Why are the Raiders terrible? The simple answer is that they traded one of the best rushers in the game, Khalil Mack, to the Chicago Bears, leaving head coach Jon Gruden to wonder why his team can’t manage to find a pass rush. But the Mack trade is just a symptom of the problems in Oakland, just like signing a bunch of also-ran, over-the-hill free agents in the offseason.
The team fired GM Reggie McKenzie on Dec. 10, cementing Gruden’s control over the team and personnel matters.
Part of the problem for the Raiders is that $100 million coaching contract and the power that it grants Gruden to make terrible personnel decisions. And to assist him in sinking the franchise OR returning it to its heyday of zombie Al Davis drafting players based on 40 times (really depends on your perspective) this very stable genius has hired his own scouting squad led by a former NFL scout who spent some time as a card-carrying member of bad draft Twitter, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.
Dave Razzano, Gruden’s director of football research, hung his shingle on Twitter and shared scorching hot football takes like Von Miller will be a bust and Jake Locker should be the No. 1 pick while Gruden talked football on television.
Those aren’t even the guy’s worst takes.
The guy was big Christian Ponder believer too. Which, now that you think about it, no wonder Gruden trusts this guy’s personnel advice — he loves bad quarterbacks too.
Here’s my personnel favorite take from THIS GUY!
Having such a peerless football mind in the building with the head coach’s ear has lead to a divide between the generally more successful scouts and personnel people who were brought in under McKenzie, still nominally the team’s general manager, and Gruden’s Jake Locker-loving brain trust.
Amazingly enough, there was not the level of animosity that you’d expect between Gruden and McKenzie, according to Rapoport’s story. McKenzie left with three weeks to go in the season, declining the option to stick around until the end of the year. Maybe because McKenzie knows he can easily find employment somewhere else, if he so chooses. Teams wanted to interview him for general manager jobs in the offseason, but he turned them down. Next time, as Rapoport suggests, he may not. Nor should he.
The good news is that the Raiders now have to two additional first-round picks thanks to the decision to send Khalil Mack to Chicago. Maybe they can trade up for the next Jake Locker or Da’Quan Bowers!