Jon Gruden’s return to the NFL hasn’t gone quite as planned. His Oakland Raiders are 1-3 and have looked terrible, meanwhile Khalil Mack has single-handedly transformed the Chicago Bears into contenders. Apparently, Gruden is shocked by how good Mack is.
Remember, Gruden was reportedly at the center of the controversy surrounding Mack in Oakland. He wanted to trade the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year rather than pay him. Now that Mack’s gone, Gruden has realized just how much he impacts a game on every snap.
This NFL.com story is telling, as Gruden was sitting around with his assistant coaches as Mack was busy decimating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Gruden checked his phone and realized Mack had made yet another game-altering play. Here’s the relevant passage:
As he readied his game face for what he hoped would be his first NFL head-coaching victory in exactly nine years and 10 months, Jon Gruden sat in the coaches’ area of the home locker room at the Oakland Coliseum on Sunday morning, scrolled through his cell phone and got some decidedly disturbing news.
“Damn — Khalil Mack had another strip sack?” Gruden asked rhetorically, shaking his head at the Oakland Raiders assistant coaches in his midst. “Are you … kidding me?”
Two hours before the Raiders and Cleveland Browns would engage in an epic overtime clash in front of 53,387 drained and delighted fans, Gruden knew the score: With a 10-year, $100-million contract, an 0-3 record and his fingerprints all over the trade that rid his roster of one of the league’s premier defenders, he had gone from presumed Silver and Black savior to the football world’s bright red bullseye in a manner of months. This latest Mack Attack was, in a figurative sense, another body blow to the head coach who shipped him out of town.
Yes Jon, that guy you traded is pretty damn good. For a guy who was an NFL broadcaster for so long how did you not know that?
Mack is currently playing like the best defender in football and is a legit MVP contender. Meanwhile, Gruden at the Raiders are terrible.