However, that doesn’t exclude him from blame when assessing the Raiders’ struggles over the past few seasons.
Jon Gruden has lost 29 games over the last three years
The Raiders are an interesting team to assess.
They went 12-4 under the guidance of Jack Del Rio in 2016, a year that included Khalil Mack winning Defensive Player of the Year. The Raiders failed to advance past the Wild-Card Round that year, but many walked away feeling optimistic about the team’s direction moving forward. Derek Carr looked like a franchise quarterback, Mack was the best defender in the league, and Del Rio’s coaching status was rock solid.
Following a disappointing 6-10 record in 2017, the franchise decided to pursue a major transformation.
The Raiders handed a 10-year contract to Gruden to take over for Del Rio. They also began exploring a move out of Oakland and into Las Vegas. It was significant change all happening at once, creating a general buzz of excitement around the franchise.
However, Gruden has yet to live up to the hype.
The Raiders haven’t cracked the postseason under Gruden, and he currently has 29 losses to his name since taking over. The same number of losses that since-fired Matt Patricia recorded as head coach of the lowly Detroit Lions
How much blame does Jon Gruden deserve?
For what it’s worth, Gruden entered a messy situation upon first taking the Raiders job in 2018. The roster wasn’t in a great state and trending in an even worse direction.
With that said, three years later and that excuse is starting to ring hollow. Gruden completely overhauled the roster this offseason, going as far as parting ways with elite offensive linemen Gabe Jackson and Rodney Hudson:
If there was any question, after cutting down to the 53-man roster limit for the 2021 season, the Las Vegas Raiders are definitely Coach Jon Gruden’s team in his fourth season since he began his second stint leading the Silver and Black.
Quarterback Derek Carr, linebacker Nicholas Morrow and running back Jalen Richard, who has been battling a foot injury since training camp began, are the only players left from the Raiders roster in 2017 when Coach Jack Del Rio was fired after a 6-10 season and replaced with Gruden by owner Mark Davis.Tom Lamarre, Sports Illustrated
Technically speaking, Gruden isn’t the general manager of the Raiders. However, the relationship between him and GM Mike Mayock is a collaborative one. Gruden gets a significant amount of say in roster-related decisions. The team that he’s expected to field Week 1 is undoubtedly a team Gruden has built.
What next for the Raiders?
Firing Gruden four years into his decade-long contract feels impossible, but it’s something the Raiders have to consider if he fails to deliver a playoff appearance this season.
Gruden has been afforded unlimited power to reshape and remold the Las Vegas roster in his image. Thus far, the results have been lackluster. The 29 losses since 2018 speaks for itself.
It’s unknown how much internal pressure Gruden feels from Raiders ownership, but the external pressure is great. Most Raiders fans are desperate for a winning season in 2021.