If Jon Gruden turns on the TV this morning, he will see a much different landscape than one he left. Perhaps the greatest nightmare for the Raiders came to life last night. In his first snaps since the Week 17 finale, Khalil Mack altered the course of the Chicago Bears. In addition, he could have increased the inferno resting in front of Jon Gruden. For every splash play and highlight Mack can muster, the Raiders still wait to play.
Every sports talk/hot take clown foams at the mouth for the elusive soundbyte. With nothing but bluster, they scream and shout about every topic. Yet, they Raiders rightfully sit idle. The LA Rams remain the only issue ahead of the Raiders. However, when you see pundits, fans, and players applauding Khalil Mack, if you are Gruden, which must sting slightly. At the same time, words never affected him before.
Prisoner of the Moment
Granted, Khalil Mack began his Bears career is fantastic fashion. In that case, the eyes, ears, minds, and mouths of the Oakland fanbase paid attention. Under the consequences, fans that did not believe in Gruden, his contract, or roster choices enjoyed more fuel to their fire. The Raiders are Jon Gruden’s team, right, wrong, or indifferent.
By the end of the evening, the Oakland Raiders will play their first game under Jon Gruden in over fifteen seasons. More importantly, the burden of an entire organization, fanbase, and roster rests solely on his shoulders. Khalil Mack is a former Raider. Now, Gruden must focus on these fifty-three. Moreover, ignore the fanbase. Nothing matters more than the game ahead.
Long Term Plan
In reality, Gruden does not own the luxury of a long plan. With ten years, a move to Vegas and a quarterback in his prime, the time is now. Yet, in the NFL, depth, and talent development remain high on the list. With Reggie McKenzie, presumably stripped of power, Gruden steers the ship. However, he cannot forget the main reason why he returned: coaching.
In essence, no one knows how the Raiders will fare tonight. Yet, the new Gruden era begins. If anyone says they can predict the fate of the Raiders, ignore them. Jon Gruden, through either design or luck, will keep fans guessing. In addition, he does not care one iota what anyone has to say. The lone hope remains that the Raiders can find their way back to perennial respectability, at minimum. If the Raiders fail, look to no one but Gruden. As Bill Parcells discussed control, truth entered the convo. Gruden possesses the credit card and the frying pan. Time to see what meals find their way onto the table.