Jon Gruden Takes Veiled Shot at Raiders Defender: ‘It’s a Disgrace’

arden key

Getty Arden Key pulling on Ryan Fitzpatrick's face mask.

With the Las Vegas Raiders‘ disastrous loss to the Miami Dolphins on Saturday, Jon Gruden has taken the majority of the blame. While he does deserve a lot of criticism for his decision making, he’s not the only one at fault. For whatever reason, Arden Key has escaped a lot of criticism but he was the perpetrator of the roughing the passer penalty that put the Dolphins in field goal range to win the game.

Gruden hasn’t called out Key by name but he’s had some pretty strong words about the play.

“Yeah, I have a regret because we lost the game on the most horrific play I’ve ever been associated with,” Gruden said Monday.

Gruden took heat for his decision to run out the clock and kick a field goal over scoring the easy touchdown. It was obviously the wrong call in hindsight but the coach still believes he made the right decision. He mainly blames the defense collapse for the loss.

“We study analytics,” Gruden said. “People think we don’t study analytics, but we study analytics. Analytics say that was a great move. That’s why analytics don’t know anything either. But I’m just kidding. But no, I don’t have any regrets.

“You have 19 seconds left with no timeouts at the minus-25-yard line. For us to not get off the field with a victory, it’s a shame, it’s a disgrace and it’s a reflection of me only. We have to do a lot better job than that.”

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Key Has to Be on Thin Ice With Raiders

Gruden isn’t about to throw Key under the bus but he deserves a lot of blame for the Raiders’ loss to the Dolphins. If he doesn’t commit that penalty, Miami is out of field range with limited time. It’s possible they still pull it off but Key’s mistake made things a lot easier for them.

If the defensive end wasn’t a third-round pick, he might have been cut after the Dolphins game. In 36 games with the Raiders, he only has three sacks – including zero this season. He got a ton of hype heading into this season after an impressive training camp. Despite that, he still can’t get after the quarterback. It’s fair to question if he’ll ever recapture the magic from his sophomore year at LSU when he had 11 sacks.

Gruden Does Believe Defense Improved

In the first half of Saturday’s game, the defense actually looked really solid. They were getting after the quarterback and weren’t making dumb mistakes. The second half wasn’t as strong and ended in disaster but there’s no doubt the group played better.

“I think everybody notice,” Gruden said of the defensive improvements. “We didn’t have a lot of errors. Guys were confident and sure of themselves. It wasn’t perfect and I don’t want to sound like I’m critiquing Paul Guenther either, but we didn’t do as much on defense. We played hard.

“The disappointing thing is we played well enough to win that football game. It goes down to one lousy play and it still sticks in my gut the wrong way right now.”

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