In Steve Corchran’s book, “Al Davis: Behind the Raiders Shield“, he makes note of Davis’ affinity to ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr’s draft guide over that of his own scouts.
Apparently, his son, Mark Davis has affinity for ESPN’s Jon Gruden.
Yesterday, after the Raiders lost their season finale against the Chargers, Mark Davis relieved Jack Del Rio of his coaching responsibilities. It was a move Del Rio earned with some questionable coaching decisions. At the end of the 2016 season, Del Rio did not bring back offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, who had the Raiders 6th overall on offense. Instead, he promoted quarterbacks coach Todd Downing, who had never run an offense. The move Del Rio was expected to make, relieving Ken Norton Jr of his defensive coordinator’s role, did not occur. The Oakland defense was consistently among the worst in the league, with key players underperforming, until Norton was fired deep into the 2017 season. Del Rio, meanwhile blamed the players for poor play throughout the season, including Derek Carr, the quarterback responsible for winning 12 games in 2016.
Like many Raiders fans, I’ll question the apparent desire to bring back Jon Gruden. Gruden has been in the broadcast booth for almost a decade. Success for coaches brought back for a second tour of duty with a franchise is not good. Joe Gibbs is a Hall of Famer and his second stint with the Redskins was forgettable. There’s a feel that if this tour doesn’t go well, the Raiders will be stuck with Gruden for a long time. That is, if Gruden takes the job. The prevailing feeling is, Del Rio would not have been fired if Gruden hadn’t already agreed to take the job.
The one sticking point is Reggie McKenzie. The Raiders GM helped bring the Raiders back to respectability from a financial point of view, as well as selecting Raiders superstars Khalil Mack and Derek Carr. Raiders likely would not have been in position to make the Vegas move without restoration of financial well-being. Gruden apparently does not want to work with McKenzie, which had been an issue in prior Raiders appeals to Gruden. Gruden appears to want a rubber stamp in the front office. If push comes to shove, McKenzie will depart and Gruden will get his rubber stamp, but I think some accommodation will occur. Of note in Corchran’s book, Gruden didn’t want Charles Woodson. IIRC, Woodson’s a Hall of Famer. I don’t want Gruden in total control of the roster. He wanted Johnny Manziel over Khalil Mack. That’s why I remain leery of Gruden.