- Jon Gruden’s stint as head coach of the Oakland Raiders is off to a disastrous start.
- Despite his team’s 1-7 record, Gruden recently claimed that he’d been bombarded with calls from players hoping to play for the Raiders.
- Based on the effort his players are currently giving him on the field, he better hope those calls keep coming in the offseason.
Jon Gruden’s 10-year tenure as head coach of the Oakland Raiders has not started as planned.
After joining the team in the offseason after years of speculation that he’d return to coaching, Gruden has the Raiders off to a 1-7 start and openly selling off some of his most talented players to stock up on draft picks.
The season-long trainwreck culminated on Thursday night, with the Raiders getting thumped by the San Francisco 49ers, losing 34-3 and letting quarterback Nick Mullens throw for a near-perfect game in his first career start.
But despite the evidence of his new empire actively burning around him, Gruden still sounds as confident as ever that the Raiders are a team to be feared.
In an interview with Fox Sports that aired before Thursday night’s dismal effort, Gruden told Howie Long that Oakland was a destination city, with players around the league calling him to say how much they wanted to play for Raider Nation.
„I got a cell phone just like you and everybody else,“ Gruden said. „I get a lot of phone calls from people that are dying to come play here. I’m just telling you. They’re dying to play for the Raiders.“
„And to have salary-cap space and to have a chance to talk to the people that you really want to wear the silver and black, the guys you really want to wear the silver and black and represent this team, that’s exciting.“
It’s hard to fault Gruden for conveying confidence in his team’s future — he’s on the books to lead the team through two more presidential administrations, so he better believe the team has better days ahead. That said, it’s hard to believe that superstars around the league are clamoring into Gruden’s text messages hoping for a chance with the Raiders when his roster in Oakland is checked out.
Gruden has set himself up for a potential turnaround — his fire sale of the team’s assets has left him with a plethora of valuable picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, and if he can find a good return on them, it’s not impossible to imagine the Raiders turning things around in a relative hurry.
But as things stand, the Raiders have been embarrassed in more games than they’ve put up a fight. Gruden better hope those texts are still coming when the offseason rolls around.
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Source: Business insider