The 2021 season started with so much promise for Jon Gruden and the Raiders. Las Vegas started 3-0 and had one of the most dangerous offenses in the NFL. For the first time in what seemed like forever, the Raiders were on the right track.
Even after a tough Week 4 loss to the Chargers, the Raiders still were a team with plenty of promise ... until the Wall Street Journal reported that Gruden sent an email in 2011 using racist remarks about NFL Player's Association President DeMaurice Smith.
It's clear that Gruden's past racism will cause a rift between him and the players and should doom him to being let go by the Raiders for the second time.
While Gruden's 2011 e-mail should be the final straw for Chucky's second tenure with the franchise, that isn't the only reason he should be fired.
Questionable Personnel Decisions
Following nearly a decade away from coaching, Gruden was given a 10-year, $100 million contract to come back to the franchise.
One of his first moves was to trade All-Pro pass rusher Khalil Mack to the Bears. While that deal won the Raiders an award at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, it was panned by many for giving away one of the best defensive players in the NFL for not enough in return.
Gruden then made the questionable decision to hire Mike Mayock, a draft expert at NFL Media, as general manager — a position he's never held at any level. That inexperience showed early on.
His first transaction was the acquisition of Antonio Brown for a third- and fifth-round pick. That move quickly crashed and burned after AB clearly didn't want to play in Oakland, which finally led to him being released. He's now arguably the best receiver Tom Brady has with the Buccaneers.
Let's return to the Mack trade. It wouldn't have been too terrible if Las Vegas was able to hit on their bevy of draft picks. Unfortunately, that didn't happen.
In Gruden and Mayock's first draft together, the Raiders selected Clelin Ferrell, Josh Jacobs, and Johnathan Abram in the first round. All three have failed to live up to the hype, with Ferrell and Abram being draft busts at this point. Some other first-round reaches included Damon Arnette in 2020 and Alex Leatherwood in last year's draft.
Two texts I’ve received from NFL people in last 20 minutes— John Middlekauff (@JohnMiddlekauff) May 1, 2021
- Raiders have poor feel for player value
- Gruden went rogue
Not only do the Raiders have a hard time grasping the idea of value in the draft, but they also aren't great at developing their younger players. That's a big red flag, but that's one of many.
The Gruden Era Part Deux
Although he's been praised as one of the NFL's great coaches, Gruden has struggled to adapt to the modern NFL. Las Vegas has yet to have a winning season in Gruden's second tenure.
The offense has taken big steps thanks to the development of Derek Carr and Darren Waller, but that still hasn't translated to success in the AFC. That's because of poor personnel decisions and some questionable coaching.
While players such as Maxx Crosby have turned into keepers, the Raiders' poor personnel decisions have made Las Vegas play catch up when it comes to roster building and that's had a domino effect on the win-loss record.
Since taking over in 2018, Gruden has a record of 21-31 and the Raiders have not had a season with a positive point differential under Gruden.
Nothing is working and their inability to bring in quality players is hurting the future of this team.
With issues in the front office and on the field, the Raiders were lucky to start the season off strong, but then things came crashing down.
The Final Straw
These latest comments from the 2011 email that surfaced should be the final straw for Gruden. The team is not improving fast enough and there is just no future with this current roster.
The comments that Gruden made are deplorable and inexcusable. There is no reason for a 58-year-old man to not have any idea about the implications of what he said. I do not want to get to into this topic as it is not my place to do so, but I do know that Gruden is not worth all of this. The headache that he is causing right now is not worth it. Nobody is worth keeping around after making racially insensitive comments.
It is unclear if Gruden will receive any punishment from either the NFL or the Raiders over these comments. One thing is clear though, Gruden has lost all credibility as a decent human and the Raiders need to start planning on moving on from Gruden.
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