The Oakland Raiders have been trying to get to that next level for a while now. And with their move to Las Vegas coming soon, they also were trying to get some excitement generated heading into Sin City. The one move they made this offseason that was supposed to make them better was the signing of Jon Gruden. The former coach who went to the ESPN booth agreed to a ten-year, $100 million deal to return to the sidelines and Raider Nation. The feeling was he would be able to take the offense to the next level while giving the Raiders a better shot in the wide-open AFC West. Well, after a 1-5 start, the Raiders are not anywhere near the playoffs and it seems like things are getting worse. There was some semblance of hope with a few of the pieces they had, but at this point, it seems like the Raiders are going nowhere fast and all signs point to Jon Gruden as the common denominator.
Gruden was given some talented players to start with out there in Oakland, but it seems like he never knew what to do with them or how to deal with them at all. When it comes to punter Marquette King, he got rid of him because of reported personality differences. As far as Khalil Mack, the Raiders did not want to pay him and ended up trading him for first-round picks. As anyone can see, Mack is now dominating the NFL and is right in the thick of the Defensive MVP contest. And recently, Gruden traded wide receiver Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys for another first-round pick. As it currently stands, the Raiders now have three first-round picks going into the 2018 NFL Draft. While that may sound nice for the future, the present means Derek Carr really has no weapons to throw to nor does he have another star on the team with him. For a franchise quarterback, that isn't the most ideal setup and Gruden should know better. Not only did he take away a weapon for Carr, but he took away two defensive weapons.
Speaking on Carr, he was viewed as being the franchise quarterback and many were singing his praises. Well, my how things have changed. Not only have the Raiders been bad, but Carr has regressed. He does not seem comfortable in the pocket as much as he used to be. Carr also does not seem to be reading the defenses as well as he once did. With Rich Gannon and Brad Johnson, Gruden was able to make some things happen, but with Carr it seems like he has not done much to help him out. His main jobs were to make this team competitive along with helping grown Derek Carr and it seems like he hasn't accomplished either. And to that point, some are even wondering if he is trying to get rid of Carr right now and complete the entire rebuild no one ever expected to see coming into this season from the Raiders.
If you believe Gruden is rebuilding the Raiders, then 2018 will be his first shot at trying to get that done in Oakland. However, by taking a look at his previous rebuild in Tampa Bay, it seems like he was not necessarily that great at it. Michael Clayton (2004), Carnell Williams (2005), Davin Joseph (2006), Gaines Adams (2007) and Aqib Talib (2008) were all the picks made in the Gruden era. With how much trouble this team looks to be in right now, I would not count on that rebuild going smoothly with Gruden. We shall see what happens but as of right now, the biggest heist in America is going on in Oakland. Not mad at him for getting his money, but he surely isn't doing what they paid him to do.