NFL

Jon Gruden Is Concerned About His Rookie Receivers but Could Have an Even Bigger Problem on His Hands

Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden has a lot on his plate at the start of the 2020 season. Even though the Raiders are 2-1 on the season, Gruden is dealing with not having his rookie wide receiver Bryan Edwards for their upcoming game against the Buffalo Bills. Also, fellow receiver Henry Ruggs III may not suit up either.

With COVID-19 still present, photos and videos of players from the Raiders team not wearing masks at a charity event surfaced on social media, which raised concerns for the team, but Gruden made sure to address that.

Gruden dealing with early-season injuries

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Gruden is no stranger to the Raiders organization as he started his head coaching career with them in 1998. He made a return to the NFL in 2018 after being away for 10 years. The Raiders are off to a good start to the 2020 season, suffering a lone loss to the New England Patriots. But, Gruden could go into his next game without two wide receivers that the Raiders are high on. 

NFL Network announced that Bryan Edwards will miss the upcoming game against the Buffalo Bills as he’s dealing with an ankle injury suffered in the loss to the Patriots. Edwards could be out a couple of weeks. The network also announced that fellow starting rookie receiver Henry Ruggs III could miss the Bills game too as he’s dealing with a hamstring injury. Ruggs did not play in the previous game, and missing those two receivers will be a big blow for Gruden and his team.

Earlier in the week, Gruden talked briefly about the statuses of Edwards and Ruggs. “We are concerned about both those guys, but I’ll remain confident until otherwise notified,” Gruden said, via Vic Tafur of TheAthletic.com. That was before Edwards was ruled out for the Bills game. Gruden will need to develop a game plan if he’s going to be without both players. 

Gruden addressed the players mistake of not wearing a mask

Gruden has already had a situation regarding masks as he was hit with a $100,000 fine for not wearing his mask properly in the Week 2 win over the New Orleans Saint and he’s appealing the fine. The NFL, along with other leagues, are taking COVID-19 very seriously. Earlier this week, Raiders tight end Daren Waller held a charity event in Nevada. 

Several teammates attended the event showing their support. Some photos and videos surfaced with players not wearing a mask at the event. On Wednesday, Gruden addressed the charity event’s situation, and he did have a talk with his team.

“I’ll just say this: We’ve done a good job, we’ve done an excellent job,” Gruden said. “Last night, it was addressed with our players. They walked in with their masks on, there was an event. Sometimes you go to a restaurant, take your mask off. They’re aware of their mistake,” Gruden said. As head coach, Gruden wants his team to be safe on and off the field, and when he addressed what happened at the event to his team, that was the proper thing to do. There have not been any fines against the players who attended the event and did not have masks on.

COVID-19 is still out there and is still a problem for the NFL

Gruden does not want things to go south for his team. Players, coaches, and staff needs to follow the proper protocols the NFL has put in place. The Minnesota Vikings and Tennessee Titans were the first teams in the NFL to suspend activities due to eight members of the Titans receiving positive tests. 

The NFL postponed the Titans-Steelers game that was scheduled for October 4 and plan to move the game later in the season. After seeing what happened with the Titans, that got the league’s attention. This could get a lot worse if teams aren’t staying safe or properly wearing masks. That’s why coaches need to continue to have conversations with their team and let them know that the season could be in jeopardy if rules are not followed.