Jon Gruden can’t wait to see his Raiders in full pads

Updated June 14, 2018 - 6:16 pm

ALAMEDA, Calif. — I’m not certain Jon Gruden likes shorts.

I absolutely know he doesn’t like them on football players.

Spring might be a symbol of rebirth, when the days become longer and hotter and bears everywhere awaken from long slumbers, but it’s not the most alluring of times for the Raiders coach.

He concluded a three-day mandatory minicamp Thursday and sent players on their way, to again see them when training camp commences in late July north of here in Napa, where patio tastings offer grand views of vineyards and mountainous hillsides, and the sort of football Gruden breathes for is again allowable by league rules.

He wants, needs, desperately craves the image of guys in full pads hitting one another, meaning he won’t be all that enamored with any award-winning Cabernets.

“I mean, the way we practice (in the offseason) nowadays is tough,” Gruden said. “You’re not allowed to have any contact, you’re not allowed to play bump and run, you’re not allowed to be on the ground. It’s hard to do when you’re trying to make a football team.

“Guys are tired of it. They’re ready to play some real football. We need competition, we need depth, we need leadership, we need players — hard, tough football players.”

He hasn’t coached since 2008, but was lured from the TV booth by Raiders owner Mark Davis and a 10-year, $100 million contract back to the team he led from 1998 to 2001, and nothing during weeks of spring activities and minicamps suggested Gruden has in any way lost an ounce of focus or passion or fiery competitiveness.

He’s crazy about the game, which might explain why he hired a staff that mirrors his tireless ways.

A popular storyline since his hiring in January has wondered how well players in 2018 might relate to Gruden, if they could handle his intense personality and reputation for a workload that begins in the dark and ends when it’s even darker.

But while it’s up to each individual to ultimately adapt and conform — it’s Gruden’s way all the way now — those on his staff understand the sort of grind he embraces.

There is no better example than assistant head coach/special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia, who was with Gruden in Tampa Bay when the Buccaneers won a Super Bowl and who left two years on his contract with the Cowboys to join his former boss on this renewed adventure.

“I will say this — I love Jon Gruden,” Bisaccia said. “We share an early morning philosophy. My dad used to say, ‘Every great man has one thing in common — he gets up early.’ So we kind of share that. We’ve had many conversations at 4:30 in the morning. I’m real fortunate to have the chance to be back with him on a daily basis and to be in the same room. Are we alike some? I sure hope so.”

On the same page

Offensive coordinator Greg Olson also spent time with Gruden in Tampa Bay. Assistant special teams coordinator Byron Storer played for Gruden with the Buccaneers. Offensive line coach Tom Cable has a Super Bowl ring with Seattle and returns to a Raiders organization at which he was a head coach and assistant. Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther has known Gruden for years.

All around the room, there are either coaches who have lived the Gruden Way or heard enough about it to want a place at the table. It doesn’t mean anything in regard to last season’s 6-10 record, doesn’t ensure things will get better overnight, doesn’t guarantee the Raiders will move or stop the ball with any level of improvement.

But it means the journey begins defined by a united mindset, that if there is a silver and black page, those teaching scheme and technique and formation are all on it.

“These coaches, they’ve been in there every day at 5 a.m.,” Gruden said. “There’s been no May this year, no April. Nobody’s a very good golfer, I can guarantee you that.

“The acquisition of coaches is as important as acquiring players. I’ll take my coaching staff against anybody’s in football. They’ve worked hard, and progress has been made because of them.”

Next stop: Training camp in Napa, with all its grand views of vineyards and mountainous hillsides.

And, far more important to Gruden, pads and helmets crashing.

Said Cable of spring camp: “This is underwear football.”

There is no way Gruden wants the Raiders playing in just those.

