Speaking with the media should come naturally to Jon Gruden. He was a member of the media just a few months ago. And yet, Gruden spouts comically tactless comments with surprising regularity.
The topics of the pass rush and Khalil Mack, who Gruden traded at the start of the season, have produced some perplexing moments. And then the rumor of another looming blockbuster cropped up on Sunday. The Oakland Raiders are shopping receiver Amari Cooper, according to FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer.
Gruden didn’t deny or confirm that report when he was asked about it after the Raiders’ embarrassing 27-3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. In the process of giving a non-answer, Gruden muffed the question.
If the Raiders locker room wasn’t already defeated, this quote delivered the K.O.
The Raiders are in tank mode, whether they’re planning to trade Cooper or not. Gruden will soon have his eye on the top of the 2019 NFL Draft. He has probably been thinking about it since he arrived, judging from the Mack trade. That draft is when Gruden will begin restocking the roster with the talent he will hand select. The question will be whether Gruden is interested in bringing in another quarterback at the top of the draft.
He’s shown willingness to move on from Mack and, perhaps, Cooper. Who’s to say Derek Carr isn’t next? He’s probably not. But under Gruden, nothing is certain. Carr hasn’t made a strong case for himself over the last two seasons, and looked particularly limited on Sunday, failing to connect on a pass traveling more than 10 yards. In fact, he attempted only two passes beyond 10 yards from scrimmage.
If Gruden wants to land his team at the top of the draft for a top quarterback, he’s doing a great job.
Between the trades and the ineptitude in handling the media, Gruden is on his way to drafting Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert, who looks like a strong candidate to be a top five pick in the upcoming draft. It may come down to which of the Giants or Raiders fail their way to the top better. Gruden’s team just took the lead back.