For Jon Gruden, this season represents one of opportunity. In his third year, Gruden slides closer to the midway point of his mammoth deal. As a result, he needs to take every opportunity to realize that winning needs to start occurring on a regular basis. One of the chances ahead of the Raiders in 2020, is to defeat the New England Patriots. More importantly, Gruden can begin cementing his destiny by defeating Bill Belichick in the regular season and possibly, the playoffs.
Let It Go
Over six thousand days ago, the Patriots emerged from the Tuck Rule game victorious. Despite hundreds of games played, almost two decades of drafts, people refuse to let the game rest. Granted, everyone knows that Tom Brady fumbled. The refs on the field called this appropriately. We know what happened next. Yet, the game needs to stay buried. By coaching the Raiders to a long run by defeating the Patriots twice, that could exorcise whatever demons that game still carries.
With Tom Brady in Tampa, the Patriots will see a new quarterback under center. Outside of Matt Cassell for an extended sub spot, all of this is new to Belichick. For now, Jarrett Stidham looks to be the new starter. Belichick, via Josh McDaniels must rely on a quarterback with four career pass attempts. Meanwhile, Derek Carr enters his third season in the offense.
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Despite a five championship disparity as head coaches, both Gruden and Belichick face differing levels of scrutiny. For Gruden, the spectre of his contract, in a new town and stadium, the heat is on. The team needs to win immediately out of the gate. No more excuses. Similarly, Belichick, regardless of nearly two decades of unparalleled excellence, remains the target of wayward press. Some writers and fans feel as though the dynasty needs to never end. While that seems rather impossible, every 2020 loss will see the proverbial wolves at the door.
While the Kansas City Chiefs, a division rival, currently possess the Lombardi. For the Raiders, unseating them within the AFC West is the overarching priority. Yet, for Jon Gruden, defeating Bill Belichick twice could quietly serve as motivation. Defeating the greatest coach in league history while his team wraps a historic run, could be the beginning of career validation for Jon Gruden.