Jon Gruden takes ‘old fashioned’ approach to analytics

INDIANAPOLIS — The Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl, in part, because of their reliance on analytics that supported an increased aggression on fourth down and other game management scenarios.

Jon Gruden made clear Wednesday he is no pioneer in the field.

He isn’t totally against it, either.

Gruden largely downplayed his willingness to use analytics during a 20-minute news conference at the NFL Scouting Combine. He met with reporters afterward for an additional 15-minute session during which he seemed a little more open to football data concept.

Technology has evolved mightily since Gruden, 54, first became the Raiders’ head coach in 1998. For that matter, things have changed dramatically since he last coached the Tampa Buccaneers in 2008. Statistics today can track a player’s movement, be it the speed at which he moves or the distance he may travel over the course of a practice or game.

“Are you talking about the analytics, the GPS, all the modern technology?” Gruden asked a reporter in response to an analytics question. “Man, I’m trying to throw the game back to 1998. Really as broadcaster, I went around and observed every team. I asked a lot of questions. I took a look at the facilities, how they’re doing business. There’s a stack of analytical data that people don’t even know how to read it. It’s one thing to have the data. It’s another thing to know how to read the damn thing.

“So I’m not going to rely on GPSes and all the modern technology. I will certainly have some people that are professional that can help me from that regard. But I still think doing things the old fashioned way is a good way, and we’re going to try to lean the needle that way a little bit.”

To the side, Gruden was asked a follow-up question on his stance, particularly that he seemed not be an analytics fan.

“I like analytics,” Gruden said. “I know a lot of guys, veteran coaches, who have hired analytical staffs and bought a lot of really cool equipment. I also know a lot of coaches that have this information and data and don’t know what to do with the data. Look, I like it. I was always looking for new technology. But then I realized, I don’t want ‘new’ technology. I want ‘better’ technology.

“We don’t need new players. We’re looking for guys who can help us get better, and I think that’s the key. If you’re going to have the analytics, what are you doing with the data? What are you doing?”

Gruden said that he believes he was maybe the world’s first quality control coach in 1990 when with the San Francisco 49ers. He was unfamiliar with the title when assigned. The job required him to calculate various opponent tendencies, which would be presented on computer printouts.

He cited third-down or red-zone blitz tendencies as examples.

“There’s a 27 percent chance they’re bringing all-out heat in the red zone,” Gruden said. “Big deal. You’ve still got to use your gut. You’ve got to look at the other sideline, and you’ve got to say, ‘You know, he’s blitzin’ here. I got a feeling he’s blitzin’.’ You’ve got to make some gut reactions. I know guys in Major League Baseball. I’ve spent time with Lou Piniella. He’s my neighbor in Tampa. I’ve spent time with Tony LaRussa. There’s guys who are getting computer printouts and moving their left fielder over 8 feet. There are guys who are putting their lineups together because they hit right-handed pitching better than they hit left-handed pitching.

“And I believe there is some useful value. Like I said, we’ll get the data, and I got a couple guys who are going to help me trim the stack, and if there is something that can really help us, we’ll use it.”

More Raiders: Follow all of our Raiders coverage online at and @NFLinVegas on Twitter.

Contact reporter Michael Gehlken at Follow @GehlkenNFL on Twitter.

