Oakland Raiders and their head need hope to share in his traits, if they hope to find any measure of success. Fiery. Insane. Electric. Insatiable. Fighter. Intense. Putting a face to this conglomerate of characteristics will always lead to Jon Gruden. Gruden made a name for himself as one of the NFL’s wildest personalities.
This is not meant as a slight to Gruden, but to call attention to why players are dying to play in Oakland.
HBO’s Hard Knocks did such an impeccable job of covering Gruden and his quirks that some of his quotes are recognizable league-wide. But how can a coach so unique lead a team so predictable? From the eye of a fan, Gruden’s first year appeared to be a learning process more than anything. The playcalling seemed like a team strictly listening to the “Ask Madden” feature in a video game and certainly did not reflect Gruden’s passion or personality.
Good coaches leave lasting impacts on teams. A strict coach leads a disciplined team while an intense coach breeds teams with some bite.
Gruden’s Raiders of 2018 played like they had never been introduced to their head coach.
Gruden’s personality can precede him, but he is still a great coach. Even with the team recording a losing record, the “Gruden” attitude was clearly missing. The team lacked all of the descriptive words used to describe their coach.
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The team did have heart, but so do most teams. Heart cannot be taught and is incredibly significant in building a team, but it does not make teams stand out in the NFL. To truly be great, you have to fight, you have to keep intensity, you have to be a little crazy.
Despite it being preseason and not always having the starters playing, the Raiders felt different this year. There is more intensity, more fire than recent years. Gruden appears to have lit a fire under this team.
Maybe it was the countless upgrades to the roster, or the drafting of high character players, or team chemistry might be forming quickly, but this Raiders team has developed an intensity that should strike fear into opponents.
What to Look For
Expect the unexpected this season. Expect the Raiders to come out firing and having fun doing it. There have been a whole mess of distractions around this team, and I think the boys just want to play football.
Expect the unexpected in playcalling as well. It is very possible Gruden has been putting his fingerprints all over this Raiders’ playbook and has added some unique touches.
The Raiders are in a prime position to grow into polar opposites of last season. The roster h boosted, the fire has been lit, and the Oakland Raiders are chomping at the bit for some regular season action.
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