By HCR Staff | Aug. 22, 2018
Between now and the start of the 2018 season, Head Coach Ranking will provide a scouting report on all 32 NFL head coaches. Today, we’ll take a look at Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden.
After a 10-year absence from the sidelines, Jon Gruden returns to once again be the head coach of the Oakland Raiders. And unlike his previous stint, this time he gets to run the entire show.
But while Gruden has been away from the sidelines, he hasn’t been away from the game entirely, serving as ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” analyst. That role has helped Gruden stay connected to the contemporary NFL game, as each week he has interviewed and gotten to know all of the current head coaches, coordinators and players.
As a head coach, Gruden was known for his tireless work ethic — famously boasting that he needed only 3-4 hours of sleep each night — and his intensity. Last season, the Raiders took a step back from a successful 2016 campaign, and it appeared to us that former head coach Jack Del Rio may have given the players too much responsibility for themselves. That is not going to happen under Gruden — this will be a head coach-driven team.
On offense, Gruden will play an old-fashioned style of football — he’ll use a fullback and he’ll expect his wide receivers to be willing blockers. There is no doubt the Raiders will be committed to running the ball, and we believe we’ll see quarterback Derek Carr under center much more often.
Defensively, the Raiders will be directed by defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, who came over from the Bengals. Guenther possesses significant experience, as does defensive line coach Mike Trgovac, but the other defensive assistant coaches lack experience. This will be something to watch as the season progresses.
Gruden has always been an excellent game planning head coach and he’s also been excellent at making in-game adjustments. We do recall, however, that Gruden can sometimes be a bit stubborn as a play caller — if it’s third-and-1, he’s going to have a tendency to want to run it in order to establish the physicality of his team.
With this hire, it is our estimation that Raiders owner Mark Davis finally has a head coach equal to the experience and expertise of Kansas City head coach Andy Reid. Gruden is an experienced strategist — one with much more experience than San Diego Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn and Denver Broncos head coach Vance Joseph.
Raiders fans justifiably have much to be excited about as they now have a head coach with superior and proven in-game judgment skills.
Previous HC Previews:
Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks
Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams
Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ers
Steve Wilks, Arizona Cardinals
Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers
Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings
Matt Patricia, Detroit Lions
Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears
Dirk Koetter, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints
Dan Quinn, Atlanta Falcons
Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers
Jay Gruden, Washington Redskins
Pat Shurmr, New York Giants
Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys
Doug Pederson, Philadelphia Eagles