The $100 million Jon Gruden experiment is off to an awful start, and probably won’t be turning around anytime soon.
Gruden’s Raiders are coming off a 27-3 drubbing in London, and the team now has a 1-5 record. They’re on track to finish as one of the three worst teams in the NFL, and it almost seems as if Gruden is setting the team up for failure, in hopes that general manager Reggie McKenzie will fall on the sword — not him.
But don’t accuse Gruden of tanking, as he’s not having it. He addressed that very topic at Tuesday’s press conference which featured him going off about a number of topics.
“We’re not tanking anything,” he said. “I hear the hatred out there, some of the rumors that we’re tanking it to get a first-round pick, or a higher pick. We’re not getting up at four o’clock in the morning to tank it. Ain’t nobody tanking.”
Gruden then threw cornerback Rashaan Melvin under the bus. Check out the shade he threw in referencing the “confused” cornerback (who, by the way, he didn’t draft).
“I haven’t talked to him yet, no,” he said. “I’m sure I will. I know Paul Guenther did. I heard there was a Twitter report out there. Melvin’s on his seventh team, I think. He’s had different techniques. Maybe he’s confused. I don’t know. I’ll talk to him. But he’s gotta play better. He’s in a competitive situation. Perhaps he’s frustrated, and I can’t blame him.”
And then came the frustration-fueled rant, when asked about some of the (poor) decisions he’s made.
“Sure, I regret some of them,” he said. “I got a list of things I regret. I got a list of things. I’m sure you do, too. Unless you’re perfect, I don’t know. I don’t think any of us are perfect. We’re trying. We’re working hard. I’m not gonna never throw the ball on first-and-goal again. All my friends in the league do it.”
Throwing on first-and-goal out of the shotgun isn’t a good idea, whether Gruden’s “friends” do it or not. The general takeaway from this presser is that Gruden is getting overly defensive, but is also finding ways to shift the blame away from himself, which he’ll continue to do as this nightmare season rolls on.