By HCR Staff | September 22, 2020
The Raiders scored an impressive last night against the Saints, and it’s clear to us that this is a team ready to compete now for a division title. They still have some glaring holes, but they’ve got enough juice to be pesky enough for a playoff spot all the way to season’s end (whenever that might be in 2020).
The key to this assertion? It’s a team that’s been molded in Jon Gruden’s vision, faithfully executed by GM (in title) Mike Mayock.
That vision was manifested in last night’s domination (in quarters 2-4) of the Saints. What are the components of this vision? Physicality, execution, and passion.
Let’s consider each.
First, physicality. Gruden wants a team capable of punishing other teams; he’s not content on just beating them; he wants to physically dominate them. To Gruden, physicality requires size and a certain, let’s say, competitive all-the-way-to-the-whistle streak. The Raiders value size in their players, and he’s not going to compromise on the lines especially. It’s why the Raiders have massive offensive linemen such as Kolton Miller, Trent Brown, and Gabe Jackson. OG Richie Incognito adds the emotional streak he wants. On defense, big hitting safety Johnathan Abram brings the ‘streak’, and Gruden also pursued the ‘streak’ with LB Vontaze Burfict.
Yes, Gruden wants to win, but he wants to win in a certain way.
Second, execution. Yes, Gruden can scheme, but he’s not a trickery guy. He’d rather run fewer plays, but more crisply. He’s got no problem going back to the same play over and over, if the execution is right. In fact, he’d rather you know what’s coming, but capitulate because his team’s execution was overpowering. It’s very reminiscent of Vince Lombardi’s Packers teams.
Finally, passion. Gruden wants his teams to play not only with high energy, but with attitude. Look at players such as RB Josh Jacobs, TE Darren Waller, DE Maxx Crosby and FB Alec Ingold. They all have passion. If Gruden isn’t getting this from everyone in his organization, they’re not going to last very long. He simply doesn’t understand any lack of passion.
Physicality, execution and passion. All of it was on display last night in the Raiders’ domination of a good Saints team.
If this young Raiders team buys in for 15 more weeks like they did last night, Las Vegas might have a team fully deserving of its new stadium.