Ken Norton Jr shut down the Oakland Raiders. To reiterate, Jon Gruden’s defense fell to Ken Norton Jr’s defense.
Don’t give the “Raiders shut down themselves” rhetoric. That carries as much weight as Gruden’s word these days. Gruden called the plays — with a decimated offensive line and his “top” wide receiver felled by a concussion — and it was Norton — the oft-ridiculed and rightful scapegoat for the awful Raiders defense in the past — that dialed up the defenses that smacked Derek Carr and Co. right in the mouth. Pimp slap, smacked.
If that is not the clearest sign the Raiders are in a reboot/rebuild, I do not know what is. Just Tank, Baby.
Gruden and crew will not come out and say it, but this feels like a tank job. “That’s a disrespectful notion!” you yell at the top of your lungs. “Jon Gruden would never tank, he’s got too much pride!” you add.
Oh? Tell me, how sincere did you think his “We’ve got to get Khalil Mack back here” malarkey was? How hard did you bit that hook? Gruden got you, hook, line and sinker, man.
As the Raiders head coach and de facto general manager, it’s Gruden’s prerogative to build the team in his image; the best way he sees fit. But there are some serious questions to the way he’s going about it, no?
Once owner Mark Davis gave Gruden the reported $100-million, 10-year pact, the writing was on the wall. You don’t pay anyone that amount of money for that length of time knowing full-well said individual will have full reign of the organization — personnel and play-call wise. As soon as Davis landed Gruden, the owner landed his ever-elusive InstaGram model. And thus, Gruden was given the deed to the kingdom.
No way the roster he inherited was his. It was abundantly clear the Raiders were going to go through a demolition phase, a new foundation laid and a new team built up. What Gruden is doing now is what general manager (in name only) Reggie McKenzie went through during the Dennis Allen era.
However, no way could Gruden outright say he would take a sledgehammer to the roster in order to make it his own. Plus, no way he could outright tell the fans would endure trying times. The euphoria seemed too strong. In addition, the delight appeared too fantastic. In addition, the blunderbuss of his return wouldn’t allow Gruden to tell the painful truth. Not to a fanbase that was given a heavenly mirage of a 2016 season.
What we saw in a lopsided shellacking at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks in London looked like a coach that wanst to completely renovate the franchise. Yet, there are serious questions on whether Gruden can do that.
The Raiders are broken and it’s because of King Gruden. Nevertheless, like Humpty Dumpty, can the King put him back together again.