Raiders' Gruden: 17-Game Schedule Will 'Be Interesting'; 'Season Was Long to Start'May 20, 2021
Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden is curious to see how the NFL's new 17-game schedule affects things for teams in 2021.
Speaking to Raiders analyst Eric Allen (h/t Myles Simmons of ProFootballTalk), Gruden said the longer season is "going to be interesting" because the previous 16-game schedule was already "long to start with."
NFL owners approved the addition of an extra game to the schedule this season. It's the first change to the schedule since 1978 when the league went from 14 to 16 games.
With the regular season extended by one game, the preseason schedule has been cut from four games to three.
Gruden noted that the longer season means he might have to work with certain players differently than others during training camp and practices in order to prepare them for the grind of a 17-game schedule.
"So guys … that are in [their] 10th year, we might treat you a little differently than Alex Leatherwood and [Trevon] Moehrig and some of these rookies coming in here. You’re going to have to really push some of these rookies, because it’s an eye opener for a young player, the length of the season.”
Leatherwood, a right tackle, and Moehrig, a free safety, were Las Vegas' top two picks in the 2021 draft. Both players figure to play a large role for the team as rookies.
Gruden is entering his fourth season in his second stint as Raiders head coach. The 57-year-old led the team to an 8-8 record last year, their first non-losing season since 2016 (12-4). Interestingly his record in seven seasons with the team (57-55) is identical to his seven-season stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Las Vegas will open the 2021 season on Sept. 13 in a Monday night game against the Baltimore Ravens at Allegiant Stadium.