In what weeks ago seemed like an utter pipe dream for the Oakland Raiders, convincing Jon Gruden to come back is somehow now a reality.
Among legendary Raiders and every media outlet in the Bay Area, Gruden was introduced for his second tour of duty with the franchise and in typical Chucky fashion, he stated how excited he is to get to work.
He’ll dive into roster evaluations and finish filling out his coaching staff as soon as possible — that’s how Gruden rolls. He’s a workaholic.
Priority No. 1 is restoring the confidence and swagger that Derek Carr possessed in 2016 — a season that helped make him the second-highest paid player in the NFL.
Heck, that’s priority No. 1, 2, and 3. Gruden will have time to do it as owner Mark Davis handed over a 10-year contract to get it done.
Let’s get something straight here: The expectation is to win now.
There is no grace period here for Gruden’s second tour with the franchise that is “committed to excellence.” Davis didn’t chase him for six years, trying to pry him out of retirement, to go to 8-8.
No, that’s not how this works. Not for an organization that has played in one postseason game in 15 years.
Look, I don’t want to be the party-pooper here or rain on a glorious day for the Raider Nation. But this move smells like an attempt to get people to buy PSLs in Las Vegas, while stirring interest in their last days in the Bay Area.
So it’s about the here and now, because the Raiders won’t sell in the desert if they don’t deliver results in the meantime. Watching Gruden restore energy in the Black Hole will be fascinating to see come to fruition. But it can’t come from just Gruden. Carr needs to raise his game. He’ll be coached up at an elite level, the question is whether he’ll be up to the task.
Former Oakland quarterback Rich Gannon — an MVP quarterback who played his best football under Gruden — was one of many bygone players who roamed around the team’s HQ on Tuesday. He believes in Carr, but thinks it’s just a matter of if Carr believes in himself to reach a different stratosphere.
“Jon’s excited to work with Derek,” said Gannon, who is currently having discussions with the team to become the quarterback coach. “I just think Derek’s already a good player, but he’s got a chance to be a Hall of Famer and to win multiple Super Bowls if he’ll just do the work.”
And Carr will have an offseason to try to absorb Gruden’s complex offense — a scheme that the coach will control with savvy play designs.
How quickly will Chucky be able to adapt to the modern NFL game? I don’t think it’ll take long, due to a broadcasting career that allowed him to go to every practice facility in America. The man does his homework. That has been proven.
But with his name, with his contract, and his pedigree, the question is how quickly can he revive a broken-down Carr?
The future of the franchise depends on it.
Bonta Hill of 95.7 The Game can be heard from 12-3 on the Greg Papa Show. Born and bred in San Francisco, he is a sports junkie who loves to sit in the lab (home), eats breakfast food for dinner, and has a newfound love for tequila. Follow at your own risk on Twitter @BontaHill.