Raiders Videos
Marshawn Lynch Retires, Raiders Draft Pick Preview - Video
The Oakland Raiders are preparing for their 2019 draft pick in the first round, but Marshawn Lynch has announced he is retiring and will not be playing next season. Vegas Nation host Cassie Soto and Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken goes over the potential Raiders 2019 draft pick and Marshawn Lynch's retirement.
Vegas Nation: 2019 NFL Draft Predictions - VIDEO
The Oakland Raiders have three first round picks in the 2019 NFL Draft. Michael Gehlken breaks down possible options for the silver and black before Thursday's draft.
Vegas Nation: 2019 NFL Draft Predictions - VIDEO
The Oakland Raiders have three first round picks in the 2019 NFL Draft. Michael Gehlken breaks down possible options for the silver and black before Thursday's draft.
Raiders Stadium Area Property Causing Developers Hurdles
With property values increasing around the new Raiders stadium in Las Vegas, what other barriers do developers face?
Will Land Around Las Vegas Raiders Stadium Turn To Gold
Property owners around the new Las Vegas Raiders stadium are getting a lot of inquiries about selling.
Will developers face hurdles with property near Raiders stadium?
With property values increasing around the new stadium what other barriers do developers face? (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Will land around Raiders stadium turn to gold?
With values increasing, property owners around the new Raiders stadium are getting a lot of inquiries about selling. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Nation Stadium Show: Raiders Backup Plans and Deadline for Stadium - VIDEO
The Raiders Stadium is closer to being completed as the weeks go by. Reporters Ed Graney and Rick Velotta bring all the updates including from the stadium authority meeting and new technology being used.
The Cast of FS1's "Lock It In" talk Raiders and Golden Knights futures
With Las Vegas growing as a pro sports town, the cast of Fox Sports 1's "Lock It In" give their betting predictions on if the Vegas Golden Knights can make another run at the Stanley Cup and if the Raiders will make a Super Bowl in 2020.
Raiders Make Trades, Let Go Of Players During Free Agency - VIDEO
As NFL free agency continues, the Raiders continue to build off of acquiring Steelers player Antonio Brown. Vegas Nation host Cassie Soto and Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken go over all of the key acquisitions and signings as well as who was let go of the roster.
Latin Chamber of Commerce hosts Las Vegas sports leaders
The Fourth Annual Latin Chamber of Commerce Business and Networking Luncheon hosted a panel of sports leaders to discuss the economic power of sports in Las Vegas and their contributions to the Latino community. (Michael Quine / Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Antonio Brown Raiders Press Conference Highlights - VIDEO
Antonio Brown gives his first press conference as a Raider from the team's headquarters in Alameda, California on March 13, 2019. (Courtesy: The Raiders)
Raiders Trade for Antonio Brown - VIDEO
Former Steelers' WR Antonio Brown will be making his way to Oakland after a late-night trade between the two organizations was made public.
Mike Mayock Settling in as Raiders' GM
As the NFL Combine is in full swing, Raiders beat writer for the Las Vegas Review- Journal Michael Gehlken gives us an update from Indianapolis regarding Mike Mayock and his roll as the Raiders' general manager.
Mike Mayock set for first NFL Scouting Combine with Raiders - VIDEO
How Mike Mayock will approach the NFL Scouting Combine might be a mystery, given this combine is his first as Raiders general manager and a league front-office employee, if not for the hours of conference calls, news conferences and real-time TV commentary he has produced.
Las Vegas musician Rick Maiani writes promotional theme song for Raiders
Las Vegas musician Rick Maiani talks about writing a theme song for the NFL's Raiders, his musical background and having been high school teammates with UNLV legend Randall Cunningham. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders stadium construction not slowed by rain and snow
Raiders stadium in Las Vegas continues to take shape without little to no impact from the winter storm that passed through the Valley on Wednesday and Thursday this week. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Vegas Nation Stadium Show: Did the Weather slow down construction?
The Raiders stadium in Las Vegas has made significant progress over the past month, and Review-Journal writers Ed Graney, Rick Vellota and Mick Akers go over all the updates including what name of the stadium may potentially be.
Kelsey Martinez no longer listed on Raiders’ coaching staff
Kelsey Martinez, the first female assistant in Raiders history, is no longer listed as with the organization, according to the team’s website. Martinez joined the club in March 2018 under Tom Shaw, the department’s then-coordinator who was dismissed in December. Before joining the Raiders, Martinez worked for 4 years at Tom Shaw Performance at ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando. The Raiders did not return requests for comment on Martinez’s status.
Monorail extension will likely not be finished for Raiders 2020 opener
The planned extension to the Las Vegas Monorail system, has not even broken ground yet, and will likely not be completed in time for the Raiders season opener in 2020. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Limo Driver Dan Holmgren Fired
Dan Holmgren was terminated as a Las Vegas limousine driver for leaving his car to chat with Raiders owner Mark Davis and president Marc Badain in front of Caesars Palace on Jan. 28. Dan gives his story to Elaine Emerson in the RJ Studio.
Raiders Stadium Roads
A bevy of road projects that will impact travel to and from the Las Vegas stadium are planned to occur even after the stadium opens in 2020.
Roger Goodell Addresses Media About Raiders Next Season - VIDEO
Roger Goodell addresses media about where the Raiders will play next year and the controversial Rams vs Saints game. Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken and Vegas Nation host Cassie Soto go over the details.
Senior Bowl a valuable scouting opportunity for Raiders - VIDEO
The Raiders are looking for better defensive prospects at the Senior Bowl due to the results of the 2018 season. Michael Gehlken goes over what the Raiders general manager and head coach are looking for at this years Senior Bowl.
Home Front Page Footer Listing