Jon Gruden

USA Today

The Return Of Jon Gruden

So much for statements, ehh Chuck.

September 11, 2018 - 9:58 am

Rams vs. Raiders. The Return of Jon Gruden. The Trade of Khalil Mack. The debut of the Rams Dream Team. There were so many Chucky dolls in the stands and storylines on the sidelines that you knew something had to give. Something was going down.  And it did. In the first quarter, on the first drive of the Raiders season. I give you Marshawn Lynch versus the Rams defense.

Holy crap. Marshawn Lynch has had more legendary runs than that one, but I’m not sure he’s had one that was more powerful. He put the team on his back - the Rams team. Every guy in Rams gear was either trying to pull him down or jumping on top of him and every single one of them was just along for the ride. It does not get more impressive than that.

And you know Chuck Gruden was fired up. For the first drive of the season, he appeared to be outscheming Wade Phillips and the Rams All-World defense. And when you do that, you’re feeling yourself. And Chuck was.

Gruden put his reputation on the line by trading Khalil Mack, so you know he wanted to make a statement. He made it clear he couldn’t keep Derek Carr and Khalil Mack. Even though he could have. He wanted you to think he couldn’t. And he wanted everyone to know that he kept the right guy. And after that first drive, it looked like an argument he might even win. 

Again, Chuck Gruden was looking to send messages. And make statements. And Lynch made one on the first drive. Only problem is, the Rams did in the second half. And a close game turned into a hospital job. Oakland went into halftime leading 13-10 and it started to seem like maybe stockpiling big names and bigger contracts might not be the best idea. Maybe these guys won’t jell. Maybe dream teams don’t work in the NFL. Hell maybe, the Raiders really aren’t going to Miss Khalil Mack. Eeehhhhhh!!! Wrong answer.

Because the Rams came out in the second half, knocked the rust off and then knocked the Raiders the hell out. Jared Goff and Todd Gurley got rolling, and the Rams dropped 23 straight unanswered points, on the Chuck and his crew, capped off by a Marcus Peters pick-six complete with a crotch grab leap after he went into the end zone. Doing the Beast Mode in Beast Mode’s house is an embarrassing look for Chuck and the silver and black.

So much for statements, ehh Chuck. So what the hell happened? You come in with this crazy hype, fanfare and contract: you run off your best player, then get run off your home field, under the lights, in prime time with the entire nation watching: what do you have to say for yourself: quote, “When you can run the ball like they ran in the second half, it’s very hard to rush the passer. Obviously, we didn’t get to Goff enough, and we didn’t get to Gurley enough. We’ll take a good look at the reasons why we didn’t.”

Hey, Jon. I’ve got one reason why you weren’t able to rush the passer last night. You traded your best pass rusher. Oh, and he happens to be a damn good run stopper as well. Your best passer and run stopper was playing Sunday night in Bears gear and reminding the whole world of what you traded. And then you went and reminded everyone of it all over again last night.

Chris Johnson, old CJ2K, tweeted: ‘Traded Mack and can’t get to the quarterback’ followed by four face-palmm emoji’s. And he was right.

And speaking of reminding everyone about the Mack trade, how about this quote from Gruden from an interview that aired before the game: “Obviously Khalil Mack didn’t want to play here. That’s what’s being missed here. He was under contract. He was under contract, he never showed up for an OTA, he never showed up for training camp, and it was obvious he wasn’t going to show up for the season. Don’t forget that. We have to get ready to play and I want players that want to be here, that want to help us put this thing back in high gear.”

What are you talking about? You’re blaming the Khalil Mack trade on Khalil Mack. He didn’t asked to be traded. He asked to be paid his fair market value. And the Bears were willing to give it to him, and you weren’t. What do you mean he didn’t want to be there.  He loved it there. He made it clear he wanted to be a Raider for life. Of course he wanted to be there. You didn’t want him there. So you traded him. Fine. Own it. But don’t come IN here after getting punched in the face and say the player didn’t want to be here when he clearly did. Mack didn’t make that decision Chuck, you did. Own it. And stop blaming it on the player. Hey Raider fan ,that’s how it’s going to go; that’s what you get when you give a guy like that, that much money and that much power: bad decisions and no accountability. Good luck getting Chuck to own anything at all in the next decade, Raider fan.

And here’s another concern. This is a huge Derek Carr house; and the guy was lights out in 2015 and 2016, but he really hasn’t been the same player since then. I get it. He busted his leg. And his back. And we’ve seen what this guy can do when he’s right. But he really hasn’t been right since 2016. And that’s one of the reasons you bring Chucky in: because he’s an alleged q.b. guru and he can fix Carr. Except Carr didn’t look any better last night than he did last season. And if Carr doesn’t get back to playing the way he did then they have no shot. And you can tell yourself it’s just one game, but it’s not. Again, he hasn’t been right since 2016. He looks like he has completely lost his mojo and swag and once it goes, it usually doesn’t come back. I’m not giving up on Carr. But I know this, Chuck better coach him up; because that’s another reason they’re paying ten mill a year. 

Raider fan. I’m not saying your season is over. You got beat by a better team. Outclassed and outcoached and the whole world saw it. And sure, it’s just one game. But I had my concerns about Chuck going into that one game and now have even more of them coming out of that one game. Concerns about the decisions he’s making, and about whether this guy is going to own anything at all. And based on what I saw and heard last night, the answer is no.