Jon Gruden has become a familiar voice to many who watch ESPN over the years. Gruden is on Monday Night Football and also has his quarterback camp on ESPN. Ever since he was fired from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he has reinvented himself and shown himself in a different way. Even though he was happy as an announcer, you always knew that itch was there to coach again. As he sat in the booth, you could see the passion he had when speaking on players and their abilities and being crucial of their mistakes. While he was comfortable in the booth, there was only going to be a matter of time before he achieved the right offer from the right team. Well, the offer came but it was not from someone he expected. Mark Davis, son of former Raiders owner and the current head of the organization, was interested in bringing Gruden back. Davis remembers the good times when the Raiders were headed to the Super Bowl and Gruden played a great role in that happening. The current owner wanted him so bad that he gave him a ten-year, $100 million contract to come back and be the coach of the team. It took a little bit, but it is now official that he will be the new/old coach of the Raiders next season and now the Raiders have gone back in the future.
The nostalgia of Gruden coming back to coach the Raiders is something that many will talk about. The success he had taking them to a new level with veteran players was something that Raiders fans still talk about. With this team as it is currently constructed, he has some work to do offensively. The first thing Gruden has to do is find out what happened to his offensive line. In 2016, the Raiders were considered to have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. They would punish people each and every game, but what a difference a year makes. The Raiders were not the same offensively and most of that started with their offensive line woes. First, the offensive line blocking scheme was different this year and was not conducive to what they are used to. The result of that was more missed assignments and runs that went nowhere. Along with the mistakes in the running game, the passing game also took a hit. Carr went from looking like a potential star to a guy that was in panic mode sometimes. With Gruden, he has to make sure he studies what he has in his offensive linemen and figure out what scheme would get them to where they were in 2016. The sooner he is able to solve that issue, the better the offense will be and the better David Carr will look. And we all know that when David Carr looks good offensively, it makes the whole offense better and gives the Raiders a better chance of being more efficient with the offensive weapons that they have.
Gruden is definitely can make an impact on that offense, but his most important hire will be on the defensive side. He inherits a guy in Khalil Mack that is a star in the NFL. While he has a star up there in his front seven, the guy coordinating it all will be important not only for Mack but for the entire defense. The best thing for Gruden to do is to bring in a guy that can move Mack around and free him up some for one-on-one matchups. The key guy in all of that is Bruce Irvin, who was expected to be the guy to take some pressure off Mack. He has to do better, but this is not the biggest issue with the Raiders defense. The defensive back position was atrocious in 2017 and it needs to be addressed. Whether it be through the draft or through free agency, some things have to change. David Amerson cannot and should not be a starter for this defense next season. Although he had a good 2016 season, the real Amerson showed up this past season and it was not a good sight at all. Reggie Nelson has not been the same player he was with the Bengals with the Raiders and is starting to show his age. Sean Smith is not starting on this team and he is not really adding much to their defense either. There are huge problems that need to be taken care of there. If these are taken care of, then Oakland's defense will get better quickly. The only member of the secondary that should survive is Karl Joseph and maybe TJ Carrie.
Gruden is back but that does not mean Oakland is all the way back just yet. There needs to be some changes on the offense and defense and the hiring of the defensive coordinator, personnel decisions defensively and the rediscovery of their offensive line are key objectives in trying to move them back in the right direction. Chucky is a smart coach and will take advantage of what is there, but he also needs to find ways to make them better so they can reach some sort of expectations next season and beyond.