Oakland Raiders Need Jon Gruden: Bring Back Chucky
Watching Tom Cable coach does absolutely nothing but one thing for me. It makes me wish upon a lucky star that Davis would somehow bring back Jon "Chucky" Gruden.
Cable has fumbled the quarterback situation, as one quarterback gets to lose every game, throwing multiple interceptions. The other quarterback looks toward the sideline to to see if he's coming out if he throws three straight incompletions.
He's also fumbled the offensive line that he is known for building when he was the offensive line coach. A good but injury prone center was let go and the worst center in the NFL has replaced him.
Then there's the right guard that probably helped him get the head coaching job. Cable has rewarded the badly declined player with a starting position regardless of performance.
What do you have to do to lose your job with Cable?
The postgame press conference showed Raider Nation just how clueless he is. When asked about making changes to the offensive line he said, "We don't need to make changes. We just need to play a little harder."
This isn't April 1!
Then he was asked about the play of quarterback Bruce Gradkowski and he said, "Bruce really didn't get a chance to get into a rhythm because the defense couldn't get off of the field.
I always thought the offense was supposed to stay on the field to give the defense a rest. That means Gradkowski's job is to give himself a chance to get into a rhythm by converting third downs.
Cable is starting to sound less like an NFL head coach and more like an enabler. What he's enabling is three players to destroy the Raider's progress this year.
That is why Gruden really needs to be brought back.
He has sense enough to find another guy if a player isn't doing his job. I know that something really went wrong for Davis to trade one of the best coaches he's ever had.
But there is reason to believe that Gruden and Davis can and should patch things up.
Some people are just better off together.
Bobby Brown was better with New Edition.
Flavor Flave was better with Public Enemy.
Nick Lachay was better with 98 Degrees.
Turn the page to see why Gruden, Al Davis and his Raiders are better off together.
Brand of Football
Al Davis has always believed in power running with the vertical attack down the field. Gruden loves to "pound the rock" and will take shots down the field with his west coast offense.
The west coast offense is more known for the short passing game, but Gruden still takes his shots. Sid Gillman was the originator of the west coast offense and once had Davis on his staff in San Diego.
Davis took that offense to Oakland, adding the power run and deep ball to it. Gruden ran his brand of that same offense to perfection in the early 2000s in Oakland.
You gotta love a smash-mouth type of coach that can light the scoreboard up.
Players Will Have To Get It Done
I once saw a Jon Gruden practice and he is brutal on his players when they don't get it done. Everything has to be done perfectly in detail and with a fast tempo.
One mistake, and he will chew on your behind.
This young Raider team needs to live in this kind of fear so they are on notice to step their game up. Some of the older Raiders will have to actually bring it instead of being on Davis' or Cable's scholarship.
Either perform, get embarrassed, get cut, or both.
Offensive Play Calling
Gruden is a great in-game play-caller.
The Raiders need a play caller that is consistent instead of the on-again off-again Hue Jackson. Gruden is a fast-tempo guy that knows what he wants to do so there will be no delay of game penalties on the goal line as there were earlier in the season.
Taking advantage of matchups and defenses is also something Gruden does relentlessly. There are many of them the Raiders have that Jackson doesn't fully max out.
Gruden also isn't that easy to discourage from running the football.
McFadden and Bush would love him.
The Raiders are once again at the top of the league in penalties and penalty yardage. The Raiders have been there consistently for the last few years.
Teams coached by Gruden don't have a lot of penalties.
I wonder why that is.
Is it the fear that his players have for him?
Maybe the referees are a little intimidated.
It just might be a little of both.
Gruden had a cult-like following in Raider Nation.
He was larger than life.
Perhaps that was a problem Davis had with him as his popularity outgrew that of Davis. Davis is old enough and has lost enough to have more than gotten over that by now.
The bottom line is that the Raiders have had all but one home game blacked out and Gruden would be a shot in the arm for attendance. Davis should know by now that fans come to see a good product on Sundays.
They trust Gruden to put a good product out there.
To pound the rock, Gruden, like Davis, has always liked to have the biggest and strongest guys up front. Cable likes the small cut blocker types that can get to the next level and keep blocking.
Raider football has always been about pounding the defense into submission up front. Cable's guys are undersized, so they are often seen getting pounded into submission.
The Raiders now have an elite running back that has 18 yards in his last two games. Gene Upshaw has to be turning in his grave in reaction to Samson Satele and Cooper Carlisle.
The zone scheme was effective when the Raiders first employed it, but that's no longer the case. At the beginning of the season, Jackson asked Darren McFadden what he liked to run and they were mainly power blocking plays.
Then, the Raiders' smaller, zone guys can't hold out the bigger 3-4 lineman in the league no matter what scheme they run. Things get even worse when the interior lineman try to form a decent pass pocket.
The huge 3-4 defensive lineman run them over and push the pocket.
Zone blocking with smaller lineman just isn't Raider football anyway.
Many in Raider Nation had Darren McFadden left for dead and wanted Michael Bush to carry the load. I wrote many articles on how McFadden and Bush would make an devastating combo.
So far this year, McFadden has carried the load.
With Gruden back in Raider Nation, both of these men's talent would be used to the maximum.
Remember the days of Charlie Garner and Tyrone Wheatly?
Garner had over 900 yards rushing and over 900 yards receiving out of that backfield. Wheatly got a lot and drive-sustaining first downs and broke a few as well.
McFadden and Bush have way more talent, respectively.
Imagine what Gruden would do with them.
The Quarterback Position
Gruden is known by many as a "quarterback collector."
Gruden is the kind of coach that could get something out of Campbell's talent. Some designed roll outs and bootlegs would also benefit Campbell until the offensive line is fixed.
Gruden has worked with Gradkowski before and cut him so his judgement would have certainly been different from Cable's this year. Don't forget that Rich Gannon was nobody until Gruden polished him up.
He could even do wonders for a guy like Kyle Boller.
Who ever it is, Gruden will get something out of him.
Sometimes, when you have unfinished business, things just don't work out going forward until you finish it. After the 2001 season, the Raiders were robbed in the playoffs by the "tuck rule" against the New England Patriots.
Gruden knew all of the Raiders plays after being traded to the Bucs for the next year. Therefore, the Raiders could do absolutely nothing with the Bucs in the Super Bowl the next year.
Both teams were older and taken apart shortly thereafter, so neither side has had much success. Gruden was fired a couple of years ago and the Raiders haven't won more than five games since then.
The two were a perfect combination and should get back together finish the mission.
Gruden did beat Al in the Super Bowl, but did so with a team some else built.
He had the control in Tampa Bay that he didn't have in Oakland, but didn't rebuild his own team down there.
Davis had some talent at times (Randy Moss and a few others), but didn't have coaching to use them.
Maybe both have learned that they're better together and a reunion is possible.
A man can wish.
But I won't hold my breath.