COLIN COWHERD: Danny, do you think this Gruden Raiders reunion is going to succeed?
DANNY KANELL: I do. I didn’t love the terms, when you’re hearing about some of them. And I know the ownership didn’t come to fruition. But I think when we see that type of money that’s going to be thrown at Jon Gruden, it’s going to be absurd. But I don’t think Jon Gruden is coming back for the money. I think he’s coming back because of the situation that he’s getting.
And he’s getting a team that just a season ago was 12 and 4, was right there. He’s got Derek Carr, who was MVP caliber a year ago. Now they had a rough season this year, it kind of fell apart a little bit. It started when Derek Carr got hurt at the end of that season, that playoff run. But Jon Gruden doesn’t come back unless he knows he’s got a chance to win.
And I think he’ll be able to step into that locker room, and because of the TV stuff, some of the stuff that made him more attractive and the reason he came up in every single rumor whenever there was a coaching opportunity available, will gain him respect in that locker room. And that means a lot. Those players are going to look at him, and they’re going to say, oh, this guy’s a winner. We’ve seen him. He’s got the Super Bowl ring.
But he also has some cachet across the NFL. I think that matters. Guys are going to buy into what he’s selling. I think the most important thing he has to do is he probably has to get rid of Marshawn Lynch. And if you have a sit down with Marshawn, and he’s not willing to buy into everything you’re doing, you get him out of the locker room. I think you undermine Derek Carr’s leadership skills in that locker room.
You’ve got some talent on the defensive side of the ball, young talent, like Kalil Mack. You’ve got an incredible wide receiver in Amari Cooper. He will win in Oakland.
COLIN COWHERD: Yeah, I don’t see it. I think nine years– baseball today, there’s analytics, but it mostly looks like baseball 50 years ago. Football 10 years ago and today are different sports. There’s no more fullbacks. There’s no more huddles. The tight end has become incredibly crucial.
If you look at the way you draft, how players project, what you’re getting from college to the pros, quarterbacks, the leagues different. Listen man, Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan, who’s who you now compete against, these guys are like tech wizards, they’re like Zuckerberg. They’re like the young hot-shot from Harvard. And now they’re running companies in Silicon Valley. That’s who you’re competing against.
He’s an older guy. He’s a TV personality. He’s in a sport that’s changed the most. And frankly, this is not a rich franchise. The Raiders are the– they have the poorest owner. This feels almost to me like a marketing move as much as a coaching move. And those never work out. It feels like they need to sell tickets, he’s a kind of a cool fit, people will talk about the brand. I think Jay Gruden today is a better coach than Jon Gruden.
MARK SCHLERETH: Here’s the interesting thing for me. I understand how the league operates. I also know this. Tackling people, blocking people, those things never go in and out of style. If you can do that, if you can control the line of scrimmage, you can win in football today, yesterday, and in the future. I know that for a fact. The other thing that’s interesting about Jon Gruden, it’s not like he went away for nine years and just did TV.
This dude is up every morning at 3:30– I can call him at 3:30 in the morning– yeah, Stink, what’s up, what are you doing? That’s him. He walks in or rolls into his office, the fired football coaches of America office. He’s got three different bays in there. He’s got, I mean, literally everything an NFL team has, as far as film and everything else.
And this guy has stayed up with the game like nobody else has. He’s been a coach in the booth, doing the quarterback camps, all the stuff that he does. So he’s kept up with the changing aspect and the changing philosophies of the National Football League.
It really comes down to this with the Oakland Raiders, it’s a cultural move. Every person that comes in there has tried to change the culture. The one guy that did it, until they became unenamored with him, was Jon Gruden. And he had great success with Oakland when he coached there. Then they traded him away to Tampa. And you know what, the rest is history. They went on this 15 year just debacle. But that’s a guy, to me, that can coach. And it’s not going to go in and out of style. I think is a good move for the Raiders.
ERIC DICKERSON: I agree. I think when you think of Jon Gruden, I think of the Raiders. When you think of Tampa Bay, people say that Gruden went in there and won a Super Bowl with Dungy’s team. And I think he’s tired of hearing that. I think he wants to say, look, I put a team together, this is my team. And I want to say I won a Super Bowl.
He has a quarterback. And he’s– no better guy with a quarterback, he has Derek Carr. I mean, people talk about Sean McVay. Where did he come from? Jon Gruden, he’s a Jon Gruden prodigy, a Jon Gruden prodigy. Look what Sean McVay is doing.
And you’re right, he’s a guy that’s in the office late at night. Matter of fact, Sean McVay, one of the players that left the Rams, he said Sean McVay sent me a text at like 8:00. I didn’t get back to him till like that 10:00 at night, no, like 12:00– that’s 3:00 in the morning on the east coast. He said, I text him, I said it’s too late, I don’t want to call you tonight. He called me back and said, I’m up, I’m watching film. So most definitely, I think that this guy, I think it’s the right fit for the Raiders.
DANNY KANELL: And only way he comes back, because he’s had attractive offers before, is if he feels like it’s a good chance to succeed. And that’s why he’s coming back. He’s got the quarterback, he’s got the backing there. I think, to your point about how much– because we’ve all heard him complain about the bubble screens, and all the changes in the game, I think that’ll be the most fascinating thing, is will he implement those changes, which are run all across the NFL, while he’s coaching this franchise, and coaching Derek Carr, which I think he will and do it successfully.
MARK SCHLERETH: I don’t think there’s any question. He likes to complain, he likes it, but he knows. He knows how the league operates. He talks to all these coaches.
DANNY KANELL: No doubt about it.