© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
It’s been over 15 years since he was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but Jon Gruden will once again be at the helm of the Oakland Raiders after agreeing to a 10-year, $100 million contract in early January.
After watching the Raiders tail off to a 6-10 record last season, Gruden knows there’s plenty of work to do and shared with Tolbert & Lund on Wednesday afternoon how he plans to set his team on the right track starting next year.
“We’ve got a ways to go, but we’re implementing our scheme, we’re preparing for free agency, and the draft, and we’re getting ready to go to the combine in Indianapolis and we’re going to do all we can to bring the Silver and Black back,” Gruden said.
In the 16 years since Gruden’s most recent season as their head coach in 2001, the Raiders have filtered through nine different coaches, each with their individual style of play and personalities. Those changes made for a fluid atmosphere that Gruden believes weighed the Raiders down.
“We also, I think, need to put in a system in place here that our players can grow within,” Gruden said. “We’ve had 10 different head coaches, I believe, since I’ve been here. We’ve had a number of different offensive coaches and poor Reggie McKenzie has had to draft different players to fit different schemes and systems. I think that’s hurt us.”
Gruden also identified injuries as a main culprit of the Raiders’s woes; specifically to Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, and above all, Derek Carr.
“Obviously, Derek Carr was injured,” Gruden said. “I don’t know the true extent, but when you have broken bones in your back you’re not going to play as well.”
Regardless, Gruden is excited with the challenge before him and doesn’t take for granted the opportunity he’s been given to return to the Raiders.
“This place is starving, I think to get back on top,” Gruden said. “It’s an honor to be here. I know that I have a lot of work to do and a lot of things to prove.”
To listen to the full interview check out the podcast below, and start from the beginning for Gruden on the Raiders.