risk to finish the season with a 7-9 record for the second straight year. A lot of the team’s struggles should fall on Gruden’s shoulders.
“Well, the coach hasn’t gotten it done, and Davis should reconsider his options despite his earlier elation,” Sobleski wrote.
Sobleski went into some of the questionable trade decisions Gruden has made and believes that the late-season collapses are the most concerning thing about his return.
ALL the latest Raiders news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on Raiders newsletter here!
Too Early to Give up on Gruden Right Now
All of Sobleski’s criticisms are valid and Gruden does deserve plenty of heat for his shortcomings. That said, it’s still too early to move on quite yet. First of all, Davis isn’t going to eat the cost of firing Gruden and hiring a new coach.
Also, this year has been very weird and the Raiders have been hit hard by COVID-19. Gruden’s got plenty of excuses he can throw at Davis. There are times when it looks like the game has passed Gruden by but there have also been moments of brilliance. We can’t forget that this man outcoached Sean Payton and Andy Reid in games this season. Gruden isn’t perfect and it’s fair to question if he’s the answer for the Raiders but the team has invested too much into the coach. Moving on from him could derail the team for another few years.
Gruden’s Should Be on a Shorter Leash
Gruden isn’t going anywhere quite yet but Davis should consider taking back some authority. The coach’s player evaluations have been questionable and some of his playcalling is baffling. Davis should pressure Gruden to hire a new offensive coordinator that brings more to the table than Greg Olson. Also, Davis can’t allow Gruden to just hire one of his buddies to serve as defensive coordinator. The team needs to find a great defensive mind as Gruden isn’t going to be coaching much defense.
If the Raiders fail to make the playoffs next season, then it will be time to think about making a change at the top. Four seasons without a playoff appearance would be very bad for one of the highest-paid coaches in the NFL. Gruden’s seat isn’t hot quite yet but it has to be heating up. It’s also possible that he’ll resign if the Raiders keep missing the playoffs. That would make life a lot easier for Davis.