Jon Gruden Says Raiders Will Build Championship Team After Loss to 49ers

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistNovember 2, 2018

SANTA CLARA, CA - NOVEMBER 01: Head coach Jon Gruden of the Oakland Raiders looks on during their NFL game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on November 1, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

It may be hard for Oakland Raiders fans to have faith in the organization in the midst of a disastrous season, but coach Jon Gruden still believes he can lead the Silver and Black to the Lombardi Trophy.

"We're going to build a championship football team here," Gruden told reporters after Thursday night's 34-3 loss to Nick Mullens and the San Francisco 49ers.

The Raiders have now lost four games in a row, and only two of their seven losses have come by one possession. Their lone victory, a 45-42 overtime victory over the Cleveland Browns in Week 4, was aided by a controversial call.

To make matters worse, Oakland still has games remaining against the Los Angeles Chargers, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs (twice). The Arizona Cardinals (2-6) and the Denver Broncos (3-5) are the only teams on the Raiders' remaining schedule with a losing record.

As a result, Oakland could have the top overall pick in the draft for the first time since 2007, when it picked JaMarcus Russell. The Raiders (1-7) are now tied with the New York Giants for the worst record in the NFL.

In his first season back in the Bay Area, Gruden has jettisoned Pro Bowlers Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper. Those deals brought back future draft picks, but they did no favors to this year's team. Derek Carr's future with the franchise has even come into question recently, as The Athletic's Marcus Thompson II reported last month that the quarterback has a "fractured relationship" with teammates.

It was just two seasons ago that Oakland went 12-4 and made the playoffs, being eliminated as Carr was sidelined with a broken leg. That must seem like an eternity ago for Raiders fans given everything that has gone on since Gruden took over.

Fortunately for Gruden, though, he is signed to a 10-year, $100 million deal. That type of commitment means the front office will have to give him time and stay patient as he attempts to build the team with his vision. That means he has the ability to tear the team down and build through the draft the way, which appears to be his plan.

The 2018 season is only halfway over, so Gruden and Co. are going to have to push through and try to find some positives from a lost season. But no matter what the final record may be, the Super Bowl-winning coach sees a championship in the Raiders' future.