Contact columnist Ed Graney at egraney@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4618. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Raiders Videos
Vegas Nation: Raiders fire GM Reggie McKenzie
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken describes what changes may come to the Raiders organization following general manager Reggie McKenzie's release on Monday.
Gruden on GM Reggie McKenzie's firing
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden reacts to Raiders general manger Reggie McKenzie's dismissal on Monday.
Raiders Win Intense Game Against Steelers - Vegas Nation
The Raiders win against the Pittsburgh Steelers 24-21. Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken and sports columnist Ed Graney go over the Raiders victory.
Vegas Nation: Raiders sign C.J. Anderson
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken lists the multiple players heading to the injured reserve list, the Raiders signing three new players to the active roster, and the new drills the running backs are running in practice.
Raiders vs Steelers Preview - Vegas Nation Mailbag
The Oakland Raiders will face off against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. Vegas Nation Mailbag host Elaine Emerson and sports columnist Ed Graney answer all of Raider Nation's burning questions about the upcoming game.
Vegas Nation: Fumbles plague Raiders in loss to Chiefs
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken goes over Sunday's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, and highlights the uncertainty of many players returning from their injuries.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Fall To The Kansas City Chiefs
Raiders fall to the Kansas City Chiefs 40-33. Vegas Nation host Cassie Soto, Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken and sports columnist Ed Graney go over the Raiders loss to the chiefs.
Raiders players reflect on their loss to the Chiefs
Oakland Raiders' players Jordy Nelson, Jared Cook and Doug Martin reflect on what went wrong and talk about their performances in the team's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Gruden, Carr on turnovers that cost the Raiders
Head coach Jon Gruden and quarterback Derek Carr spoke about the team's loss to the Chiefs following the game. The Oakland Raiders fell to 2-10 on the season when they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs at home, 40-33.
Vegas Nation: Leon Hall, others could miss game vs. Chiefs
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken goes over the team's final injury report before their game on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Raiders Honor Canyon Springs’ Gus McNair as High School Coach of the Year
The Raiders honor Canyon Springs Head Coach Gus McNair as the 2018 Coach of The Year. The Raiders present a check for $1000 to the school and surprise players with the gift of new cleats. (Kenton King/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Nation: Kareem Hunt physical altercation video surfaces
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken describes the potential ramifications of the Kareem Hunt video that surfaced on Friday, as well as the Raiders' final injury report before Sunday's game against the Chiefs.
Vegas Nation: Hill poses threat to Townsend, Raiders special teams
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken presents the challenges rookie punter Johnny Townsend could face this Sunday, as he hopes for a bounce back game against one of the most dangerous returners in football: Tyreek Hill.
Vegas Nation Mailbag: Raiders fall to Ravens 34-17
The Raiders fell to 2-9 on the season after losing to the Ravens in Baltimore. Ed Graney and Elaine Emerson discuss the Raiders needs going forward.
Vegas Nation: DeAndre Washington, Raiders promote causes with cleats
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken goes into depth about the NFL's 'My Cause My Cleats" campaign, and the cause running back DeAndre Washington chose for the promotion.
Vegas Nation: Gruden encouraged by rookie tackles
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken examines Sunday's performances of the team's rookie tackles Kolton Miller and Brandon Parker.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Fall To Baltimore Ravens
Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken and Vegas Nation host Cassie Soto go over the Raiders 34-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
Raiders Players Thanksgiving Dinner Donations
Donald Penn brought the tradition of "spreading the love" for Thanksgiving from Tampa Bay as said by Raiders offensive tackle Kolton Miller. Raiders players were donating turkey dinners to Oakland residents Tuesday night.
Vegas Nation Mailbag: How Will Raiders Perform Against Ravens
Raiders will face the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday and Review-Journal reporter Gilbert Manzano and Elaine Emerson go over what to expect from the game.
Vegas Nation: LaFell moved to IR, Hatcher returns
The Raiders move wide receiver Brandon LaFell to the injured reserve and re-sign preseason standout Keon Hatcher, as Michael Gehlken reports the corresponding moves from Alameda, Calif.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Beat Cardinals 23-21, Earn Second Win of Season
Raiders Kicker Daniel Carlson hit the game winning field goal as time expires to hand the Raiders their first road win of the Season.
Raiders players talk about the team's win over Cardinals
After the team defeated the Arizona Cardinals, 23-21, the Oakland Raiders players spoke about the victory in the locker room.
Gruden, Carr discuss the Raiders 23-21 win
Head coach Jon Gruden and quarterback Derek Carr speak to media after the Oakland Raiders defeat the Arizona Cardinals, 23-21.
Vegas Nation: Nelson, Bryant out vs. Arizona
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken reports that the team will be without wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant ahead of their game against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
Vegas Nation: Raiders hold indoor walkthrough due to fires
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken reports from smoky Alameda, Calif. as the Raiders move their practice indoors due to the California wildfires.
Las Vegas Raiders Stadium
Las Vegas Raiders Stadium (Raiders)
Vegas Nation: Ateman prepares for NFL debut vs. Cards
Oakland Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken explains how Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant's injuries could result in seventh round pick Marcell Ateman making his NFL debut this Sunday.
Vegas Nation: Nelson, Bryant injured in loss to Chargers
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken examines the injuries to wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant.
Raiders Adopt Student Resource Room At Robert Taylor Elementary School In Henderson
Former Raiders player Leo Gray and Robert Taylor Elementary School principal Kim Basham talk about the new resource room at the school on Sept. 25, 2018 in Henderson, Nevada. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
More information on design of Raiders' practice facility in Henderson
Officials plan to finish the Raiders' Henderson headquarters by spring 2020. The planned facility would be home to offices, training facilities and 4 1/2 football fields.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like