NFL Columnist Says "It's Going To Be A Ride" With Raiders Coach Jon Gruden

It's never a dull moment with Jon Gruden

After Hours with Amy Lawrence
October 30, 2018 - 10:00 am

USA Today Images

With NFL preseason action almost upon us, Jon Gruden is firmly back in his coaching element.

“Jon Gruden is the same Jon Gruden that we’ve all known and loved,” USA Today NFL columnist Jarrett Bell said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “Coach Chuckie, full of passion, fire, intensity – it’s going to be interesting to see him get ramped back up. But he is obviously optimistic – to the point where he’s said, ‘Hey, if I don’t get it done, I’ll give the money back.’ 

Gruden signed a historic 10-year, $100 million contract with the Raiders in January.

“Just think about the message that that sends: I am so deep into this that it’s not even about the money,” Bell said. “Gruden is getting his program back together. It’s going to be interesting to see how some of these veteran additions that he’s picked up here in the past few months are going to play out.”

The Raiders went 12-4 in 2016 – making the playoffs for the first time since 2002 – but went 6-10 last season. They will look to rebound in the AFC West and reach the playoffs for the second time in three years.

“If there’s one thing you know about Jon Gruden from his previous stints (with the) Raiders and Bucs – he’s been out for 10 years – but he loves his special players,” Bell said. “He always likes the opportunity to bolster his roster with veteran guys, and sometimes there was an imbalance there. He’s got a bunch of guys – I think he said 14 guys over 30, which led to a little bit of criticism. 

“But when you’ve got holes to fill and veterans than can do it, maybe it works,” Bell continued. “But by the same token, the Raiders have a lot of young players they’re going to be banking on, including the linemen that they picked up in the draft and then a defensive lineman like Maurice Hurst. So it’s going to be a ride with Gruden.”

The Raiders open the season at home against the Rams on Monday Night Football. Kickoff is at 10:20 p.m. ET.