Although the Raiders enjoyed a successful 2018 preseason debut, the elephant in the room remains. While the team looks to embrace the new regime, dark clouds of distraction hover. Whether Khalil Mack is paid or Jon Gruden’s second tenure will be successful. Players grow frustrated by these questions. FPC Raiders writers Richards, Aspuria, and Zaragoza detail how they would deal with distraction.
Drama follows every team and every player. Derek Carr must have doubters in his ear after a rollercoaster season last year. Jon Gruden certainly has his fair share of doubters due to him being out of the game for ten years (although he has been around football despite not coaching). Khalil Mack has his haters due to his holdout. Drama is inevitable but there are certainly options to avoid it. In Gruden’s shoes, I would push for more closed practices.
In addition, a great way to put the kibosh to drama is to act on what everyone is talking about. If I am Gruden, I am giving in to the drama and reaching out to Khalil Mack, even if is for the sole purpose of telling the press he has talked to him. In Derek Carr’s shoes, I am not telling the press anything more than Jon Gruden has told them about Khalil Mack. At this point, I think some sort of news about the move to Las Vegas should be released. Anything to spin attention away from the major “Khalil Mack holdout” drama would be acceptable. If a question expressing doubts about Mack or Gruden comes up, it would be interesting to see the Raiders pay homage to Marshawn Lynch and answer every related question with a very vague answer implying that they have to be there
While preseason win-loss records can be discarded, victory is the true cure to any ailment a team has. Moreover, it is not necessarily solely about getting wins. The key remains the execution of the Gruden style of ball to go along with Paul Guenther’s defense. If that meshes well, the proof is in the pudding for the players. Even a loss can be a great teaching moment. The biggest distraction is Mack and until he puts signature to paper, the vultures will be circling waiting to pick away at that carcass of a distraction
Play well in the preseason. We sit less than a month away from the team’s first regular season game and the distraction from all of the media outlets could start to dissipate if the team plays well. Like the old saying goes, winning solves everything. In addition, since all we have is the preseason at this time, dominating in these games will put people at bay.